Ecobank MySME Growth Series: Expert proffers solutions to managing staff in “Japa” Era

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Lagos, March 6, 2024 – Effective management of talents within the context of new work realities would check the migration of Nigerian professionals, popularly referred to as ‘japa syndrome’.

Hilda Kabushenga, a human resource expert and Chief Executive of The African Talent Company, made this assertion in her presentation titled “Finding skilled labour in the japa era’ at the Ecobank Nigeria’s MySME Growth Series recently.

She made the assertion against the backdrop of the migration of Nigerian professionals to developed countries.

Kabushenga said that people were no longer looking for physical employment contracts, but “psychological contracts of experience”.

She advised that employers that wanted to hold on to their staff would have to embrace the “future of work”.

According to her, organisations should initiate staff retention from the recruitment stage by having candidate pipeline for critical departments and have an honest conversation about long term career plans during the interview process.

“If possible, hire an ‘heir and a spare’ – somebody to shadow critical talent and learn the ropes from them.”

“Stay engaged between when the offer is made and when talent is to resume – a lot can happen in a very short period.

“Focus on gaining buy in to your company vision during onboarding and lay out a clear path for growth and development internally,” she said.

Kabushenga advised organisations to set up better reward systems such as profit sharing, and milestone bonuses to entice employees and increase overall job satisfaction.

She said they should also incorporate flexible work modes, create a sense of belonging, prioritise initiatives like open communication and foster connections between the leadership team and the workforce.

Kabushenga said to manage strategic staff effectively, firms should deepen their talent bench by “building not buying” personnels, tailor learning and development initiatives that are a win win.

They should also have a solid succession planning system, be open to negotiations and maintain an enduring relationship.

The Ecobank Nigeria SMEs Growth Series is an innovative training program targeted at empowering SME operators in the country.

Under this initiative, the Bank aims to train over one million SME operators across the country in 2024.   (GBN)

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