Kenya loses about Sh5 billion every year as a consequence of absenteeism of working women suffering domestic abuse, underlining the huge economic cost of gender-based violence on the economy, a report by audit firm KPMG and telecommunications giant Vodafone shows.
The survey that covered nine countries globally shows that in the past 12 months, an estimated 505, 000 women in Kenya have been forced to take time off work because of domestic violence, drastically hurting their productivity and that of private as well as public sector institutions.
This is more than double that in South Africa which had about 238,000 women skipping work in the period, the report dubbed ‘The workplace impacts of domestic violence and abuse’ shows.
“As this only captures estimates of female victims of domestic violence and abuse, the overall impacts covering male victims also, is likely to be higher,” the report says.
“At an economy level, this can translate to reduced economic output and productivity as well as fiscal impacts linked to the reduction in income-related tax revenues from lower earnings of domestic violence and abuse victims and due to reduced company output.”
Companies like Safaricom have stepped up efforts to help their female workers experiencing domestic violence by setting up toll-free line to help them access psychological help support, hospitals and report the incidents to the police.
We were proud to host Anne Mwikali, an upcoming cosmetologist for an empowerment workshop at Mrembo on 6th November. She shared on her experience handling clients and positioning yourself for success in the beauty industry. Here are our favourite takeaways from the session:
A. Creating an encouraging workplace environment
Teamwork is the key to enjoying your workplace（always assist your colleagues）.
Do more than expected. Go out of your way to serve others.
Share knowledge. The only way to learn more is to share more of what you already know and make others be willing to share what they know.
Approach clients politely and with respect.
Attend seminars/conferences on hairdressing in order network with peers and increase and/or improve your skillset.
Be passionate about your work. Clients can tell. Maximise your growth potential by being self-driven. Volunteer in salons around your area to learn more and gain experience.
Start small. Everything you learn along the way will be valuable for your career in the long-term.
Rapport is a relationship of accord, harmony, and affinity in regards to your clients. Where there’s rapport people feel loved, appreciated, wanted; and they want to be in that environment.
The building blocks of rapport:
Understand yourself. You need to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses.
Understand your client. Be observant, listen genuinely to your client and find out their history.
Manage your relationship. You are the professional, act like it.
Manage your service. Do as you’ve promised and when working work with excitement and energy. Understand what you are doing. Ensure you know what procedures you’re to perform and how they should be done. You can’t avoid mistakes, but make an effort to minimise them. Seek knowledge.
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Barriers to rapport:
Blame games and judgement.
Different goals and expectations.
Service delivery problems.
Any of the above can stop you from being building rapport with your client. Be aware and work towards avoiding the barriers. The more professional you are, the less likely the chances of you failing to build rapport with your client.
C. Types of clients
Cooperators – They love to make people happy. They are difficult clients. They accept everything you tell them which is why it is a challenge to work with them.
Energizers – They are very outgoing and will try out new fashion styles. They have a problem when you do things the wrong way. They’re difficult to calm down once annoyed but good as friends.
Analysers – They rarely speak out their minds. They are difficult to handle because they communicate via body language. Aa salon with an analyser will benefit from their knowledge. They always go by facts.
Regulators – They are thinkers, very strict and need to be handled very quickly. Give them the service they want, they don’t like to discuss.
D. Understanding the service
This begins by you welcoming the client and trying to establish rapport via greetings.
It is followed by a general assessment, consultation and listening to the client’s request while asking relevant questions to determine their needs. Listen carefully to the answers and concerns of your client.
Remember to have a general agreement on what should be done and share your plan with the client while encouraging their participation in the process/procedure.
Delivery, this is equal to a partnership, the client has to follow your instructions. Manage your relationships and make sure you don’t give up on your client.
Solve the problems slowly and professionally without involving other people. Remember that you’re in control.
Manage the service by ensuring the service is carried out properly and at a suitable pace.
Self-esteem is an individual’s subjective evaluation of their own worth. It is a contribution of many factors:
Sincerity – when you’re sincere, you gain confidence in your abilities.
Patience – this increases rapport with your client.
Cleanliness – the cleaner you and your surroundings are, the higher your self-esteem.
Background – how you grew up, where you live and other similar factors can either increase or decrease your self-esteem.
Being aware of these factors will help you be more professional in your approach towards your craft.
All in all, remain focussed and offer the best service to your clients if you would like to nurture your career towards success. Always work for tips because clients must pay for the service, but going out of your way will earn you the extra income, and most importantly, believe in yourself.
Former South Africa President Nelson Mandela once said: ‘‘As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.’’
Unfortunately, these three iniquities continue to bedevil our society. Although the Kenya Economic Update shows that poverty index in Kenya has declined significantly from 43.6 percent in 2005/2006 to 35.6 percent in 2015/2016, the World Bank notes that poverty is unlikely to be eradicated by 2030.
As businesses, we cannot ignore the fact that we do not operate in isolation. We have a critical role to play in reducing or eliminating these inequalities. This, we can do through creation of sustainable livelihoods and support to businesses and families through our operations.
Each year for the past eight years, Safaricom has released the Sustainable Business Report. This year, we focused on reducing inequalities, guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The SDG’s are not only influencing a more sustainable approach to business but also strengthening our commitment to ensuring that we leave no-one behind.
It is a journey we would encourage each business to take. It forces a business to confront difficult truths, it challenges a business to look at what it can do better and set bolder targets.
Our world today faces a myriad of challenges, from human rights violations and extreme poverty, to poor governance and climate change.
According to Oxfam International, since the 2007/2008 Global Financial Crisis, the number of billionaires has almost doubled with a new billionaire created every two days between 2017 and 2018.
However, we still have almost half of humanity still living in extreme poverty.
We must recognise that the business of doing business is not just business any more, it is much more than that. We need to evolve the way we approach business. Our success as businesses is intertwined with the growth of communities in which we operate. We cannot succeed if the communities we serve are struggling.
As the private sector, we have the capacity to make things better, and to transform lives. We can drive positive change if we want to. We can reduce or end the number of people living in extreme poverty. And this should start from within us.
Let us not shy away from joining in the conversation and act towards reducing inequalities and promoting the Sustainable Development Goals agenda.
For Safaricom, reducing inequalities means building our network infrastructure to ensure that the benefits of telecommunication accrue to as much of our population as possible. It means developing products and services that are affordable, and that can ensure access to basic services such as health information, education content and clean and affordable energy.
Technology today, for all the good it has done, has also significantly widened the income gap between the world’s wealthiest and poorest, locking many people out of opportunities offered by access to, for example, the internet. Sustainable businesses must ensure inclusive business, drive economic growth, and respond to the needs of the ordinary Kenyan.