A radical new innovative breakthrough at ACP Magazines? Of
sorts!. But the management has finally recognised that the changes to the pay
system, driven by senior managers like Peter Yates (now departed), Brent Cubis
(still at PBL) and John Alexander (ditto) and supported by James Packer and
others, has hurt staff morale.

Just as the loss of morale and other problems in attitude at Nine at Willoughby
have been recognised and something done to try and stop the rot. But seeing ACP
is in and around the Park Street HQ of the Packers, and other senior managers
responsible for the foul-ups, it’s no doubt taken a good deal longer. But this
week a notice was posted on the ACP intranet about a dramatic change in
approach to handling staff queries and complaints about pay.

“The ACP pay office now has a Logging system just as the IT help-desk does
for logging issues and a customer service team set up in a similar manner,
” the announcement read.

“The phone numbers and fax remain the same, i.e 8077, 8319 or 8022 and fax
9264 4539 – there will be two or three people from the pay office manning these
phones during the day, starting at 8:30 am and through to 6pm (Sydney time),
with one person always working at lunch on the phone.

“As with the helpdesk, if you phone with a query, it will be logged by
payroll immediately and closed when it is answered. Alternatively if you wish
to log an issue by e-mail follow the simple instructions below.

“Go to the PBL Kiosk Link on the intranet. On the Payroll Support Page
just click on Log a Payroll Issue

“Please ensure that all fields are completed before clicking on the Submit
button, with the exception of the attach file field.

“Once your phone call or email has been submitted, you will automatically
receive a reference number for your query. If you need to follow up your query
please quote this number to the Customer Service Officer

“Thank you for your support, we apologise for any delays you may have
experienced up to now during this implementation, we are confident with service
will improve with the service desk/ log system.”

You notice the defensiveness in the new system: the use of the phrase on the
Kiosk system “Payroll Issue”. Not query, or contact. It’s a sign that
the management at PBL has become a bit gun-shy over the complaints when a query
is automatically an “issue”. Still the recognition is better than
ignoring the problem.

At Nine the old pay office was re-opened six weeks ago with a long serving and
experienced staffer placed there to handle the flood of complaints, queries and
other calls that had flooded into the combined pay office set up late last year
by Nine CFO, Brent Cubis, at the instigation of Peter Yates, James Packer, John
Alexander and the PBL board.

As a means of undermining staff morale it proved a winner with so many
complaints that when David Gyngell became CEO, one of his first moves was to
re-open the pay office as a means of heading off many of the problems. It also
helped show some ability to keep faith with staff and prove that their employer
WOULD honour its commitment to pay them in a timely and efficient manner.

ACP has had some problems, but the Pay Office there was affected by not only
queries from ACP employees but also from Nine.
The staffing levels proved hopelessly inadequate and the whole integration idea
appears to have been nothing more than efficiency masquerading as a cheap cost
cutting program that would help some managers meet their bonus targets. That’s
the theory anyway from within older hands at Nine and ACP.

The system still run off the problematic Kiosk platform, but it’s apparently
felt that by having real live staff to handle the queries, complaints and the
like, it will relieve pressure and stop the unhappiness in both groups among
ordinary employees about the problems with their pay.