Editorial: Three for the price of one

Strangely, here in the UK we pay HR leaders better than anywhere else in the world.

by Matthew Gwyther, MT editor
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

I've had it with supermarkets. On one past trip to Sainsbury's, in addition to the usual grim mix of jousting for a car-park space, watching tetchy parents disciplining their wailing kids and not being able to find the correct aisle for balsamic vinegar, some poor cyclist was lying on the floor next to organic veg - helmet in hand - having a seizure. Hardly anybody took any notice.

How anyone in the wirefree 21st century can derive any pleasure from shoving a trolley around the aisles is a complete mystery to me. And I always choose the wrong queue to check out - the one where the till jockey is on a go-slow or one of the customers in front doesn't have enough cash or is offering 12 money-off vouchers. No, I'd rather go for some root-canal work.

The Gwyther clan were early Ocado adopters. So no more dreary instore announcements - 'Cleaner to aisle three, please, cleaner to aisle three' - or getting gouged in the Achilles. We just sit at home, minimising our carbon footprint and wait as the van glides towards the house at a serene 26 mph. And when it arrives with all those heavy bags, the delivery staff are the most polite I've ever come across. They've even been known to refuse a tip. Whoever recruits and trains them is a genius.

MT had been on the trail of the Ocado Three for some time, and they finally agreed to be interviewed. The triumvirate are very unconventional grocers, as you'd expect of a trio of ex-Goldman Sachs traders. As products of that institution, they are predictably unencumbered by self-doubt - they really believe they've got Terry Leahy irked.

Many will be wound up by our ever-popular Global Salary Survey, which never fails to provoke howls of protest about injustice and fat-cattery. My hot tip for causing a stink this time round is the finding that here in the UK we pay our HR leaders better than anywhere else in the world. A gathering wave of disapproval is heading for the world of Human Remains at the moment. Luke Johnson, who is quoted in the feature, recently wrote an amusingly intemperate attack on everything they do and stand for. His beef is that they create no value, but in the coming downturn we may need them if the inevitable round of de-layering has to happen all over again.

Finally, check out our feature on being honest in business and find out why it's a good idea. Always tell the truth - trust me, I'm a journalist.

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