HR Experts train Nigerian SMEs on Workforce management

As part of its commitment to upskilling SMEs in a post-COVID economy, MTN Nigeria’s Revv Programme trained small business owners on the most efficient ways of managing the workforce on Wednesday, September 30, 2020. The virtual training had a lineup of human resource experts and business leaders as panelists.

Sharing from their wealth of knowledge and experience at the event were Esther Akinnukawe, the Chief Human Resource Officer at MTN Nigeria; Adora Ikwuemesi, Founder, Kendor Consulting; John Obaro, Founder, Systemspecs; Bolaji Olagunju, Founder, Workforce Group & Owners Institute; and Chichi Ojeme, an HR Expert and entrepreneur. Odunayo Sanya, who is the Acting Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation expertly moderated the highly engaging session.

Esther Akinnukawe spoke plainly, as she emphasized the importance of business owners building trust with their employees. Akinnukawe, an alumnus of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) with over 26 years’ experience in talent management says building trust with employees begins from the hiring process.

“Get your hiring right. If you don’t bring the right people into the organisation, unfortunately the foundation has not been properly built”.

Adora Ikwuemesi, a seasoned consultant with over 15 years’ experience, buttressed Akinnukawe’s point. The founder of Kendor Consulting believes “if you ask most small business owners what there biggest issue is, they will tell you it is staffing.”

Trust is also a big factor to retaining staff. “There is no relationship when there is no trust”, she emphasised.

In his remarks, John Obaro, a technology entrepreneur, advised SMEs to pay attention to their relationship with their employees.

He said, “Relationship matters. Hire right and relate well with your employees. You need to create a work atmosphere where people are free and relaxed. Building the trust relationship is very important. Get personal with them.”

Participants had more than enough to take away from Chichi Ojeme, whose years of experience as an entrepreneur was evident in her elucidation of the structures that can help SMEs in managing an unskilled workforce. Ojeme said, “To manage them optimally, the communication channel is very important. Speak the language they understand.”

Since its launch in August by MTN Nigeria, over 5,000 entrepreneurs have benefited from the Revv Programme, which seeks to provide solutions for SMEs in readjusting their businesses to meet post-Covid economic realities. The programme adopts a four-pronged approach that includes masterclass sessions, support with productivity tools, access to market and advisory initiatives. MTN aims to train over 10,000 SMEs through the initiative.

More than 30 business leaders and industry experts across various sectors have so far contributed to the impactful sessions.

MTN Nigeria has also provided participants at the Revv Programme with a rare opportunity to join its accelerator programme, Y’ello 200. After participating in the Revv Programme, some lucky small business owners will be selected to benefit from a broad range of technology and productivity support tools in addition to expert advisory.

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