Mr. Austin Gamey addressing conference participants. Alson in the picture are Conference Organiser, Mr. Anita Wiafe-Asinor, MD for OML Africa, and Mr. Mohammed Issa, CEO of Quantum Shift Coaching Solutions
Labour/Conflict Resolution Consultant and Chief Executive Officer of Gamey and Gamey, Mr. Austin Gamey has lashed out at Human Resource (HR) Practitioners and Managers in Ghana saying most of the strategies they employ are archaic and irrelevant.
“I do part-time lecturing at the University of Ghana which gives me the opportunity to meet lots of HR and other corporate executives regularly. In my interaction with them I realize that they are still using very archaic and irrelevant methods in managing their human resource,” he said.
Mr. Gamey was speaking at the 3rd Africa HR Leaders Conference organized by OML Africa under the theme “Employee Engagement and Workplace Cooperation”.
The conference brought together about 100 HR and other corporate executives from Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Equitorial Guinea to brainstorm on how to employ the right tools to get the best from the human resource both in state and private organizations.
Mr. Gamey noted that in Ghana, lots of HR managers and corporate executives are fond of saying the most important resource is human resource, but they fail woefully when it comes to treating their employees with the respect, care and dignity they deserve.
He noted for instance, that whereas in the developed world and in Asian, HR personnel tend to maintain an open door policy and regular staff engagement on all issues, HR Managers in Ghana tend to sit in their offices behind closed doors and play bosses, issuing instructions and expecting maximum results from their human resource without engaging them regularly.
He said most HR managers in Ghana also tend to focus on the weakness of their staff and how that pose a threat to the productivity of the organization, instead of focusing on what the strengths of the staff are and finding ways to multiply those to overcome the weakness and ward of the possible threat.
“HR practice is Ghana is largely like fetching water into a basket. Most of our HR managers are sleeping. They glory in holding on to some archaic and irrelevant methods and they are not learning to improve themselves in order to improve the way they manage the human resource for maximum productivity,” he said.
Giving workers a sense of belonging
A cross-section of participants at the 3rd Africa HR Leaders Conference in Accra
Managing Director of OML Africa, Anita Wiafe-Asinor noted that people seek jobs for various reasons, including making money to pay the bills or just so that they could also be counted among the employed in society, while others may naturally love their job.
“But it is the duty of the HR manager to understand the factors that affect the worker’s performance at work and thereby adopt the right strategies to make the worker have a sense of belonging and thereby boost their performance, which would then boost general organizational productivity,” she said.
Mrs. Wiafe-Asinor proposed regular and effective employee engagement and workplace cooperation as sure ways of getting the human resource to love the job and give of their best, adding that those two are also necessary for retaining high quality staff.
“It is not right for managers to set targets for workers without involving the workers through engagement, and it is also not right for managers to sit in their offices and determine what they think is the worker’s performance without engaging the worker. Such methods create conflict and reduce productivity,” she said.
She also discourage managers from focusing too much on results without paying attention to issues affecting the worker as a person, and there by affecting his/her performance on the job.
Mr. Wiafe-Asinor also recalled the huge government wage bill of 60.9% of government revenue, as announced by the president in his state of the nation address, and suggested that the way forward is not to lay off state workers as some have suggested, but to find way of increasing the productivity of those workers to justify the huge wage bill.
Chief Executive of Quantum Shift Coaching Solutions, Mohammed Issa said giving workers a sense of belonging is better than giving them huge salaries and making them feel worthless.
He therefore urged HR managers and top executives to make it a life commitment to groom their workers into business leaders so they would feel part of the organizations and not just as person’s being used to achieve an end.
National Programmes Coordinator for the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Mr. Kwamena Amoasi-Andoh noted there are nine compulsory labour standards in the ILO Charter, which hinge on four pillars: No Discrimination, No Child Labour, Equal Pay for Equal Work and Freedom of Association.
He therefore warned that any organization that does not allow unionism among workers, is violating the National Labour Laws, and the ILO Charter and is therefore liable for legal action.
“I therefore urge all HR practitioners to put those nine compulsory standards in their workplace policies because those are binding on all countries, even if the country in question has not ratified the ILO Charter,” he said.