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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Does the new ASET beneficial to Hourly Employees? Part 1

What is ASET?
Part of the p4 (people, process, productivity, and pay) platform that RGIS has designed is the creation of new hourly employee productivity skill levels called ASET. ASET (Auditor, Specialist, Expert, and Top Gun) was created to categorize RGIS hourly employees based on their speed and accuracy.

For instance, All newly hired employees will start as Auditors. The base pay depends on the district they are hired. Some districts offer $8.50 per hour and some can offer as high as $10.50 per hour as starting pay. As they become more efficient, their rate will also increase commensurate to their skill level, which is measured by APH (Average Per Hour).

Here's the RGIS pay table with Skill levels and corresponding base pay:

Skill Levels                              |              Pay
_______________________________________________________________

Auditor                                           Starting rate for District
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Specialist                                       + .50 per hour
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Expert                                            + 1.50 per hour
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TopGun                                          + 3.00 per hour
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Every RGIS employee will be evaulated quarterly by averaging their APH for that quarter. Although your your starting rate shall remain the same, your skill level pay may fluctuate depending on how you perform. Theoretically, Auditors can get as high as $3.00 increase within 12 months for as long as they can demonstrate and achieve one skill level up every quarter. However, if your APH drops off, the classification and pay will also go down to the appropriate skill level. APH is not entirely affected by recession or economic fluctuations because it is a performace-based metric system. The starting rate of Auditors depends entirely on economic conditions of a given district. In other words, you decide your own pay.

In addition to your ASET rate, there are also ways to increase your pay:

Adder Roles 
According to RGIS, if you were given an ADDER role, you will receive additional hourly pay on top of what you are receiving from your current skill level. For instance, if your current pay as an Expert is $10.50 you will get and addition of, say $2.00 per hour for having an Adder role in a particular inventory. You will get paid $12.50 per hour for that particular inventory. The following are examples of ADDER roles:

Adder Roles                         Short Descriptions 
______________________________________________________________         
Flow Leader                       Responsible for running inventory flow.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Super Prowler                     The fastest counter in the inventory.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SL/HL Prowlers                   Prowlers for softline and hardline.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Control Desk Operator         Able to run control desk or portable.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sweeper                            Ensures no stragglers in the flow.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Recounter                          Recounts areas to ensure accuracy
______________________________________________________________


Team Bonus
Another way to increase your pay is through Team Bonus. When the inventory team that you are part of achieves a Team APH (the APH team goal for an inventory), each member of the team shall receive additional pay called team bonus. Although the amount may not be as significant when we compare to Adder role pay you receive, it can nonetheless add a gallon in your gas tank for every store that participate in the Team Bonus.

Does the ASET really beneficial to hourly employees?
The way RGIS packaged the newly revamped ASET system looks very attractive and rewarding. But, when you dig dipper to it, you will find holes and flaws. Here is a universal business principle: Every policy, program, or strategy that is being implemented, always and I mean always operates in the best interest of the company that created it. I mean, why would anyone offers something that go against its own interest?

So, when you begin to look closer about this ASET system as it affects hourly employees, you will realize that it is self-serving. It is not beneficial to hourly employees but only for the company that created it. Let me tell you why:
  • Paycuts. For those hourly employees who have been with the company prior to the implementation of the new ASET, you know what I am talking. ASET has severely cut hourly cap of thousands of hourly employees. I am not talking about $0.50 paycuts which is for many a reasonable one. But I am talking about $1.50 to $3.50 or even more than that being slashed away from employee's base pay. If you happened to be the hourly employee I am referring here, it was staggeringly disappointing. It cut me deep. RGIS may argue that the changes are part of the streamlining of the company due to the current recession we are experiencing. But my counter question is: What if the recession will be over, does RGIS revert back the paycuts to their original state prior to recession? Of course not! 
  • Biased for Topguns. A lot of hourly employees especially those who have skill levels lower than the Topgun level think that being a Topgun is the best in its class because they can cherry pick areas in inventories, their pay is better, and they get better treatment, etc. But little they know that Topguns DO NOT get pay increase even if  their productivity skills increase to a higher level. Why? Because they already have reached the highest skill level in the ASET system. And because there is no more skill level higher than theirs, they are stucked with the maximum pay allowable by the ASET system. I should know, I am one of them. Unlike the lower ASET levels, they get pay increase everytime they move up to the next higher skill level.

    So the question is: Why did RGIS stop at adding another skill level higher than the Topgun level?  Every topgun knows by experience that their APH is a breeze to beat. Look, Topguns can "cherry pick" areas whereas the lower levels would not. Only TopGuns were given a productivity blanket meaning, their productivity must be protected that is why they are given the first priority to count those fancy-easy multiple areas in the store and skip those areas that are messy and crappy. This is RGIS' "protect the 5."

    In other words, they have all what it takes to beat their ASET requirements. Here's my recommendation to RGIS: If you are serious with productivity, then you should create a level higher than the Topgun. Let's say, the next level would be, "Elite" or any title that corresponds to the skill level. In other words, it is like a commission incentives that it won't stops the incentive bracket until it is no longer possible to reach. Do you think  RGIS will agree with my observation? They may consider it as being reasonable. But until RGIS will implement the changes, the ASET remains to be a biased productivity tool. 
  • ASET deduces employee's valuable qualities to merely a mathematical equation. What do I mean? Good work ethic, loyalty, dedication, honesty, experience and extensive knowledge of the business are good basis for evaluating employees' productivity. But under the current ASET system, you are being evaluated ONLY on the basis of your speed and accuracy. The APH calculator was programmed that way. Nothing more nothing less. It is so blind that it could not evaluate intangible yet integral part of the employee's efficiency such as the ones I mentioned above.

    But of course RGIS would argue that ASET is the name of the game. Really? But how about those core values that RGIS company is committed to uphold from its employees such as honesty, integrity, loyalty, innovation, passion, etc.? That's according to its website. But it appears to me that when you are in the field, the ballgame would be totally different. Yes, I agree that hourly employees must achieve APH in accordance with ASET levels. But, RGIS should remember that true basis of evaluation are those core qualities that RGIS had already mentioned.
  • Your pay can be at the mercy of an Inventory Lead. I will give you just one example:
     I once scheduled to help count Pier Imports in my Area. The Inventory Team Lead assigned me as the Prowler since I am the only TopGun present for that inventory. The procedure tells me that topguns must start counting stock to areas that are high volume count such as candles, glasses, plates, etc. But instead, Team Lead had assigned me to auto-scan linens. I forwarned her that I won't be able to reach even a fraction of my APH.

    After 1 hour of inventory, the Team Lead reports the inventory progress to our DMs. The poor DM broke into fits of hypertension when he found out why high volume areas have not been counted in the first hour of inventory. Just before I left the store, I checked my APH with the Team Lead. And guess what? My APH has dropped to Expert level. Now, extrapolate this scenario in your case for the next 3 months, and watch your ASET level and payrate drop off one level below your currrent classification and it is not even your fault.

Now tell me, does APH beneficial or detrimental to hourly employees. Its up to you to decide.

You may want to read these:


Solving the Compensation Puzzle: Putting Together a Complete Pay and Performance System (Practical Hr Series)    30 Days to a Happy Employee: How a Simple Program of Acknowledgment Can Build Trust and Loyalty at Work    The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave: How to Recognize the Subtle Signs and Act Before It's Too Late     Employees First, Customers Second: Turning Conventional Management Upside Down

46 comments:

  1. Unfortunately, ASET sucks because it all comes down to district politics, not an individual auditor`s ability,despite the company`s` claims.Lately,I`ve seen good people of expert or top gun ability* get shit to count--and consequently get sent home early for low APH--while other people of equal ability who kiss ass get the right to cherrypick the high APH stuff all night. It`s just not fair. I know from experience if I count multiple quantity high APH items for the first two hours of a four or five hour inventory,I`ve got I made and can spend the rest of the inventory auto scanning and still easily make a top gun APH. On the contrary, if I`m stuck auto scanning crap the first two hours it is unlikely I can make even a expert or specialist APH, because most of the high APH stuff will be counted in the first few hours, and there would be just no way to make up the APH deficit.
    If the management has a vendetta against you, or just wants to keep your pay down, they just make sure you never consistently get any good APH areas to count.I did a Pier 1 recently, and had a similar experience as you.I was the best counter present, but the AM directed the supervisor running the inventory to give me about 10 panels of big, heavy vases, most of which had to be pulled out and lifted in order to scan. I did a several panels--with a terrible APH, of course--before I realised that I was being "set up" to fail. So I left the vases and did the candles(better APH, but not great due to poor prep) at the other end of the wall. I got my APH up almost to a respectable rate, then I went back to the vases, and later got more crap to count from the AM.The AM`s pets--decent counters, but not that fast--got the glassware and easier island candles to count.The whole ironic thing about this episode,was that when I got my check a few weeks later, I discovered that I had been given the adder role of prowler for that store($1 hour bonus), and should have been counting the best APH stuff all night.But someone wanted me to look bad,to justify a pay cut, I presume, and succeeded.

    * There`s a big difference in auditors` abilities versus their actual ASET rating.There are quite a few rated "specialists" and "experts" who actually should be rated top guns if they ever got a chance to count the high APH items, which they almost never do. That`s because these are the same people who are always up on ladders, or voluntarily count the dump bins, freezers, and other crappy areas that the top gun wannabees always avoid.

    ReplyDelete
  2. No Dummy,
    I appreciate your comments. You certainly struck the very heart of the issue and you framed the problem so well. You experiences reflect the very sentiments of RGIS hourly employees.

    We share the same observation. Right now, with all the similar complaints I hear all the time, I think that there is ONLY ONE benefactor about all these ASET and APH stuff. Not you, not me. But RGIS. I will not be surprised. RGIS always work in the best interest of the company.

    These ASET levels and APH stuff look sophisticated from the outside and masquerade as beneficial to all hourly employees. But if you try to analyze its gamut, it is but the ugly face of reality: totally unfair on the part of ASET employees no matter how you see it in different angles.

    ReplyDelete
  3. AnonymousJuly 18, 2010

    I believe that the jump from being an expert to becoming a top-gun is to high. Look at the small jump from specialist to an expert and ask yourself why is it so high to the next level. It makes no since to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. this is the best response i have read on here. the reason for this is stated above in the "cherry picking" . this is the reason. there is far to much of this. also you see in many stores top guns literally doing nothing because they have "cherry picked" so much that their aph means nothing at this point as long as there is no adder role or bonus involved.

      Delete
  4. pensacola ladyJuly 19, 2010

    I agree with you Anonymous. TopGun's rate increases 100 percent compared to the lower level Expert ASET, but the APH difference between the two is only about 35% or even less. I can't think of any logical explanation why and how RGIS ladderized the payscale other than the fact that TopGun level is a goal to reach.

    It means the more you push your APH, the better your rate will be. Imagine, if you are an Expert, you only need to increase at least 30% of your current APH, to get a 100% increase of your payrate. Again, that is how I interpret it. There could be more reasons.

    ReplyDelete
  5. AnonymousJuly 24, 2010

    The "Top Gun" are the promoted supervisors with grey uniforms.
    No matter how fast you count, unless promoted, a person can be an "expert" at best.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. this is also false as i am a top gun that does not wear a grey shirt. i do supervise at stores but only ones involving detail print outs and alot of data alteration. unless it has those 2 things in it. they have someone else with a lower aph than i do be the supervisor and to be honest as long as the supervisor isnt an idiot i am ok with that.

      Delete
  6. Andrew VeraJuly 24, 2010

    If you're an employee and want a tip on these "levels", heres what you do:
    Just count fast as possible!!! Only make sure the quantity is correct if the store will recount you.
    If you're in a supermarket, that's where you CHEAT!!! Count as how many quantities you want with Multi-quantity. Supermarkets never recount and customers always coming back and forth taking shit and putting them back.

    ReplyDelete
  7. bad counterJuly 25, 2010

    andrew, i like your comment, lol. I don't normally CHEAT my counts in supermarkets. but ONLY when my aph is in danger. as long as you give them inventory result that they have expected, then there shouldn't be any problem. I should know.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Haha Topguns my butthole they are as much use as tits on a bull!! I am far better than all of the supposed topguns in my district yet I see them walking round doing nothing but cherry picking in every store! Yet everyone gets told in every store cherry picking will not be tolerated, why should topguns be any different (Do unto others and all that jazz). If I can achieve a topgun PPH whilst I do all of my duties like supervising etc so can they. Makes me laugh... topguns!? Can someone also reply to me as of what they know about what the entitlement to receiving a pay rise for being a company driver are as I'm hearing trouble about it

    ReplyDelete
  9. hi, i work for rgis in france and auditor, specialist, expert and top gun have the same pay 9,10eu per hour. If you are super prowler sweeper, softline or hardline prowler the pay is the same 9,10 eu unlesse a flowleader earn more than me.... he earn between 9,40 and 9,80eu per hours....

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  40. ASET identification is and always has been important to easily express the responsibilities and knowledge base of RGIS employees. Unfortunately those responsibilities are no longer regularly explained to employees. Though they are still partially present in the Employee Manual handed out upon hire, the clarification of each ASET level's individual duties is no longer a priority for most managers; this is at least partially due to the focus on APH (BTW, this disregard for clarification leads to issues like general confusion, cherry picking, and FALSE accusations of cherry picking; which all effect employee morale/productivity/and last but not least customer satisfaction).

    APH, or productivity, has always been considered--as far as I know--when determining the position and duties of RGIS employees. When I was hired, ages ago, their was however a Master Training Guide--I can't recall the specific name used--that listed the abilities and experience that each position was expected to posses before promotion.

    Team leaders would be expected to occasionally review these Master Training Guides for each one of their Team Members. And help assist those members, and encourage those members, to continue to progress towards higher positions... with the understanding that even some highly skilled and knowledgeable Team Members would never reach Top Gun or be used as Super Prowlers, despite their expertise, because of other drawbacks: like an inability, or unwillingness, to Push for more than 20 minutes at a time.

    But despite their lack of Top Gun qualifications, raises were still possible. And increases in income could be obtained through the various other means discussed in your post... Today, becoming a supervisor is the best option, for those interested, as it provides not only a bump in pay but also--usually--substantially more hours. Continued below...

    ReplyDelete
  41. However, the bonus system is a crock, a gimmick, a farce. Rather than paying RGIS employees extra for their extra effort, they takes a percentage of the extra profit earned off any specific bonus account and gamble it against those participating RGIS employee's ability to keep receiving bonuses in consecutive stores. This is effect like a casino you work at taking some money that you earned by being extra productive, playing a hand of poker with it, and sharing the winnings with you if they win; but they are really bad at poker.

    RGIS employees who are smart enough to do the math will realize that most bonus stores are short enough that working slow enough to extend an inventory an extra 30 minutes will earn them more money than any possible bonus will. I do this math regularly, personally, and only bonus stores that run around 8 hours provide a real opportunity to make a worthwhile bonus, if you can keep it (which you probably can't often enough to care).

    Back to ASET and APH. Promotions and Demotions can still be overridden by District Managers (DMs). And I've seen many employees granted immunity from demotion from Top Gun during this last economic downturn mostly because they have been with the company for forever, but also usually because they will without contest sacrifice their APH by a mile to complete some sub-specialist level task that the customer is just really worried about being completed correctly (like 1-on-1 auto-scan furniture areas in a World Market).

    Of course those--sometimes ancient--employees being carried by their managers don't necessarily have what it takes to maintain their current ASET ranking anymore anyway, even if they once did. And they are occasionally far less knowledgeable about auditing merchandise than I would expect even a new Top Gun to be. So when they're scheduled into a store as a counter they are often mistakenly placed inappropriately for their skill level or ability, which has an overall negative effect on the inventory.

    This can happen for other positions as well. And there are many other issues to boot... Continued below...

    ReplyDelete
  42. One of the worst of them is that focusing on productivity over skill also encourages cheating... endless endless cheating.... seriously, endless cheating... I'm not even going into detail about the kinds of frivolous and willful cheating I'm consistently facing as competition in the workplace due to this abhorrent disregard for sensible and responsible business management. But I will say that it would be clearly in the interest of RGIS customers to accept any opportunity they may encounter to change to a service provider with more ethical practices, should one ever be developed.

    Screw unions, anybody wanna start an International Non-Profit Inventory Service Co-operative? (says ehelldane)-at-(gmail,dot,com). FYI, I've stuck with the company because I like the actual work, I loved the job before the switch, and if it wasn't for the major shift in workplace politics and policy, I'd have moved into an HR roll by now, no question.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Corporate GREED

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