“One of my secrets is the way I treat my staff,” says Divine Simbi-Ndlukula, Founder and Managing Director of DDNS Security Operations in Zimbabwe. Divine’s company has come a long way since 1998 when she started out with just 5 employees. Today she employs over 4,000 people in a challenging economic environment. Divine was one of 33 2014 awardees at the 8th International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) in Stockholm, Sweden.
Every IWEC awardee is a woman who owns a company that grosses over US$ 2 million in annual sales. The companies fall in a wide variety of sectors ranging from construction to oil and gas, to medical and security services. I had the opportunity to ask several of the 2014 awardees what they ascribe their success to – “the people,” was their most common response. Are your employees your greatest asset and do you treat them accordingly?
There is a prevalent misperception that people who end up in “low skill” jobs must have performed poorly in school. To follow this thought to its unfortunate, logical conclusion, the individuals holding these jobs are thought not to be very intelligent. Stereotypes like this negatively affect the job performance of the people in those positions. Early on, Divine made it her mission to change her security guards’ self-perception.
By modeling courtesy and respect, Divine has created a security company where everyone treats everyone else respectfully. Her employees are all proud of what they do for a living and know that they play an important role in their employer’s as well as client business success. The resulting dignified manner in which Divine’s Securico Security Services guards conduct themselves sets them apart, wins awards and attracts an ever-growing client base. What are you doing to help your employees view what they do with dignity?
In addition to grooming her employees to feel specially chosen, Divine offers generous praise. The praise she lavishes on employees cascades throughout the organization. Offering praise is a sign of strength, not a weakness. Do you regularly compliment your employees for making an effort or for a job well done? Will you commit to finding a reason to pay at least one compliment a day to someone at the office?
In addition to instilling pride in workmanship and offering praise, equip your staff to perform. A previous IWEC awardee who attended the 2014 awards confessed that her view on training has changed over the years. From only supporting half-day workshops for staff, today, her company subsidizes all the courses that employees undertake at a local university, provided the courses are linked to employee current or expected responsibilities within the company. This position has boosted on the job performance and greatly improved staff morale. Could training be a means of motivating your employees too?
If successful business women say their employees are their greatest asset, they must be on to something. In what ways are you investing in your company’s greatest asset?
SOURCE: Daily Monitor