Respect as a Competitive Advantage
“Your customers feel the vibe of the company and they can feel the way in which the staff is treated within a company. So if your customer service is poor, you know that staff treatment is poor too.”
While companies chase the bottom line, efficiency and productivity, research is showing that 65% of people say they don’t feel appreciated at work and that globally the one thing that leaders need to show more of is respect. It seems time and again the studies are showing that a positive work environment is what truly leads to an increased bottom line and overall company success.
The Harvard Business Review states that “there’s an assumption that stress and pressure push employees to perform more, better, and faster, what cutthroat organizations fail to recognize is the hidden costs incurred. First, health care expenditures at high-pressure companies are nearly 50% greater than at other organizations. Second is the cost of disengagement, which results in 37% higher absenteeism, 49% more accidents, and 60% more errors and defects. Thirdly is a lack of loyalty where companies with a stressful and negative work environment have a 50% higher staff turnover than positive work environments.”
One Namibian company is an example of how a positive work environment, where staff members are respected, can result in better efficiency, attendance and loyalty of staff. That company is the Document Warehouse, where documents, drawings and digital data of many Namibian companies are archived and stored. What might seem monotonous work has been given a facelift through a fun and supportive work environment where learning is encouraged. 99FM’s MYD Smart sat down with Milka Nowases, a Retrievals Clerk at the Document Warehouse to find out what it is like as an employee to work in such an environment, one where the staff members are supported and respected.
Clearly in a league of their own, Document Warehouse’s approach to their staff goes beyond what most companies offer and their true success seems to lie in the way in which staff are treated and respected as individuals and as human beings. Milka explains that “I am able to go and talk face to face with my boss if there is a problem.” She laughs as she explains that at her company, her superiors do not want to be labelled as ‘the boss’ because at their company they work as a team. More than just semantics, Milka notes that at her company there is basic respect for one another and an environment where people are treated as adults. She notes that in other company’s people get warnings for arriving late to work, whereas in her company as long as you’ve notified your superior, being late is something that is understood to happen from time to time. Milka says that what’s interesting is that within such an environment, the system is hardly ever abused. She adds that this type of environment means that they “have the platform because of the respect within the company to raise a problem if a problem arises. Instead of staff keeping quiet due to fear, which is the case in so many companies, at Document Warehouse problems are raised and addressed immediately due to the open communication and respect filled environment.”
With her experience in such a staff-centric environment, Milka states that “once you are happy at your work you are doing your best and your productivity is at its best. This means too that your customer service is the best. Your customers feel the vibe of the company and they can feel the way in which the staff is treated within a company. So if your customer service is poor, you know that staff treatment is poor too.”
When asked what she enjoys about working at the Document Warehouse, Milka says that “The best part for me is that I am appreciated and treated with respect.” Document Warehouse has taken a fresh approach to document storage where staff are giving a lunch meal every day, social events are arranged regularly and the working space is filled with colour, fun and space for down time and rest as well as work and growth.
According to Milka, working in an environment like that at Document Warehouse affords her many opportunities, “I have the opportunity to learn, interact with different people and here I am respected.” She goes on to explain that “by working at the Document Warehouse, I have had doors open for me. I have been exposed to different things, I have had opportunities to interact with and present to clients all of which means I have been able to learn a lot and develop my confidence.”
Milka is quick to point out that her attitude is of course a choice and that it is up to her to focus on the good in her life however she notes that “The Document Warehouse is different to most companies and this makes it easier to work and fills us with Gratitude.”
When asked what advice she has for other Namibian companies, Milka says that “We should treat our staff the same way we would want to be treated. Respect comes from both sides, when you respect your employee, your employee will respect you too.”
If you want to get in touch with Document Warehouse, you’ll find their contact details on their website here : Document Warehouse.
For more information on why positive work environments lead to more productivity and how to create a more positive work environment in your office, take a look at the following three Harvard Business Review articles :