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Sagicor Bank CEO urges companies to engage employees

Monday, October 21, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Chief Executive Officer of Sagicor Bank, Chorvelle Johnson Cunningham, is calling on companies to develop meaningful connections with employees which will in turn lead to greater productivity.

She was speaking at the annual Jamaica Business Development Corporation's Employee Engagement Conference at the Jamaica Conference Centre last Thursday.

Noting that the workforce consists of people from four generations — veterans, baby boomers, post boomers and millennials — Johnson Cunningham, charged people managers to understand and develop various means to engage these individuals.

“If we do not have an engaged workforce, we will not have successful companies,” she said. “Our employees need to feel as though they are valued and heard within organisations for them to want to go the extra mile for the company.”

“I have an organisation with close to 600 team members and to engage them, I have to find various means to reach my team members. So, I have something called, talk to the CEO, where I make myself available to any team member who wishes to speak to me. I don't want to hear from my direct reports alone. I also do video presentations, because I know not everybody wants to read emails; I do what I call pump-up sessions with team members, where I play some vibrant music and motivate them to get their energy up for the day or week ahead,” she shared.

The CEO also highlighted the growth of the gig economy — a labour market characterised by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs.

Johnson Cunningham further attributed a lack of engagement in companies to a decline in trust between employers and team members.

She reasoned that because contract workers do not have a high sense of job security, their focus on the job is divided, which leads to decreased productivity and in some instances, poor client relations.

Echoing the sentiment of revered business mogul Richard Branson, Johnson Cunningham said: “Clients do not come first; employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”

Johnson Cunningham encouraged the room of people managers and business leaders to ensure that they boost confidence, inspire job security, empower team members and cater to the various learning styles present within the team in a bid to engage employees.

She also encouraged that they avoid creating toxic work environments, which she said leads to people quitting.


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