Efficiency goes up by retaining people

“We don’t believe in hiring and firing”

Workers don’t leave the company, they leave the managers, is the famous saying. What does it take to be a good manager? How do you make sure workers don't leave your company? According to Sachin Appachu, general Manager of Kenyan Rose farm Bliss Flora Ltd, it is important to know and understand how one interacts, treats and involves employees. "Being humane is key and one of the aspects that keep workers satisfied. Once a sense of ownership is established by the workers the longer they work for the company."

Sachin explains why he and his entire work force team have a remarkable low staff turnover. “When an employee is hired, they have to be inducted and trained. Usually it takes 3 to 4 months for the worker to competently handle the job assigned to them. Because we retain people to work for a longer time in the greenhouse the efficiency goes up. That way we can reach the same targets with less people.” Bliss Flora Limited was established in 2011, it started with a workforce of 760 employees on a 37 hectare farm. "We now have a workforce of 520 employees. That translates to about 14 employees per hectare, which is less compared to other farms".

Sachin Appachu in the greenhouse.

“A while ago a worker showed up to work intoxicated, a state that was rendering him incapable to work. According to the Kenyan labour laws the worker would be dismissed from employment after observing the due disciplinary procedure. But Bliss Flora does not believe in hiring and firing”, says Sachin. “The worker was counselled. We put into consideration other underlying issues that may be disturbing the worker. This could be due to various reasons like psychological, emotional etc. After taking the worker through various counselling sessions he is now one of our best employees. The worker feels that he belongs to the Bliss team. This is just one example, over the years we have seen a lot more cases like this.”

Helping somebody to be a better person and look at things in a different, positive prospect is something that gives immense pleasure to Bliss Flora management. “A worker spends eight hours working which should be stress free and conducive. By the time the worker goes home he/she should be able to relax and be a good father, a good mom or a good son or daughter, and not take work frustration to the family.”

This different way of managing staff is also being noticed by Bliss Flora’s customers. “Most of our customers are in direct market. They are very keen on how we manage the employees. Once we had a potential customer who visited the farm. She wanted to interview some workers to find out how working with Bliss was like. We let her conduct random interviews and she was pleasantly surprised. She observed that there was something different. She found out that employees had a sense of belonging and ownership to the work they did.

Bliss Flora provides their workers certainty on different levels. “We give them their salary on time. A lot of workers live in rented houses. This way they are able to pay their rent on time and don’t get in trouble with their landlords. They also get their gratuity every completed year instead of once in two to five years. All those little things make a big difference.” Sachin says he is more than happy with the workforce at the Bliss Flora farm. “When employees are happy, there is no stress from all ends. The employees are good people and have a very positive energy toward employment and the work they perform.”

The manager is proud of his management team. “The management highly involves workers when there is change and adoption of new practises. This creates and builds ownership from all quarters thus overall success is attained in the implementation. We highly encourage open door policy communication and observe upward and downwards communication. We are proud to have such a work force where trust is realised from both ends. It is teamwork after all.”

For more information
Bliss Flora Ltd
Sachin Appachu
Email: appachu7@yahoo.com

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