It’s buzzing at Audit Yorkshire…
At the end of our garden we have two bee hives, housing tens of thousands of honey bees. I don’t know why I agreed to keeping bees as I am not particularly fond of things buzzing around me, I hate the taste of honey, I react badly to bee stings and the bee suit is quite unbecoming. Nonetheless, I love watching them flying around the garden, feeding off, and pollinating flowers and then returning to the hive laden with pollen. [Did you know that a honey bee can carry up to half her body weight in pollen?] However, the best thing is extracting the honey. It’s quite a laborious process but seeing jar after jar being filled with this golden, sticky (and horrible tasting!) stuff is very satisfying.
Bees are fascinating creatures and they never fail to amaze me. The more I find out about them, the more I appreciate the similarities between a colony of bees and a successful working environment. I have given some examples below.
Leadership Without leadership there is the risk of chaos and a bee colony will not survive without a queen. The queen is therefore key to the success of the colony but she is happy to delegate and places trust in the rest of the bees to do their jobs.
Work Ethic Bees have a great work ethic. They know what they have to do and they work efficiently and tirelessly to get the job done. For example, a worker (female) bee can visit up to 2,000 flowers in one day and can fly up to 6 miles an hour, gathering food to take back to the hive.
Adding Value Bees definitely add value. They aid pollination maintaining an important balance in nature which is fundamental to their continuation as a species. They often make enough honey to provide food for themselves with plenty left over for greedy beekeepers.
Team work Within a colony of bees, there are different roles and responsibilities and the bees work in collaboration to fulfil their mutual objectives. The worker bees have various roles and these include: attendants to the queen, guards who protect the hive from intruders such as wasps or bees from another hive, the foragers who go out to collect the food, the scouts who go out to look for a new home if they are planning to swarm, the nurse bees who nurture the developing larvae. There are even temperature controllers who fan the colony if it becomes too hot! [If it gets too cold, the bees huddle together to keep warm but we tend not to do this in the Harrogate office!]
This team work is key to succession planning and business continuity. Each worker bee will carry out all of the above roles at different stages of their life. It’s an auditor’s dream; adequate cover for all eventualities. They die (probably from exhaustion) after about 6 weeks and they even have ‘undertaker’ bees who remove the dead bees from the hive.
Communication Bees are great communicators and the Waggle Dance is a good example of this. When foraging bees find a good source of food or water, they return to the hive and perform a Waggle Dance. This is a figure of eight ‘dance’ that lets other foraging bees know the position and distance of that source.
Adaptable Move a bee hive and the bees will quickly adapt to a new area and find new sources of food.
Obviously, my examples aren’t to be taken literally but I hope you can see how the themes I have picked out are important to a productive and effective workforce. You may also have learnt a little bit about bees if you didn’t already know it.
Please note however, bees are not perfect and they can be unpredictable and can do things that aren’t in the procedure manual. They are a nightmare to count when it comes to stock taking, they hate being disturbed by meddling beekeepers, they can go missing and can be defensive and aggressive.
It’s all in a days work...