Last weekend while waiting for a friend in a mall, I decided to stroll around and window shop while chatting with attendants about business.

After moving around some shops I found one which was not busy so I spent time chatting with the sales supervisor. One thing that emerged from this is the wide rift between staff and owners.

She told me how their boss values customers more than employees. She kept emphasising that as employees they have great ideas that can turn the firm into a great establishment only if the owner would listen and support them. This reminded me of my own days as an employee.

We had similar views and mentality about our bosses until I quit the job and started my own business. That is when that I realised most of them were distorted realities.

It is true most employees, from employers’ point of view have unrealistic expectations and vice versa.

However, one thing that most business owners fail to appreciate, and to their detriment, is that their workers are also their customers.

They are internal clients, no less important than external ones who we strive to make happy because they generate revenue.

Most businesses are where they are because of employees and taking great care of your employees is the best way to increase profit.

Borrowing a leaf from legal fraternity, justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done. In case of blurred and diverse opinion, business owners and managers should come down and shoulder the burden of making employees understand the oft complex business reality.

When employees think that they are treated unfairly, that the business is making a lot of money but they are paid peanuts; that they do the donkey work while the owners and managers idle around waiting for money in air-conditioned offices and so on, trouble is on the way. Even when resources are scarce and business is low, well-motivated and committed employees can easily come up with great ideas and implement them to lift up your business.
There are several ways you can win support of your staff.

First try to involve them in making decision and analysing consequences. Give them attention and consider their views, concerns and feelings. This will win their support an appreciation of the challenges you might be going through as the owner or manager.

Secondly, accept them genuinely regardless of their weakness. Focus on their strength and make them feel that their contribution is highly accepted and valued.

Thirdly, appreciate them. Appreciation is one of the deep desires of every human being. Emotional experts say that when appreciation comes from your boss, someone who has control over your promotion, career success, your income and your work station, it works miracles.

You can show your appreciation by saying “thank you” on every occasion, for any large or small reason. Recognise every effort, every extra mile a staff makes for the good of your business.

Appreciation is also good for you. Every time you recognise and appreciate another person, it boosts that person’s self-esteem and feeling of importance, but so does yours.

Fourthly, give your unreserved approval. We all have a deep subconscious need for approval. In fact, we do many things just to get approval of others even when the cost is high.

Giving others approval makes them feel great about themselves and are bound to work hard and seek more opportunities to get more kudos.

Finally, show admiration of their skills, capability and character trait. Find something in them worth a compliment.

When you give your staff a genuine, sincere compliments about a trait, possession, or accomplishment, you energise them and endear them to yourself, make them feel better about themselves and transmit the same to your customers.

This post first appeared on The Business Daily on Tuesday 6th September 2016.
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