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Chuks Udo Okonta
The Doyen of Insurance, Olola Olabode Ogunlana, has implored top management of insurance companies to train and develop their employees and not to solely rely on poaching.
He said this while speaking at an event in Lagos, organised to celebrate his 70th year in insurance practice.
He queried: “Are we as an industry doing enough in the areas of staff training and development? Do we invest enough in our staff? Here too the answer is no.”
Continuing, he said; “Permit me to ask the chief executives here present a crucial question. Is your organisation a habitual staff poacher? You may wonder who that is. What does a poacher do? He waits for other companies to train and develop staff; he prefers to grab the ready made staff trained and developed by others. Such companies that mainly or solely rely on poaching maybe unaware of the potential deleterious effects of their over reliance on poaching staff training and manpower development, like trees and other plants, need to be grown and nurtured in good soil, conducive environment and in suitable climate. When you uproot a seemingly good plant and replant it in soil deficient of good nutrients – correct business values and ethics, action centred teams, appreciation of understanding of common goals – the uprooted tree may not produce the expected good fruits. In the end the seeming boon of staff poaching may later turn into doom.
“Believe me, I am speaking from experience. Yes, in my time I have trained innumerable number of staff; granted that I lost some I feel fulfilled and better off for having done so.
He noted that he has over the last seventy years served variously within the industry as inspector, risk surveyor, underwriter, broker, teacher, manager, consultant and mentor, adding that his penchant for training people – the most important asset in business – has been the anchor for his success and those of the organisations he have been associated with.
He also charged operators to be innovative, “Is your company using up to date Information Technology for improved performance and to create awareness? Whatever your answer may be, I urge you to do more – for your organisation, the insurance industry and the nation.
“Do the various sectors within the industry collaborate? If they do, do they collaborate enough? What does your own organization do to obtain competitive edge?”
He charged the operators to meditate on these posers and improve on their efforts.