IN the many years that I have been conducting recruitment on behalf of companies and the many years that I have sat across job seekers, I have marveled at the number of employees who quit their jobs not because they are unhappy with the company they are working for but with their immediate supervisor or manager. Two weeks ago was the last straw for me hearing similar stories about this matter and so I decided to write about it in this week's article.

Two weeks ago a young man came to our office to see whether we could assist him find a job. Looking at his CV, he had good experience and qualifications and was in fact working for a reasonably good organisation so I was a little surprised as to why he would want to leave a company that many jobs seekers approach me wanting to join. He looked at me, looked to the ground and broke down, crying uncontrollably. It took me by surprise, as you don't see men cry easily and so I let him cry for a while and after a few minutes he composed himself and started to tell his story.

He had been working for the company for about five years. He loved the company and looked forward to going to work each morning for the first three years. A few of those times he was asked to act in the position of the manager whenever the manager was on leave or away on company business. In his fifth year, his manager was promoted and a colleague in the same department as him was appointed to the position of manager and that is when his nightmare began.

His former workmate now manager would shout, insult and put him down in front of his workmates. When he was dealing with a customer and made any slight mistake, the manager would reprimand him and threaten to fire him right in front of the customer. When everyone had knocked off work, the manager would wait for the time he was just about to leave and prevent him from leaving and would give him assignments that took no less that three hours to complete, meaning that he arrived home after 21hours every day.

This had begun to affect his relationship with his wife who had started suspecting that he was having an affair. He always found his children already sleeping. In the last three months, the same gentleman had been moved from head office to a tiny branch where he has even been denied working tools such as a computer and yet every day he was shouted at for failing to send a typed weekly report.

The gentleman had tried to seek recourse from the human resource department which unfortunately has yielded no positive results as the human resource manager is very good friends with the gentleman's Manager.

In addition to being moved to a small branch he was informed that his salary was to be reduced by 50 per cent because of the supposed demotion. He says cannot quit his job because the income he earns even as it has been cut is what helps supplement his wife's salary.

His self esteem as been reduced so much as he now earns much less than his wife. Whenever he makes a request in advance to take just a day off, he is denied. Nothing he does is correct, his reports are sent back, his contributions in meetings are shot down and he has reached a point where he has no choice but to start looking for another job.

Whilst I accept that there is always two sides to a story, this experience in not new to many employees who are suffering in silence at the hands of abusive managers, managers who in most cases are promoted not because they are the best person for the job but because they have either been in the system long or because they get along with the senior boss and therefore lack basic management skills.

This is a huge challenge that senior management must always watch out for and address. It is important to not only understand but also appreciate that the people we employ are human beings with rights to be treated just as we would want to be treated. They are mothers and fathers; they are respected members of their communities. They come to work because out of an interview selection they were chosen because of a certain skill and competency that they possess and bring to the organisation. No one has the right whatsoever to abuse employees.
I have looked and tried to find a single definition that says a manager should be oppressive and I have not found one.

One thing I know is that we employ people who are intelligent and when positive reinforcement and motivation is added to these employees, they perform beyond our expectations. They blossom when they are appreciated and recognised. Where one finds that their employee is incompetent or is a low performer, every effort must be put to train, coach and mentor them; that is why you have been employed or promoted to the position of manager. As a manager leave your insecurities elsewhere and stop making the lives of employees miserable.

Companies are losing revenue whenever a good employee resigns because they have to spend time and money going through a recruitment process. It is no secret that when you nurture employees, they are keen to please you and so they will go above and beyond their call of duty to give you good results.

I want to also urge my fellow human resource practitioners to pay close attention to the wellbeing of employees. Let us not be feared by workers because in our profession and jobs as human resource practitioners, the employee is the most important person in our premises.

We are not doing them a favour by employing them; in fact they are doing us a favour by offering their skills and talents for the organisation to achieve its goals. Whenever they come to us with challenges they are facing in the job or with their supervisor, we must stop and take time to listen because they are giving us an opportunity to not only to serve them but also to make our jobs relevant. If employees don't come to you for help as a human resource practitioner, then I don't see the reason why you should be employed.

Work constitutes only a fraction of our lives, not our whole lives, and therefore as managers and employers let us work towards creating an environment conducive for our employees to give us their best performance. And yes, it is possible!

 The author is a Human Resource Consultant with Prosoft Human Resource Solutions. For any suggestions and comments please email visit (external link) You may also connect with me on LinkedIn or find Prosoft Human Resource Solutions Facebook page and like it or contact 0955 472850.