Worry about your employees. They’ll love you for it.

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Bangkok may have been under siege for over two months, but it provides the perfect opportunity for leadership to develop loyalty among their people by showing that they care.

In the past two months, Bangkok has been under siege by protesters known as the red shirts, occupying the major business and shopping districts, leading to severe disruption to business and a severely increased risk to personal safety. It is the perfect opportunity for top management to reaffirm that the staff are assets to the company by showing care and concern for their people, and gaining their trust and loyalty.

One of my friends, working for a major international firm with over 1,000 employees in Thailand, complemented top management for showing care and concern.

“It made us feel good to know that management was worried about us,” she said. “He sent us an email, effectively telling us to be careful and setting the ‘rules of engagement’, on whether we should go to a client or not, and delegating that decision to unit managers.”

“The CEO even included his personal mobile number in the email, which showed that he was genuine, and not just writing the email on the behest of his secretary.”

She also complemented the behaviour and actions of her own director.

“Our manager was also very caring, and sent us regular updates on the situation. He would come to speak with us personally, making sure we left the office before 5 on days where trouble was predicted.”

“Unlike other teams, he kept emphasizing our safety is a priority. The important point here is that he just doesn’t say it, but shows it. For example, there was one morning where the train system skipped several stations, making it almost impossible to reach the office. There was also the threat of violent clashes looming.”

“He sent us emails at 6 in the morning telling us not to go to the office, and instead asking us to work from home.”

“It made us feel that he truly cared, and I feel the team is more closely knit and loyal as a result.”


The Opposite

Compared to one of my other friends who works for a major Japanese software company, the exact opposite was the case.

“Never once did top management show concern,” he complained. “The only time they would communicate with us is to tell us to keep coming to work, never asking if we were alright, never showing a speck of concern.”

Their office is 5 minutes walk from the protest site, an area where there have been armed conflict and bombings on a continual basis.

“It was dangerous to get to the office but we were still expected to turn up to work. Management seems to have this sole obsession on working hours. If we died in the crossfire, they’d probably drag us back from the afterlife and tell us to continue working until we finished the project and only then, after they had found a replacement.”

“It may explain why morale is low, and there’s continual talk among the staff on when you would resign and which company you’d want to work for next.”

A siege doesn’t come everyday. Although it may disrupt your operations, there’s always a silver lining to every cloud: use this opportunity to show genuine concern for your people and keep communicating with them. You will build loyalty and cohesion within the team, and a sense of pride that they’re working for you.

Photo Credits

Cat Handshake by Penny Mathews
Red Shirt Army by Nate Robert

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Karn G. Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead: Worry about your employees. They’ll love you for it.
Worry about your employees. They’ll love you for it.
Bangkok may have been under siege for over two months, but it provides the perfect opportunity for leadership to develop loyalty among their people by showing that they care.
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Karn G. Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead
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