Telstra psych games on AWAs

It’s been revealed that Telstra applied psychological profiling to its staff to work out how to lure them onto AWAs.The claims are detailed in the Herald-Sun.  The full article can be found here:

Telstra lure of AWAs attacked (Herald Sun, 21 July 2008)

Some of the claims include:

  • “…Telstra managers studied and classified workers to exploit their personality traits.
  • “A “safety-net” worker was deemed a family man with financial commitments and no faith in Telstra management.
  • “A “lifestyler” was a mid-career worker who was reluctant to give up RDOs.
  • Short-term maximisers” were considered ripe for persuasion, while the “retirement-focused” were “not likely to buy any management message about performance culture”.

On one level the story reveals the depths to which Telstra HR would go to secure support for something that the general public knew was a dud, representing bad value for them.  AWA staff are writing to the unions calling for help to get off the contracts to join EA staff.

But — what is also very interesting — is that Telstra’s own research reveals a deep distrust of management and the things they keep pushing (eg end of RDOs). Want the proof?  Here are examples from their profiles:

  • “…no faith in Telstra management”
  • “reluctant to give up RDOs”
  • “not likely to buy any management message…”

On ABC radio this morning some tough questions were put to Telstra about the psychological profiling process – questions that weren’t answered directly. 

It was also claimed that Telstra paid its managers bonuses for AWA signups – a claim that  was not ruled out entirely.  Instead, Telstra said the claim was put to the recent Workplace Ombudsman investigation and no evidence was found of duress.  But which manager’s under duress if they’re paid cash to sign people to AWAs (insert head scratch)? Here’s the interview:

ABC Radio, 21 July 2008

Which brings us to the events of last week – we ask you to consider the following:

  • What’s the real agenda behind the Telstra HR pullout from EA talks, when management have said that even without the CRA and MOU they don’t want to negotiate with the unions?
  • And if they don’t want to negotiate with unions, do you really trust that Telstra HR is being open and forthright about the way they might treat you in the future?

Telstra’s own, paid for, research has revealed the level of distrust towards management.

  • So when Telstra HR pulled out of EA talks, they’re making the big call that staff will trust them to develop an enterprise agreement (without unions) that will look after the interests of EA and AWA staff.

All the publicity in the last week does not reflect well on Telstra because it continues to reinforce the view that Telstra is misusing its size and power – at a time when it is chasing the biggest multi-billion telecommunications contract around.

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