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Emma Uchendu: Get In Here to Learn How to Unlock Staff Loyalty in Your Small Business

One of the oldest ways to making people stick with your company or business is to reward loyalty and productivity.

Emmanuel Uchendu

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You can’t buy staff loyalty. This is an old saying a lot of business owners have had to learn the hard way in recent times.

Madam Ngozi, CEO of Ngozi Cake & Chops, paid deaf ears to her employee’s complaints for months. Not until Monday morning when she arrived at her office and found on her table two letters of resignation from her employee. She hadn’t been expecting it. “Not now,” she muttered to herself as she tore the envelope to read the content.

This had happened before, and after the last time she had thought she’d finally overcome this whole hassle of staffing by bringing in extended relatives of hers. But no, she was wrong. The problem compounded, as these individuals brought loads of complains, yet little solution and value, to the business.

As she fumed, there on the table glaring at her were torn envelops and letters, evidence to drive home her poor hiring and management system. She had expected that the two individuals would bring great value to her firm.

Staffing issues and employee management are two dreaded challenges faced by all small business owners, the most dreaded of them all being hiring disloyal or wrong employees. This is why a lot of business owners hire friends and relatives. They do so out of familiarity, all in the name of seeking a safe haven.

I remember this particular business owner who had to shut down her business for two weeks because two of her employees quit on her within a space of three days. It was so devastating that she almost gave up on her business.

What could have been the cause of this problem? Why would two employees wake up and decide to leave in one day? In the case of Madam Ngozi, it was simply a case of wrong hiring and poor employee management system.

However, there are a wide variety of factors that could bring about this lack of stability and loyalty among employees. But whatever an employee’s reason for leaving might be, their departure can be costly and detrimental to the business, especially when this occurrence is frequent like in the case of Madam Ngozi. And it’s obvious no one wants to experience it?

Having said that, let’s look at how to hire and encourage employees to stick to your small business, how to unlock staff loyalty as a small business owner in a world where people are more interested in novel experiences than in climbing the corporate ladder.

Hire value, not emotions and familiarity
Hiring employees based on the value each individual can bring to the table as a small business owner has proven to bring more success to firms than hiring based on familiarity or emotions. I know you have fears and are scared of hiring the wrong employee, but don’t let your fears drive you to hiring friends and relatives. Friends and relatives are not bad, but when they are hired based on fear and emotions, rather than the value they can bring to the table, this becomes bad for both you and the business.

Celebrate and reward loyalty
People love to be appreciated. Massage their ego. Say kind words about them to the hearing of others. One of the oldest ways to making people stick with your company or business is to reward loyalty and productivity. However, as old as this strategy might be, you should know the requirement for implementing this has shifted dramatically from a pair of shoes for five years of loyal service to stuff like the best performing staff of the year, a trip to anywhere in Nigeria every six months, and maybe a trip to any part of the world every five years.

Increase vacation time
Increasing vacation time maybe by days, weeks, or even months, depending on what works for you or what your business can afford, could be all it takes to perform the magic as a small business owner. I remember reading a story by an employee about how her boss noticed a cut on her foot, took her to the hospital, and gave her two days off. And this employee was all over LinkedIn singing her boss’s praise as the best boss ever. For her, that’s all she needed to stick with her boss, and that was all it took for the boss to create the magic.

Nip problems in the bud
As a small business owner, you don’t want issues to fester until they explode like hand grenades, just like Madam Ngozi did. Therefore, keep your eyes and ears open. Address employee complains without delay, then find a lasting solution later. Look for warning signs before things come to a head. Don’t be like Madam Ngozi who hired out of fear and emotions, and didn’t notice until it was late. Once you spot an issue, deal with it sooner than later, but deal with it fairly.

Have you ever experienced employee disloyalty as a business owner? How did it feel? What was the cause? Share your experience in the comment section let’s learn from each other.

Emma Uchendu is an Accountant, HR Professional & CEO EveritinJob Services Ng. He is passionate about providing sustainable solutions to unemployment & employability issues by helping job seekers land a job, kick off their career journey smoothly, and acquire valuable employability skills for workplace through online and physical courses. Email: [email protected]

2 Comments

  1. Lydia Paulinus Effiong

    July 23, 2019 at 5:20 pm

    Very enlightening article.

    1
    • Emma Uchendu

      July 26, 2019 at 5:39 pm

      Thanks so much Lydia. I’m glad it helped.

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