YOUR EMPLOYEE IS ALSO A CLIENT, THE VERY IMPORTANT ONE. HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT ABOUT THIS?
Vo Quoc Thang – s3247366
“Why do you guys usually think about and focus on building long-term relationship with your clients? Your employees are also your company’s clients, don’t you perceive this?” said Mr. Nguyen Hoang Lam, the director of Sola Thien Company Limited. We started our interview with this very interesting point and I am totally impressed by his awkward quote.
Sola Thien Company Limited, established in 2008, is the sole distributor of DANZKA Vodka (Danish Vodka) in Vietnam. Lam is a former RMIT student and he started his own business at the age of 24. The company has over 20 employees currently comparing with 3 people in its dawn time (Lam and his only 2 employees).
“Both clients and employees share a common possibility of being beneficial to the company. Your employees are especial one. You pay them money to bring a lot of money back”. Lam shared that clients would come when they saw your strengths, left you if they felt unsatisfied; hence, you just lost your money and efforts. However, if your employees left because of their dissatisfaction, you lost money, efforts and most importantly, reputation. A company with its good image is not only providing good products and service but also is about how well it treats its employees and retains them (Helm 2011, p. 658). Lam shared his point of view that clients often judged the quality and trustworthy of a company based on how long its employees had worked for, rather than how many salaries they earn from. I agree with his point, if an employee keeps working for a company for many years, people will assume that the company has treated him well or maybe he just loves his current job. Personally, if a company treats its employees well, it will treat its clients at the same way or better.
Lam said that the art of retaining and motivating employees to move forward is “clever remuneration, compliment and job negotiation”.
CLEVER REMUNERATION AND COMPLIMENT:
“After doing excellent job, instead of inviting my employees to luxury restaurants and paying for their meals as awards, I know that giving them cash or transfer money to their credit cards is more practical”. Lam said ironically that people often remember how much money you give rather than how many meals you pay. “Some of them don’t need food, but their family really need”. I was completely impressed by his saying. To me, by giving money, the employees can do many things with their life needs and it is practical and essential. In addition, Lam acknowledged that expressing his compliments publicly to the employees who perform excellently in bringing many profits to the company. “Compliment makes people feel they are highly valuable and recognizable.” If employees often receive suitable remuneration and compliment, it will be incentives to stimulate them to work more effectively and passionately (Greenhill 1980; Poole & Jenkins 1990). “I usually say ‘Hey, guys! You make my day’ and smile admirably to the one who has done good job, then everyone is full of happiness”. Actually, courtesy costs nothing. If we use it artistically, you can ‘color’ others’ life and motivate them to be better.
JOB NEGOTIATION – FAIRNESS IN WORK
To keep long-term relationship between a company and its employees, the working environment must have fairness and avoid labor exploitation. “If the employees realize they are overused, morale and union will be replaced by envy”, Lam said frankly. It is worth noting that the hardest point to make employees happy is to make them feel that he is neither biased nor privileged to anyone”. I am immediately reminded of Collaborating, “win-win” strategy of Thomas-Kilmann Model. Collaborating is an ideal state that both sides has the agreeable term and has cooperative spirit. It is not easy to reach this state but it does not mean that it is unachievable.
HOW CAN YOU CREATE FAIRNESS?
“Everyone has their own particular roles and everyone is all important”, insisted Lam.
Lam encourages his employees to treat each other equally, no matter which positions they are in or how many salaries they earn. “It is not easy because we are human; we are greedy and jealous as our nature”. To the one doing extra work, Lam rewarded them by extra money. In addition, he sticks a “silent drop box” on the door of his director office for the employees to freely share what makes them feel unfair. Then, he will consider these problems and find solution for each.
“I used to be treated unequally when I was an employee, I know those kind of feelings”, Lam said softly.
Personally, I used to work as a part-time sale assistant and I experienced the feeling when my colleagues take my credits as his own although he does nothing (my boss privileges him). I know that fairness is crucial and one feels he is treated dissimilarly, he will feel frustrated and eventually quits his job (like I did).
In addition, Lam mentioned that let his employees’ voice to be heard when they think it is essential in work. This is also a good way to contribute environment of fairness. Lam was right at that point. Recognizing that employee voice may have a positive impact on various dimensions of organizational performance (Holland et al. 2011, p. 98). I love Lam’s thinking because I was an employee, I would want to raise my ideas and opinions to contribute the development of the company. This makes me feel “I’m valuable and part of it”.
Personally, Lam is young but good leader. I have learnt that building long-term relationship with the employees is also important. “If a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand”. Lastly, I know that money is always a sensitive issue and people tend to avoid mentioning about it but Lam works it out bluntly as he prefers to reward his employees by cash. Money is not important but it is needed.
“If your employees feel motivated, they will work with all their heart and soul”, Lam smile successfully.
Greenhill, R 1980, Employee Remuneration and Profit Sharing, Woodhead-Faulkner, England.
Helm, S 2011, ‘Employees’ awareness of their impact on corporate reputation’, Journal of Business Research, July, vol. 64, no. 7, pp. 657-663.
Holland, P, Pyman, A, Cooper, B & Teicher, J 2011, ‘Employee voice and job satisfaction in Australia: The centrality of direct voice’, Human Resource Management, January, vol. 50, Issue 1, pp. 95-111
Poole, M & Jenkins, G 1990, The Impact of Economic Democracy: Profit Sharing and Employee Sharing Schemes, Routledge, London.