Tuesday June 26, 2012
Many throughout the globe inspired to work better after the death of selfless bus driver
Talking HR with Melissa Norman
MANY of you would have read the news about Wu Bin “The Most Beautiful Driver in China.” He was accorded a city-level funeral and bereavement for his selfless act of driving 25 passengers to safety after an iron object flew into the bus he was driving and pierced his stomach.
This 48 year old Hangzhou native succumbed to his injuries and died on June 1. I am sure all of you who read the news of Wu Bin felt the same way I did as much as we felt sadness on his demise but we were all inspired by his selfless act, his responsibility to his job and his beautiful heart.
His manager's comment about Wu Bin, drove a message that impacted employees throughout the world how, following Wu's death, his colleagues have been inspired by Wu's great sense of responsibility to his job and how his action has motivated them to improve the way they work and to do their best in every moment of their job.
As we move into a fast-paced business environment, most employees lose sight of the sense of value and ownership of their work. Many are busy chasing “money” and material goods to find happiness. At times, values and priorities are compromised for such pursuits of material wealth.
Today, there is a clear lack of job loyalty in most organisations and an increase of job-hoppers who do not stay with an employer for even a year. In any given position, employees need at least two years on-the-job experience to excel and gain valuable practical insights to develop their skills, gain experience and enhance their knowledge.
It may be true to a certain extent that by changing and switching jobs, one can have a broader experience working in various companies and industry but employers measure your value to their company based on what you bring to the table.
If the job experience you have gained is short term, chances are, your exposure and strength may be limited to the general scope of work and you may lack depth of knowledge and skill sets that can only be harnessed through longer practical learning and development phases.
I have spoken at seminars and conferences about employees resigning without giving proper notice and how that impacts their personal branding. Expanding on that topic is how their irresponsible act creates problems and stress, and has consequences that impact everyone around them.
These employees do not only negatively impact their employers but also their fellow colleagues as the colleagues who take over the abrupt workload assigned to them without proper handover, is then saddled with immense amount of extra work and more time is needed to source and trace documents, files, paperwork, which they have no knowledge of and the follow-up work creates undue stress on the colleague.
Secondly, there may be colleagues or people who were working with this person on a project and the sudden absence will create a vacuum/gap in the flow of work and timelines to be met and agreed upon.
Thirdly, if that person's role was that of a bus driver, by resigning without notice, his act will impact the lives of the commuters who had relied on him to take them to their place of destinations. The daily routine of going to work will be negatively impacted and employees may face disciplinary action because they were late to work.
This reminds me of a real incident a few years back. My colleague's daughter attends a school that provides bus services to their students and the bus drivers (there are more than seven of them) are full time employees of the school. All of them are in their 50s or late 40s.
My colleague sat in one of the school bus and took a ride on the designated bus plying the route to their home, when her daughter started Form One. The school allowed the parents to have a real experience of how the transportation system was being managed and parents could hitch a ride on the bus.
From her account, my colleague was totally impressed with the bus driver's memory of the students' houses, the systematic route he took, how he maintained safety methods while driving and his humble demeanour.
What impressed her most was that when they got caught in a dead end after a wrong direction given by a new student, the bus driver had to reverse the huge long bus through a very narrow road.
It was very tough and he had to manoeuvre the bus with his skills many times and there were moments when everyone thought that it would have been impossible but he would it anyway. (The new student had problems recognising her house as she was recently transferred from another state and hence, couldn't recognise the streets well).
Finally, after two more wrong turns, this new student reached her home. Other students in the bus were already grumbling and some kept telling the bus driver to drive faster because they were already late reaching home but the bus driver kept his cool and even told the students to be patient and not to blame the new student.
He was very responsible in his duties and clearly was dedicated to his job. His actions gave my colleague a sense of well being and peace of mind as she knew that her daughter's safety was the top priority to him and that he took his duties seriously. Today, five years later, she is still as impressed and humbled at how he discharges his duties in taking the students to school and back.
Not many employees need to emulate the heroic actions of Wu Bin and I sincerely believe that employers understand this and do not expect that of their employees either.
When employees accept an offer of employment and sign the letter of employment, they are actually agreeing to show commitment and discipline, and place value to how they carry out their duties and be responsible for their job. On the other hand, the employers agree to honour the terms of employment.
Let us all use Wu Bin as our guiding torch in how we carry out our duties to make this world a better place for us and for our future generations.