Understanding the employer’s perspective: Why your job matters beyond a paycheck


By Dr. Shelter LOTSU

In today’s rapidly evolving work environment, it’s crucial for employees to appreciate their roles and understand the employer’s perspective. Employers are not simply figureheads or distant entities dispensing paychecks, nor are they running a charity. Instead, employers are central to creating opportunities, fostering growth and driving the organisation’s success. This article aims to clarify why employees’ commitment and understanding of their employer’s role is vital for a thriving and productive workplace.

The Employer’s role: more than meets the eye

When considering the employer’s role, it’s important to recognise their extensive responsibilities and weight of the decisions they make daily. Employers are tasked with:

Strategic vision: Employers develop the company’s vision and strategic direction. They set long-term goals, adapt to market changes and position the company for success. For example, Kantanka Group – a Ghanaian automobile  company – has successfully developed and marketed locally manufactured cars and other technological innovations. Their strategic vision has enabled them to compete against international brands by focusing on products that meet local needs and preferences.

Resource management: Managing resources, including finances, technology and human capital, is a critical function of the employer. This ensures that the company remains competitive and capable of growth.

An example is Kasapreko Company Limited, known for its alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, which has effectively managed its resources to expand its market reach across West Africa – establishing efficient production and distribution networks that support its growth.

Employers and employees have responsibility for success of the business

Risk bearing: Employers often bear significant financial and personal risks. Whether it’s investing in new technology or navigating economic downturns, their ability to manage risks directly affects job security and the company’s future. mPharma, a pharmaceutical company in Ghana, bears the risk of investing in technology and logistics to improve the supply chain for medications, which has significantly improved access to affordable drugs in Africa.


Understanding these facets helps employees see their employers not just as authority figures but as individuals dedicated to sustaining and growing the business in which they work.

Employees’ expectations vs Organisational needs

Employees naturally focus on their personal goals, such as career advancement, salary increases and job satisfaction. However, aligning personal ambitions with organisational needs is essential for a cohesive and efficient work environment. Here’s how employees can bridge this gap:

Productivity and contribution: Each employee is hired with an expectation of adding value to the company. Understanding how your role contributes to the company’s objectives can enhance your job satisfaction and career progression.

In this direction, employees at MTN Ghana are encouraged to innovate and contribute to the company’s mission of providing reliable telecommunications services. Their individual contributions have led to significant advancements in mobile money services, benefitting millions of users.

Collaboration and teamwork: Modern businesses thrive on effective teamwork. Being overly self-focused can disrupt team dynamics and hinder collective achievements. Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative relies on the teamwork of its employees to produce sustainable bicycles from bamboo. Collaboration among artisans, engineers and marketers has enabled the company to gain international recognition and export its products.

Adaptability and learning: In an ever-changing market, the ability to adapt and acquire new skills is invaluable. Employees who embrace learning and growth are better-positioned to meet the company’s evolving needs and seize new opportunities. At Blue Skies, a company that processes fresh-cut fruit, employees are trained in adapting to new processing techniques and quality standards, ensuring the company remains competitive in the export market.

Recognising how personal success is intertwined with organisational goals can lead to more meaningful contributions and professional fulfillment.


The reality of business: beyond philanthropy

Employers are not philanthropists

While they aim to support and develop their employees, their primary objective is to ensure the company’s sustainability and growth. Consider these aspects:

Profitability: To pay salaries, invest in future growth and provide benefits, companies must be profitable. This requires every employee to contribute effectively to the company’s bottom line. For example, GCB bank’s profitability enables it to provide extensive training and development programmes for its employees – which in turn improves customer service and operational efficiency.

Value generation: Employers expect employees to generate value through their work, which justifies compensation and supports career development.

Employees at AgroCenta, a digital agricultural platform, create value by developing tools that help farmers access markets and financial services, directly contributing to the platform’s growth and farmer incomes.

Accountability: Just as employees are accountable for their tasks, employers are accountable to stakeholders – including shareholders and customers. They must deliver results and uphold the company’s reputation. For example, Vodafone Ghana – now Telcel – is accountable to its customers and shareholders to deliver reliable telecommunications services. Employees are trained to uphold high standards in customer service, directly impacting the company’s reputation and customer satisfaction. Recognising this business reality can help employees understand the importance of their role and broader impact of their work.

Mutual respect and commitment: the key to success

The relationship between employers and employees is a partnership that requires mutual respect and commitment.

Here’s how both sides can cultivate a successful work environment:

Clear communication: Open, transparent communication helps align expectations and address concerns. Regular feedback and performance discussions can enhance understanding and cooperation. For example, Unilever Ghana fosters open communication channels through regular town hall meetings where employees can voice their concerns and contribute ideas, leading to better alignment and a more engaged workforce.

Recognition and reward: Employers should acknowledge and reward employee contributions to foster motivation and engagement. Conversely, employees should appreciate the opportunities and support provided by their employers. Zenith Bank Ghana regularly recognises outstanding employees with awards and incentives, which has led to increased motivation and a positive work culture.

Shared goals: Working toward shared goals creates a sense of purpose and alignment. Employees should take ownership of their roles and strive to meet company objectives, while employers should support their growth and development. Fan Milk Limited, a leading producer of dairy products in Ghana, aligns employee goals with company objectives through development programmes and performance bonuses – encouraging employees to contribute to the company’s success.

Building a future together

A successful workplace is built on the recognition that both employers and employees have critical roles to play. Employers provide the platform, resources and strategic direction, while employees bring their skills, dedication and innovation to the table. By understanding this relationship, employees can appreciate their jobs as more than just a source of income but also as a vital part of collaborative efforts that drives the company’s and their own personal success.

In conclusion, employers are neither fools nor philanthropists. They are visionary leaders committed to navigating the complexities of business to ensure profitability and growth. By acknowledging this and aligning personal ambitions with organisational goals, employees can contribute more effectively and find greater satisfaction in their roles. Mutual respect and understanding paves the way for a fulfilling and productive work environment, benefitting both individuals and the organisation.

About the author

Dr. Shelter Lotsu, an engineer by training, is a consultant with over 28 years in civil engineering construction and project management, and has in the last 5 years focused on business strategy and ESG Sustainability. Dr. Lotsu believes in creating environments where mutual success is achieved through understanding and cooperation.

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