A Standard Group staff member has come forward and revealed information not in the public domain, but sound a lot like an open secret within the walls of their Mombasa Road HQ. In a lengthy document touching on Staff remuneration, corruption, nepotism and some of their programmes, the employee goes into great detail to show us what is ailing the media house.
Below is the document as seen by us. We have deleted or altered some of the names.
LET THE TRUTH BE KNOWN TO THE KENYAN PUBLIC AND THE OWNERS OF THIS MEDIA HOUSE.
1. Hiring of unqualified staff to head departments
An apparent example is the Head (of a department). Hated by the newsroom, and the department she heads. Together with (another department head), they make decisions that affect the station outlook. The first was the new look station outlook which they outsourced while the standard group has able graphic designers. The graphic designers worked on the station new look but were shot down because the management had always planned to outsource the so called new look graphics which they were to milk every drop from the money they would approve. Every new programme that Ktn puts out it’s (name) who chooses the colour and how the graphics will look like. Most of the graphics made by the department can challenge any made in other television stations.
2. Hiring of staff from a rival media house under the pretext of acquiring talent but it just a case of who knows who.
At Ktn anybody who has come from the nation media group considers him or herself an untouchable. Some have been heard saying that they earn more than their bosses who have been there for a long time and they cannot assign them any duties. I guess Ktn is one of the media houses in Kenya where bosses earn less than their juniours. It reached a point where it was open that there were different camps working for the same company. Most of the staff came who were poached from nation reached Ktn through knowing someone instead of experience.
The human resource director Pauline called the newsroom department. She told the department there will be no pay increase and when people were joining the company they negotiated their remuneration. That is not right because some reporters have been working for Ktn for over six years and the nation camp earn two or three times their salaries. The same director asked anybody who can get someone else pay slip as proof to go and see her. She even went ahead and sent an email stating, pay slips should not be used in loan applications in the company Saccos.
3. Managers and their lieutenants embezzling money but nothing is done apart from the human resource department send out an email on how to whistle blow.
Sikika Sasa was a platform for Kenyans to raise issues but some people at Ktn knew it was a cash cow. (The production team would go around counties and) every week they would come up with a budget for the production. Knowing the sponsors would not question it, they ended up embezzling funds. What they would do was negotiate with the different counties or hotels for a rate. A clear example is Nairobi County where they were given county hall for free inclusive of chairs.
They would include the location and seats in the budget and embezzle the funds. (name) was once heard openly saying he did not want the production to end because he was going to deposit 60,000 Ksh in the bank he had got from the week’s production. No one outside their clique would go for any of the productions to protect what they were doing. When the whistle was blown the human resource director sent an email to staff stating the guidelines of whistle blowing. How will sponsors invest millions of their monies while money is openly being stolen. Apparently a hearing of three days was done in the last week of November. Those present were Joe Munene, Pauline Kiraithe, legal representatives; the accused and their witnesses’. Lets see the outcome of this so called process.
4. Firing section heads in order to put in their people.
We all read that a section head Aaron Ochieng was fired for absconding duty. The truth is the so called nation camp wanted to bring someone. Apparently there is a rumour going around that he will be coming back after talking to the company Ceo. In the Creative department it seems (name) is paying back (place) where she worked by employing an individual with no experience to work in the programming department. In the same department there are producers who have been working for years under contracts.
Yet she goes ahead and employs her friends under permanent contracts which are pensionable and have medical cover. Earlier this year the producers refused to sign the one year contract. The contracts had not been changed and the remuneration was the same as the earlier one with no benefits . They had a chat with the production manager who went and informed the human resource manager. They were called in and asked to sign the contracts by end or day or look for a new job.
5. Independent television producers are not getting their monies worth for the programmes they provide.
Ktn has lost two programmes to rival television companies. Ajabu and Tujuane pulled in viewership for Ktn but every time they tried to negotiate a new price they were told to wait. This was brought about by (name), who had no experience in programme negotiation and influenced (name) in kicking out the programmes. After going to France the two of them she came back deciding she had acquired power and started ordering people around . People started asking themselves what had really happened in France to give her such kind of power. After Tujuane which was followed by viewers left, it did not take long before it was acquired by NTV and is now heading to Maisha magic so is Ajabu .
6. Staff working for long hours with no over time whilst contracts signed indicate number of hours one should work per week.
Under the stewardship of Pauline Kiraithe the Human Resource director everyone is complaining of working long hours because she has refused to employ new staff. In one of her meetings she was asked to employ more people but she simply said it was going to cost the company money. For employees confidence to be boosted she could introduce overtime to balance it for the employees. People work for long hours and when they apply for leave they are told to wait. Once the year ends only five days are carried forward losing the rest of the leave days. Recently an email was sent stating there are seven sick days and any more days will be deducted from leave days. This would only be accepted if one brings a letter from a doctor. Different employees are given different number of leave days a year. Once someone requests his days from his or her supervisor it is supposed to be first come basis. Here it depends on how close you are with your section head. There are people who have not gone for their leave and the year is ending. This simply means you are overworked, there is no over time and you may end up losing your leave days .
7. Transport department are disgruntled because they are looked down by their fellow workers.
The Transport unit which is the backbone of the company is looked down upon by the management. Most of the drivers are disgruntled as the other departments especially the news are treated as royalty. The drivers who are lowly paid and don’t have much benefits as the other staff. This brings about a friction with the other department employees. When it gets to the time to drop people home the so called untouchables call the head of transport who always gives them first priority. Basically if you came from Nation media you will always be given the first priority.
8. Having Human resource barazas where you are supposed to be heard by the hr department but it’s just a way of hr telling the group what they want from you .
The human resource department held so called barazas with every department in the group. It was supposed to be an avenue where employees raised issues that affected them. It turned out to be a ploy as hr director told the employees what was expected from them. Employees tried to raise the remuneration issue but it was shot down. hr simply kept insisting for people to get payslips of their counterparts and go and see her in her office.
9. The Standard media tuck shop located in the group’s cafeteria has a one year contract.
The proprietor is chosen after bidding and chosen by the human resource department .This is the same department that says it’s unbiased but their many questions raised during the bidding .There were no guidelines of the process to be used in choosing who will run the tuck shop.
10. Employees are asked to go to the company health facility instead of a health provider of their choice.
Many employees were shocked when they were asked to visit the health facility which was opened at the beginning of the month of December. It was not a bad idea from the management but it seemed to have been rushed. Employees thought the company will pay but shock on them. The question is why should we go to this health facility and pay the same amount as a hospital that is more stocked and has more doctors . At the same time why should my disease be treated where the patient and doctor confidentiality is not be guaranteed. Employees have been waiting for the gym promised years ago .
The Standard Group was chosen as the best company to work for by Deloitte. I guess they did not do their research well enough to find out the truth from the company employees. Please help us blow the whistle on this managers by letting the owners the company and the Kenyan public to know the truth about the Standard Group .
Some names have been altered or completely removed. The rest of the post is as sent to us.