Good Staff Relationships Are Just As Important As Pay

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There are strikes seemingly now all the time and usually the dispute is over wage increases and benefits. On the other side of the coin, when employers speak, they often talk of the country’s skills deficit and labour laws.

Recent research in KwaZulu-Natal has highlighted that there are equally important issues for both employees and employers. As it has been shown that a contented labour force is a productive one, it is worthwhile taking a moment to understand this new research.


Why workers quit their jobs

Of the employees surveyed, only 6% cited low pay as their main gripe. Others mentioned  “better jobs found” (6%), “a new job with less hours worked” (8%), whilst 10% left to pursue better education and 16% felt their current job was too dangerous. 46% left because of “poor relationships” – 16% of these workers felt their relationships with co-workers were poor and the remaining 30% left due to difficulties with their employer.

Reasons for these relationship breakdowns with co-workers were often mid-level (particularly young or female) black managers being promoted and having problems with the staff they supervised. This led to jealousy and mistrust.

Another factor was workers becoming isolated from their dependents due to the distance from work to their spouses, family and children. Ancillary to this is unemployed family and community members pressurising workers to support them out of the wages they earned. These dependents have been seen to even resort to tactics like witchcraft to ensure they were provided for. This often leaves the worker with only small amounts of money for themselves.

The fact remains however that by far the largest single cause of people quitting their jobs involves a breakdown in the relationship with their employer.


So what do workers want to see in the relationship with their employer?
  • Being treated fairly and given equal opportunity ranked high with workers.
  • Receiving recognition for their efforts is also important.
  • Lower paid workers spoke approvingly of being respected in their jobs, despite their low pay.
  • Helping employees with training and education, employing their family members and helping financially with their children’s education were also raised.


And what do employers want?

For employers their criteria for employing people were that employees needed to be positive, punctual and reliable.

There is thus a split between employer and employee expectations – one looks mainly to relationships and the other just wants to get the job done efficiently.

It makes sense therefore for you to explore how to satisfy both your employees’ needs and those of your business. Understanding what is at the heart of both employee and employer aspirations will greatly help in establishing a stable, productive workforce.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your professional adviser for specific and detailed advice.

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