Can a choir really unite a workplace?

We’re curious about how morale is holding up for those employees from P&O Ferries, Birmingham City Council, Sainsbury’s and Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service who failed the auditions for the BBC’s second series of ‘The Choir – the Workplace’, or for those who didn’t even know it was happening!

Untitled-1– Posted by Pippa Griffin

It’s a cheesy line to want all your employees singing off the same hymn sheet, but it seems to be working for those who have made it into ‘The Choir – Sing While You Work’ (BBC2). The series is showing that a choir can be a great way to encourage people to work together, listen to each other, play to their strengths and work towards a common goal. It is also surely hoped (by the organisations’ management teams) that the result of their endeavours will help to lift the spirits of the rest of the business and help them forget other work woes.  But what about those who haven’t make it into one of the choirs? What about those who ‘failed’ an audition? Or those who didn’t even bother to audition, their ennui infections running far too deep for recovery? Or even those who just never knew that auditions were taking place because the internal communications never cut through? How are they expected to hit the high notes?

We’re curious about what else is going on in these four organisations to make sure that ALL employees are singing loud, proud and in tune with each other and willingly following the directions of their inspiring leaders? And while the ‘feel-good-factor’ is clear for TV viewers to see during this latest series, we can’t help but wonder how long the harmonies are going to last once the cameras are off and the delightful Gareth Malone had laid down his baton.

Does a programme like this in fact highlight not just what’s possible when people come together with a common purpose, but also just how far apart people in an organisation can be? The series is a great teaser for the power of bringing people together, but without a specific business message behind it, is it really ‘employee engagement’? And, as a long-term and inclusive strategy for changing attitudes, mindset and behaviour – in order to drive a positive change in business performance – does it really only serve to highlight just how much fine-tuning still needs to be done?