Creating Loyal Employees

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ONE year ago, DAAI TV station human resources and development (HRD) manager was confounded by the resignations of a number of employees. To avoid disruption to programs, remaining employees were asked to do extra tasks until replacements were found. “It really was a blow to the company,” recalled Perry H. Josohadisoerjo, director of business development at DAAI TV, which belongs to the Tzu Chi Foundation and started airing 2006.

Resignations are not unusual, but they can briefly disrupt a business’ operations. New employees have to be trained, which takes time, as does their adapting to the new environment. Employee turnover can also affect a company’s credibility to a certain extent. Perry considers employees as valuable assets that should be maintained so that they don’t move to another company. Training is needed to enhance their skills, and generating loyalty in employees is not easy. Both take time.

To create loyalty, Perry tries to give employees a sense of belonging. “We instill in them the concept that they are part of the company to make them aware that the progress of the company is in their hands. So, we ask them to make the company a place to earn money for their families. Their dedication is very much required for the progress of the company,” said Perry, who was born in Jakarta 50 years ago.

The sense of belonging is instilled through a reward policy and system for dedicated workers. However small their contribution, the company provides rewards, such as incentives, promotion and raises. “We want to share the progress of our company with all employees, meaning we take care of their welfare,” he said.

However, in every company there are always those who do not give their utmost, which is why the TV station has not only a reward system but also a punishment system. Managers are responsible for guiding and remind those who do not fully apply themselves. “A music conductor must be brave enough to get rid of unmotivated and unprofessional players. This boosts the morale of other employees,” he said.

Perry is friendly with his employees. His position does not seem to hamper his daily interaction with his employees as they regard him as a friend. When he is free he sometimes accompanies a reporter and cameraman on assignment, or he eats lunch with the employees in the office canteen. Mingling with them creates harmonious communication for a conducive work atmosphere, he said.

“A leader must not stay behind his desk all the time. He or she should mingle with the employees. This kind of relationship can motivate them because they will feel that the management is paying proper attention to them,” he said.

Perry understands attitudes typical of employees because he gained experience when managing a family company, NV Pudja Film, in his high school days in 1978. At the time, his elderly father handed over the reins of the family company to him. He taught himself how to motivate employees to reach the company’s target because there was no one to teach him. The experience matured him beyond his years.

“One can acquire knowledge about management at university, but only the theory. When I became the head of the company I attained knowledge through experience,” he said.

His experience tells him that to create loyal employees one has to start from being religious. According to him, every religion teaches good things, like honesty and thankfulness to God. These things, he said, are a solid foundation to create good and loyal employees.

The TV station has various facilities for worship, such as a mosque, a church and a temple. All major faiths in Indonesia are represented among the company’s more than 100 employees. All major religious days are commemorated by the company’s management and employees, and are covered in its news reports.

“We have created a religious atmosphere at our company where our employees can practice their faith freely. So, pluralism and religious tolerance are implemented here,” said Perry. The religious atmosphere here, he added, is positively contagious so that those who neglect their religious duties are automatically reminded by the actions of other employees.

Perry, who is an avid cyclist, said that today many people neglect religious norms and that everyone should get back on religious track for their life foundation. This can start in the family as well as in the work environment.

“Work is worship. If an employee is religious he or she will work sincerely and fully apply themselves to every task. The spiritual and physical harmony will then create a quality and loyal employee,” he continued.

There is an old adage that humans are never satisfied. However large their salary, they will look for a larger income. The company’s strategy to overcome this kind of dissatisfaction is by instilling a sense of belonging, rewarding high-achieving employees, creating a close and harmonious relationship with employees and nurturing religious values in employees.

“This way we have drastically reduced staff turnover. As the management is aware that they are valuable assets, we give them appropriate and proportional appreciation. However small an employee’s contribution, we must recognize and reward it properly. Only then can we have loyal employees,” stressed Perry, who is the grandfather of two grandchildren and cycles most weekends with Jakarta’s bicycling community. (Burhan Abe)

The Jakarta Post, March 04, 2009

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