Updated: Jul 1, 2020

You have got staff? People who work for you? They are just as crucial as your business.

Many businesses do not value their staff, they do not delegate, manage and invest in their staff efficiently. Your greatest investment should be in the people who work for you.

Sales Force, Cisco, Fortnum and Masons PLC, Google, Microsoft, Hilton, JP Morgan Chase & Co; these are some of the many foreign companies that have truly mastered the art of investing in human resources. They develop and invest in the welfare of their staff to a level that makes you understand just how precious their businesses are.

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In the year that I left Fortnum and Masons PLC, one of the many elderly staffs of this private institution was retiring after 35 years of service. In her 35 years, her salary had increased several times but her position had not changed as much from being a sales person. So why did she stay?

By the time this sales woman retired, she had a house of her own, a sufficiently comfortable lifestyle and a steady pension for the rest of her life. This was made possible by the company’s investment in her stability, which in turn gave them stability in the growth of the business.

The only people who seem to stay in one place of service here in Nigeria are civil servants.

The stability of your employees is the stability of your business. Hiring and training new talent on a regular basis due to high staff turnover is very expensive business. Knowing how to hire and retain the best people can add tremendous value to your business.

Building a company that uses and dumps people is detrimental to your company's future.

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Most human beings I know, have an in born desire to grow and expand. People want to see constant progress in their lives. Any job that stifles their growth will make them unhappy and therefore unproductive. People need to see what they are working for. The company does not belong to them, so you need to give them a very good reason why they should sacrifice their lives for your business. Always put yourself in your employees’ shoes and try to understand them.

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You may not own an oil company or run an eight hundred year old business like Fortnum and Masons, but there are lots of other little things you can do to keep your staff engaged and thereby maintain the stability of your business.

Your staff need two major things:

1. To be valued:

Never let a staff’s birthday pass by without some form of recognition or the other, even if you are running a tiny shop. Run your business like a family. Stay aware of your staff’s needs. Find out why he or she looks moody. Do not become moody yourself, it will be immature. Don’t draw conclusions without evidence.

Never gossip about one member of staff to the other. Don’t try to get your staff to tell tales about each other. You are supposed to be family. Play with your staff but maintain that boundary of respect. Thank and find something to compliment about them before airing your criticisms.

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The lady who runs Reggie’s salon in Asokoro, Abuja, has maintained a level of staff relationship that I have taken time to observe. When she walks trough the door, her staff barely notice that she has done so. They are so relaxed. Hence, they work with their hearts and not with eye service.

When your staff jump at the sound of your voice, there is something definitely wrong. Not on their part, but on yours. People often say, “This is Nigeria”, and then they have "International" written next to their business name. Charity begins at home. If your business is ever going to truly expand, you have got to devise new methods of relating with your staff that will work anywhere in the world. It may be difficult at first, but eventually you will fit in. Your humility, charm and consideration will go even further than huge pay packets in keeping your staff together.

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I know a dear lady who runs one of the best restaurants in the United Kingdom. She would fast and pray and ask God to bring her staff. When the staffs miraculously appear, they will leave within the week. God will provide the staff, but you have got to work to keep them. It’s like a marriage. The way you get your staff is the way you will have to keep them.

Everything that glittered to them when they joined you, had better be gold.

Sometimes the problem may be caused by your other employees or by the person whom you have put in charge. If your staff are unhappy, but they choose to remain with you because of the lack of alternatives, it is even worse. There is nothing more damaging to business than unwilling and unhappy team members.

Inefficient leadership produces inefficient employees.

Inefficient employees produce an inefficient business.

2. To be comfortable:

What can you afford to pay your staff without endangering your business? Think of ways to make life easier for your employees. Transportation, housing, free lunch, daycare services, good working conditions, beautiful working environments, adequate training, adequate and efficient equipment and facilities. If you can afford it, then there is no reason to wait.

When one is constantly thinking of ways to use people at little cost to themselves then one’s business is on its way out. BUSINESS IS PEOPLE, PEOPLE ARE BUSINESS.

Selfish, cheating employers breed lying, stealing employees. Birds of the same feather flock together. Some flock above the others, but still they flock together. Cheating of employees comes in various forms.

Making your staff as comfortable as possible has three major advantages:

1. They will not want to loose their jobs so they will be more efficient and more careful.

2. They will have some good rapport towards you and may even go as far as wanting to protect your business since it is their source of comfort.

3. They will be less likely to cheat you, your customers or your clients.

Finally, take measures to keep your employees in check. Have weekly or fortnightly meetings. Cultivate an atmosphere whereby your staff can air their views and complain to you if they need to complain. When they start complaining to each other and never to you, then there is something definitely wrong.

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