• Saturday, July 20, 2024
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BusinessDay

‘Talent management achievable at all levels of education, career’

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Nireti Adebayo, MD/CEO, Whytecleon Limited, a human resource consulting firm, in this exclusive interview with KELECHI EWUZIE, x-rays the growth prospect of outsourcing practice in Nigeria and the role her company plays in meeting organisations’ needs. Excerpt:

Challenge of talent management in Nigeria and way forward

It is a huge challenge and we all have various roles to play by the government, individuals and the private sector. The problem of education is multi-dimensional such that issues bordering on talents must be considered from the developmental stages. What are we doing to ensure that we have the right talents?

However, to answer your question directly, often times, organisations do not necessarily match the right skills with the roles such talents would play in organisation. For example, emphasis are laid on technical skills while downplaying the roles of managerial skills.

Also, roles become highly monotonous for these talents who seem not to have experiences in other areas of their jobs so it becomes slightly difficult to score or identify talents based on such monotonous roles.

We must also train and retrain our employees; we must give training a priority, review our processes of managing talents and in addition, abstain from organisational bureaucracies that tend to pay lip service to training and employees’ career development. Individually, we must integrate the habit of self-development in our personal development plans and the government or regulatory bodies can help craft policies that will enable organisations to develop talents rather than organisations making profitability the sole priority and lastly among others, organisations must specifically design and define strategies in clear terms on ways to identify and develop talents and this should form part of their corporate strategy.

Although, I’m aware that several organisations especially the multinationals have such programmes, we enjoin more organisations to adopt such behaviours.

Talent management can be achieved at all levels from the primary school, secondary school and tertiary institutions. If we are serious about talent management, I believe the product of talent management would be better equipped and the will be a multiplier effect. I always say we cannot give what we don’t have. The challenge of talent management is not limited to the private sector but applies to all strata of the economy which includes the education sector. We have to start from the scratch.

We review our organisational processes for sourcing and retaining talents. It is a strategy that we have devised over time and it has worked. How much effort do you put into sourcing for talent? Again information resource platforms abound which also helps in identifying talent pools backed with various test questions that are designed to identify both technical and managerial skills in addition to various office and organisational proficiency tests. We must seek to know our employees in-depth which are common now with the enterprise implementation of KYC.

It is not how long you meet the talent, but the ingredients you have to put together to ensure that you pick the right talent.

Commitment to organisations’ talent needs

As an outsourcing company, we continually review our processes. Our processes must meet the needs of your principals and their overall corporate strategies. We always strive to identify areas of needs or gaps for our principals and seek ways to proffer solutions to adequately add value to our principals businesses.

We always seek to have in-depth knowledge of our principals’ businesses, their corporate goals, strengths and weaknesses; this enables us to design the framework to achieve corporate success both for our principals and our organisation. No organisation is the same.

We build beneficial relationships through our core values and the things we believe in. We believe in building strong sustainable relationships with our clients.

Whytecleon Limited

Our business is human capital outsourcing, Learning and manpower development, HR re-organisation. Our learning and man power development focuses on managerial and non-technical areas such as ethics, employee engagement, culture etc. often neglected in organisations. We have noticed the huge gap between technical competencies and managerial skills which often result in the lack of in-depth knowledge in managing people and retaining talents.

We engage in developmental training that will enhance a person’s productivity and performance in the office.

Outsourcing was a strategy by organisations for cost reduction, however, it has gone a step further and has become more dynamic as firms now seek for ways to enhance value to make your principals business more efficient and competitive to meet market demands while remaining profitable. Any outsourcing firm in the present corporate environment and is not adding value to its clients is not competent to do outsourcing.

Outsourcing is a strategic intent for organisations to meet strategic goals and ensure business continuity at a profitable level while not compromising on quality productivity and profitability. So, you have to continually review your processes to meet clients’ needs and add value to their business.

As a strategic outsourcing company, our 2015 projection is huge but our emphasis this year is adding value to our principals. We have a number of organisations we service now within and outside the country.

At outsourcing level, this year, what we have started to do is to begin to research areas in our clients businesses where we can improve efficiency and make their operations (as it concerns us) seamless.

This year, we hope to give as much information as possible on the values of outsourcing and how they can best leverage on outsourcing in achieving their corporate objectives.

Career path

I have a first degree in Accountancy here in Nigeria and a Masters’ degree in Administration with a major in Strategic Human Resource Management from Lincoln University, USA.

I’m a two time alumnus of the Lagos Business School CEP & AMP programs and an honorary facilitator at the Enterprise Development Centre – LBS and a stint at IESE University of Navarra Spain for a Management Course.

I am a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM), a member of the Society for Human Resource Management USA, a member of the International Association for Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP- the world body for outsourcing practitioners). I am also a member of the Association of Outsourcing Practitioners of Nigeria (AOPN).

Performance of outsourcing companies in Nigeria compared to other country across the globe

Outsourcing in Nigeria is still at its infancy and it is developing really rapidly. When we compare outsourcing companies with countries like India, Chile, Brazil, United States, these countries are advanced because they started outsourcing several years ago and at even mid management and senior levels. I am aware that companies like Adecco one of the largest outsourcing companies in the world outsource at both mid and top management.

Here in Nigeria, we are just a few years old. Considering that the spread of time is not long, I believe we are doing great despite the low barrier to entry but I believe with the awareness the Association of Outsourcing Practitioners is championing, we are optimistic that in the near future the efforts of the AOPN and other stakeholders will lead outsourcing in Nigeria to the level we would all be proud of.

I also believe that the regulatory bodies are doing all they can to ensure the outsourcing industry is viable and well regulated. Again, because it is still at its infancy, we have the quacks, the portfolio outsourcing agencies. With the drive by the regulatory bodies making laws that will define minimum entry levels into the outsourcing industry such portfolio carrying agencies and quarks will soon be a thing of the past and sanity will return to the industry. I believe you will begin to see changes but that should not stop outsourcing organisations from doing the right thing.

You have to invest a lot in training and make it a priority because you cannot give what you don’t have. Exposure is very important. If we are going to do outsourcing, we need to ensure that colleagues in the profession are as exposed and trained in line with best industry practices and borrow (due to cultural differences) from what obtains elsewhere in the world. So, you have to begin to bench mark with the best. It is a process and we will get there.

Insight into the master class programme

The master class programme we held last year centred on Employee Engagement and Talent Retention which we are very passionate about in our organisation. Employees are still the same all over the world except for a few cultural differences here and there, because we are dealing with human beings and different complexities.

We still believe that there is just one way to employee engagement, which is to ensure that the culture of belief by employees to make a difference in their work places matter to their employers and in turn the organisation recognises and rewards good performance.

The relationship and organisational behaviour we believe is beneficial to both the employees and the employers. As a matter of fact, to affirm the importance of Employee Engagement, the Chartered Institute of Personal Management (CIPM) has taken a cue from the program to include it in 2015 curriculum.

The Master Class last year was a monumental success because we had the organisations that we wanted to attend. This year, it will be bigger as we will be having the master class in Kenya. It promises to be very huge and impactful. We have quite a number of commitments from organisations who are willing to partner with us on Employee Engagement and take it further.

This year’s programme in Kenya will be taking place on April 10. We have begun business in Kenya and you will be amazed at their willingness to level of intellectual capacity and their appetite for knowledge.

All organisations in the world is about people because people make things happen. The successes of organisations depend on people. People make decisions, people make innovative breakthroughs, people develop and implement strategies people meet deadlines, people create sustainable organisation, people work the organisation to its greatness so it is important to recognise and adequately reward people’s efforts.

This year, we will still be spreading the gospel of employee engagement to organisations.

Prospects

We recognise and respect our competitors but we benchmark our processes with the best in the industry and constantly compete with ourselves by renewing our processes to drive efficiency and continually deliver value to our clients.

We do more than just HR by building beneficial relationships. In five years, we would have built more beneficial relationships. We are a happy organisation where happy people are happy with the work they do and ensure our clients are happy.