I was in a taxi yesterday and started a conversation with the driver. As he drove on, it was apparent he knew the locality I was directing him to. So I asked him, “How did you get to know this place?” He said, “I used to work here for a sachet water manufacturing company. As curious as I was, I asked, “Why did you stop? Was it not profitable?” Then I added, “I know running a sachet water production outfit is quite profitable. So why the decision?”
Then he said, “The boss was paying me GH¢200.00 a month and yet my cost of transport from Ejisu to work and back was quite significant. Then he added, “Worst of it all, he would not pay me in time. Sometimes, it would take over a week into the next month for him to pay.” I was sad when he said this.
I wasn’t just sad he went through that ordeal, but it brought back memories of when I was also working in a school where the director would choose to pay us after three months. Three months, and this man would tell us nothing as to why he couldn’t pay us. And before you’ll be quick to say maybe there was no money, we, the teachers, personally ensured that pupils and students in our classes paid all their fees. There was money, but he just didn’t respect the worth of his staff. Thanks to studies fees that helped us “live” to see our salaries.
Back then, a friend of mine would normally complain about the issue but I would normally tell him, “These are lessons we have to learn not to replicate in our own companies.” Since then, I made that singular promise and maybe, a vow, to myself never to delay the salaries of my colleagues when I find myself managing a company. So, before we would even start recruiting staff, I always said salaries should be paid latest by the 27th of the month. In truth, we have sometimes gone a day or two more than the 27th. But my commitment to not replicate what I so detested from my former boss has gotten us paying my colleagues in good time. I am not writing this to “boast” of what a good company Hetura Books is. We have a lot more to improve on but I believe many entrepreneurs, especially in Ghana, are found wanting when it comes to paying their staff in time.
If you are unable to pay your staff, I believe it is better to let them go look for better opportunities elsewhere. If you are unable to pay them and yet you work for clients, you may want to improve your receivables especially getting close to the end of the month. One simple tactic we have put in place is sending invoices with dates of when we expect payments from clients. Then we follow up with calls. That way, it helps to get money in to pay your staff. Even the Bible in James 5:4 speaks very strongly about not paying your workers.
You may not pay your workers the highest salaries in the industry; but when you do it in time, they will always know that you care and they will give their all to make the company better. The worst of it all is a boss who doesn’t pay his staff and yet lives lavishly which the staffs clearly know he siphons money from the business to do so. Make that all-important commitment to pay your staff on time. It’s a blessing on every business!
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