Career Tips / Blog
In real life situations, performance appraisal is a daily activity as it is also to organisations. We evaluate our activities daily, weekly, monthly or yearly to see our achievement and, challenges, correct our mistakes and set new targets.
More so in organisations. The continued success of organisations is dependent on its employees who in all thinking is the primary resource. Their development and retention is a critical success factor if it must meet with its present and future requirements and surpass same.
Performance appraisal sometimes referred to as performance evaluation or personnel evaluation, is very important in Human Resource Management, a tool that places high in people Management. Other factors / functions which contribute to employee development are staff orientation and career development and all these add-up to enhance organizational effectiveness.
Infact, performance appraisal is a fulcrum on which major HR activities revolve. Many informed decisions such as promotions, wage hikes, transfers, terminations, job rotation, job enlargement, succession planning etc emanates from this. Again, allocation of organizational resources is facilitated by performance appraisal too.
What is Performance Appraisal?
“Performance appraisal is the process by which an organization obtains a feedback about the effectiveness of its employees”. It is the evaluation of employee’s job performance and contributions to the organisation. In other words, it is a mechanism through which employees and the organization obtain feedback and provides organisation with assessment data for present and future use. It is the measurement of performance against set and agreed target over a given period of time so as to obtain to obtain feedback.
The purpose of Performance Appraisal stems from the need to improve organizational efficiency by ensuring that employees perform to the best of their ability and also develop their potentials for improvement. A good performance appraisal or management system is designed to serve two (2) main purposes:
- Evaluative purpose and
- Developmental purpose
Evaluative Functions: This function helps to promote or reward higher performance while at the same time assists to determine low performance.
Development Function: On the other hand, this performance appraisal function is useful in determining training needs of the subordinates while at the same time motivates them to higher performance.
Unfortunately, many people lay more emphasis on the evaluative function to the neglect of the developmental function.
A good organization should have a well laid down policy on employee performance management and the potential of each employee to access his/ her future development.
Performance appraisal must be seen as a result-oriented machinery for the growth of individual and company and not as firing squad or punitive measure. You should note that organisations decide on what performance appraisal system to be adopted based on its laid down policy, suitability and operational modus.
Performance appraisal is either open or closed. The open system is profound in the private sector while the closed system is more practiced in the public sector.
Performance appraisal can be classified under two broad systems: Individual and Multi-Person Appraisal Systems.
Individual Appraisal Method:
In the individual appraisal method, employee’s performance is studied over a given period. This is aimed at identifying their strengths and weaknesses. Examples of these are Annual Confidential Reports, Essay Evaluation, Management by Objectives (MBO) and Check List Methods.
- Confidential Reports:
Perhaps, this is the oldest method. It is a report prepared by employee’s senior/ supervisor wherein he/ she highlights the subordinate’s strength and weaknesses in the past year. The flaw about this method is that the feedback on the report prepared is not disclosed to the employee for whom this has been written because every report is kept confidential.
- Critical Incident and Checklist Techniques:
In the critical incident technique, the superior studies and analyze the subordinate’s best and worse incidents of behavior in the past year; analyzing the most critical incidents while in the checklist method, the supervisor is given a paper that has set of statements that are expressive and purpose in nature, and the answers to which are either YES or NO. Here, the usual and typical questions are whether/ or not the performance was satisfactory and whether or not the standards were met.
Multiple Persons Appraisal Methods:
The multi-person appraisal method compares the performances of the employees in a particular department and are pitted against one another to identify the best performers and the worst performers. Examples of multi-person appraisal methods are Ranking System, Paired Comparison, Forced Distribution, Performance Tests and 360-Degree Appraisal.
- Paired Comparison Method:
In this technique, the superior compares each individual to all the other individuals working in the team and the subordinates are all ranked on the basis of criteria and traits analyzed. The comparison method could be from the best to the worst or the worst to the best.
- Management by Objective (MBO)
The Management by Objective (MBO) is the well-known technique for setting goals, then judging how they are met; it emphasizes on tangible and measurable goals. The Key Result Areas (KRA) and the means to attain maximum results are concentrated upon. This system gives the superior the opportunity of knowing his/ her team’s KRAs and the results expected at the end of the year/ or given period. In this method, the job is delegated and the authority, responsibility and relationship is defined.
In this method, both the supervisor and the subordinate discuss, negotiate and agree the goals to be attained over a period. The objectives/ target are expected to adhere to the SMARTER rules – Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic, Time-bound, Ethical and Recorded.
- 360-Degree Method:
The 360-degree appraisal method involves various stakeholders – the employee’s immediate supervisor, other supervisors who are not the bosses but comes in contact with the employee/ appraisee on a daily basis, the top management, and the employee’s subordinates as all provide data/ information on his/ her performances.
All 360-degree of employee working and working styles are analyzed involving the whole cycle of individuals with whom the employee comes in contact or interacts with on the course of work. The feedback from the appraisal is passed on to the employee for increased performance.
Why do we conduct Performance Appraisal?
Performance appraisal aims at regularly assessing and reporting on subordinate’s performances, attainment, abilities and potentials for future development. It further seeks to:
- Clarify the Key Result Areas (KRA) of the job and provide basis to agree on targets and standards of performance for a given period;
- Assess performance of employees and agree on how to foster continuous improvement;
- Provide opportunity for a formal recognition and documentation of performances (the subordinate has opportunity to bring certain achievements or constraints being experienced on the job to the attention of the boss, his/ her career plans and aspirations);
- Generate information for management’s decision-making on issues like promotion, transfers, succession planning, job rotation, job redefinition, disengagement etc;
- Determine employee potentials and provide guided development;
- Provide opportunity for identifying individual training and developmental needs;
- Take stock of skills and talents available, strength and weaknesses of employees in the organization
- Provide feedback to employees on how organization view their (employee) performances;
- Improve communication by compelling superiors and subordinates to hold periodic dialogue/ meeting and provide feedback;
- Provide basis for reward decisions – merit increases, reassignment and expatriation
- Generate data/ information upon which workplans, budgeting and HR Planning can be based
- Inform job distribution/ redesign, job enlargement, career planning and development;
- To provide a ready tool for evaluating the effectiveness of selection and placement decisions;
- Identify training and development needs for individual employees and entire teams/ divisions within the organization;
- Provide a good criteria for assessing the success or otherwise of previous training and development efforts
- Help in determining salary related decisions;
- Serve as a counseling forum;
- Emphasize the strength and weaknesses of employees;
- Improve motivation
Without mincing words, it must be stated that performance appraisal is key to the success of organisations as managers constantly make judgments about their subordinates based on performance appraisal and are expected to provide periodic feedbacks.
To make feedback a powerful instrument in performance appraisal and in improving the level of satisfaction, performance appraisal must not only be based on an objective criteria, but such criteria should have been jointly put in place and agreed between the supervisor and subordinate as employees who are involved in actually setting their own goals tend to perform at higher levels.
Contributed by Agolo Uzorka, CEO/ Lead Consultant, Eugene + George Consulting Limited
… engages the organised private sector… to boost employment through PPP
In recognition of the important role of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), especially as a springboard for economic recovery, the Lagos State Government has reiterated its commitment to the growth and development of the MSMEs to ensure their survival beyond the global pandemic period.
The Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Mrs. Lola Akande, made the remarks during the ongoing Y2021 Ministerial Press Briefing organised as part of the activities to mark the second anniversary of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu led administration.
Mrs. Akande gave assurance that the Government will continue to provide strong platforms such as the organisation of MSMEs Exclusive Fair to support Entrepreneurs to get the required linkage that will facilitate business development as well as trade promotion in line with the fourth pillar of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda, which is Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy.
In her words, “The annual Lagos MSME Exclusive Fair is undeniable evidence of the State Government’s unshaken dedication to the continuous growth of the MSME sector in the State”.
The Commissioner listed some of the initiatives aimed at enhancing the growth of MSMEs to include the Eko MSMEs Fashion Hub 1 established in collaboration with the Federal Government to boost the fashion and apparel industry; the e-Commerce digital platform created to showcase MSMEs products and services to the world and the establishment of Lagos State Export Promotion Committee to promote the marketability of locally made products.
Others include the Lagos Council on MSMEs, a broad-based platform comprising State and Federal Government agencies for the harmonisation of State-wide dispensation of national and local MSME promotion, policies, measures and programmes and the National Awareness and Sensitisation Tour held to promote the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (ACFTAA); the commemoration of the African Industrialisation Day/Young African Industrialists Week during which business clinics were held to deepen the knowledge of MSMEs.
According to her, the present administration will soon complete the construction of 44 Factory Units-Imota Light Industry Park, which is about 86% completed, in a bid to continue to sustain the Small Scale Industrial Estates at Mushin and Isolo as well as the industrial shed at Sabo in Ikorodu, while plans are ongoing to develop a new Small Scale Industrial Estate at Gberigbe, Ikorodu.
Speaking further, the Commissioner maintained that the government remains committed to providing a conducive environment for the Organised Private Sector and other stakeholders through continuous engagement in the implementation of policies, regulations and projects as they impact the business prosperity of the State.
Akande mentioned that the various projects being executed with the private sector at the Lekki Free Trade Zone are already yielding great dividends, just as she noted that despite the pandemic over 230 jobs were created through the Alaro City project, a joint venture project designed and owned by Rendeavour Nigeria Development Company Limited and the Lagos State Government, through Lekki Worldwide Investments Limited in the ratio 60% and 40 % respectively.
She also averred that the Sanwo-Olu-led administration will continue to protect and promote the rights of consumers of goods and services through consumer education, scientific investigation, mediation, monitoring and enforcement of the Law against producers of adulterated and fake products.
The Lagos State Government has announced that it has placed 4,000 unemployed graduates on N40,000 monthly salary for a period of 6 months.
The initiative which is implemented through the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment’s Graduate Internship Placement Programme (GIPP) is intended to address the challenge of unemployment among unemployed graduates in Lagos State.
This disclosure was made by the Lagos State Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Mrs Yetunde Arobieke, during the 2021 Ministerial Press Briefing in commemoration of the Second Year in the Office of Governor Bababjide Sanwo-Olu.
Arobieke said the programme, which was planned to last for six months, was meant to expose interns to a particular job, profession or industry and enhance networking.
She pointed out that through this initiative, interns will be given the opportunity to excel and possibly learn a job with the organisation; as they are exposed to professional skills and interpersonal relationships in a structured setting.
Source: Information Nigeria
In the past, hires were expected to spend their life-time working in their new organizations. Because of this, new employees’ induction and orientation took the form of brief introduction to the company, meet-and-greet and sometimes speeches from top executives of the company like the Managing Director and followed by heap of documents and forms to be filled by the new hire.
Nowadays, job candidates are looking for job opportunities that would give them ample time to attend to other things, socialize etc not just a job and they now prefer freelancing, work-from-home, short-term contracts as they job-trot before landing a good one.
This is a one-day welcome event for a new employee as a team player, where the job and the organization are introduced to the new hire and vis versa. The process provides information on the rights of the employee, the rights of the employer, terms and conditions of employment. The new hire is also exposed to the culture of the organization and might take the form of slide-show presentation, a meet-and-greet, provision of company’s catalogues, HR handbook to new recruits or tour with relevant co-workers etc. It is meant to provide basic information and ease the new hire’s first-day-at-work jitters.
Orientation is a process of familiarizing new hires with company policies and guidelines; a short-term activity, most times completed in the first week of new hire’s resumption. It is about compliance and getting new hires up to speed with the Company’s processes and procedures, paperwork, and general administrative structures. This might include introduction to the company’s products and services, information on partners, accounting processes, and guidelines etc. This is also a part of the “Knowledge Management” process.
Induction and orientation are twin important aspects of any new hire’s career journey in a company but it must be noted that they are both short-term experiences and represents only the first few steps of that journey. This is why onboarding is necessary.
It is estimated that 50% of managerial roles fail within the first 18 months while for the majority of employees, 50% leave their new job within the first four months. To effectively nip this in the bud, an effective onboarding should be implemented.
Onboarding is a process of making the new hire get adjusted to the social and performance aspects of the job roles quickly and seamlessly; it is a full new-hire journey as it begins with the signing of contract, continues through the new hires first day at work (induction and orientation), fourth week etc and does not end until the new hire is fully settled in his/ her new job roles. This is irrespective of the length of time it takes – 6months or one year – and terminates when he/ she is fully integrated into his/ her new job roles.
They are both new recruit processes and to a greater extent dictates the success or failure of the new hires within the organization.
During the onboarding period, new hires learn about the organization, undergo training, mentoring, and performance reviews are carried out as they are exposed to the culture of the organization, acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSA) required to perform optimally in their new job roles
Before an organization engages in onboarding, there has to be a deliberate and formal onboarding program. The Company should be able to answer some salient questions so as to come up with an all-inclusive plan.
- When will it commence?
- What is the time-line for the onboarding program?
- What do they (new hires) need to know about the Company’s structure, culture and work environment?
- What do we (the company) intend to impart to the new hires?
- What will be the roles of HR, Line Managers & peers?
- What do we intend to achieve at the end of the onboarding program?
- What are the possible challenges and how do we address them?
- How do we obtain feedbacks from the program?
- How will you measure it’s success?
With the above questions well answered, the HR and top Management would marshal out plans for its implementation to assist new hires easily understand the company’s policies, culture and workflow and get blended with the workings of the organization.
Onboarding as a process recognizes that 20% of new hires leave for new job opportunities within the first 45 days on the job.
Challenges of Onboarding
Onboarding can be awkward sometimes as new hires face the challenges of the “unknown“. They ask themselves thought-provoking questions: can I please this “iron lady who is my boss?”. Will they confirm my appointment at the end of probation period? Is this the last bus stop or I should start looking for another job? etc. These questions and answers provoke decisions to be taken in the coming days.
Here are some of the challenges of onboarding:
- Probationary Period:
During the onboarding period, new hires are in the habit of asking themselves: will I be confirmed? Will I be able to impress on the job or will I be successful on the job? Will my Supervisor recognize my inputs?
The employer on its part will also be asking if the new hire would be able to get along with their team, manager and other employees within the Company? Companies are worried about employees’ social connections because they matter so much to her as they look up to cordial relationships amongst her employees.
- Is there Career Prospect?
This is one other great challenge of onboarding. The new recruits are worried and they want to know their fates; they want to know what is in there for them; they ask themselves if the company was a place for them to stay and if there was career prospects? They ask themselves if it was a place to stay and if the answer is yes, they tend to stay but the next question would be, for how long?
Truly speaking, a conducive workplace will have a highly reduced labour turnover and engendered-growth. Employees may be inclined to stay longer here because of certain factors: they want to gain knowledge in a different work environment, or industry, specialize in a specific area etc, as they enjoy their job roles.
Irrespective of the above factors, employees want to work in a company where there is career prospects and growth, where they can build their career and be happy too.
This is another challenge as the new hire is worried about the new culture he or she is to be confronted with. He tries to fashion out a way to manage this. The organization is not less perturbed either.
- Adapting to Continuous Change
This is one factor that has affected onboarding as a lot of organizations do not review their onboarding policies. There is need to regularly update the onboarding process of the company so as to remain current with global trends and ensure that the workforce is aligned with the latest news and current processes.
It is very pertinent that organisations continuously adapt to changes in onboarding.
- Measuring the Results
Another challenge in onboarding is measuring the result of onboarding. Some design or send out forms as a feedback strategy in the form of survey after onboarding training. I would recommend looking at your retention rates or employees who turn out to be high-performers within their first year within the organisation.
Yes, it is important to collect feedback from new recruits at the onboarding stages but you should know that new hires may not be comfortable providing sincere feedbacks in two weeks into their onboarding but may be more comfortable a month into it and the confidence continues to grow in the coming months.
Advantages and Prospects of Onboarding:
Proper onboarding in an organization,
- Eases integration of new recruits
- Builds relationships,
- Ensures expectations on both sides are met
- Develops employee’s knowledge of the culture
- Strengthens employees’ commitment as roles are clarified and defined
- Engenders self-efficacy
- Teaches basic new hires basic Company policies
- Provides the formal and informal norms of the company etc
Some organisations carry out induction and orientation for new employees while thinking and believing (erroneously) that they are engaged in onboarding. Such companies miss the advantages acruable in onboarding as it is confirmed that “organizations with a strong onboarding process improves new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%”.
Onboarding, without mincing words has so many prospectd and organisations would grow tremendously if it is religiously implemented.
Contributed by Agolo Uzorka, CEO/ Lead Consultant at Eugene + George Consulting Limited
It was the middle of July 2008, and I had just bought an expensive power suit for a job interview. After being laid off during the height of the recession and unemployed for about six weeks, I was feeling desperate and willing to spend money on anything that might put my career on track.
Surprisingly, the train was running on time that day, which gave me the opportunity to take my new jacket off, sit back, and prepare for this meeting one last time. At my stop, I realized I was so intently focused that I didn’t notice a robbery happening right under my nose. The jacket was gone.
With nothing but an inappropriate tank top on, I was mortified but decided to go for it anyway. I proceeded to meet all of the organization’s department heads, during which time my thoughts repeatedly returned to my improper attire. But believe it or not, I ended up getting the job.
Even though my story had a happy ending, there’s no doubt the pressures of the interview process had me unnerved. Anything can happen before or during an interview, which is why it’s crucial to walk in feeling prepared — even if your jacket has just been stolen.
Interviewers will be focused on finding out if you’re the right fit for the position, but it’s also important to decide if the company is the right fit for you. Have a list of questions to ask in a job interview.
Be careful not to ask questions already answered in the job description. It’s important to go beyond those general duties to understand everything the job entails.
1. Can you offer specific details about the position’s day-to-day responsibilities?
2. What would my first week at work look like?
3. How does this position contribute to the organization’s success?
4. What do you hope I will accomplish in this position?
5. How does the company culture affect this role?
6. What job shadowing opportunities are available for an applicant before they accept an offer?
Proceed with caution: If rather than going into detail about the primary responsibilities listed in the job description, the employer rambles off many more duties — they may be asking you to take on more than you initially thought. How to Read a Job Description
Getting to know the interviewer
Most likely, the interviewer is the first contact you’ll have at this company — they could even be your future boss. Asking questions can help you understand their attitude, company values, and where the company’s future is heading.
7. What do you enjoy most about working here?
8. Why are you working in this industry?
9. Can you walk me through your typical work day?
10. What is your greatest accomplishment with the company?
11. What is your team’s greatest accomplishment?
12. What goals do you have for the company, yourself, and employees over the next five years?
13. What hobbies do you have outside of the office?
Proceed with caution: Be wary of leaders who have trouble opening up or don’t seem passionate about their company and team. How to Find the Perfect Company
What type of management style do you need to reach the height of your potential? Now’s the best time to see if the company’s leaders align with your expectations.
14. How do leaders encourage employees to ask questions?
15. How do leaders set employees up for success?
16. How does employee feedback get incorporated into day-to-day operations?
17. How does management deliver negative feedback to employees?
Proceed with caution: Employers who can’t list how they encourage employees and set them up for success may not deliver the support you’re looking for in a company.
From benefits and perks to the ways employees interact with each other, not meshing with a company’s culture can put a roadblock on your path to success.
18. What is your work culture like?
19. How would you describe the work environment here?
20. What benefits are focused on work-life balance?
21. What benefits and perks does the company offer?
22. What is the outline of your telecommuting policy?
23. How frequently do employees make themselves available outside of normal working hours?
Proceed with caution: Listen closely to how the interviewer describes the company’s benefits and environment to be sure it’s the right culture for your personality and working style. What Aspects of Company Culture Matter Most for Your Next Job
After doing some research, you should already know a few things about the company’s reputation. Now it’s time to dig a little deeper to make sure this is a place where you’ll thrive.
24. What’s your mission statement?
25. How often is a new hire the result of a previous employee quitting?
26. Why do most employees leave the company?
27. How would employees describe the company and its leaders?
28. What are the company’s biggest problems? How are they overcoming them?
29. What do you want the company to be known for among employees — past, present, and future?
Proceed with caution: Quality leaders will be the first to admit that their company isn’t perfect. Interviewers who claim they would change nothing might be failing to grow and make positive changes.
Knowing a company’s expectations and how they measure goals before accepting a job offer helps you decide if their style matches with what motivates you.
30. How are employees recognized for their hard work?
31. How involved are employees in the structuring of their own goals and tasks?
32. What are your views on goals, timelines, and measuring success?
33. How often are employees expected to provide status updates on a project?
34. How often do you evaluate employee performance?
Proceed with caution: Wanting constant updates and control over employee tasks are warning signs of a micromanager.
The employees at this organization could be your next team. Make sure you’re positive this is a group you want to be a part of.
35. Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?
36. How competitive are your employees?
37. How do you develop teamwork skills among employees?
Proceed with caution: A competitive environment can be fun and motivating, but a lack of teamwork in the office could point to a cutthroat company.
Opportunities for growth
What is your ultimate career goal? Set yourself up for success by finding out how far this new position could take you on your career path.
38. What type of mentor system do you have in place?
40. What advancement opportunities are available?
41. How do leaders promote employee growth and success?
42. What does it take to be a top performer at this company?
Proceed with caution: If an interviewer is unable to share how you can advance within the company, chances are you might not be able to grow at the rate you want.
Don’t leave the interview with any questions unanswered — for you or the interviewer. This is your final opportunity to make sure you’re both on the same page before you walk out the door.
43. What’s the next step of this process, and when can I expect to hear from you?
44. Is there any other information I can provide you with?
45. Would you like to see more examples of my work?
Proceed with caution: Interviewers who don’t have a lot to offer on next steps may already have another candidate in mind or might not be in a big rush to hire. Remember to stay positive and continue to job search until you’re officially hired.
Change is the adoption of new idea or behavior by an organization (Daft, 1995). Change in an existing organization is meant to increase its effectiveness in achieving its corporate objectives; it is the bedrock of industrial and organizational effectiveness. Change means to alter, replace, substitute, exchange etc. Whatever form it takes, differences could be spotted between the former and present when it occurs. It is ‘an activity of transformation or modification of something … with the objective to make improvements”.
Change is unavoidable in our socio-economic, political and technological lives, Davies (1983) defines “Work Change” as any alteration that occurs in the work environment. Work change can occur in men, machines, policies, methods, and even location. Change could be from Internal or External source.
Internal Sources: This change could occur in structure, training, interpersonal and intrapersonal change (e.g. self growth and self development), leadership change etc.
External Sources: These are changes occasioned by outside forces like government policies, pandemic, consumer behavior, inflation, increase or decrease in people’s purchasing powers, religious upsurge, technology, war, natural disaster etc. It should be noted that most times the external pressures are so powerful to the extent that they have great powers to ignite internal organizational changes. Changes could be destructive or constructive.
Reasons for Resistance to Change: As important as change is in organizations, some employees still resist it and hate it without pretence. I remember on occassions I was brought in to inject fresh ideas to revive a failing organisation and the fierce resistance received. Infact, managing resistance to change in the workplace could be herculean
The resistance could be as result of:
- Parochial self interest.
- Lack of confidence in the changer.
- Bad communication strategy,
- Fear for Loss of job,
- Disruption of social life,
- Poor timing,
- Fear of unknown,
- Cost of Change,
- Level of Preparedness for Change,
- Disruption of Known Relationships,
- Lack of Trust,
- Lack of Reward
- Loss of Support System
- Loss of Control
- Lack of Competence
- Experience from former change
- Lack of Human face in the aspect of change
- Poor Planning
- No clarity
- Out of comfort Zone
- Resistance as Normal
- Loss of identity
Quide on Managing Resistance to Change
- Proper Education/ Explanations to employees
- Change agent(s) must be honest/ trustable persons
- Change implementation should be sincere/ gradual
- Right Timing
- Effective communication necessary
- Employees should be prepared psychologically
- Change agents must be selfless and competent persons
- Good knowledge of change objectives
- Good reward system
- Openness, Clarity and objectivity should be the watchword
- All grey areas should be addressed
These quides will assist in change management in your organizations and if effectively managed, will be a source of strength to the organisation and improve the bottomline.
Written by: Agolo Uzorka, CEO/ Lead Consultant, Eugene + George Consulting Limited
The increasing cases of the COVID-19 do not only present an alarming health crisis to Nigeria but also come with human impact, the significant economic, business and commercial impact being felt across the nation, especially among Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
These and how to reposition businesses for growth either Post-COVID or in the new normal were discussed at the recent PwC Nigeria webinar tagged ‘Repositioning your business for growth
At the webinar, Taiwo Oyedele, Fiscal Policy Partner, West Africa Tax Leader, explained that the pandemic may not leave anytime soon and the best way to go about it is to find ways to leave with the virus for the foreseeable future.
He said, “SME sector plays a vital role with about 40 million of them operating in all sector of the Nigerian economy, employing over 60% of the country’s workforce and providing a livelihood for the majority of homes.
“Some estimates have it that millions of MSMEs have shut production and they may not be able to open again, as they suffer from lack of liquidity, credit, income among others.”
Back story: Last June, Nairametrics had reported that an overwhelming 94.3% of businesses surveyed reported being negatively impacted by the pandemic particularly in the areas of Cashflow, Sales and Revenue.
“Financially, a good number of the businesses were doing poorly as about 13% reported having enough cash flow to stay operational for 1 – 3 months while about 33% had enough cash flow to stay operational for only 1 – 4 weeks and about 27% for only 1 – 7 days. A number of jobs were also impacted as 82.8% of the businesses reported that they were likely to lay off 1 – 5 employees,” a Fate Foundation report stated.
While almost 50% of the businesses were able to identify opportunities despite the negative impacts of the pandemic along the lines of creating new products and services, expansion and diversification etc, most businesses reported needing support with cash flow and sales and would like support in the area of funding, access to markets and business support.
As far as Tara Durotoye, CEO House of Tara International is concerned SMEs owners should be strategic by dissecting the issues affecting their operations into two i.e What they have control over and what they do not.
According to her, Nigeria does not have a government that supports the reality of the challenges the SMEs are going through, advising business owners not to look up to the government but rather find ways to work around issues and find the solutions.
She said, “This is the time to be closed to your customers, time to call them and find out what they want as the pandemic has created a new normal. For instance, in the makeup industry, findings revealed that customers demand products like powder and lipsticks have dropped. What customers want now is to take care of their skin and not just to cover them, we would not have known that except we engaged our customers.”
Technology has become an important part of SMEs operations and operators have to think of the current resources they have and what they can do more about the resources in terms of skill set. There are people who were in makeup that is now doing consultancy, others in Agro and now doing logistics.
She cited an event centre in Lekki corridor, who due to COVID-19 have not been engaged for social gatherings as usual. spoke with its customers using social media platforms and decided to meet their needs by turning the centre to an open market on Saturday.
“It realised that some women in the area were not comfortable going to Balogun or Mile 12 market during the pandemic and decided to create that open market for them.
“Also, there is a Game Centre that has started offering video conferencing services to its clients. It observed a gap in the video conferencing space and explore it. They created a video conference app that would not require much space like Zoom to download and that works on small phones,” Tara said.
She added that this is the time for all business owners to create a will to forge ahead and understand that they do not have a government like Canada or US that would meet their needs as expected.
However, Abubakar Kure, MD NIRSAL MFB in his presentation explained that the Federal Government introduced the TSF and other loans to cushion the effect of the pandemic on SMEs and households when it realised business owners lack the required cash flow to survive the shock arriving from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kure agreed with Tara that SMEs have to think out of the box and not wait for the government but explained that despite the fact that the government has limited resources, it has introduced several facilities across sectors to cushion the effect of the pandemic on businesses.
Shortly after the July Monetary Policy Committee meeting, Nairametrics had reported that between April when the TSF loan was launched and July 12, 2020, the Central Bank of Nigeria has disbursed N49.19 billion out of the N50 billion Household and SME facility to over 92,000 beneficiaries.
Also, the apex bank disbursed over N152.9 billion to the manufacturing sector to finance 61 manufacturing projects and another N93.6 billion to the Healthcare sector, amongst many other sector-specific facilities.
He said, “The facilities are token but SMEs need to strategies and think out of the box as suggested, The facilities are actually subsidised because they are between 1 to 3 years at 5% for 1 year and 9% subsequently.”
He added that the facilities are actually subsidised for businesses to survive and for people to retain their jobs and for the economy to recover from the shock created by the pandemic.
In conclusion, PwC made in-depth recommendations for government, SMEs and stakeholders on policy and strategies to cushion the effects of the pandemic on the nation’s ailing economy.
Written by Abiola Odutola
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has advised youths and women in the State to engage themselves in vocational skills to be employers of labour rather than depending solely on government and private organisations for job opportunities.
Speaking at the Year 2019 Graduation Ceremony for 6,252 students of the 18 Skill Acquisition Centers in Lagos State, held at the Isheri Skill Acquisition Hall, Governor Sanwo-Olu advised the graduating students to use the skills they have acquired in the last few months to create platforms for themselves to be employers of labour.
The Governor also urged them to be persistent, persevere, focused and not to give up on their dreams, adding that they should take advantage of the free online business registration channel provided by the Federal Government for the first 250,000 small and medium scale enterprises.
He said they should use technology, especially their data to add value to their lives and not for things that would not contribute positively to their growth and development in life.
The Governor who disclosed that government cannot provide jobs for everybody based on the population of people in the state, said that what government is meant to do is to create an enabling environment for people to be employers of labour and become entrepreneurs who would create businesses and opportunities for themselves, families and others.
Governor Sanwo-Olu, who disclosed that he was a plumber about 30 years ago, said the graduating trainees are on the right path and therefore encouraged them to be determined, persevered and committed to achieve desired success in their respective skills for them to be successful CEOs in the future.
The 6,252 graduands were trained in fifteen different skills such as; Hairdressing and Cosmetology, Catering and Hotel Management, Computer training, Barbing, Textile Design, Hat Making and Bead Stringing, Shoe Making/Leather Works, Fashion Design and Dress Making.
Others are Welding Fabrication, Vulcanising/Wheel Balancing and Alignment, Refrigerator and AC Maintenance/Repairs, Aluminum Fabrication, Screen/Transfer Printing Technology, Tile Laying/Pave Lock Making, and Carpentry and Future Making.
Governor Sanwo-Olu urged the 6,252 graduating students to do all they can to make learning a life-long venture, by constantly seeking ways to improve their skills and grow their businesses.
He assured them of government’s support for them to achieve success in their various vocations, noting that the State Government has resources to help them accelerate their growth. He the newly inaugurated Eko MSMEs Fashion Hub and the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund can provide opportunities for the students to tap into.
The Governor therefore implored the graduating students, especially those in fashion design line to take the opportunity of the Fashion hub in Ikeja, to enhance their works, adding that his administration was committed to build and open more fashion hubs at Obalende, Somolu and Oshodi within the next six months as parts of the administration support for MSMEs in the State.
Speaking at the event, First Lady of Lagos State, Dr. (Mrs) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, expressed the incumbent administration’s commitment to empowerment and skill acquisitions for Lagosians, especially those who are interested in vocational trainings.
Talent Acquisition, also referred to as Human Capital Management, is a fast evolving concept in Human Resources Management and it is a critical activity with prime focus on enabling and developing people. It is a “methodically organized process of getting the right talent on board and helping them to grow to their optimal capabilities keeping organizational objectives in mind”. Talent acquisition begins with hiring, deploying people, retaining and nurturing talents.
In other words Talent Acquisition is about recruitment and selection, employee placement, learning, training and development, competency management, succession planning etc. It is also marketing your employer brand to individuals with the appropriate skills and experience irrespective of whether you have vacancies for them or not.
Talent Acquisition entails tracking and selecting the right people for the organization which is a great challenge for many organizations, as the quality of an organization is primarily determined by the people it employs. Talent acquisition and Management is aimed at creating a motivated workforce that would stay with the company for a long time. The exact way of achieving this will differ from company to company.
Invariably, talent acquisition encompasses many HR responsibilities and it is not enough to say you manage HR and then you are managing talents because, it entails having a designed strategic plan to gain optimal results and maximize the value of employees.
Talent acquisition in some ways is different from recruitment. While talent acquisition is an ongoing process of engagement across many platforms with the type of people your company intends to attract, recruitment is a short-term exercise that is aimed at finding suitable candidates to fill an existing position.
HR Surveys reveal that organisations globally are faced with shortage of talented employees and it’s often more difficult to retain them. In view of this, effective talent acquisition is a critical factor that enables an organization to compete favorably and stand out in the market-place.
Important Issues in Talent Acquisition
In talent acquisition, it is important to:
i). Understand every aspect of your business:
For effective talent acquisition, it is important that you understand every aspect of your business and devise an employer brand that aligns with the company culture and vision as it is an essential ingredient in attracting the type of talent you want to employ.
ii). Constitute Effective Hiring Team:
Recruitment has gone beyond one-man show. To limit the errors in your recruitment process and minimize the incidence of bad hires, you need to involve skilled people who would identify candidates with potentials during the hiring exercise as they eliminate bias and are more open to hiring a diverse workforce.
Talent acquisition that worth its salt should not be done manually but involve gathering of HR metrics and analyzing same.
iv) Composition of Your Post:
In placing a job advert, you should also understand the key arguments of your company, employee value proposition and translate same into the campaign and communicate it effectively to your target audience.
Job vacancies are composed and posted in different platforms including the social media – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc and shared to friends. There are basic information expected of a good advert- the background of the Company, job and its requirements because it communicates the right candidates expected by the recruiting companies as companies display her adverts showing the reasons why they are employers of choice and keep below the requirements for the job position as to attract more applicants, emphasizing more on why the job is attractive.
The way your post is composed or structured and worded, projecting your employer brand, determines to a large extent, applicants responses. If your post does not get good and expected responses from great applicants, try review your post and platforms/ medium.
Job adverts contain most or all of the following:
- Background of the employing company
- The job
- Job ID
- Tasks and Responsibilities
- Requirements (Education, age range, competencies etc)
- Address to forward CVs to (e-mail address, address of company or postal address etc)
- Closing date of advert
v) Engagement with applicants:
Your engagement with applicants / candidates most importantly have direct consequencies (negative or positive) and the applicants see the company through you.
vi). Always Review Your Talent Acquisition Strategies:
Review your talent acquisition strategies at intervals. Do not believe that you have arrived with the best talent strategies as the world is fast evolving at an alarming speed. Constitute team and always meet to review your strategies to be ahead of others.
vii) Continually Carry out Research:
Always carry out research to see what is new and to see what your competitors are doing differently and how you can be ahead of competition.
Talent Retention Strategies
Talent acquisition may be informed by several factors which could result in several activities culminating in the need to hire from within (internally) or without (externally) depending on the policies of the organisation and other variables as they both have their merits and demerits.
Comparisms between internal and external hiring:
Internal Hiring External Hiring
- Cost effective Expensive
- Creates disaffection amongst Does not create disaffection Managers/ employees
- Takes lesser time to fill Takes more time to fill
- Options are lesser More options
- Faster integration Takes time to integrate
- Higher cost of training Low cost of training
- Boosts employees morale
- Could result to favouritism Best candidates emerge
- Easier to manipulate Not easy to manipulate
- It is a closed system It is an open system
- Low turnover Turnover is high
- It is motivating Injects fresh blood and new thinking
- Proof of the organization’s willingness to develop employees’ careers
- Contributes to implementation of equal opportunities policies
These are some of the strategies to retain your best talents:
- Ensure that your salaries are internally equitable and externally competitive;
- Implement quality supervision and management
- Develop equal opportunities policies
- Promote career progression opportunities
- Review at intervals your recruitment and selection policies to reflect current Company thinking
- Monitor competitors to be ahead of them in your people management
- Improve and offer quality training and education to employees
- Offer better choice of benefits to employees
- Improve job designs and introduce flexible working practices
It is an open secret that the best job candidates available in the job market are employed and they are passive. Most people who attend career fairs are students, the unemployed and they are the desperate ones. These are certainly not the people companies are expecting to meet; they are the people companies don’t want to spend more than 2mins talking to.
Talent Acquisition is therefore is essential for attracting passive candidates but not necessarily for recruitment.
This piece was written by Agolo Uzorka, CEO/ Lead Consultant, Eugene + George Consulting Limited
Starting A Small Business could be an herculean task. To most, it takes a lot of courage to brace and to others, they continue to procrastinate … others only think about it when the going gets tough; many others contemplate on it when they are frustrated at their employed places of work or are out of job. Whilst many others take years to dream, ruminate and, talk about it, and discuss it, a number of others plan it, research it and hope to see when the best opportunity presents itself.
The wise ones start the plan when the going is well and good – they begin the process of self-dependence, planning for their exit as my former boss once told me that he planned his exits from organisations he worked the day he resumed duty. I bought his idea and learnt from him when he explained that he never wanted to be caught unawares.
I talk about it because I have traveled on that same terrain … i understand the bumps on the path and I pity many when they lose their jobs and have nothing to hope on. You need not say or feel you can not own a small business. Believing that you can not own or set-up a small business is as good as saying you have nothing to offer to life!
I tell you, without mincing words that with authentic self-audit, sufficient experiences, good planning and adequate financial understanding, the dream of owning a small business can come true.
Consulting with experienced brains in your choice-field could also assist at the early stage of the business.
Learning also from this crop of entrepreneurs will help you avoid the most likely pitfalls and put you on a good pedestal.
In this wise, one is required to diligently research the business ideas and its market before embarking on it to avoid regrets. You are enjoined to also attend seminars, training, conferences where you could be afforded the opportunity of learning and asking salient questions on bordering issues on the intended business. Here you come in contact with experts and captains of industry who would be of support and be there to allay your fears. They also will advise you on how you can get financial supports too.
Moreso, it affords you the opportunity to meet with entrepreneurs from other markets who may not be your direct competitors. This could be very, very beneficial to you both in the short and long term.
My Candid Advice:
First, you are advised to follow your passion as Warren Buffet once said that, “passion is what keeps you going when the going gets tough”.
Going into a business that has great potential is good, but it is better to go into a business you are passionate about as most times things don’t go the way we had planned. I had watched many jump from one business to another because they have bluntly refused to audit themselves and follow their passion! They also do not understand that businesses are like tides … and several factors could determine this – economic, socio-political, natural factors etc.
Visualize the biggest businesses in the world today: Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, MacDonald’s etc. The common factor amongst these businesses remain the fact that the businesses were built around the passion of the founders.
Secondly, trying to establish a small business, entrepreneurs must look at the bigger picture. Most times they focus only on the product(s) they intend to sell and ignore market forces! It shouldn’t be so.
Thirdly, in attempt to establish a small business you should also seek out financial advisors for proper financial guide as they will assist you in data and information generation and also fine-tune your business plan. You require their professional support to succeed.
Again, you must be able to choose an advisor who will be willing to support you to succeed. You don’t need one who will always concur. He/ she should be able, in your discussions, to tell you the two sides of every option you so plan to adopt and the potential risks inherent.
The advisor should be experienced to be able to assist you to review and refine your business plan as this is extremely important in the planning/ formation stage, as this is intended to reduce the error margin.
As soon as the business plan is put in proper perspective, you can then request for a guide on the implementation plan: start-up cost estimation, bank account opening procedures, criteria for obtaining business loans etc. Your financial advisor should also be able to connect you to an HR Consultant, Accountant, Legal Counsel and others who would be relevant to you as a small business owner. The Legal Counsel would assist you with registering a business name cum company and other sundry issues.
You should also learn more to understand your niche market, client and competitors and put up good marketing plan for your business because marketing is an essential and critical tool in any business. In this wise, think also about on-line marketing because this is where the world lives.
At this point, you need to set target and goals for yourself which should be SMART compliant: – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely
Reduce Your Expenses: You are expected to consider ways to reduce your expenses – administrative/ running cost etc.
i) Don’t be in a hurry to make it – avoid falling into the hands of fraudsters (online and offline), occassioned by inordinate plan to excel above others, greed, recklessness etc
ii) Work hard to earn your niche in the chosen field
iii) Don’t be fixated on one definite strategy – exploit other methods both in marketing, sales etc and accept changes where necessary as the world is dynamic;
iv) Passion is key as it is the great driver that will assist you in times of challenges and create your career path;
v) Learn to use social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Whatsapp etc) depending on your area of business;
vi) Your customer service is also important as satisfied customers return and unsatisfied ones tell many others the bad services and experiences he/she had received from you.
vi) Be polite in your approaches;
vii) Make provisions for publicity – learn from Coca-Cola who in spite of her popularity still invests in publicity/ advertisements.
viii) Embrace technology to simplify your work
In Starting A Small Business, you are seriously ADVISED to avoid the temptation of dipping your hands also into your finances for personal reasons.
You should be able to manage and keep records of your financial transactions for periodic audit and analysis as this is expected to reveal your performances over a given period.
Again, avoid providing services or sales on credit, if possible, to friends and relations as most businesses are crippled by these.
While the list of pitfalls are inexhaustible, if these are adhered to and implemented, you will experience exploits in your new business start-up.
Contributed by Agolo Uzorka Eugene, CEO/ Lead Consultant, Eugene + George Consulting Limited (www.eugenegeorgeconsulting.com)