How lack of employee-centrism affects businesses in Africa

Recently, I monitored how a piece on doing business in Africa was heavily circulated, which has finally lost its authorship due to the heavy dilution of the content. But the first three paragraphs encapsulate the real intent of the write-up, which is to create awareness on employees’ attitude, especially theft and fraud that affects doing of business in Africa.

“The biggest challenge in my manufacturing business is not power or infrastructure; the biggest challenge is getting honest staff.

Everyone we hire appears to be on a mission to steal as much as possible, Inflated invoices, recording less than the actual number of units produced.

The worst part of it all is that all the fraud we’ve uncovered is not done by a single person; it’s usually many staff who collude with each other, from production to sales, to finance, even top management.”

As a human capital development consultant with several years of experience, I wish to say that most businesses at the small, medium and micro-enterprise levels in Ghana/Africa do not have a corporate philosophy, values, business culture, vision, and experiential training focus in deeds and experience that can be reinforced when they encounter challenges.

Most businesses are not employee-centric but only figures-focused, so wellbeing and work-life balance does not exist in their scheme of human resource management. Sometimes salary is not just enough in a developing country or continent where salary increment does not commensurate with the high cost and living standards.

Mostly, thriving SMMEs in Africa can be easily noticed through flashy edifice and cars driven by owner and other managers, but actual evidence of a thriving business must reflect in the lives of the employees.

How many business owners live, dream, walk, work and talk about their business values, culture, philosophy, and vision? There are few examples, but most are ex-pat companies that uphold the companies vision and philosophy as it is from the country of origin. However, some variations occur due to environmental enculturation.

Integrity is evoked via modeling, training, experience, celebration & reward, and leadership by example. How many business owners in Africa will pass the very integrity test most are demanding from employees?

Human resource capital departments must have a re-look at employee-centered style and make a shift to best global practices.

I must admit, some chief human resources officers and managers’ greatest challenge with employee developmental growth is owners and board of directors of their firms.  Some firms also only have HR departments in place to just “hire and fire” and others too, such department only exists in on paper, not in practice and functionality

How many businesses understand work philosophy and its impact on customer experience?

The height or priority of relevance business owners give to shareholders, liquid capital, infrastructure & investment, etc.; same must be accorded to human capital.

Never mistaken skillset investment will make an automatic impact on employee mindset and heart-set.

Let business owners play by global best practices like currently ongoing at Google, Pepsico, Apple, etc. and see the magic

The corporate world has shifted from a mechanistic worldview of doing business to an ecological worldview of working. Understanding this phenomenon by using one of ecological worldview central rules that state that “humans are active participants in universal cognition and are in continuous creation,” where reality is determined by collective thought.

This allows creativity and innovation to emerged for a collective good. Whatever human beings have survived did not come out of a few interests but the more significant community interest. In Africa, for example, Ubuntu means “I am because you are.” The full axion is “Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu,” which means that a person is a person through other people. Most businesses consider their workforce as machines. If employees are modeled to experience stakeholder’s status, a language of innovation and growth is crafted for development.

Businesses must first troubleshoot why there is the reality of consequential employee attitude and behavior that has become endemic. We have a severe challenging customer experience across all sectors of businesses in Africa. This can be traced to mindset, behavior, and attitude (MBA); interestingly, there is a competent experiential training that can help mitigate these identified challenges. It demands SMMEs willingness to invest in their employees in attitude remodeling, mindset positioning, and behavior honing.

Recently, Zoweh Global Consult and Evolution consult partnered to conduct a coaching survey in Ghana. The revelation that came up on the corporate side of the survey was startling.  Most companies do not have in-house or outsourced coaches for their employees.

Yet, we can quickly point to employees’ inefficiencies that are basically rooted in mindset, behavior, and attitude.

Industry and education impact on the industry is still not transformational enough.  The same old 30 years’ approach is being deployed in our universities and other spaces of training.

How many businesses sponsor academic researches and surveys that will impact both training and employment? If a company is funding a survey or research, it will be beneficial to them. They will come up with salient areas they need empirical evidence and experience statistics on.

Finally, how many business owners and leaders, especially at the SMME levels, get equipped with the requisite leadership abilities and skills during business growth? Educational level upgrades are excellent, but leadership skill development and leadership trait and style honing are equally paramount. This is a critical intervention for business growth and metamorphosis.

Leadership and employee performance and wellbeing have become a matter of neuroscience. This means results are not just a matter of technology and capital but human development. Inclusiveness, equity, and diversity intervention have become a compelling necessity that any severe business cannot overlook.

Let us engage in employee impact and challenges on business growth with fairness, integrity, and without prejudice and biases.

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