My Ouma (Granny) when asked how she managed to last so long with my Grandfather, she would say that sometimes you “Just have to grin and bear it”, she emphasised that she had to do the quite often though. Repeatedly as our workplace relationships evolve, both employees and employers often find themselves just grinning and bearing it. The battle between these age old foes, the bosses and the workers is one that has been with us through the ages with no real and tangible solution ever been presented.
These two groups often find themselves at opposite polars when it comes down to the negotiation table. The workers think that they should be rewarded more for their services and time and the bosses are of the opinion that the workers are paid too much for the output achieved. The bosses feel that the workers should be grateful for them providing the workers with jobs.This is always the nub of major conflicts that occur in the workplace. Often terms such as retrenchment, downsizing, rightsizing, walkouts, labour strikes are used to camouflage this debate.
How do we solve this conundrum? Can these two groupings ever co-exist in a peaceful and productive environment?
I am of the view that the bosses and the workers will almost never reach a harmonious solution. If they do it may be short-lived before the sore festers up again. In my own business I apply the ACE Rule.
Advise – Often I have advised staff to leave my employ to take up a better opportunity. I am realistic and authentic in my advice to staff. They sense that I really am looking out for their best interests. Offer your staff the best advice you can give, even if it puts you at a slight disadvantage. These are the ones that find a way back to you, by becoming your clients/customers, referring work, referring good people and speaking well of the business.
Communicate – As employers we often get busy in digging ourselves out of a trough that we forget to tell staff that the business is in a trough. Lack of communication makes staff jittery and uneasy, this leads to speculation which builds into stress. I communicate the good, the bad and the ugly. Staff must know where the business is at any point in time.
Encourage – Everybody needs a bit of love and encouragement and especially your staff. Keep an open relationship with your staff, I often extend this to the spouses and partners of my staff. Acknowledge good performance, use of initiative and goods deeds openly, staff want to be recognised by their peers for doing well.
The ACE Rule does not completely solve the issues but you create a much more pleasant and open working environment. In doing so you achieve a tolerable level of “pissedoffness”.
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