Fri | Oct 23, 2020

Growth & Jobs | Businessman retains staff despite COVID-19

Published:Tuesday | September 29, 2020 | 12:08 AMGareth Davis/Gleaner Writer
Businessman Telef Hall speaks of staff retention despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

PORT ANTONIO, Portland:

It is out of an abundance of love that businessman Telef Hall said that he still retains his employees despite the economic downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hall, who operates a fine-dining restaurant, Roots 21, at Boundbrook in Port Antonio, explained that his decision not to lay off any of his staff provides him with a feeling of fulfilment and contentment as he cares deeply about their well-being.

And while many employees lost their jobs left, right, and centre, across the length and breadth of Jamaica, the only changes made by Hall was to reduce the working hours and the number of days that were allotted to each worker.

“My staff and I have an excellent relationship, and I am also well aware of the difficulties facing them in the event that they are laid off. Some of my staff are paying back loans, some have children going to school, some are paying rent, and for others, it is their only means of income. Yes, things are tight now, but there were days when this business was really flourishing, and I was making a lot of money.

“But now that we have a crisis situation on our hands, it is time to reflect on how best we can stay in business while ensuring that our loyal and committed staff is still able to earn so as to put bread on the table for their family members. My heart is in the right place, and I am ruled by my conscience, which tells me that helping people is simply doing the right thing.”

According to Hall, his staff complement of 15 people are among the best he has ever had working for him, and he is able to trust just about anyone of them to run his business during his absence. He argued that it would be unfair of him to let go any of his staff members, who, according to him, are like real family. “We are no longer operating at full strength as a result of the curfew, but we are doing enough to pay the bills, which I am extremely happy about. I am hoping that the hours of the curfew will be increased to 11 p.m. as soon as the number of positive COVID-19 cases starts to decrease. As a businessman, I have to ensure that all the protocols and guidelines set out by the Ministry of Health are observed, and we have at our disposal hand sanitisers and face masks for any customer who is without.”

“My staff are expertly trained and briefed as to how to treat customers and to ensure that the basic regulations are observed. We still offer the varied dishes of fish, chicken, curried goat, soup, fried plantain, lobster, shrimp, rice and peas, pumpkin rice, vegetables, salad, and natural fruit juice. At Roots 21, we are a family,” Hall further said.