• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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‘A lot of untrained people are doing the recruiter’s job’


Patrick E. Nwakogo, country managing director, Dale Carnegie Training, part of Dale Carnegie Training worldwide in the interview with KELECHI EWUZIE x-rays how an effective recruitment plans spur organisations productivity. Excerpt:


Moving from financial sector to training and consulting for me had to do with the kind of things I saw in the system; a workplace that wasn’t working as well as I thought they should. For instance, I saw a common situation where a lot of people were thrust into leadership positions but didn’t have the capacity to lead.

I saw clearly how people were led in a manner that they shouldn’t be and that got me interested in issues of leadership and management. That was when I resigned my job, went back to school to get a training in that area and I have been working ever with forward-looking corporate entities and individuals in addressing the issues of leadership and selection in the workplace.

Industry challenge of recruiting skilled personnel

I will look at this issue from two angles. The first is in terms of our longer term plan. In this regard, we will be setting up the DCT Academy where we will partner with companies who do not have academies of their own so they can send in fresh intakes to go through a three-month programme of retraining so we can equip them with the basic skills that they need to do well in the workplace. These skills include IT skills, communication, etiquette and other basic skills that they would require from their first day at work.

In terms of getting the right people, I acknowledge the fact that our educational system as it is at the moment cannot meet the requirements of some organisations for obvious reasons, including the quality of infrastructure and tuition.

Be that as it may, I also think that it is still possible to fish out a few good candidates that would do well in today’s workplace if the right assessment tools are used. So if the companies are ready and willing to partner with capable organisations and run the right psychometric assessments, they will be able to get ideal candidates that could do well if they are fitted into the right jobs.

However, what we see here is a situation where people who haven’t received any sort of training in recruitment are the ones making selection decisions in these organisations. I always say that a man cannot act beyond the limit of what he knows. So part of the staffing failures we see in corporate Nigeria is largely due to the fact that a lot of untrained people are doing the recruiter’s job.

There is this misconception that a manager who has been has been on the job long enough can make good selection decisions, but unfortunately, there is no such correlation. Recruiting is a skill for which managers need training, but not many organisations understand that.

About the company

Still new in Nigeria, Dale Carnegie Training is a global organisation that has presence in over 85 countries and 200 offices across the globe with 101 years of experience and track record. It is the only global training company that has received the ISO-9001 certification.

We focus on giving people the opportunity to sharpen their skills and improve their performance to build positive, steady, measurable results. Our areas of specialisation include leadership/management, process improvement, sales effectiveness, presentation effectiveness, customer service, communications and human relations, team-member and employee engagement.

Our plan for the country of Nigeria is to deploy the expertise that we have developed in the last 101 years to the benefit of corporate entities and individuals in Nigeria. We are out to help forward looking organisations that are looking to transforms the way they do things.

We want to partner with them, help them overhaul their system and make things work in the way they work in advanced societies. That is our plan and our goal.

Strategic value adds as a training firm

As a company, we are out to provide leadership on how things work in the workplace. I think that corporate Nigeria has enough capacity but is being hindered by human capital. One quick way out of this issue is to enhance the management and leadership capacity of both the current leaders and potential leaders. That way, organisations will be able to leverage on the potentials that they have.

The second issue I think that needs to be addressed seriously is the issue of employee well-being, which many organisations are not taking seriously. The average person spends about two-third of their waking life either at work or in doing work related activities.

So if people spend that much time at work or in doing work-related activities, then the environmental or conditions under which they work must be healthy, psychologically speaking. But what you find is a lot of psychological abuse by senior executives. Employees, for all you care are not adequately being cared for.

You find a lot of rudeness in the system, people talking down on other people, etc. The fact that you are the boss doesn’t give you the right to talk down on your subordinates. People can’t perform well under such negative atmosphere.

What we do in this area is to impart executives with the basic skills of human relations through the Dale Carnegie Course, our flagship programme.

This is one value area that we are bringing to the Nigerian work place. This is especially huge when you understand the fact that employees who are happy with their employers are 250 percent more likely to do things that are not even required of them. Once we have organisations willing to partner with us in the area, one quick result you will find is a psychologically happy and healthy work place.

Leadership style

I don’t believe in micro-managing people. I believe in getting the right people and putting them in the right positions and just oversee what they do. For me, that is the hallmark of leadership.

Leadership, we all now know is different from management. Both, though important, are different. For me, leadership starts with getting the right candidates for the right jobs, that way my job is easier as a leader, leaving me with role of providing strategic direction for the firm.

But in terms of the smaller details, I leave them to the people whose jobs they are to do them, again based on the foundation that I have recruited the right people for those jobs. However, you cannot fold your hands and watch and see things done poorly and do nothing because you do not want to appear as a micro-manager. That in itself would constitute poor leadership.

Motivation of staff

Motivation I believe is more intrinsic. Extrinsic motivation like money and promotion don’t last for too long. The motivation that stands the test of time is the one that comes from within; it is about being able to ensure that the people you get into the organisation are very passionate about what the organisation does.

That way, they are just as happy to be a part of that organisation, doing the jobs they have being recruited to do. This however does not negate the place for an effective reward system. I am a believer in the idea that only winners deserve trophies.

As an organisation that champions the concept of Employee Engagement, the other things I do to motivate people include showing our associates that I care for them, that I value them as individuals beyond the work they do for the company and constant ensure that I do not betray the trust they have in me.

Dealing with competition

For a company that is 101 years old, there must something we are doing right for us to have lasted this long. Secondly, when you are fortunate to have implemented training programmes for over 400 of the Fortune 500 companies, it tells a lot of story.

Part of what we intend to do in Nigeria is to leverage on some of those relationships and on our track record. But then again, it is not about beating the competition. Our mission here in Nigeria is on bringing real value to the Nigerian people and organisations that have waited this long for a company in the calibre of Dale Carnegie to come to Nigeria.

Work life and family balance

When I am at work, I am at work, but when I am at home, I am at home with my family. I work at home when I have to, and in fact I do a lot of the time but I spend time with family when I have to.

Personally, I do not like the term work-life balance. That term connotes the notion that you have to give up some of one in order to have more of the other. I choose to use the term work-life integration, because I strongly believe all of life is integrated.

Over time, I have come to learn how to integrate my work with my personal life. I am not sure if I will be able to separate my work from my personal life but rather I have found a way to integrate them effectively.

The important thing for me has been to know that there is a place for work and there is a place for family and personal life and learn to respect both. There are not many people who love what they do professionally and I am most grateful to be one of the few who do.