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HR investment key to growth - Pandohie

Published:Wednesday | May 22, 2019 | 12:24 AMChristopher Serju/Gleaner Writer

Investments in infrastructural retooling, including state-of-the-art technology, must be paired with matched spend on human resource development in order to achieve meaningful economic growth, one of the country’s top business leaders has posited.

Chief executive officer of the Seprod Group of Companies, Richard Pandohie, recently made a strong case for the twinning of initiatives to drive culture change with major expenditure on equipment as a critical pathway for achieving growth.

His comments came during the opening day of the Middle Managers’ Conference, ‘Building and Unleashing Breakthrough Leadership’, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.

Pandohie, who was part of a four-member team of senior business executives on the CEO Panel that presented on ‘Lasting Lessons from Great Leadership Minds’, used the experience at Seprod to support his arguments.

TRANSFORMATION

“We have been undergoing massive transformation over the last four years. We have invested a serious amount of money, over US$100 million in our factories, retooling, and you know what, the getting new technology, getting the new equipment, all those exciting things is a lot of work, but if you ask me what’s keeping me awake at night? It’s how we transform the culture to create a high-productivity culture that operates in a global village, that’s been the biggest challenge.”

He added: “When you are running a country like Jamaica, you have to have transaction ... transformation – big vision!”

Pandohie, who received a special award during the RJRGLEANER Honour Awards in February following Seprod’s sweep of the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association awards gala in October, when it copped the Prime Minister’s Award for Top Large Exporter and the Governor General’s Award for both manufacturing and exporting, admitted that success does come at a personal price.

TRUST ISSUES

“We need to inspire people to make them see more, to do more. We need to make them know that we care about them. One of the problems we have in Jamaica is a deficit trust when it comes to the management and leadership level. Everybody, at every level, don’t trust the leadership above them; a deficit of trust. I face that every day and it breaks my heart.”

However, he warned against the danger of overcompensating in order to achieve or maintain employee satisfaction.

“It’s about passion, it’s about commitment. Now, passion and incompetence is a horrific combination. There are a lot people who are incompetent at what they’re doing, yet they’re passionate and create more damage, so you have to be careful of that … . They really ought not to be in the organisation.”

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com