To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.”
― Doug Conant
It’s a tough September right here!
I remembered walking outside my office complex convinced that the place I had come to admit as a place of work is truly approaching its end. Of a million thoughts, tens were battling to gain attention: what would become of here? What would become of my friends at work – my colleagues? Why even be so engrossed in the welfare of others when obviously I do not know what is to become of my fate. There were questions one had the wish to ask from the Stephen Spielberg of the company; I had like to know how they let it got this worse. It is an awful experience working in a company that would later fold up while engaging you. I am innocent. I am being deflowered.
After that day’s meeting, it finally dawned on me among other realities that the company is going down. No more rumours. No more hearsay. It is now confirmed by the big fish himself; the don of the business in Africa. And certainly, in less than a year the rented complex will become a ghost of itself; it will no longer be the beehive of business like it used to be. There will no more be a mass movement. Even the poor elevator that sometimes laments with friction will be lonely as it will no longer find the companion of hundreds of humans in official attires daily. One will finally be deprived of the beautiful view of the city via the curtains of the office apartments, the tennis table and cafeteria with a TV-cable, the amusing rush for daily log-ins and log-outs, and the overnight work with a bottle of “kunnu”.
It is finance! The company is leaving the company because it is no longer making enough profit to sustain its operation. It is such a bad news. I had looked into the eyes of the big fish, the regional HR of the company, and I saw sadness hidden behind his smiles. I felt sadder. Now I understand what his fears are. He explained how he had doubled effort to fix things – all to no avail. The regional HR for Africa, a fine man, employed to coordinate the human resources of a multinational company may have probably given up despite his vast experiences. Now that the situation critically seems irredeemable, what can an Employee do?
Aside the need for sustenance, the growth of every company is tied to its employees’ engagement. Hence, the survival of any business becomes a challenge when the employees are not being engaged to have a sense of belonging in the status of the business. There is a tendency that a company can be revived when the need to keep it alive is a common vision shared by both the employers and employees. We can never rule out the fact that the solutions to most challenges are found majorly where we least expected. And it is in light of this that an employee who is being engaged by the company may also proffer a technical solution that is cheap enough to keep everyone in business. Therefore, before things turn worse, as an Entrepreneur, it is recommended we engage our employees as much as we can via every available channel; welfare, feedback, outings, meetings, et al. And as we do this against the urge of human selfishness, an Employer may begin to imagine what he stands to gain in investing in mere engagements – so when the business is failing, what can an Employee do?
What an engaged employee can do hence becomes the employee’s business. An engaged employee is not in the business as a merely paid worker. And because an engaged employee understands the importance of prosperity to his organization, he sees himself as being in the business as a partner or a stakeholder; this is the simple logic behind the strength of every multi-level marketing (MLM) organization. A research conducted by Blessing White, The State of Employee Engagement 2008, further explains that “Engaged employees stay for what they give (they like their work); disengaged employees stay for what they get (favorable job conditions, growth opportunities, job security).”
So, after the engagement with the big fish that fateful day, I chose to figure out something to the collective interest of my fellow employees and the employer. I chose to figure out a way forward based on the engagement I had – based on the amount of information released at our meeting. Neither satisfied with the engagement culture of the company nor the business status quo, I hope to factor something worthy of trial. And if it eventually works, the lesson would have been learned that the business of the employee is rather to be engaged.
In the words of Anne M. Mulcahy, “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” Hopefully, you find the need to engage your employees as much as you can.
We Can. We Will. We Must
Akolawole is a Social Media Executive for Airtel Nigeria, a Columnist with Stockswatch newspaper, a community Youth Leader, and an active Advocate on Entrepreneurship and Nation building. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org and/or +2348085366022 (SMS only).