Career & Education

Here comes the boom!

with Debra Fraser

Sunday, October 06, 2019

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All indications are that Jamaica is trending upwards economically — from being ranked 7th in the world on the most entrepreneurial country index in 2015; being awarded a second time by Bloomberg as the world's number one performing stock exchange, in 2018; and being rated as the 6th best place to start a business globally in 2019 by the World Bank's Doing Business Report. It's little wonder investors are eager to plant financial roots in Jamaica. But macro-economic optics aside, is all this foreign exchange and economic activity trickling down to the factory floor and into office cubicles?

Rising Tide Raises All Boats

It's natural for employees at all levels to expect a salary increase when the company they work for flourishes. So when all factors point to a growing industry and sustained company profitability, human resource personnel get frequent nudges about opportunities for promotion and increases in basic salaries. It's important for leaders to recognise that frank and frequent conversations must take place with their team members to prevent alienating them, and to be in control of the narrative. Simply put, perception is often reality, especially for the so-called average worker at the bottom of the corporate totem pole. Quite often, as HR professionals we do more mediation than team-building because organisations allow the communication gap to create an 'US vs them' internal stand-off, which is never good for manager-employee relations, or for business. Employers of choice ought to make it a priority to have an open playbook in place that clearly outlines paths to professional development, upward mobility, and succession planning if they intend to keep their employees fully engaged and committed.

The sad reality is that inflation always seems to win. The true value of money erodes faster than the rate of increase in average salary levels and the cost of living, so to the majority of workers it can often feel like being on a treadmill where running as hard as you can still doesn't get you closer to your financial goal. More and more companies internationally are awakening to the new mindset of the modern worker. Today's tech savvy, free-spirited employee understands their personal value more so than the traditional punch-clock worker. They understand that technology makes work easier and hours spent doesn't necessarily equate to productivity. Consequently, headhunters now find more and more that job seekers want to be in working environments that allow them flexible work hours and/or the opportunity to work from home. This means that they still expect to get paid well but also have freedom to explore other non-conflicting sources of income simultaneously. To acquire and keep employees' full attention, leaders must recognise that a new day has come where a more knowledgeable workforce expects more for their valuable time, in dollars, and appeal to their sense of overall job satisfaction.

Until next time, leaders keep lookin' up!

Debra Fraser MBA, is CEO of Caribbean HR Solutions, a board member of the BPIAJ and the Global Services Sector, a member of the Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica, and the Society of Human Resources Management. Please direct comments to dfraser@caribbeanhrsolutions.com or www.caribbeanhrsolutions.com


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