Graphic Business News

Corporate expectations for 2019 • Focus on human resource management

By: Emmanuel Bruce
Dr Hazel Berrard Awuah

In the next couple of weeks, many corporate organisations and businesses will be held up in hotels and retreat centres to review 2018 and strategise for 2019.
What are these companies talking about in the last quarter of the year?
Trying to unravel this, the Springboard has introduced a new series titled Expectations for 2019 and review of 2018’. The focus for this week’s edition was on human resource management.

Helping the host of the programme, Rev. Albert Ocran to understand how human resource has been key to the successes and failures of businesses this year and how critical it would be in the following year were the Human Resource Director of Guinness Ghana Brewery Limited (GGBL), Dr Hazel Berrard Awuah and the Head of Human Resource at CalBank, Mr Samuel Kwame Boafo.
Touching on how the human resource profession has been key this year, Mr Boafo said it had been both exciting and challenging.
“There have been some developments, both positives and negatives. Particularly, getting to the end of the year there have been a lot of work in the HR area, especially in the industry that I work in,” he stated.
“There have been changes in the financial services regulation rules and corporate governance which have led to some job losses,” he added.
Mr Boafo also pointed out that the changes in tax administration such as the conversion of the NHIS and GETFUND levies into straight levies, the introduction of the luxury car tax and the adjustment of the tax rate which now requires workers who earn GH¢10,000 and above to pay 35 per cent tax posed some challenges for HR directors.
He said these changes affected the projections of companies for 2018 and 2019.
Disruptions not anticipated
When asked whether the economic disruptions were anticipated by the businesses at the start of the year, he said it was a “yes and no”.
“Most of these disruptions such as the introduction of the luxury tax and the tax adjustment were introduced mid-year and were not anticipated,” he stated.
“Some of these disruptions which were coming in after staff compensation had been agreed on for employees brought some challenges. In some organisations, there have been small agitations on restoring people to their compensation level,” he explained.
Year of promise
For her part, Dr Berrard Awuah said the beginning of 2018 was promising premised on the macroeconomic gains in 2017.
“It looked like a year where there will be more jobs creation which will put more money in the pockets of Ghanaians,” she stated.
“But getting to the middle part of the year, the introduction of different levies and the adjustment of the tax front brought some shocks in the economy. If you look at  the tax stamp directive point of view, this has slowed down productivity on the part of those of us in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry,” she explained.
She said some of these changes had huge impact on businesses, prompting many of them to sit up and rethink how they can end the year successfully and meet their targets.
“The disruptive economic impact has caused companies to re strategies on how they can still manage to land safely,” she said.
“People are into business to make money so businesses have to find a way to please their shareholders in the midst of all these disruptive changes,” she added.
How to end the year right
Commenting on how businesses could end the year right, she said “at this time of the year, discussion with the executive members and employees must be geared towards encouraging one another to still keep their heads above the water and put in their best.”
She said much also depended on the financial year the company operated.
“Most companies do a January to December financial year, while others do a June to July financial year. If you are operating from January to December then you have just three months to finish hard,” she stated.
“What this means is that the company must rethink the marketing strategy, cut down costs, cut down learn and development spend, and cut down on capital investments. You have to shift these expenses to the upcoming year because you want to conclude with your bottom line and profitability target being met,” she explained. — GB