Standard Bank Malawi has said the human resource (HR) function plays a critical role in any company’s performance, hence the need to give it priority.
The Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE)—listed bank’s head of human resources Laston Chilando, speaking at workplace connection breakfast the firm organised in Blantyre on Tuesday, said there is a tendency by companies not to prioritise the needs of the workforce.
He said while most companies regard workers as their most critical resource, they are the first target when it comes to budget cuts for training and others.
“We have not demonstrated clearly how the human resource can be a strategic partner that can add value on the table. At Standard Bank, people are in fact our most strategic competitive advantage,” said Chilando, at a function that pooled human resources personnel from a number of companies in Blantyre.
To ensure that the human resource adds value to the company, he said there is need to put up the right structure and operating model.
Chilando said the job of the training officer in companies, which is under the human resources department, should not just be to publish a training calendar.
“We need to start considering a partnership centric model,” he said.
Chilando bemoaned that in most companies, the HR function is placed outside the core operations the company, but called on personnel to demonstrate that they can add value to organisations.
He said the human resources personnel should also not just focus on ‘law enforcement’ but aim at deliverables and having the right knowledge and understanding of the business they are working in.
Chilando said HR personnel should also not just be officers, but partners who can ensure the company relates well with outside customers.
He said the HR function should have the right structure and operating model, and that personnel in the department should have right HR capabilities, transactional and consulting skills and be credible, among others.
“We need a certain level of maturity to manage people well,” he said.