This is indeed a new low for an unwritten policy that has been kept from instructors – although not as well hidden as the MI probably hoped. We wonder what students would make of the following being added to their contract agreements:
1. You authorize Berlitz Japan to:
• Add your CTL lessons to the schedule of a Manager of Instruction even if such person cannot teach your language.
• Add your CTL lessons to a Manager of Instruction, who might not be working at the time your lessons take place.
• Use creative scheduling practices to hide that you canceled your lesson from your requested instructor, and thereby, provide additional income to a non instructor staff member, or income to Berlitz Japan, that the requested instructor will never see.
An instructor decided to contact the Berlitz Integrity Helpline to report this unethical business practice and received the following response:
‘Initial inquiry with Tokyo HR department resulted in a suggestion that you contact the HR department directly and discuss it with someone there.’
This sums up the usefulness of the helpline, and we publicly ask HR to consider this article as a request to discuss the issue in an open and transparent forum. We ask that Berlitz Japan provide a clear and open explanation about this business practice to both employees and students.
It will certainly be of great interest to our long term corporate customers who trust the integrity and ethical standing of the Berlitz brand.
In a 2015 article titled, Manager or Menace, we reported on the diversity of MIs and how their behavior and characteristics can have a dramatic impact on the language center they have been given responsibility for.
We have seen some quality Managers of Instruction become very disgruntled with the working practices at Berlitz Japan, and flee the nest for a new and more meaningful business challenge.
These sudden departures often coincide with changes in policy that reduce the MI’s salary while increasing responsibilities. Can we infer that this new CTL policy is an HR mandated action for certain MIs to make a little ‘out of contract’ on the side, to help peg up declining conditions, or to raise LC profitability?
We acknowledge target pressure, but discreet mean practices are not long term sustainable solutions. A one way monologue of directives passed down through the channels has proven not to bring results. We believe earnest reform is in order to rebuild trust and satisfaction.