“Angela your manager is really good, you know. I told my boss about your store and he visited last week and had nothing but praise for the young lady. She is such as asset to your business”, Tinuke said to her friend Gloria who owned the store.
“She is such a useless girl, please. I don’t understand what the big deal is about her work. I’m just managing her for now”, Gloria answered as she changed the topic to what they would wear to their school reunion party.
Tinuke was taken aback but kept quiet because she didn’t have the strength for her friend’s drama. She had noticed that Gloria had a high staff turnover rate which they had not really found a solution to. Initially it was assumed that the staff wanted to ‘japa’ (relocate abroad)’ but they usually turned up in other organisations, something that Gloria blamed the industry for.
According to her, the rate of staff poaching was high and it was just one of those things that came with the business.
Two weeks later she visited Gloria again and heard her yelling at her staff. “People hire human beings but I don’t understand the bunch of animals I’m saddled with as staff”. Gloria’s voice was audible from the car park, and as soon as she entered she noticed the anxious-looking women who scurried out as she entered her friend’s office.
This time, Tinuke decided to confront her friend. “But do you have to yell and speak to them in such a tone? even children shouldn’t be spoken to like this.” Gloria lashed out and started asking her what she knew about running a business, after all she was in the corporate world and didn’t know how difficult the staff who worked for small businesses were.
“Humans are the same everywhere my dear. You have to treat your staff right and appreciate them if you want your business to grow,” Tinuke replied, to which Gloria rolled her eyes and told her the business will grow with or without them.
Three months after that conversation, Tinuke’s boss opened a new store to mark his retirement and she was pleasantly shocked to find that Angela was the new Operations Manager. The two women hugged each other and Angela went on her knees to thank Tinuke for bringing her boss to Gloria’s store on that fateful day. “No darling, that was all you. Your excellent work ethic spoke for you, and you were not even aware that you were being watched. Well done.”
She had not seen Gloria in a while and decided to go visit her. As she drove past her store, she noticed that there was no signage and the glass windows were shielded with black blinds. If she didn’t know the area like the back of her hand, she would have assumed that she was on the wrong street. Well, she may very well go to her house and find out what was happening.
Scarcely had she entered Gloria’s house when her friend started accusing her of plotting her downfall. “We have been friends since high school and yet you stole my best staff from me so that my business will fail, right?”.
“You’ll have to forgive me, Gloria. I don’t have the faintest idea what you are going on about”, Tinuke answered.
“Are you going to pretend that you have nothing to do with Angela, my former manager, going to work for your boss? Are you even going to pretend that you didn’t know? Are you also aware that when she resigned, all the key staff also resigned and I haven’t been able to replace them?”
Tinuke shook her head and chuckled at her friend’s tirade. “But you said they were useless to you and never appreciated them. You are the one who made the work environment hostile for them with your endless criticism and made it easy for them to be poached. I want to guess that this isn’t the first time this has happened but the worst time,” she replied as she excused herself and left.
When we appreciate our staff, our business thrives as a happy staff translates to happy customers. Appreciation brings growth, criticism diminishes.