Many Batswana have always complained about the poor customer service among public servants. Every Motswana has at one point or another expressed dissatisfaction at the civil servants’ poor workmanship, their lack of initiative and their complete disregard for detail and prudence.
“It’s like they are all the same. They all seem to like watching their customers standing in a queue and waiting to be served. They are rude and they have absolutely no initiative” they said.
Personally, I believe that the customers’ complaints are genuine. But the fact is that poor customer service is not just a characteristic of the public service, it is also inherent in the private sector.
I believe performance is influenced by many factors, chief among them the company‘s policies to motivate and empower employees.
Most people just barely make it through their day to day work, and they really do not enjoy their employment. Most employees are not motivated, and their hopes and aspirations have been crushed by over bearing bosses and a failing system that mistreat workers. How then do we expect demotivated and unhappy employees to service us with a smile?
These are the very same people who were eager to prove themselves when they started work. They were eager to make a difference and impress their bosses, but they were in for a disappointment.
To their disappointment, they found that their uninspired bosses were a stumbling block to their efficiency and their initiative. It was only after being stuck in the low paying and uninspiring job, with no prospects for promotion that they realised that no one actually gave a damn about the late nights that they put in.
Their initiative went unnoticed, and their brilliant ideas were almost always suppressed and ignored by unimaginative bosses who are obsessed with doing things the old school way. They never got compliments for a job well done, and their bosses always basked in the glory and took all the credit for the junior employees’ brilliant ideas and initiative.
After years of working hard, they finally realised that they are actually insignificant. They might as well be office furniture.
It suddenly became very clear that promotions were not awarded on merit. Syncopaths progressed, while those who showed independence of thought were sidelined and classified as radical.
And then it hits them that their skills are going to waste, and they will almost always be stuck in the thankless, low paying jobs. Staff morale suddenly plummets, and redundancy becomes the order of the day. Then they become like the rest of them. “After all, why care?” they reason.
And then the complaints start flooding in. But they are not about any specific employee, just about the whole department. As much as nobody noticed when they worked hard, nobody addresses them specifically when they drag their feet.
Only a few companies promote healthy competition amongst employees through the simple use of incentives. Those that work hard know that they will be amply rewarded.
But it is not always about money. Employees have to feel appreciated. They must fell like they are making a positive contribution to the company. Companies that inspire employees are able to retain hard working and enthusiastic employees. Employees must feel valuable and appreciated. Departmental awards, giving priority to in house employees during promotions and recruitment, as well as giving compliments for a job well done, will go a long way to inspire staff and increase morale.
The fact is, employees work harder when they feel appreciated.