“Pros Here’s my list of pros during my long tenure at Pret A Manger: Co-workers, Customers, Free Food, Compensation, Mystery shopper bonus, and 2 galas Yearly!……..The C.E.O and his partners has always been Pleasant to me.
Cons: In Spite of the wonderful Pros of this company, Your subjected to emotional blackmail and serious labor issues with Most shops being run by Unprofessional and Bias Managerial staff backed by a corrupted HR Dept.
Advice to Management: The Core Values you instill in your Employees are Virtuous , And is the the secret to your success!…..On the Contrary, I strongly suggest a Labor Union!, so employees that are treated unfair have a platform for their voice to be heard without resentment or the sinuous backlash from your Inadequate Managerial staff & Flout HR Dept.!!!! who support them.”
Quote of the Day: “On the Contrary, I strongly suggest a Labor Union!, so employees that are treated unfair have a platform for their voice to be heard without resentment or the sinuous backlash from your Inadequate Managerial staff & Flout HR Dept.!!!! who support them.”
It is true that the CEO is pleasant to people, speaking informally, courteously etc. But what use is this when the majority of “leaders” and line managers are rude, disrespectful, discriminatory and bullying towards the teams they have been entrusted with. And this on a daily basis. “Leaders” who are no leaders at all. When I was a team leader I never saw the shop and the team as my property! I didn’t own them. I was entrusted with a team and a job and didn’t take that lightly. Maybe I’m just too old school, but I do believe that a leader is what is says in the word, they “lead”. They lead by example which unfortunately includes bad example. And the team member that they lead learn from this and want to climb up the leadership ladder very quick to escape from the bad leadership. Then they become leaders themselves following the bad example and just choose the easy road by loading it over their team. Very very sad.
Hardly anyone understands what true leadership means. That the Captain of the ship jumps ship as the last person, not the first! A true leader does not blame downwards, but takes responsibility, and like a Captain steers the ship away from danger and safely to its destination. A bad leader will crumble as soon as a little wind blows, not to mention a storm.
If the CEO of Pret, or of any company at that, closes his eyes to mistreatment like I have experienced to the point of becoming suicidal and what many others have shared, then what is really behind this “pleasantness”? In fact if a CEO does not change this system that he has the power to change and set the tone, than I really question the “niceness” and pleasantness of this CEO.
The CEO of Pret is very in-tuned with what is happening on the shop floor and in HQ. He is not like the “Undercover Boss” in the TV show who goes “down” to the workers undercover to see and learn where the problems are and how he can change it. Pret’s CEO regularly visits shops, speaks with the team members, and maybe that is his job, to lull the staff, making them believe that Pret is so wonderful and caring for them. Then he leaves the shops again, and the turmoil continues. He knows exactly what is going on but does not change the atmosphere and the terrible behaviour of his line managers.
That is why I am so outspoken because he isn’t sitting in a high-rise building, locked away in an office all day, holding meetings and being out of touch. Pret’s CEO is very aware of how his managers behave. He is not able to say that he doesn’t know what’s going on at the “front-lines” of the business. He knows very well and is with this even enabling and encouraging poor management and repeated mistreatment. And as the reviewer mentioned, which in my 10 years in Pret, I have also experienced that this is happening in most shops! These are not isolated incidences or black sheep, this is a system. There are exceptions where there are good managers, but they don’t hold out long as they are not “cut throat” business people, they refuse to mistreat their staff for more profit. Employees suffer. As the saying goes that “the fish stinks from its head” and many managers confirm this, of course privately. Don’t worry current GM, I wont tell on you!
It used to extremely annoy me when I saw my line manager’s hypocrisy when senior leaders walked in the door, how nice the managers suddenly were, and then when the “big guns” left again, the poor management went back to their business as usual. The majority of team members I’ve worked with have no respect for their line managers. They just have kids to feed and bills to pay, so they just keep their heads down and dare not speak up except anonymously.
To me the bottom line is, if there are multiple issues with line managers, one has to follow the thread right up to the very top and ask some questions. As a CEO, being nice and pleasant to staff is to me just a very good mask to facade the deeper problems people experience on a daily basis. It is a very clever strategy to get staff on the side of the CEO and with it the company. It is like the “good cop / bad cop” situation. The CEO is the good cop, and the line manager is the bad cop, but both cops have one goal: get as much money in as possible no matter of the cost of staff’s mental health. Just run with it. And the middle man, HR, is cleaning up the mess.
The nice CEO of Pret A Manger gave me the nickname I am writing under: Late Night Girl, after my ill emailing to Pret and others late at night. To be having a laugh about my trauma and mental illness while I had a disciplinary for it. A disciplinary which I received from a Development Manager, who supposedly lost her brother similarly to me, but then entered into (unallowed but cleverly planned) personal contact. This confused and distressed me further and increased my ill behaviour. I was subsequently unfairly dismissed three days after Christmas 2017 while my father was in intensive care, just having woken out from his three week coma.
This is how pleasant the CEO of Pret A Manger and his (quoting the reviewer) “corrupt” HR department are.
I certainly feel like a throw-away cup dumped into the bin among all the other “useless” cups that are an inconvenient for them, sick and broken. After giving their service and help this business thrive, they are of no use anymore. Pret, you don’t deserve the caliber of people who work for you, you take them for granted, they are nothing to you.
Pret and CEO, you have more than let me down. You are letting your staff down, those who give of their time, skills and energy, those who make your business happen, you let them down.
But dear Pret, what you don’t realize is, I am in the recycling process. And like a rough diamond that has been through the fire and is being painfully but carefully polished, I hate to think of it in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s accent, but “I’ll be back!” … on track and speak of my ordeal for the rest of my life, and help some people along the way!
I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.
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