Employee Engagement Critical to Economic Growth – Dr. Chang

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister without Portfolio in the Economic, Growth and Job Creation Ministry, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang (centre) is being shown locally produced spices and sauces by Assistant Manager of the Marketing Services Unit, Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) Vivette McFarlane (left). Occasion was the Jamaica Business Development Corporation’s (JBDC) Employee Engagement Conference at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston on October 31. Looking on at (right) is JBDC Chief Executive Officer, Valerie Veira.

Story Highlights

  • Minister without Portfolio in the Economic Growth and Job Creation Ministry, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, says the active engagement of workers is critical to the overall development and growth of Jamaica’s economy.
  • Dr. Chang said the dialogue on employee engagement must include a focus on the growth of new media and how global thought trends are providing the millennial generation with options outside of the traditional workforce.
  • Meanwhile, in her address, newly appointed Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Andrene Collins, said it is critical to invest in the vocational training of employees.

Minister without Portfolio in the Economic Growth and Job Creation Ministry, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, says the active engagement of workers is critical to the overall development and growth of Jamaica’s economy.

He said it is advantageous for Jamaican businesses, as well as the local economy, when employees are motivated or properly engaged according to their professional strengths and natural talents.
“A conversation must be had about how we engage employees to achieve optimal business results in the workplace,” he said.

He was addressing the opening session of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation’s (JBDC) inaugural Employee Engagement Conference at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston on October 31.

Dr. Chang said the dialogue on employee engagement must include a focus on the growth of new media and how global thought trends are providing the millennial generation with options outside of the traditional workforce.

As such, he said employers will have to adjust their recruitment strategies to present competitive options.

“To offer the highest salary alone will not win over this workforce. The management of talent will have to consider corporate culture as a selling point for recruitment and retention,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, in her address, newly appointed Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Andrene Collins, said it is critical to invest in the vocational training of employees.

Ms. Collins, who was delivering remarks on behalf of Portfolio Minister, Hon. Karl Samuda, explained that training is imperative in order for employees to “clearly understand their roles and functions in an organisation”.

“It is through training that we empower our employees and we’re able to get their engagement,” she added.

She urged businesses to invest in employees, who are “our greatest assets” in much the same way that investments are made in equipment.

“We have to find a way to engage, because at the end of the day, it is people and relationships that matter. Engagement is a priority,” she said.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the JBDC, Valerie Veira, said the one-day conference aims to provide a transformational experience for the more than 260 participants.

“What we are doing is starting a conversation that we need to start in a robust way in Jamaica… (namely) how do we enhance the most important asset in our business, and that is our employees,” she said.

Guest Speaker for the opening of the conference, Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) President, Professor Fritz Pinnock, noted that strong leadership is critical in engaging and stimulating others.

Under the theme ‘Stimulate, Inspire, Empower and Engage’, the staging of the conference was motivated by the findings of the National Employee Engagement Report of 2016, which, among other things, indicates that 24.5 per cent or approximately one in four employees is disengaged or is just doing the bare minimum in an organistion.

The objective is to strengthen the capacity of Jamaican leaders to engage the workforce towards producing optimal business results while creating a platform to showcase local research studies centred on employee engagement and workforce productivity.

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