Mrs. Banwo Adesoun
Human Resources Practitioner in the Oil & Gas Sector, who doubles as Chairperson, 2012 Annual Conference Planning Committee of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPM), Mrs. Banwo Adesoun, spoke with Raheem Akingbolu on HR, the ongoing CIPM conference in Abuja, substandard products and other issues. Excerpts:
What informed the theme of the 2012 conference of CIPM: 'Restoration of Values for National Development' and what does the Institute intend to achieve in the long run, especially in cascading the resolutions for needed impact on society and governance?
The theme was informed by the need to articulate our lost national values and the impact of the loss on our national development.
Like the Institute's leadership has been emphasising, target of the conference is to propose strategic approaches for revival of these lost values with emphasis on HR management; identify barriers to national rebirth and national values revival and present HR solutions for removal of these barriers to national rebirth.
Others are to proffer the levers to accelerate ethical transformation of businesses and public service and in the process stimulate entrepreneurial spirit of delegates.
What do you think will be the impact of this on the larger society?
A lot; resource management at public and private sector will henceforth be guided by conscious ethical values. With that, we can be sure that the solution to corruption and other vices is underway.
Beyond this, you will agree with me that having unqualified and corrupt people in some manufacturing organisations contribute immensely to production of substandard products. Therefore, if corporate values are promoted, individuals in various production departments in manufacturing organisations will have no choice but to protect the interest of consumers.
Again, corrupt people who aid and support importation of fake products will be patriotic enough to know that their country should not be the dumping ground for substandard goods.
Since the conference will address all stakeholders, security personnel, from the Police to Customs and people in the State Security Services will also be conscious of values associated with their profession and frown at any attempt for syndicates to import fake products.
What impact could you say past conferences have achieved and what should delegates look forward to at this year’s conference?
It has recorded tremendous impact over the years. For instance, number of delegates have been increasing steadily every year and the communiqué issued at the end of the conference are annually been shared with all.
In this year’s conference, delegates will be addressed by high-quality speakers, the exhibition hall promises to be very educative and interactive and with the diverse mix of delegates attending, the networking opportunities will be very rich.
We do not expect it to be all work for the delegates and there will be a lot of opportunities for interactions as well as fun.
Could you give a rundown of Speakers for the conference and format it would take?
There will be a keynote address given by Dr. Christopher Kolade during the opening ceremony on October 3.
Meanwhile, 1st and 2nd plenary sessions will hold on October 4, and on October 5 we will have the 3rd plenary session. The masters series 1 - 10 will hold on the conference days, with sessions running concurrently.
We have lined up a few technocrats, including Kolade, who was a one-time High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, who will speak on 'Value Restoration for National Development; Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Hassan Kukah will speak on ‘Ethical Challenges in National Development’ while President and Professor of Leadership Studies (ILGE), Dr. John Keenan, will give a lecture on ‘Restoring Values in Organisations and the Nation: The Leadership Challenge’.
Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, MD Sokoa Chair Centre, who will speak on ‘Unleashing the Spirit of Entrepreneurship in our Workplaces and the Nation', will also impact very well on Nigerians' entrepreneurial spirit.
Let me add that this year’s edition is purposely put together to spell out some important aspects of Nigerian values, which have been eroded over the years and needed to be redefined.
It is targeted at our members and members of the public, who hold strategic positions at various cadres in both private and public institutions. We should not forget that values play important roles in the sustainability of an ideal society to be able to accomplish its set out objectives. In a way, it is the foundation of any credible organisation.
When the values of organisations are well spelt out, then we will be able to achieve considerable success as a nation.
When people fail to comply with these values, then the organisation should know what necessary punitive measures to carry out. But the truth is that corruption and other social indiscipline will be addressed when these values, whether individually or nationally are clearly spelt out to both the public and private individuals.
Also, values are well embedded when leaders follow the laws of the land and ideal moral behaviours. What we are advocating therefore is that leaders should be good examples to their followers. When this is done, then we can be sure of meaningful progress and achievement as a nation.
The conference will be an avenue to upscale the practice of personnel management in the country as delegates will use the opportunity to share their experiences in learning and knowledge update.
Our projection for now is that we are expecting between 3,000 and 5,000 members at the event to share experience and involve in social and business networking.
Under such arrangement, there would be platform for organisations to expose and exhibit their products and services at a special exhibitors’ stand to the large gathering of Nigerian and African HR practitioners.
Again, over the years, the learning benefits derived from participation have made it possible for HR practitioners to enhance their contributions and make the right calls at the decision table.
Aside providing an avenue for HR practitioners to share ideas, it will broaden their horizon, and enable them to network and learn about the latest developments in professional HR management
Let us discuss HR, professionalism, employability and the groaning unemployment situation in Nigeria... what are the recommended solutions to these issues?
This is a really broad question and there is no simple answer to it. In my opinion, the starting point to the current situation we find ourselves as a nation is for the government to create the enabling environment for tackling the groaning unemployment in Nigeria.
HR does not create jobs but rather ensures employment practices are fair and the right persons get the right jobs at the right time.
Is there a correlation between unemployment, poverty and job security?
Definitely, you need to be employed, whether by self or a third party, to be able to take care of yourself and not live in poverty.
Similarly, if you do not have a job and have no means of earning an income, you would be poor so job security is required to ensure the employee is able to pay his or her bills and maintain a certain standard of living. This does not mean though that life ends when an employee loses his job. Part of what we will be sharing at the forum is the entrepreneurial spirit that should be cultivated by all to ensure we always have options.
What role should HR play between the employer and employee relations?
One of the critical roles of HR is to act as an employee advocate or champion. This does not in any way mean that the employer should suffer. Most employers are in business for defined reasons and HR should ensure that employees deliver as promised.
So in summary, HR should ensure the right balance in the employee/employer relationship with the needs of both parties being met.