Stakeholder engagement in Lovina

Turn of the year 2013/2014, Bali

New Year’s Eve is a time for celebration at our villa in North Bali for more reasons than one. It is when the winners of staff annual awards are announced. They are selected through a rigorous evaluation process, based – as the manager explains – on a range of factors, from skills and attendance to less obvious ones such as attitude and reliability. For example – he tells us – P, who has just won the best employee award, never called himself sick last year; “if he was unwell, he would still come to work, deal with any urgent matters, and then be excused. Very reliable – that’s what we need.” That was true, we knew it from our own experience, as P was the one who’d helped us through our booking process, with great friendliness and efficiency.

The value of the awards (an average month salary for non-managerial staff) is high enough to motivate everyone. But there is something else too – the whole evaluation process and the recognition that comes with any award are arguably as important as the financial rewards. The ceremony could not have been more public and at a more festive time; the owners’ representative are there, and every single one of the hundred plus employees would like to stand on that stage to receive that recognition. They are happy to work there – and that is something money alone cannot buy.

Another reason for anticipation (if not yet outright celebration) is that the company is in talks with local people, to reach an understanding on how best to utilise the beach in ways that are mutually beneficial. The beach is the only place for the locals to keep their fishing boats, but it is also a very attractive feature for tourists staying at Lovina. So when they reach an understanding, the locals will gain both directly (as per terms of agreement with the company) and indirectly, through an increased influx of tourists. Indeed, the pearls I bought from our local friends on the beach have brought me more joy than any of my expensive trips to the likes of Taka jewellery.

Tahun Baru, friends from the island of gods!