Jamaica National accelerating digital growth

Jamaica National accelerating digital growth

Observer business writer

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

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Jamaica National (JN) Group is accelerating the process of doing business even as Jamaica lags in digital access while the world moves forward into the digital age.

The key feature which will underpin this move will be the group's ability to ensure there is a facilitative work-from-home (WFH) environment for staff.

Chief executive officer of the JN Group Earl Jarrett explained at a recent Jamaica Observer Business Forum how the group moved online while ensuring business could continue in a seamless manner.

“When we saw COVID coming from China, we had no idea of how bad it would have been. Early in the day, recognising that work from home is something that we needed to address, we put in place serious policies to support staff. In some instances, we provided tools, printers, laptops, access to the Internet for members of staff. We basically looked at the fact that we could effectively simulate the workspace without being physically present. We found ways of doing transactions, signing documents, and making payments to our customers online.”

Due to the initial success from the current WFH setup and experience, Jarrett explained that this would become a permanent fixture in JN's operations, especially as the group looks to consolidate some of its operations at Belmont Road and reduce its real estate-related costs while providing better advantages to staff.

“We're going to make sure that it's a permanent feature. We want to be able to leverage that to create better work life conditions for staff to ensure high levels of productivity while improving on efficiencies.”

The JN boss pointed out that rather than laying off staff members and going into a defensive position, the JN Group looked to capitalise on the situation, to grow and understand how it could position itself better for the new environment set to emerge after COVID-19 dissipates in the future.

“What I had said was let us grow during COVID. We believe that in our case there are so many things about Jamaica National which creates a unique proposition for the customer. When you look at the JN Group, which is financial and non-financial services, the banking business is a bit of a generic. What we tried to do was to incorporate other products from the other companies into the programme. We also sought out markets that we did not focus on in sub-sectors specifically. During the period, we sought to grow and to fix the operations so that we're a world standard operation. So, we did not layoff anybody. However, in the future, as we incorporate some of these efficiency measures, you may see changes in the components of the staff. If the technology now enables us to do things with less staff, we have to face that fact.”

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