• Wednesday, July 24, 2024
businessday logo


CIPM Conference in PH: Certified HR managers to lead war against ‘Japa’

CIPM Conference in PH: Certified HR managers to lead war against ‘Japa’

Most corporate bodies now seem threatened by departure of their tested hands to foreign lands.

It has been found that about five medical personnel quit their jobs in big hospital per month, thus creating panic about the dangers of the ‘Japa’ syndrome in both the public and private sectors.

How to tackle the trend is what occupied a panel of experts at the conference of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Managers (CIPM) in Port Harcourt in the week. The session on ‘Leadership Roundtable on the Shift to People-Centred Organisations: The Role and Responsibility of Leadership’ focused on this.

Thus, as the ‘Japa’ syndrome (quest to flee abroad to seek greener pastor) ravages Nigeria, certified personnel managers (members of the CIPM) were asked to introduce new management techniques that would give workers higher satisfaction and reduce migration of Nigeria’s best and skilled manpower.

But other voices at the event made a case for ‘Japa’, urging Nigeria through the CIPM to upscale and export skilled training to earn foreign exchange.

The resolution to rely on professional human resource managers to fight back on migration was reached at the plenary session 3 of the 54th conference.

The session focused on how to tackle brain-drain with responsible leadership in both public and private sectors and at all levels in Nigeria.

The sensitive session was handled by a renowned moderator, Kayode Akintomi, Managing Director of CFCC International, who set the tone by emphasising on the need to use latest strategies to win back the hearts of workers in organizations so as to improve the bottom line and to reduce the urge to move abroad.

The president of the Institute who is also the chairman of the governing council, Olusegun Mojeed, who was member of the panel of discussants, said time has come to apply the law to make all units that deal with human capital management, human resources management, and personnel management, to be headed by certified human resource experts trained in CIPM.

He said they have been using lobbying and persuasion to win the attention and compliance of CEOs but that time has come to activate the law.

Admitting that it is difficult to convince CEOs because of their eye on the bottom line, Mojeed said it is equally important to get the CEOs to pay attention to what the human resources experts were saying.

One of the ways to get the attention of CEOs, he hinted, is to “show them the money”. He said the CIPM members must show competence, professionalism and ability to impact on the bottom line of organizations where they work to be able to gain the confidence of the business owners.

He said he hoped to see a shift of focus of business owners from business matters to people because it is the people that make the business work and it is people that patronize the business. “If you focus on people, both internal and external, you win. So, get CIPM members to lead your personnel management including those who hunt talents.”

In doing this, the President said the Institute would have to collaborate with willing state governments and the FG. “Our works also impact the public sector. Private sector must not become arrogant to say they have arrived. Both sectors must collaborate.”

On the ‘Japa’ scenario, the President said a study has shown that 30 per cent of Nigerians said nothing would make them migrate or leave Nigeria. “It is the 70 per cent that we must worry about.

“We want to take the town to gown. We are thus collaborating with the universities and we are taking the CIPM syllabus to the tertiary institutions to see what is relevant in it for them. It is to see how they can run the CIPM curriculum on what it takes to survive in the present system.”

Other members of the panel including Grace Ayibowu (Head of HR, SeamlessHR), Owen Omogiafo (Group CEO, Transcorp Holdings), and Niyi Adesanya (CEO, Fifth Gear Consulting), gave insightful hints on how to make workers have faith in their establishments and reduce temptation to flee abroad.

Some members from the audience however said instead of fighting ‘Japa’ (exodus), Nigeria should rather create a scheme that trains Nigerians (up the skill) and export them abroad to earn foreign exchange.

Owen Omogiafo: The ‘we philosophy’ is better

The Group CEO, Transcorp Holdings, Owen Omogiafo, submitted that the ‘we’ philosophy is what helps an organisation achieve job satisfaction to the workforce. She said a survey was conducted during COVID-19 and it was found that companies that used ‘we’ approach succeeded more.

She demanded thus: “A CEO should be asking, how do we break down silos, what are the technological systems that can give everyone a level-playing ground to deliver results for the organisation and also achieve personal ambitions? These will help your organisation to thrive.”

She urged managers to gauge individual and collective contributions to the growth of the organisation. “Recognition of people’s contributions to the organisation is key, even if it is a handshake. Where is the heart and mind of your workforce, and why? Are there things they hold dear to heart in the organisation to help them to resist the pull to migrate? Let it not be all work but add fun. Let your establishment not just be a pressure cooker.”

Read also: Experts call for promotion of mental health awareness in workplace

Grace Ayibowu: Break barriers in the workplace

The Head of HR, Seamless HR, Grace Ayibowu, threw some light on the role of HR to organisations. She said; “Break barriers, break the silos in the organisation.

“Look for the grey areas, not just black and white. The new generations can no longer accept to fall under only either black or white. Kids now know coding. Must we refuse to employ persons just because they are still in the university?

“Most CEOs still think in the old ways. They must find how to relate with the new generation and new ideas.”

She talked of recent surveys on employee core services to know how the workforce sees the management. “These things help to create job satisfaction beyond money”.

She however noted that the management may not have to fight ‘Japa’, saying it is a protest to how things are being done in this country. “It is a protest against the leadership of the country. The solution is by creating a better society through competitive policies and systems.”

Niyi Adesanya: We need to teach the teachers

The CEO, Fifth Gear Consulting, Niyi Adesanya, harped on retraining as key. To achieve this, he suggested thus; “We need to teach the teachers in teachers colleges to know what to teach these days.

“We need to encourage HR heads going to address their managements and boards of the need to bring some CIPM professionals along so that they can put voice together to convince the management.”

A royal voice came from Jacob Adetayo Haastrup, who advised the CIPM on critical areas of attention to checkmate migration of the best brains abroad.

Some members from the audience suggested that Nigerian and the CIPM should rather intensify training of graduates to be very skilled and allow them go abroad and earn foreign exchange since Nigeria has over 200m people.

Some others asked to know how the CIPM could help to solve the problem of deputies pushing to overtake their bosses.

Others suggested an enthronement of people-centred leadership by involving all members of staff in decision-making.

Yet, others complained that some CIPM members feel nobody should tell them what to do just for being CIPM members.

For those who complained that they alone seemed to be the only ones doing the right thing in their workplace, a past CIPM President told them: “Don’t be in a hurry to think you are the only one doing what is right. Find out what the others are doing.

“You might find you are the one wrong. But if you confirm you are the only one right, try and convince the others to try it your way.”


The session dispersed hoping that the 1992 Act would be activated to enforce the provision which requires companies to only employ certified HR managers in human capital units.