With a continuous change in business dynamics, there is the need for companies to prioritise capacity building of their workers to stand the test of time, ZAKA ABD-KHALIQ writes.
According to experts, capacity building and development are part of major ways organisations invest in the workforce for greater return today and even in the foreseeable future.
Organisational effectiveness, experts said, rests on the efficient and effective performance of workforce that makeup the organisation, while the efficient and effective performance of the workforce in turn, rest on the richness of the knowledge, skills and abilities possessed by the workforce.
Experts said the continuous clamour for social change to make adaptability and continuing preparation of the workforce as inevitable as the initial acquisition of knowledge and skills, experts stressed, is germane.
While experts believe training presents a prime opportunity to expand the knowledge base of all employees, however, many employers in the current climate find development opportunities expensive. Employees attending training sessions also miss out on work time which may delay the completion of projects.
However, despite these potential drawbacks, training and development provides both the individual and organisations with benefits that make the cost and time a worthwhile investment. The return on investment from training and development of employees is really a no brainer.
The CEO of Spencer Ogden, Mr. David Spencer-Percival, said the fact is that while you may only have a handful of staff to begin with, every entrepreneur is looking at the longer term – growing the business and all that comes with it.
Training, he said, is one of the best ways of ensuring that your brand retains its values as you grow.
“Whether it is carefully selected external training courses or more strategically developed internal training programmes, all of them can help your business reap the rewards. Your staff are your brand ambassadors, so it is essential that they deliver your ethos and company values. Ensure your employees have had the right training and guidance to represent you in the right way,” he pointed out.
Whichever method of training you choose, he noted that, illustrating a genuine interest in the future and development of employees not only fosters a positive company ethos, but makes the team more productive and efficient while also building loyalty
Professor of Political Economics, Pat Utomi said, building a merit-driven team is to build high performance and to achieve such performance, there is a need for continuous training of Staff.
According to him, “Late Peter Drocker painted a very important point that at the beginning of the last century, quality of life of average person in Africa and Europe was more or less the same, just marginal difference, but by the close of the 20th century, the difference was like night and day.”
He said what was responsible for this was the dramatic rise in productivity in Europe and failure of Africa to have productivity increased.
Critical to that track is the technological know-how and how people work well together, he stressed.
Chief executive officer, Avon Healthcare, Adesimbo Ukiri, emphasised that organisations must be agile to equip their employees with a variety of skills for jobs that do not exist today in order to thrive in the future.
She said, a knowledge-enabled, learning-based workforce offers a unique competitive advantage in today’s rapidly evolving marketplace.
President, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria(CIBN), Dr Uche Olowu, said currently there is a great deal of pressure at work, especially in the banking and finance industry, some of which challenge the very core of banking business.
The emergence of digital technology, according to him, had been the major disruptor that defied business as usual and long-term strategic planning, adding that, this digital revolution had brought about a new set of challenges and opportunities.
While these technologies are taking away jobs, he said, they are creating new ones, calling for capacity building of bankers to leverage on the opportunities provided by this development.
The registrar, Institute of Credit Administration of Nigeria (ICA), Professor Chris Onalo, said that although there are many categories of training, such as management training or sales training, employees with Project Management skills are an important asset to any organisation.
Stating that training improves employees’ performance, he added that, the investment in training that a company makes shows employees that they are valued.
A robust training and development programme, he said, ensures that employees have a consistent experience and background knowledge, addresses their weaknesses, increases productivity and adherence to quality standards, increases innovation in new strategies and products, reduces employee turnover and enhances company reputation and profile.
On his part, president, Association of Registered Insurance Agents of Nigeria (ARIAN), Mr. Ademola Ifagbayi, stressed that there is a serious need for insurance firms to train their agents and marketers, especially, now that the insurance industry is going retail. Agents, he said, has a critical role to play in the growth and development of the industry, noting that the marketing and sale of insurance products and services revolves round the agents.
He also explained that to change the negative perception of Nigerians towards insurance, the marketers of these products have to be trained on the dynamics and the latest tips of persuading the people to buy insurance policy.
“Any insurance company that refused to train its marketers will die a natural death, in an era that business dynamics keeps changing every day. Though, some underwriters may feel that if they train their agents, they might end up leaving them to work for another company, but it’s an investment worth doing. Companies must give attractive packages to agents in a bid to persuade agents to stay with them for a long time. With that, there will be a good return on their investment in these agents, while there would be value for money,” he said.
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