Employee satisfaction, which describes the level of happiness of workers, is a vital component within businesses because it correlates directly with employee productivity.
We know from many studies that workers who experience high employee satisfaction are usually more productive than unsatisfied workers. It is based on this understanding of the dynamics of employee and organisational productivity that organisations implement the necessary policies that drive employee satisfaction and, consequently, productivity for the benefit of the organisations and its stakeholders.
Among the factors that are known to trigger worker productivity, such as employee flexibility, independence, enough time to work and opportunities for career growth, are compensation and benefits.
Certainly, employees who receive competitive wages and fringe benefits are more likely to experience high employee satisfaction than those without these benefits. This is because it is believed that a worker can be more productive when he focuses mainly on productivity and is not distracted by how to meet financial obligations.
These are the reasons all organisations go to great lengths to introduce schemes that will ensure some level of comfort for their employees.
The doctor-patient and health workers-population ratio has been bad over the years, such that the Ministry of Health, within budgetary constraints, has managed to introduce some incentive packages for health workers to encourage them to put in their best while performing their duties.
One of such incentives is the establishment of the Health Sector Vehicle Ownership Scheme under which workers and institutions of the ministry take loans to own means of transport.
The Daily Graphic thinks the scheme is a laudable one that should be maintained and improved to encourage more health workers to benefit. But news that more than 50 institutions that acquired vehicles under the scheme and about 80 to 90 per cent of health professionals who benefited from it have failed to service the loans they contracted is, indeed, unfortunate.
We are at a loss as to how an established organisation such as the Ministry of Health would sit down and allow its loan beneficiaries to default in payment. Many questions arise here — Under what conditions were the loans granted to the beneficiaries? Who were the guarantors? Were proper procedures followed in processing the loans?
The usual thing that happens is that when employees take loans as individuals or in scheme loans, the employer ensures that the loan amount due is deducted at source and paid to the appropriate place during the entire period of servicing the loan. How could the loan beneficiaries default all this while, although they receive their salaries at the end of the month?
We think the decision of the Ministry of Health to publish the names of the defaulters to name and shame them to get them to refund the loan amount is in the right direction. But it should go beyond that to ascertain how the beneficiaries defaulted in the repayment. Anybody whose underhand dealings or negligence of duty might have led to that situation should be sanctioned to serve notice that we cannot approach our duties in any lackadaisical manner.
We also suggest that professionals who have defaulted in servicing their loans should be denied further incentives for a period to serve as a deterrent to others.
We cannot do this as a country and expect improved living conditions for all.