Em­ploy­ers should show a hu­man face

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Labour Davies Ndu­miso Sibanda

MAN­AG­ING em­ploy­ees is not about fol­low­ing the law alone but the ap­pli­ca­tion of labour laws has to be sup­ported by ex­cel­lent hu­man re­la­tion skills if or­gan­i­sa­tional goals are to be met.

Mary is a tea lady and also pro­vides clean­ing ser­vices and has been with the or­gan­i­sa­tion for the last 10 years.

There is a new Fi­nance Ex­ec­u­tive who wants things done dif­fer­ently. One morn­ing as Mary walked into his of­fice to re­turn an empty bin, she was met by an an­gry boss who told her his of­fice was not her bed­room where she touches every­thing and where she walks in and out as she likes.

Fur­ther, she was given a ver­bal warn­ing not to touch any­thing in the of­fice with­out per­mis­sion if she still wants her chil­dren to have bread on the ta­ble and was also in­sulted in un­print­able lan­guage.

Mary was taken aback and left the new boss’ of­fice lit­er­ally in tears.

There are many work­ers who have gone through such in­sults by their man­agers and the ef­fects of such in­sults is usu­ally re­sent­ment with work­ers with­hold­ing vi­tal in­for­ma­tion from the boss to as­sist him func­tion ef­fec­tively. Fur­ther, work­ers rarely for­get the in­sults thus creat­ing a poi­soned at­mos­phere.

Cases of death or loss of loved ones by em­ploy­ees have re­sulted in dam­age of re­la­tions be­tween man­agers and work­ers due to in­sen­si­tiv­ity by em­ploy­ers on mat­ters of death to the ex­tent that there are known cases where work­ers have cel­e­brated when a man­ager loses a close rel­a­tive, ar­gu­ing that the man­ager is at least feel­ing what they felt and maybe he could be a changed per­son af­ter that. Things should not go this far if man­agers have proper hu­man re­la­tions train­ing.

We have heard of (crazy) ac­tions by some em­ploy­ers where toi­let tis­sue is ra­tioned. Work­ers are al­lo­cated time to go to the toi­let and prior to go­ing to the toi­let they are asked de­hu­man­is­ing ques­tions and when a worker takes too long in the toi­let, the boss knocks on the door. Such con­duct by em­ploy­ers com­pletely col­lapses hu­man re­la­tions as em­ploy­ees feel their dig­nity has been tram­pled upon.

Even in cases where the em­ployer does not pro­vide food for the work­ers, there is a need to lo­cate an area where the em­ploy­ees can sit and eat in a place that is clean and away from the toi­let and other health haz­ards. This goes a long way in show­ing that the em­ployer is hu­mane and cares.

Man­age­ment of ab­sen­teeism also needs to be dealt with a hu­man face as some em­ploy­ees will gen­uinely be sick, need­ing time to rest and re­cover but the em­ployer’s lan­guage fur­ther com­pli­cates their po­si­tion. I re­call a case of a Head of De­part­ment who told a sick worker that he was not run­ning a clinic and as such, sick ones would risk los­ing their jobs.

For fear of los­ing jobs, work­ers would there­after hide their sick leave notes and mat­ters came to head when one worker col­lapsed at work with work­ers down­ing tools de­mand­ing the re­moval of the Head of De­part­ment. While we are not ad­vo­cat­ing for han­dling sick work­ers with a vel­vet glove, mangers should use their hu­man re­la­tions skills in deal­ing with each case.

In­tru­sion into work­ers pri­vate lives can also sour hu­man re­la­tions as what is pri­vate is peo­ples’ lives should re­main pri­vate and work­ers would re­sent any at­tempt by the man­ager to in­trude in their pri­vate lives through ac­tions such as long work­ing hours tak­ing away pri­vate lives or the boss sniff­ing per­sonal pri­vate in­for­ma­tion about work­ers.

I re­call a case of a fe­male boss who would go through fe­male em­ploy­ees’ hand­bags in search of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion about their lives and that re­sulted in se­ri­ous con­flict with em­ploy­ees.

In con­clu­sion, it is crit­i­cal for all man­agers to be trained in hu­man re­la­tions so as to be able to treat sub­or­di­nates with a hu­man face.

Davies Ndu­miso Sibanda can be con­tacted on: email: strat­waysmail@ya­hoo. com; or cell No: 0772 375 235

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