Thursday, July 7, 2022

Poor work ethics serious, but not Private Sector problem

The problem of diminishing productivity and poor work ethics decried by authorities in Business and the public service cannot be effectively tackled until all the stakeholders come to recognize that it has its origins beyond just the work place.

Maria Machailo-Ellis, Executive Director of Botswana Chamber of Commerce and Industry Manpower (BOCCIM) made this observation in an interview after the just ended 24th BOCCIM Secretaries Convention held at Phakalane Hotel and Resorts under the theme, “Building the Business Essentials”.

Machailo-Ellis pointed out that looking at recent reports on Botswana’s competitiveness internationally, a number of gaps were noted, among them the problem of lack of skilled manpower and poor work ethics.

“But certainly to some, perhaps many of us, the ratings and attributed cause for our country’s under performance did not as such come as a new issue, in fact it has been in our cards for too long as a country and even the National Business Conference (NBC) which was held in 2008 made the same observations,” noted the BOCCIM Executive Director.

She added that a task was thus assigned to BOCCIM and the Botswana National Productivity Centre (BNPC) emanating from the observation of the extent to which poor work ethics had become every organization and enterprise’s ┬áconcern, so that concerted efforts be made to address the problem.

Despite initiatives by both BNPC and BOCCIM as per the assignment from the NBC, as well Government’s series of interventions directed at stemming the tide of degeneration in standards and to enhance performance improvement, authorities in both the private sector and the public service continue to lament the same evil.

Evidence deduced after many efforts, losses and frustrations point to a problem that’s much bigger than just the Business sector (BOCCIM and the (BNPC), contrary to what has been the domineering thought generally.

In Machailo-Ellis’ view, the culprit lay in the culture and environment as well the circumstances under┬á which people were brought up as it largely becomes the ultimate determinant in the outlook.

“I believe that in the same manner that we see people who come from countries where they face special circumstances displaying strong character, commitment to work and sacrifice, we still have to build and nurture a culture of resilience and inner drive to undo poor work ethics,” argued the Chief of Business.

Against this background, the BOCCIM Chief recommends what she termed a multi-pronged but structured approach involving all parents, teachers’ managers and professional mentors as it is, by and large, about behaviour and attitude, which she said should be influenced from early childhood.

┬á“The 24th BOCCIM Secretaries Convention was, therefore, conceived in the context of improving work ethics as part of our many programmes aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of the private sector and our country internationally, and therefore more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).”

For her part, Rutang Moses, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Safdico Botswana PTY LTD and Diamond Technology Park (DTP) who officiated at the convention, remarked that the credibility of BOCCIM’s initiative in empowering secretaries can be judged by its achievements, which included the establishment of the High Level Consultative Council (HLCC) which is headed by the Head of State, and the influence BOCCIM commanded in high places.

“Thus, given the mammoth task we have of creating an employable and productive workforce, the Secretaries’ convention must be viewed in the context of complementing our country’s Human Resource Development Strategy (HRDS),” posited Moses.

In addition, she cautioned the participants who included company secretaries and personal assistants to company executives, to see themselves as the doorway or window through which investors could determine the prospects of doing business with their enterprises or with Botswana in the case of foreign investors.

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