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BBC bosses - pay the man!

23rd Sep 2010
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Chris Moyles, one of the BBC's top radio DJs wasn't paid for the past two months due to an administrative error. Yesterday the personality cracked on air with a 25 minute rant aimed at 'uncaring' bosses.

I know I'm Gen Y, but I'm no Radio 1 fan. I'm a Radio 4 girl myself, so I missed Chris Moyles' rant on his breakfast show yesterday. It lasted almost half an hour, according to reports. I listened to six minutes of it on the Guardian website and I have to say, I would definitely have switched off one minute in.

However: that doesn't mean I don't sympathise. HRzoners, if you agree to pay someone a certain amount on a certain date, you do it, or at least make sure the processes are in place to do it, right?

It's called an employment contract I thought. Obviously if they have stepped out of line you may have more leeway on this, but the BBC appear to be having some admin issues rather than withholding pay deliberately.

Chris Moyles is on air for 3.5 hours every morning with a team who clearly like and support each other. His producer does not seem to censor him during his airtime so he has been able, in the past, to rant freely about other issues, although none to do with his employment at the BBC. So failing to ensure payment to a personality you need on air at peak time on your flagship young people's popular music station seems a tad silly - when you know he has free rein on your channel.

There are a few issues I have with this:

  1. No one has much sympathy because Chris Moyles is paid a lot of money. He is. But he took a cut last year and if the BBC agreed to pay that amount, surely they should do it when they say they will?
  2. What worries me more was the way in which other BBC staff has added to it, in particular on of Chris Moyles' team claiming they have had 'gaps'. It looks like the contractual processes and payroll are not being well managed, which isn't good for the corporation or the employees - and therefore the customers - us, the licence payers
  3. However; what worries me the most is what Moyles complained about the most - not necessarily that there had been a payment issue with the new contract, not that he's had no income since July, although obviously that is a concern, but that no one cared about the situation.

The third point above is what is most worrying. The BBC has a wealth of what it calls 'talent' but its talent management and communication was clearly at fault here.

Despite not being paid since the 'end of July', according to Moyles, the presenter has continued to work 'for the listeners' on the advice of his agent. He claimed in his rant to 'love his job' - an engaged employee often goes the extra mile, but missing payments can stretch even the most dedicated and destroy the good relationship between employer and employee. Employees are more likely to be engaged when they work with people they care about and feel their employer cares about them. Moyles clearly feels this has been lacking in this situation.

The on-air rant might have made me switch off - but it seems unlikely it has done huge permanent damage to the station or the Radio 1 brand. However, there's a possibility the embarrassing headlines could have been prevented entirely by payroll admin getting it right in the first place: and in the second place, by HR and management controlling the situation by showing they cared and were trying to rectify it as soon as possible. After all, it was their mess-up, according to the statement in today's Metro.

Reportedly Chris Moyles was paid yesterday, but it should never have come to light in public. I know HR should be a much more fulfilling role than 'making sure people get paid' - but someone does have to make sure this happens, and employee communication and management can't be neglected either if you want an engaged workforce.

Everyone makes mistakes, but the BBC will need maximum engagement if they are to navigate the public sector cuts expected in the future successfully: so come on. Sort it out!

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