Inspiring Change Through Literature and Media
The hunt for an efficient Sales Girl resumed few months ago. High staff turnover is one of those things we retailers have to cope with around here. Hiring and firing is as it were a normal part of our routine and operations.
And there are those unforgettable and sometimes even laughable encounters for sure.
Not that I intend to judge Diary, but I learn daily on the job; and embedded in my learning is at least a lesson for the small Startup and the young Job Seeker out there.
Notable among the applicants was this girl we all really liked. Let’s call her Ndidi.
A little on the big side, but weight is not a problem (as long as she isn’t overbearing or on the other hand sluggish; and then if there is some value she’s bringing to the table…)
We also noticed she isn’t a cheerful person which might not be too good for business, but she could always learn to be charismatic on the job – every man deserves a chance they say…
She scored below average in the assessment test for applicants, but we’ve learnt to give people a chance based on their other pluses as long as there is a hint they would learn very fast.
High staff turnover is actually one of those things we retailers have to cope with around here. Hiring and firing is as it were a normal part of our operations and routine.
Moreover from experience, (and do not say I told you diary) there is this secret fear of hiring the too smart ones anyways, because more often than not, they tend to end up unsupportive, always jumping rules and beating systems or policies …
Our HR consultant liked Ndidi as he felt she looked kind of matured and responsible. Therefore, we decided to give her a try, and the date for physical audit was fixed.
We also noticed she isn’t a cheerful person which might not be too good for business, but she could always learn to be charismatic on the job- every man deserves a chance they say…
She came in about ten minutes late, but oh well- not too much of a problem too- Lagos traffic can be unpredictable indeed!
And so she set out to work on the first assignment all applicants must take which is, a physical inventory check plus dusting of corresponding shelves.
Then Trouble Began
And thus started the trouble.
Come and see Ndidi puffing and panting o. Over ‘ordinary‘ dusting of shelves…! From the way things were going, Ndidi was more than confirming initial fears about sluggishness.
…if two cannot be better than one, let the one rather work alone.
I began to wonder how someone her age, a potential home maker for that matter could find such a simple task so hard, at least it is expected around here that simple tasks related to house keeping should come natural for young people…
And when upon subtle enquiries I discovered there was no physical challenge or health issues, I said to myself, “Na wah o”.
Then in came my friend Abe to see me briefly, and when she was gone, I discovered Ndidi had actually skipped some shelves and swept some stuff under the carpet while we discussed.
Whaaaaaaaattttttt?????? See me see peace o.
Sho Ndidi, na wah for you o.
Pass you no pass
Friendly, you no dey
Smile you no dey smile
Clean sef you no clean
So whinsh one na?
For me, that was it.
There is no way an Ndidi could work with us without constant friction if she could dodge such a simple task on her very first day at work. Then I remembered our company’s common cost saving mantra as regards staffing: if two cannot be better than one, let the one rather work alone.
I called Ndidi, gave her some little change for ‘T-fare’ back home and bade her farewell,
“Thanks for the good try Sis. Better luck next time.”
Lessons We Can Learn:
The moral behind this story is this:
Every Business Owner wants, not a perfect staff who knows it all, but someone who would at least bring some value to the table. We need help and not burden- people to enhance our operations and not become bottle necks.
No Startup would pay for what he could get done for free, (anyways, not me) and as earlier mentioned, if two wouldn’t be better than one, then why hire another hand and raise overhead cost? Our economy doesn’t permit such frivolous spendings. Remember, we’d rather invest that money than throw it away.
The staff hunt continued as usual and next on the ‘Notable List’ was Salewa. Hmmmm S-a-l-e-w-a…
Funmi Adebayo (c) 2015