As you know we are in the process of honouring our HR heroes. Those individuals that stand out because of the way they empower their personnel.
So without further delay, let us introduce you to Peter. Peter was the owner of a medium-sized business that was being sold to a corporate. Peter obviously didn’t start out with a medium-sized business; he started off with a small team
of one technician, one semi-skilled worker and one unskilled worker.
Over a period of ten years, this company grew to employ about 45 people
. We worked with Peter for about eight of those ten years.
Our first interactions were with him personally and he wanted his staff trained in Business Etiquette
. After a few years, he employed an HR professional who was responsible for all the everyday HR functions, but Peter held onto the training portfolio
. I asked him why he chose to do this. His reply was inspirational.
“This company is no longer mine. It belongs to every person who works here in some way or other. I consider their empowerment as THE most important factor in our growth.
I cannot afford to make any errors with the company's most valuable assets!”
A few things stood out for me in this comment.
• Firstly, how admirable it was that Peter acknowledged that his success was not his alone
• Secondly, how admirable it was that Peter recognised the importance of employee empowerment
• Thirdly, that Peter, as busy as he was, still held onto the training portfolio in his organisation as he considered it a critical leadership function
Here was a successful businessman that saw training not as an unwanted expense, but as an investment.
An investment that showed really impressive returns
Our final contract with Peter took place during the last six months with him at the helm – prior to the corporate owners stepping in. It was a big contract.
Once again, I asked him why they were investing so much time into training just before he moves onto new adventures. Once again his reply was simply amazing.
“Well”, he said, “I am moving on, but many of these guys now have to go and compete for their positions with the existing corporate employees. Our sale agreement could guarantee only 25% of staff their jobs at equal salary and status. The rest I could get a six month guarantee of employment for. There are some who wish to leave and there are some who wish to stay on. I have to give them the best possible fighting chance
and I have to make the change as easy as possible for them; allowing their families some peace of mind as well.”
What a leader. What a hero!
Peter is now retired.
Read more: Episode 1
© Debbie Engelbrecht is the MD at Staff Training. Staff Training is a leadership and soft skills development company. With workshops including emotional intelligence, personal mastery, tools such as the Enneagram and highly trained and experienced facilitators Staff Training are able to assist you with your change management initiatives. Call 0861 996 660.