By Modupe Gbadeyanka
For the second straight year, Olam has been certified the Top Employer Institute, a global authority on recognising excellence in people practices, as the Top Employer in Africa.
The agri-business firm having was certified as an employer of choice in the African region for 2022 at a virtual event held on January 20, 2022, to celebrate businesses with stellar HR practices globally.
The auditing survey from the Top Employers Institute highlighted Olam as excelling in each of the assessment categories, which included people strategy, organisation and change, career development, digital HR, work environment, employer branding, talent acquisition and onboarding, performance management, learning, wellbeing, rewards and recognition, diversity and inclusion, and sustainability.
Speaking on the latest certification, Jaideep Biswas, Senior Vice President & Regional Head of Human Resources, at Olam, said, “To have secured the Top Employer Certification for two consecutive years reinforces our belief that our team is our greatest asset.
“Even amidst a global pandemic, we did not reduce our focus. We were able to make our employees our top priority to keep them safe, engaged, and inspired. At Olam, we will continue to invest in our people because it makes business sense. I’m extremely proud of our team and grateful for this recognition.”
Elated by the recognition, Mukul Mathur, Country Head, Olam Nigeria said, “Our approach to talent acquisition, onboarding, learning and strategic implementation of capacity development procedures, career progression plans, compensation and benefits, and employee value propositions are targeted at improving the working lives of our employees.
“Our certification for two consecutive years as an employer of choice, therefore, validates our overriding commitment to driving a workplace experience that matches the aspirations of our people and global best practices.”
Four of the agribusiness conglomerate’s Africa operations: Olam Nigeria, Olam Ghana, Olam Cote D’Ivoire, and Olam South Africa were again certified Top Employer of Choice.
Olam was founded in Nigeria in 1989. While the business has expanded to different markets in the world, its investment in the country remains massive with a strong backward integration programme directly impacting positively on the livelihoods of local smallholder farmers.
Some of the company’s products include Mama’s Pride Rice, Mama Gold Flour, Tasty Tom tomato paste, Cherie noodles, Pure Bliss biscuits, amongst others.
David Plink, the CEO at the Top Employer Institute said: “Olam has continued to show that it prioritises maintaining excellent people practices in their workplace.
“In the past year, they continued to meet the challenges of the wider world of work while working determinedly to positively impact the lives of their workforce. We are pleased to celebrate and applaud the organisations that have been certified as Top Employers in Africa this year.”
The Top Employers Institute assesses over 600 HR business practices around the world yearly. Through an HR Best Practices Survey, it examines organisations’ talent strategy, workforce planning, talent acquisition, onboarding, learning & development, performance management, leadership development, diversity and inclusion, career & succession management, compensation & benefits, and culture.
So far, the institute has certified and recognised more than 1,600 top employers in 119 countries across five continents.
ISSAN Forum: Experts raise alarm over brain drain of digital skills in Africa
Experts have raised concerns over the growing shortage of general digital skills occasioned by the brain drain in Africa, stating that such development would further lead to a rise in cyber-attacks and crimes with catastrophic consequences for businesses, governments, and citizens. This was the consensus of panelists that facilitated at the April edition of The Information Security Society of Africa – Nigeria (ISSAN) monthly meeting themed: ‘Addressing the Cybersecurity Skills Quagmire’.
They opined that African countries must as a matter of urgency start Intentional development of digital skills at all levels, smart technology support, collaboration with the Diaspora and strategic supply of digital skills to Africa. Key speakers included President, ISSAN, Dr. David Isiavwe; Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Digital Jewels, Mrs. Doyin Odunfa; Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Stanbic IBTC, Abumere Igboa; CISO, Heritage Bank, Eduje Ighoakpo; CISO, First Bank, Harrison Nnaji; CISO, Standard Chartered Bank, Oghenefovie Oyawari and Tokunbo Taiwo, Chief Technical Officer (CTO) Digital Jewels amongst several other speakers.
According to Mrs. Odunfa, the shortage of general digital skills at all levels is expected to become more critical as economies grow, noting that the supply of digitally skilled labour must also increase to meet anticipated labour market needs. She observed that highly skilled African professionals have been emigrating African countries to pursue lucrative cultural and socio-economic opportunities on other continents leading to a brain drain and skills gap on the continent. Whilst proffering solutions, she went further to recommend intentional development of digital skills at all levels, smart technology support, collaboration with the Diaspora and strategic supply to Africa and Western economies. “These young Africans are looking for higher-paying jobs outside Africa to escape socio-economic limitations such as poverty, limited infrastructure, and rudimentary jobs. They look for enabling environments in developed countries that provide rewarding businesses and obtain lucrative jobs, matching skilled individuals’ aspirations and expected socio-economic recompense. Many highly talented African students that obtain opportunities and scholarships of training abroad do not return home after completing studies.”
In his welcome address, President, ISSAN, Dr. David Isiavwe, said the brain drain in Africa as well as the digital skills shortage currently being experienced around the world calls for concern. According to him, “The cyber threat landscape is still evolving. The cybersecurity space keeps getting very busy by the day. We have seen how daring cybercriminals can be, targeting both national assets and of highly reputable firms. Even individuals are not left out. Consequently, it becomes imperative that organizations never relent in upholding and reinforcing information security best practices.”
The Information Security Society of Africa – Nigeria (ISSAN) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection of Nigeria’s cyberspace. They are significantly involved in ensuring the security of Banking Systems and applications, ATMs, e-government systems, and the entire cyberspace in Nigeria. ISSAN also seek to achieve its objectives through awareness heightening measures including the promotion of appropriate legislation and best practices. Membership cuts across both public and private sectors of the economy including Banks, Telecommunications Operators, Government parastatals, switching companies, IT and IT Security Consultancies, Legal Practitioners with a keen interest in cyber-related matters, and Regulators.
ISSAN, which has existed for over 10 years in Nigeria, has proven to be a veritable platform for collaboration and exchange of ideas by members of the Banking and e-commerce public, especially regarding the safekeeping of PINS, controls over passwords, access to the internet as well as steps organizations should take to always keep their systems healthy and safe. ISSAN, therefore, performs a critical role in ensuring that Information Security professionals find their voice on matters of Information Security and that all stakeholders are duly informed of the steps to take to contribute their little quota towards ensuring a safe society for us all.
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