By Ajay Wahi
Large companies have many people to help the company grow through a combination of hard work and smart work. But in a SME, it is the CEO and his relatively small leadership team on whom this responsibility rests. It is impossible to fulfill this responsibility without devoting extra time and full dedication, which in turn are possible only if there is support from the family. In fact, I would go so far as to say that you should accept the position of CEO of a SME if and only if you have the full emotional support and backing of your family.
My experience has borne out the truth of the saying, “If you are happy at home, you can succeed at office, and if you are happy at office, you can be happy at home too.”
That’s a win-win combination for everyone!
Needless to say, this rule applies to everyone in your organisation. The more vital the employee’s role in the organization, the greater is the truth of the saying. In one of companies where I earlier worked, I was tempted to offer the position of Development Head to a gentleman who was in a similar position at Bangalore since he was approximately 10% better than another candidate from Delhi.
The obvious choice was the Bangalore candidate as he had richer experience, but I opted for the Delhi candidate, because on detailed personal interview, I got the distinct sense that the Delhi candidate seemed to have a more harmonious home atmosphere than the Bangalore one. So, the offer was made to the Delhi candidate. Months later, we were happy to see that the decision was correct.
He enjoyed the full support of his family, and was able to contribute to office, working late hours when it was required. Obviously, he was allowed to come late in the morning, which allowed him to spend sufficient time with his family to make up for working late. The strategy paid off, as he contributed richly towards making that company successful.
So if you are expanding and recruiting, please consider recruiting people with fewer family issues. A SME requires significantly higher than normal dedication! That’s a harsh reality, whether we admit or not.
If you are a newly appointed CEO with the second level brass already in place, then as a first step, you can mingle with your staff to understand their home life. You can familiarise yourself with the constraints they face, and factor these in to make them more productive.At one SME, where I had just taken over the reins, one of my key team members was deeply dejected.
I decided to take him out to dinner and broach the matter directly. He responded immediately, saying that since his role was very valuable, he found himself working virtually 24x7 at office. He did not have any time and/or energy left for his family. My solution was to tell him, “You need a break from the incessant work. Your mind needs rest. Take a week off and chill with your family.”
His dejection vanished immediately! He confessed that he had been planning to quit the company, but on hearing my suggestion, his attitude turned around, and he stayed throughout my tenure as CEO (for over 3 years after this conversation!).
While it may not always be as simple as the scenario I have shared above, one thing is clear: an attempt to understand an employee’s personal limitations itself motivates him/her to give of their best. If you as the CEO show respect for the employee’s personal life, you are showing respect for the individual. Sometimes the personal limitation is too complex for you to make any difference, but the very fact that the employee recognises that you are aware of what s/he is passing through and are sympathetic to him/her, makes all the difference to the person.
So: HAPPY AT HOME makes HAPPY AT OFFICE and A HAPPY SME too!
It is vital that employees’ privacy is not infringed. You need to respect the boundaries that they draw between their personal and professional lives.
Avoid going over-board in advising employees on how you can resolve each of their personal problems.
What Is It For Me
Recruiting employees with supportive families makes retaining people easier.
Communicating your concern for what the employee is going through is a surefire way to boost employee morale.
About the Author
Mr. Ajay Wahi has got two and half decades of all-round exeprience in all areas of organisation functioning like general management, sales and marketing , finance, HR, software development, brand building, team work etc.
He has been working for SMEs for the last 15 years. With all this experience , the author has managed to fast-track the growth of all the SMEs he has worked for. It is these experiences which he has put in this book: and the award for BEST SME of year goes to… Mr. Wahi shares the insights of his book in a series of columns through Small Enterprise India.com