Ever wonder why some companies are able to keep good people more than others?
Buzzwords like emotional quotient, team building, and mentor capitalism provide part of the answer. However, for entrepreneurs Leandro Marcelo Laya and Glenn Gerard Gatuslao, the secrets to effective people management may be found in such practical, down-to-earth approaches as motivating workers properly and treating them fairly.
Laya set up Docksides Brokerage Corp., a customs broker, in Manila’s South Harbor in 1991, and has retained half of his original employees. He attributes the slow turnover to a human resources policy that combines Filipino, Chinese and multinational practices with emphasis on frugality, honesty, spirituality, trust and excellence. His advice to would-be entrepreneurs:
- Be simple and frugal in your corporate and personal lifestyles. Docksides has a simple office layout that makes no distinction between owners and employees. Everyone comes to work in casual attire. “There’s no need for porma, so the atmosphere is not stiff and anyone can approach me without having to knock on the door,” says Laya. He thinks owners should reinvest their profits into the business instead of splurging on non-essentials.
- If you’re honest in your dealings, your employees will follow your example. This applies to how you relate to customers, suppliers, and even government entities like the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Bureau of Customs, and the Social Security System.
- Inculcate spiritual values in your workers. At Docksides, the daily grind starts with a prayer. “Our employees take turns in leading the prayer in which we thank God for blessing our families, clients and stakeholders,” says Laya. Being spiritual also means toasting your employees on their birthdays and treating them to all-expenses-paid summer outings.
- Trust your employees and empower them. “You can’t be right all the time just because you’re the boss. Listen to you employees and learn to trust them and to respect their opinions,” says Laya.
- Strive for excellence in all aspects of the business. “In the customs brokerage industry, where shipments must be handled very carefully, isang palpak lang and the client will always remember that you failed—even if all your other transactions with him were successful,” says Laya.