The need for employee welfare
Just spend a day in their shoes
One of my favourite American environmental photographers, Ansel Adams, once said, “A photograph is usually looked at-seldom looked into”.
It was my memory of this quote that spurred my actions when I saw a picture of a grinning Amir Chaudry, managing director, Q Facilities Management, hanging at a height from what seemed to be the side of a rather tall building.
It’s easy enough to see why I was so eager to find out the context behind this photograph—I mean, how many managing directors do you know of that have actually gone about abseiling a building?
I soon found out that the picture had been taken at a CSR event conducted by Chaudry’s company, during which he had briefly stepped into the shoes of the many rope access technicians that he employs.
It was a daring step, and I find it worthy of applause not just for Chaudry’s bravado, but also because he took the time out to actually perform the activities that his employees do on a day-to-day basis—Chaudry would now have a first-hand idea about the challenges involved in his employees’ line of work.
Chaudry’s actions set me thinking—wouldn’t it be great if every employer spent some time actively learning about what each of their employees do on their jobs? For instance, it would be good to see the heads of FM companies spending a whole day leading the life of, say, a maintenance worker, or a security guard.
While this would in no way replace regulatory mechanisms to govern the treatment of workers, I can’t help but think that such an activity would be a good way for people at the helm of companies to understand the need for employee welfare, and why they need to take care of their human resources.
After all, once they realise for themselves the hard work their staff do, and the kind of salaries and benefits accorded to them for their work, I believe that employers will think twice before saying no to, say, proposals to upgrade their staff’s accommodation, or providing health insurance for all of their employees.
Stepping into the shoes of the staff would be a good way to remind employers that they need to treat their employees in the same manner they’d want to be treated if they were in the latter’s place.
About the author
Aby Thomas is the deputy editor of Facilities Management Middle East