When Peninah walked into the office, she could sense a heaviness in the air. Though she could not exactly tell what the matter was, Peninah was sure that it was not business as usual.
The staff looked sombre and in deep thought. The guard had opened the gate reluctantly but she had put it down to Monday morning blues.
But by the time she sat down, she knew she needed to do something… something she could not put her finger on. And what needed to be done had to be done fast.
Over the weekend, one of the longest serving employees in the company, Nicholas, had been involved in a tragic road accident while visiting his relatives upcountry. He had lost his wife and daughter and was now fighting for his life at the district hospital.
Word had reached his colleagues that Monday morning when a friend called the office after locating a business card in his wallet.
A dark cloud hang over the office and leadership was needed. After hearing what had happened from the human resource boss, Peninah quickly logged off her computer and convened a quick staff meeting.
In a short while, the entire team sat in the board room waiting to hear what the chief executive had to say. Unity of purpose seemed to unite the staff.
Everyone wanted to be involved in supporting their injured colleague. Resources were garnered and a team dispatched to visit Nicholas in the hospital and later on visit his home.
Glad to be back
After a month in hospital, Nicholas was discharged. He spent a week at home before reporting back to work. As he walked out of his house that Tuesday morning, he could feel the warmth attracting him to the office.
He wanted to get to the office and shake the hands of every member of staff. They had saved him from death almost literally. He knew he owed them much; they had held him up.
This story is a representation of the many challenges that workers go through at work or in their private lives. The support mechanisms available for them mean a lot in terms of enhancing team spirit.
This support goes far beyond the team-building events; it separates the wheat from the chaff in creating a sense of belonging at the workplace.
When staff hold each other up, the support goes a long way in creating lasting bonds between employees and the management. During these times of need, there is no compartmentalisation of the office space; everyone steps in to help.
‘We all did it’ becomes the new slogan as the feeling of comradeship sets in. At this point, the company is ready for a rebirth, the recreation of the fibre that holds it together.
The author is an organisational development practitioner. Find him at www.kahihu.blogspot.com