Focus on HR fundamentals in corporate Namibia

By By Dorcas Mhungu
September 2011
Prime Business

The Namibia Institute of People Management (IPM) symbolises an important step that captains of the human capital investment in various sectors of the Namibian industry have taken to deal with critical issues in the day to day operations of any organisation.

Tim Ekandjo, the President of the Institute of People Management Namibia, is positive the new body will contribute immensely towards capacity building in the workplaces.

“Starting from Vision 2030, the HR profession and human capital development has been identified as a key component and yet the profession has no unified body that will prepare itself to make this valuable contribution.

“We are currently working without a national common sense of purpose and the establishment of IPM Namibia is therefore to ensure we get our house in order so as to ensure we work towards a common destiny,” says Ekandjo.

The institute has 11 corporate members and dozens of individuals who are members.

IPM Namibia’s vision is to be the officially recognised voice for all Human Resource (HR) Professionals in Namibia and in Sadc. Says Ekandjo, “This underscores the fact that we want to be the central point of reference for the profession speaking with one voice and thinking with one mind.

“The idea from our mission is to be the gateway for Namibian HR Professionals by providing world class HR services and advice, offer accreditation and provide leadership and direction in the HR profession.”

He also adds that, “As a country, we are 21 years now and we cannot keep on making excuses of being too young. For any country to be successful, its human capital need to play a crucial part in its development and IPM Namibia is about developing the capacity of the country’s human capital. We are therefore strategically placed in the very heart of the country’s developmental opportunities and that is why the role of IPM Namibia is so important.

“Our importance as an Institute is however not naturally self- bestowed on us, we need to earn it and this will be judged by our milestones and the fact that we are able to achieve our set objectives.”

Some of the objectives of the organisation include the desire to professionalise the HR profession to ensure that HR becomes a recognised and respected profession, by proving stringent standards and ethical accountability through accrediting HR professionals through professional registration both at individual and organizational level.

The institute also endeavours to build sustainable partnerships with Human Resource professionals and stakeholders like government, non-governmental organisations, media, businesses and academic institutions to address people management challenges that influence the effectiveness and sustainability of their organizations and communities.

IPM Namibia will further envisage to proactively provide thought leadership, education and research to human resource professionals and act as an advocate to ensure that policy makers, law makers and regulators aware of key people concerns facing organizations and the human resource profession. The organisation will also create a governing body on ethical issues and professional conduct for HR professionals in order to provide easy access to critical information and trends in the HR.

Ekandjo says more collective efforts are needed to justify calling the human resource human capital investment if the industry is to move forward.

“After so many years of independence, we have done very little in developing critical skills that we know the country needs to develop. We are over-reliant on foreign expertise without ensuring that there is genuine skills transfer taking place. Yes, we solve our problems in the short term, but another 20 years down the line and we will find ourselves not having moved an inch which will be a sad state of affair.”

Corporate and Government need to do a lot more in investing in training and development programmes and investing in the skills of their workforce and IPM Namibia welcome the introduction of the Training Levy.

Commenting on the availability of special skills in the country Ekandjo says while there is genuine skills shortages in some sectors, the shortages are exaggerated in some sectors and used as an excuse to engage foreigners.

“Studies have already been done which highlights the areas of concern in terms of skills scarcity and we must act on this recommendations and not just talk about them year in and year out. It is now time for action.”

On 16 September IPM Namibia will host its first breakfast meeting where renowned speaker, Tony Frost who will share the transformation journey from transactional HR to strategic business partner which is an important transformational journey towards professionalization. The breakfast is free for all registered IPM members while non IPM members will pay a minimal fee which will essentially cover for their breakfast.

Ekandjo stresses that of paramount importance on the agenda is the discussion and engagement of the Ministry of Labour & Social Welfare on the proposed 1.5% of payroll training levy that is envisaged for implementation next year.

“In November this year, IPM will host its first Annual Conference where we will discuss various issues over a period of three days. We will have an exciting line up of international, regional and local speakers and information about the Conference will be shared in due course,” Ekandjo concludes. PF