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What do you really want out of life? Now what's stopping you?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pondering Employees.

I spent Christmas on the farm with my dad. Had plenty of time to think about things, a little mental rumination. Looking at the general state of farm workers and indeed the state of the majority of employees in the ‘third world’, although many in the developed world could be included here, and pondered on the thought as to how many employers ever bothered to try coaching their underlings to a state of better things. Maybe it is a matter of not knowing how to elevate some ones self worth but it strikes me as something that is not done very much.

Take the average farm worker in Africa-they live in a hut (brick if they are lucky), may or may not have electricity, share a communal tap for running water and that’s about it. Now you can insert ‘slum’ and ‘factory worker’ instead, and some labourers are in a better situation than I have described but the situation hasn’t changed much in the last 20 or so years. I certainly don’t hear amazing stories of the farm worker who has gone and become a successful farm owner, and I hear of very few of labourers going out and building their own brick house, getting water and lights in it and getting a car. Part of it has to do with low wages, but part also has to do with the environment that they are in. When all you know is a hovel it can be a little difficult to see yourself in anything better-especially when the whole system is telling you that you are only worth a hovel and all you will ever be is a hovel dweller.

Now, at the risk of irritating a lot of people, I would say that part of the problem lies with the employer (and no I’m not the perfect boss and no I haven’t got to grips with this either yet). I am not saying that everything should be handed on a plate to the workers-I am rather opposed to the ‘gimmee’ attitude that characterises much of Africa. Rather help people see themselves in a better future. Maybe painting a vision that includes benefit to the employee, not just the self gratification and pocket lining of the boss. Creating the opportunity to do and be better may be part of the solution. One of the risks in growing people is that they may eventually see themselves out of your organisation and into their own. So what, there will always be replacements and there will always be the loyal that choose to stay and build with you-you may just have to pay them a bit more.

Now I’ve rambled for a bit let me know what you think. As I said, I havn’t got the application of this concept down perfect and it could do with a little refining. We live and learn.

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