Joachim & Associates HR & Business Consulting

Linking people, strategy and performance.

Letter from the Managing Director

2017 marks 10 years since Joachim and Associates Ltd has been in existence and operational. As I reflected upon my 10 years as the principal practitioner of the firm, and the content of my original letter, hitherto, I pondered on what has changed and what has remained a challenge to the state of HR in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Caribbean over the stated period and the trickle-down effect of global HR.

Clearly, the role of the HR department has evolved as a Strategic HR Business Partner, especially in the larger Caribbean islands.  To this end, HR is now involved in the strategy formulation stage (among other things, evidenced by several calls for proposals for HR strategy formulation for insertion into Corporate Strategy). HR is not just simply supporting and implementing strategic activities, HR is now engaged in the strategy formulation decisions in order to support optimum performance. However, cross functional experience, a deep understanding of the business is required by HR professionals, along with strategic planning and organizational design. Metrics and analytics that measure the impact of human resources practices and programmes is also becoming a strategic imperative, if HR is to remain at the table.

Although Performance Management (automated or manual) still remains the Achilles’ heel of Human Resources Management and makes it fatally vulnerable, it is now one of the hottest HR topics in my view.  There is a shifting away from ratings and toward direct link with strategic goals and objectives, cascaded into individual performance targets as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Middle Managers’, who provide the link between strategy and execution, must now grapple with a more detailed and sometimes tedious process (particularly if the process is not automated) of linking performance directly to outcomes and not generic activities. While this process can become confusing initially, it can be considered as the lynchpin between strategy and execution and HR practices. It will seek to give employees insights into company goals and objectives, strategies, methods and processes.  Importantly, it is also meant to integrate and focus efforts and outcomes of teams and employees, drive better accountability, quality, productivity, development and reward and recognition, as well as support the slow thrust toward pay for performance and the eradication of bonuses as an entitlement.

Millennials (born 1980 and 2000) at work are projected to make up 50% of the global workforce (PWC Annual CEO Survey). It is said, that this group may present the biggest challenge for organisations. They have grown up with social media, broadband, lap tops, smart phones and therefore expect instant access to information. They tend to place their personal needs ahead of that of the organization and they are very uncomfortable with rigid structures.  Career progression is expected at a much faster rate than their predecessors. Yet, their use of technology can easily set them apart. In my view, they have changed the HRM and HRD landscape forever; re-shaping organizational culture and policy framework.

The rise of information technology and social media has certainly redefined the role of HR globally and has indeed impacted us here in the Caribbean. Several processes have been impacted and policies must be carefully crafted to protect the rights of employees and companies alike. Some of these include but not limited to: recruiting and selection, training and development, performance management, Human resources information systems as they relate to data and retrieval and storage regarding the latter.

Skills shortage, particularly among middle management segment of the workforce, continues to plague organisations and can have deleterious consequences on the operational and financial performance of companies.  Certainly, this skill deficiency presents a barrier to faster execution, higher productivity and at worst, a hindrance to organizational performance. Execution and collaboration are in short supply among this segment of the workforce.

Clearly, the role of HR has evolved and continues to evolve to meet the challenges of the changing environment. Likewise, Joachim & Associates, through its full suite of services, has been and continues to find smart ways to meet the needs of our clients. Our understanding of the changing environment, organizational and workforce factors that are likely to influence the business, allows us to anticipate the two most important aspects of business: People and Process. Flexibility, Creativity and a relentless dedication to quality work, have been our watchwords in the delivery of services, ensuring that HR interventions add value to those we serve.

Suzanne Joachim, BBA, MA (merit) Human Resource Management
Managing Director

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