Fakalahi vahenga, workers compensation

It finally dawned on me that there is a complete industry here in Australia that also has generations of implementation in Tonga called “Fakalahi Vahenga.” Every now and then you see some of the guys pop out early to watch a game at the pub or down at the local TAB (betting establishment) and to further the generalisation the girls come in a ‘little late’ after a shopping spree.

In this regime of workplace reform, Fakalahi Vahenga is an accepted mechanism to compensate for injuries, problems encountered at work to assist the injured worker return to work at some functional capacity. In Australia, this includes the company or insurer trying to get the correct medical assistance the worker requires, such as seeing the See Eye, Hear Ear, Smell Nose doctors.

Fakalahi Vahenga is one of those accepted practises to help injured workers get back to work, or stay in work, depending on your understanding of the injury. This practise is well established in institutions, and proselytised by politicians etc. I think the only non-practising people are mum’s?

For Tonga, sometimes the emotional abuse of the work environment becomes increasingly difficult to compensate for which leads to longer and longer stress leaves. Because we’re very cognisant, enthusiastic about our workplaces, we turn up for work and just break out that ‘stress’ leave into elongated lunch breaks, or early home time or late entry time, a mix of the above or all of the above.

Uike Lotu is one of those national weeks of Fakalahi Vahenga where the majority of us just take it even if we’re not even attending the “Uike Lotu.” The more pious amongst us will take a day leave during the Uike Lotu, or just fakalahi vahenga and turn up for the clock in and take the elongated stress relief, go to an early lunch and extend that to taking an early Uike Lotu leave.

Customer Service and Phone Calls

Like most companies you come across, we have beautiful posters espousing our “core” values. These “core” values were derived at secret meetings which required secrete hand shakes for entry and various ceremonies such as:

  • convoluted names for coffee-beans smashed into hot water and milk.
  • marketing designed, marketing 3-way tested, focus group named things once known as crackers with cheese
  • hidden bunkers used to syphon the energies of the universe into the attendees, before they could vomit o their own self-assurances

Image courtesy of David Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.netOf course, everyone has the core value of “Customer” something or other. You know, how we all love those troublesome ‘others’ called customers, and how our genes have been scientifically altered such that our every waking moment is infused with the desire to pleasure our customers. Like broken start-ups around the world, we are also infused to not care whether we make any money out of this operation, we just love our customers.

Meanwhile, as the scientists continue to fine tune their adjustments to our psyche, phone calls go unanswered whilst we’re busy browsing the Internet.

There was a company I once worked at, where the CEO would pick up a ringing phone, deal with the issue and afterwards calmly scream at you if you were anywhere near hearing the ringing phone and didn’t do something about it. We didn’t have a customer service “core” value. He (yes it was a real he, not a metaphorical) just expected that we set up the phones so people can get in touch with us, and if the phone is ringing you bloody well answer it, he didn’t care if you had to walk across the bleeding office to get to it.

In our “core” value Customer oriented company, it’s the marketing/sales team that are most guilty of letting their phones ring. If they can’t get through, they can’t complain, and they can always call back if they really want to get through. There’s something being said here:

The team tasked with communications to, from our customers don’t pick up phones from any but their own. Even if the ringing phone is the desk beside them.

Which sign are you reading? The colourful one on the wall, or the colourful ones at their desks?