Reputation is something that sticks longer with humans and it’s usually difficult to correct whether good or bad. In business, a first mistake could be pardoned and considered an oversight but when it becomes a reoccurring event, it becomes your company’s reputation. Once people get to know your brand for a particular thing, negative or positive, that image stays glued on your business until you’re able to create a stronger impression that is remarkable enough to replace the former. A bad reputation therefore tarnishes the image of your business.
The fact is customers never forget the kind of emotions they felt when they encountered your brand, how fast or slow you delivered, the process in which you got the work done either efficiently or otherwise. If they had a terrible experience caused with your brand, they would always remember.
Following the recent event of the Ethiopian Airlines crash of the Boeing 737 Max 8 jet, we realised the magnitude of a bad reputation. The Boeing 737 brand that had also crashed five months earlier during Lion Air flight generated a lot of bad publicity for the airplane manufacturer, Boeing. Due to the reoccurred misfortune, some countries have grounded the plane, labelled it unsafe and it has already cost the company its shares valuation, which dropped to 13% with the snap of the finger, in the stock market. It is a thing of certainty that people whose families died in the plane crash will always relive the grief anytime they hear Boeing 737. This has automatically put the Boeing brand on the black list of many potential passengers and even shareholders.
From the event, you would deduct that a brand’s reputation creates a certain perception of it among clients, stakeholders and its target market. Unconsciously, the type of reputation you have could stir several emotions in customers who try to patronise you. What they feel becomes what they would associate with your brand and eventually would turn out to be your brand identity.
Companies with bad public image run at loss and never make high sales most of the time. They are usually seen as not being trustworthy or reliable and also lose customer loyalty as time goes by which affects their relevance in the society they operate. It obviously points out that a bad reputation is one of the fastest ways to ruin any business even the greatest of them all.
For any business to thrive in its sector, it must pay attention to the kind of reputation it has earned from when it commenced. People would either connect or disconnect with your brand based on what you have been known for as a company’s reputation always guides the decision of prospective investors or clients.
For the Boeing brand, we think it would take a lot of product re-engineering, rebranding, remodelling and reassurance for it to gain back a good public image. What’s your take, do you think it still has any reputation left to build on?
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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EMPLOYEE INSIGHT: “THINK LONG, THINK HARD, BE OBJECTIVE AND LOGICAL WITH YOUR CHOICES”- NNEDIMMA IKEME
Teaching, especially when it comes to children, is one of the toughest responsibilities one could handle owing to the fact that much patience and energy is required. Nevertheless, this imperative task cannot be shoved aside and just like the great Whitney Houston sang, “I believe in the children of our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way,” emphasizing the need to properly educate the little ones.
While most parents and guardians don’t have the time and patience to live out these words, there are those who have dedicated their lives to teaching and grooming these children. This set of people whom we often call teachers continuously bear the
Today our spotlight is on Nnedimma Ikeme, a tutor in a lesson centre who uses both formal and informal methods to teach children. She is undoubtedly one of the few special hands chosen to nurture little ones and without exaggeration, one could perceive Nnedimma’s impact distance away.
For one who had no prior knowledge about her current career path, Nnedimma has opened herself up and has developed deep passion for the new world in front of her. Nnedimma stated the tremendous impact working has made in her personal and career life, “working has greatly helped me prioritise my life better and has given me a clearer career path,” she said.
From what started as a casual voluntary work, Nnedimma admitted that she has grown to love her profession even though it was not her course of study in school. However, she has consciously equipped herself by exploring most of the learning opportunities available to her and has acquired necessary skills over the past three years.
“Working as a volunteer at first, helped me realize I loved teaching and with time, I worked intentionally to hone that skill; garnering experience as I worked.”
Nnedimma has experienced significant advancement in her chosen field since she commenced work. Her rapid career growth has proven that an amateur in any field can eventually become a master with diligence and dedication. “There has been growth with regard to promotion; from a volunteer, Assistant Tutor to a full-time Tutor that also doubles as an Interim Administrator when the need arises. The financial benefits have not been as good as I would like them to be, but it’s all ‘work in progress’”.
One way to check our progress most times is through feedback. Nnedimma narrated her most remarkable experience which highlights her initial struggles with a particular child and the results she had afterwards. Her narrative;
“My first one-on-one child, Jose Maria is someone I can never forget. He taught me patience and made me imbibe virtues that I thought alien to my personality, while I explored and stretched myself beyond what was expected from me as a teacher. Working with the older kids and still maintaining a wonderful rapport has also helped shape up my work life for the better. Feedback from parents and children alike, make all the stress worth it.”
Concerning her challenges at work, Nnedimma highlighted two major familiar key points which is usually the case for most people in her profession. “The exhausting long hours and the remuneration are major challenges.”
Due to the nature of her job, its demands and tight schedule, Nnedimma admitted that she barely has time to include other activities that would improve her financial life. “I earn better than I did five years ago, but considering the changing times, it’s not enough. The constrictive nature of my job does not give room for an extra source of income, hence my earnings are not enough for all I need to do within a stipulated time.”
Like most workers, Nnedimma identified low payment as a major disadvantage. She stated, “I work for long hours, but I don’t get enough remuneration. The hours do not give room for anything else,” she said. However as regards having a side hustle, “I would love to have one,” she confessed.
Wrapping up her interview session, Nnedimma had some deep words for young career climbers. “Think long, think hard, be objective, and logical with your choices. Money is a good incentive/motivator, but if you are green, ensure that experience comes first, then higher remuneration befitting one’s experience will surely follow,” she advised.
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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Earlier this week, whilst thinking of a brand to review – particularly brands which had made significant impact using Port Harcourt as a launchpad – the brand CypherCrescent came into mind. For many of us in Port Harcourt, more especially those who aren’t into the Tech business – this brand may seem foreign to us. Nevertheless, this same brand is well-known in the oil and gas industry particularly in Nigeria.
Cypher Crescent was established few years prior to March 2015 when Mr. ThankGod Egbe, a mathematician and research enthusiast, resigned from Shell after eight years of dedicated service to the company in both Nigeria and the Netherlands. With over 5 years of doing business and adding value to the oil and gas industry, Cypher Crescent has since seen expansion of its business beyond the shores of the country to Aberdeen, United Kingdom, Homan, and Houston Texas and all over the world.
Cypher Crescent Limited is a research and software development company, which utilizes mathematical models to proffer creative, innovative, and effective business solutions to the engineering problems encountered by clients/companies in the exploration and production of oil & gas. They also provide consulting services in oil and gas asset management and as such, help petroleum production and exploration companies better manage their well and reservoir assets in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
Their flagship tech innovation – SEPAL – a business intelligence tool for well and reservoir management has so far seen major successes in acceptance and is highly sought in the industry by both government-owned and private oil & gas firms. SEPAL (Structured Engineering Presentation and Analytics Library) help oil and gas exploration and production companies remain competitive more importantly in these times of constant oil price fluctuations in an industry which contributes over 90% of the country’s total export value and revenue.
In the recent past, this alluring brand collaborated technically with NNPC Research and Development Division in the use of technological innovations in enhancing the production of oil and gas in Nigeria. In a country that depends majorly on the revenue derived from its oil & gas economy, you could guess what significant measure this implies on the overall growth and development of the Nation.
To show their love for research and the development of the oil and gas sector, Cypher Crescent donated twenty-four SEPAL licenses (its debut product on well, reservoir & facility integrated asset management) to the Institute of Petroleum Studies (IPS), University of Port Harcourt in 2018. The previous year, it donated fifteen of similar licenses worth over US$1.5 million to the African University of Science and Technology (AUST). They also recently sponsored some indigenes of host communities in ICT training as a way of enhancing the human-resource-base capital of the society.
To be a leading provider of world-class oil and gas asset management solutions.
To safeguard oil and gas asset integrity and enhance production through innovation and cost-effective business intelligence solutions
Their core values
Integrity, Respect & Innovation
Excerpts from their website states:
Our clients are international oil companies (IOCs), NOCs, independent and marginal field operators seeking to maximize value from their oil and gas assets. We also provide technical expertise and support for servicing companies involved in turnkey projects.
Our team of experts are drawn from diverse backgrounds, with skills and experiences garnered from both the E & P industry and the academia. The team is motivated by their constant desire to continuously innovate and create value that address existing gaps in the E & P business. The team’s experience covers areas such as geosciences, petrophysics, reservoir engineering, production technology, well completions, production operations, mathematical modeling and software development.
SEPAL – Structured Engineering Presentation & Analytics Library
- Mathematical modeling
- Engineering Software Development
- Asset Management Services
- Technical Support and Training
Cypher Crescent is committed to collaborating and assisting their clients to gain valuable understanding of their assets through the integration of acquired data and in-depth technical insights.
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Whilst an increased pay could be a motivating factor for most employees, some however have proven that their dedication hasn’t been driven by money. Even though they look forward to earning more than they currently do, they never allowed that to get in the way of delivering their work.
We had a better understanding of this when we interviewed Dele Babalola, a HSE/M Officer with over six years of experience. Even with the many responsibilities attached to his title, from identifying all risk causing factors that could delay work progress, bring harm to staff, damages to equipment. Basically, he handles the maintenance and repairs of all hospital equipment and property as well as logistics for the hospital operation and demands, and still, Dele ensures that he executes them all excellently.
“Work has made me target oriented,” he said, indicating how his work has impacted his life.
It is one thing to start a career but finding a need to be met in that chosen career is something most employees often don’t think about. Dele, on the other hand, has found a need in his profession and as such has never considered a career change. “There are health challenges and staff wellbeing to consider,” Dele said.
Even though the progress he has made in his career so far has been accompanied by more demands, Dele believes that it’s all part of being an employee.
“My work has been filled with promotion, more responsibilities with little financial increase. They said the benefit of a reliable employee is more work.”
As regards his finances, Dele said, “it has been a steady growth,” and quickly added, “an increase in pay never hurts.”
Despite the challenge of low pay, Dele desires more knowledge that would increase his efficiency, “More training would help me become more efficient.”
When asked if he has a side hustle, Dele admitted, “yes, because salary no matter how much is always budgeted before it even gets to you.”
Dele Babalola ended his interview with these simple words of advice directed to young career people, “keep being focused, constantly improve your skill set, certifications go a long way. Be humble, diligent and dedicated.”
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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Mrs. Chika I. A. started out her teaching career as a care giver but has risen through the profession to becoming a well-experienced expert in educational management and a proficient developer of start-up schools convincing and increasing the confidence of parents/guardians to admit their wards and thus bringing in more money to school owners in Port Harcourt. She is currently a consultant manager for schools within and outside Port Harcourt metropolis and is a staff of the Universal Basic Education Board where she teaches in one of the State Primary Schools in Port Harcourt. With over 20 years of seamless dedication, we’ll see what drives and sustains her passion in one profession most young Nigerians wouldn’t want to venture into.
As earlier mentioned Mrs. Chika began her career providing care to 0 to 1 year old babies in a private school in Port Harcourt, more than 20 years ago; long after obtaining her GCE (General Certificate of Education) in 1990 and having before then, obtained a Distinction in her first school leaving examination. With little or no degree in education, she had a rough and slow ride in advancing her career as a teacher and went in and out of teaching, sometimes freelancing as an assistant teacher (which is more or less the job description of a teacher) in some private schools paying peanuts in Port Harcourt. Her dedication, hard-work, touch of excellence and eagerness to learn and adapt to the 21st century advancements in education teaching methods, gave her an edge over her counterparts in the teaching profession. This skyrocketed her career growth and she began working in the full capacity of a Teacher and had taught for several years before obtaining her National Certificate in Education (NCE) in 2010. During our interview with her, She stated that most of the schools she taught in had parents giving good reports and recommendations as she made tangible impacts in the lives of the pupils and proprietors found it difficult letting her go. She says:
“In fact one of the proprietors I worked for, that wasn’t faithful in salary payments, almost created a scene when she knelt down on the tarred road – in public view – pleading that I should come back teaching in her school; promising to pay on time; but I had gotten a bigger offer to manage a start-up school then, so I couldn’t stay.”
Mrs. Chika developed one of the most prime and quality schools in Port Harcourt in terms of infrastructure, sophistication of teaching materials; serene, beautifully painted and well decorated child-friendly classrooms, safe playing ground and well protected balcony’s, going on to conducting and supervising the recruitment process of quality staff, developing the curriculum/scheme of work for each class, utilizing various curricula combinations (American, British, Montessori), liaising with suppliers of educational materials and getting the best deals in quality, emphasizing on the importance of extra-curricular activities, vocational skills, musical instruments prowess and ballet dance skills, swimming skills, excursions, e-learning, efficient teaching methods for special kids, amongst other educational advancements. She went on to establish more schools in that regard. Her taste for knowledge drove her to getting various educational certifications and then she applied for a Bachelor’s degree in Education. When the employment offer by the government came, she had to make a tough decision of leaving her position and its pay to a position offering less than half her pay then. This shows vividly that her passion for teaching isn’t driven by money. She resigned and is currently a staff of the Rivers State Government under the Rivers State UBE board touching the lives of less-opportune children.
Having quite an interesting career trajectory, Mrs Chika threw light on the impact and challenges she had encountered so far on her career journey. Speaking on how working has impacted her life, she declares;
“I have gained experience over the years which have made me work with much more confidence, contributing to my expertise and making me highly sought-after by school investors and directors. So, the experience I have which can’t be taken away added to my wealth of knowledge in my profession and the financial aspect – though not much, has been of great impact to me.”
In addition, she spoke on the challenges that she encounters whilst working.
“The non-supply of teaching aids and learning materials has been a major challenge so far. My employer supply what they think is basic like the board, just recently more desks for the children were brought in, and a conducive classroom. But there are some other teaching aids and learning materials that needs to facilitate teaching and learning which they ought to supply but they don’t; so it hampers the teaching and learning process. Also, the meager salary paid in these economic times is a challenge. We have to live within our means and save ahead and also stock the kitchen ahead of time because we aren’t certain when the next salary would come. ”
When asked if she faces any challenges with teaching stubborn children, she has this to say:
“In education, we don’t tag any child stubborn. Every child is unique in his or her own way.”
PROFESSIONAL ADVANCEMENTS IN TERMS OF PROMOTION and FINANCE
Besides the challenges Mrs. Chika faces whilst impacting knowledge to the upcoming generation, there has also been a stall in promotional benefits of staffs. In fact it spreads across the civil service and we know that with promotion comes an increase in finance. Expressing her disappointment, when asked her career trajectory in terms of promotion and benefits, she has this to say:
“As a civil servant, it’s not in my hands to detect. It’s the government that carries it out. Though, there ought to be promotion after every two years during which promotional interviews are conducted; but for the past 10 years now nothing like that has happened. So I depend on God who doesn’t disappoint to reward me better. Aside the loans which are given once in a while, I’m unaware of any other benefits.”
HIGH POINT OF CAREER
When asked the question: ‘What has stood out for you since you started working, in other words, what’s your best experience so far?’. She has this to say:
“The outcome of my teaching on the lives of the children and teaching itself gives me joy. Children don’t need to be grown-ups to reflect the teaching even there and then, change occurs. Education is all about change and when this change manifests in the children’s’ lives it gives me joy. When you tell a child – if it’s in the moral aspect – that this is not good, and you see that child adjust and there’s a change in behavior, you know that you have achieved your goal. When you’re teaching a subject which the child had no previous knowledge about and at the end, that child becomes a guru on that topic, you’ve achieved your goal and achieving goals makes you happy and satisfied with your job”.
As a wrap up, our interviewee gave her advice to those seeking to build a career in Teaching. She opined;
“Have genuine love for the profession and passion also. If you don’t love teaching don’t go into it. Don’t go into teaching because you want to make money. You can’t make money in the classroom. You can’t turn those children into money or you’ll be tagged a ‘ritualist’. God has a way of blessing teachers. I can’t quote in ABC terms that this is how God blesses teachers; God has his own unique way of blessing teachers. So don’t go in expecting huge mega pay because you may be frustrated but go in with the intention of helping those young ones grow in knowledge”.
Mrs. Chika added that teachers should open themselves up to opportunities for career development.
“The world is changing and so every aspect of life changes with it. We should not be rigid but easily adaptable to technological advancements in education and teaching techniques”.
From Mrs. Chika’s Perspective about the work place, it is quite obvious that growth in whatever career path you’ve chosen is driven by your passion, taste for excellence/knowledge and not just the money. In fact the money shouldn’t be the prime focus especially in the teaching profession and happiness comes when you’ve met your goals.
Written by Rejoice Emmanuel
Do you need help in recruiting the right staff? We can help. Send us an email at email@example.com.
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One of the most visited places in the city of Port Harcourt is SPAR. During the last festive season, there was a frightening mammoth crowd pressing in at the mall’s entry point, insistent on patronizing their services and products. It won’t be far-fetched to assume that 5 out of 100 persons in Port Harcourt patronized SPAR last Christmas. The building itself was crammed up with all caliber of people similar to the scenario as was reported in various SPAR outlets within the country. This shows the popularity and far reaching effects this brand has on its customers. In fact, it is now a household name in Nigeria, found on the lips of many regular shoppers.
Surprisingly, we discovered that SPAR is an old player in the retail industry with international operations since the last 86years. The company started out being called DESPAR which is a Dutch acronym for Door Eendrachtag Samenwerken Profiteren Allen Regelmatig (In English meaning – “All benefits from joint co-operation”). This interpretation gives a summary of the SPAR brand story.
SPAR is a multinational firm which manages several individual retail stores and partners doing business under the SPAR brand name. It was founded in Netherlands by Adriaan van Well in 1932 on the premise that when marketers do business as individual entities they yield lesser results as compared to several individual wholesalers and retailers coming together in partnership to form a huge market network. They meet a wide range of consumers’ needs making very huge impacts by leveraging on the ensuing large customer base.
In 2009, SPAR International gave license to Artee Industries Limited to operate SPAR in Nigeria. SPAR stores in Nigeria are built on hypermarket retail format. Presently, SPAR is operating 10 stores across Port Harcourt, Abuja, Lagos, and Calabar accruing more than 34,000m2 of retail space, hence making it the largest chain of retail stores in Nigeria. They offer an ample variety of products in the class of Grocery, Fruits & Vegetables, Bakery, Butchery, Hot Meals, Wine & Spirits, Fast Moving Consumer Goods, Consumer Electronics, Small Home Appliances, Laptops & Tablets, Mobile Phones, Perfumes, Watches and Jewelry.
Amazingly, even when most persons aren’t aware of the business and historical facts surrounding this retail brand, they could readily recognize the brand’s logo on any item and on Ads most especially due to its constant appearance on the brands packaging materials. SPAR’s visual identity as concerns its logo, has over the years communicated the brand’s story, essence, and culture as it is proven through the successes recorded by the brand in the business world. Currently SPAR which started as one single Dutch store has over 12,770 stores in over 45 countries on four continents; meeting the needs of over 13.5 million consumers every day. Join us as we delve into the brand story of its simple but unique logo.
HISTORY OF THE LOGO
In 1932, at the inception of the organization, the symbol chosen to represent the brand and give it an identity in the hearts of its customers was the Christmas tree. Amazingly, the brands name “DE SPAR” means “The Fir” also known as the Christmas fir tree. The logo had the fir tree symbol centered boldly and the brand’s name written at its base. The debut logo also had a Dutch inscription “Koopen bijde De Spar is Sparen Bijde koop” meaning buying at the De spar is saving on buying. Eight years later, the Dutch inscription taken off but the rest of the design left as it were. To emphasize consistency in branding and identity, SPAR maintained the same logo design in all its stores worldwide.
In the late 1940s, the brands name was abbreviated from DESPAR to SPAR and so the existing logo was modified to capture this change. As years went by, other modifications in the design was made. This time, the fir tree symbol was resized to fit within the red circular band.
Increasing its Europe presence and entering into Africa and Asia, triggered the need for a more sophisticated logo to enhance its marketing strategy. So in 1968, the logo which is currently in use and can be seen in SPAR’s outlets and packaging material was introduced. The fir tree symbol had a refined outlook like an arrowhead enclosed within a green circular band and also having the SPAR element scripted within a red block base.
SPAR runs its business under four (4) store formats – SPAR, SPAR Express, EUROSPAR supermarket and INTERSPAR Hypermarket – and each of these store formats has its brand logo.
The SPAR Express logo communicates the identity of the SPAR Express store format which is to provide service and products to on-the-go shoppers in petrol stations, airports, railways and city centres. It has the smallest sales area.
The SPAR logo has the original design format and thus represents the parent brand. It is used in communications describing the retail firm as an organization having several partners. This brand comes after the Express logo in sales area and accommodates products that satisfy consumers’ needs on daily basis.
EUROSPAR logo describes the EUROSPAR Supermarket brand which has a larger sales area than the earlier mentioned store formats. This Supermarket format is designed to cover items and purchases of consumers on weekly basis and thus caters for more needs than the earlier mentioned brands.
INTERSPAR Hypermarket logo represents SPARs biggest store format – the Hypermarket brand. This brand has the largest sales area of more than 3000m2. It was established to meet a wider range of consumer’s needs than all its other store formats. Its purpose is for it to be a one-stop shop for consumers.
Logotype colour specification
An excerpt from the Spars online logo manual says:
“The area outside the symbol and the name style is an integral part of SPAR’s identity and should always remain white.
The logotype is printed in two colours on a white background and it is critical to SPAR’s identity that the colours are interpreted correctly and consistently. The green symbol is (Pantone Matching System) 356 while the red name carrier PMS 185.
Also, the identity should always be printed onto a white background”.
The logo encapsulates the symbol of fir tree which stands for ‘SPAR” in Dutch. The fir is popular for its Christmas tree species. Christmas is a festive season of celebration, shopping and gift unraveling. Hence, the fir Christmas tree symbolizes same. We also know that SPAR is an abbreviated Dutch acronym for DESPAR meaning “All benefit from joint co-operation” and this describes the SPAR concept.
The fir symbol also takes the shape of an arrow head signifying force, direction, movement, power and direction, speed, accelerating growth rates and expansion of SPAR in the retail industry.
The logo has both Red and Green colours. The green colour which is the colour of the fir tree signifies; life, growth of the business, freshness of its food retail products and services. Red has always been an attractive and captivating colour. It represents excitement, passion, energy and has a strong effect on human metabolism and stimulates appetite hence drawing customers to the brand.
Written By Rejoice Emmanuel
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The valentine season is here and as usual lots of love birds would be flying out from their love nests. Funny, but some may be total strangers while some of them may be long-time friends, and then some may be colleagues at work.
Business, they say, shouldn’t be mixed with pleasure, but a research carried out in 2017 revealed that more people are getting involved in office romance as the days go by. This is often traced back to the fact that most workers spend eight to ten hours a day and almost every month in a year in the workplace with the same set of persons. They have no other option but to share the same space with others. However the problem arises when they go beyond office work and begin to create a romantic atmosphere around themselves within the workplace.
A research carried out by a professional platform, CareerBuilder, highlighted that 41 percent of employees have dated a fellow colleague thereby failing to maintain a professional relationship. It was also recorded that 12 percent of these relationships started while working extra hours into the night, 10 percent began after a happy hour, while 9 percent started during a lunch outing and 10 percent started after meeting by chance outside the work environment.
Though most cases of office romance involve colleagues in the same level or department, studies have shown that 29 percent in-office relationships are between someone in a higher position and a junior colleague. It also revealed 15 percent have had an intimate affair with their direct boss. When caught or exposed, 37 percent deny the relationship and 63 percent admit it.
Interestingly it was stated that 30 percent of these relationships end up in marriage even though most fizzle out with time. The outcomes are never predicable but still a hard question stares us in the face, should there be room for romantic relationships in the office space?
Over the years most companies have frowned at the concept of in-office relationship and have continued to search for ways to eradicate its roots from their workplace. They believe it would destroy the image of the company and so have employed different measures to handle cases like these such as by banning it, penalising culprits or even firing them, making their employees sign a contract forbidding office romance, and so on.
However, CEO of Engage PEO, Jay Starkman, stated that placing a ban would only encourage more secret relationships in the organisation. He suggested this instead, “an employer should establish a clear policy that requires reporting of the relationship to HR so that it can be monitored and people can be properly advised on how to conduct themselves.”
Even though some company polices may seem harsh, most times they exist in order to prevent unpleasant situations from occurring. Like Roy Cohen, a career counselor and executive coach, puts it, “Many organizations have rules about dating colleagues not because dating a colleague is a bad thing. You may share common interests and motivations and you may both love the organization. The rules exist to avoid any messiness that might arise when the relationship ends, when one of you gets promoted, or if one of you has access to information that should not be shared, especially if it might benefit your partner unfairly.”
Most often than not, most organisations try to avoid issues like this but then they keep on reoccurring and could be a source of distraction from the main company’s target. Well a one sided judgement is usually not the best so what’s your take on this as an employer or employee? Should the love birds be allowed to fly freely or should they be caged? Leave a comment below.
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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Different life’s phases come with strings of uncertainties urging us to travel over and make sense out of them. This process is often what we refer to as self-discovery. Just like every other phase, the career phase also requires some level of discovering in order for us to fit into the perfect picture we desire.
While self-discovery may take a very long time for some people, it could also take a very short time for some other persons. Within a space of three years of working, Kosisochukwu Ikeme, our interviewee for this week, has explored quite a number of career options which she is certain has helped her know herself better.
Kosisochukwu believes that her working experience so far has impacted her life positively both on a personal and professional level, “I have gotten better at organizing things and managing people. I have also become more independent and the confidence to take on new things has greatly increased. My confidence in myself is getting better by the day and I have realised I can actually do anything if I set my mind and apply myself consciously to it even when it is an unfamiliar territory.”
Notwithstanding her educational background, Kosisochukwu approached the career world with an open mind, embracing different opportunities that came her way.
“I have a BSc. in Human Nutrition and Dietetics and I am a Registered Dietician-Nutritionist but I presently work as an Administrator/Human Resource Management Personnel which is totally off from Nutrition. I have never really seen myself working in the hospital as a Dietician, I had plans of working as a Freelance Dietician and offering Consultation services that is if I decided to practice Dietetics. Years after graduation, I was stuck in limbo of cluelessness; had no idea what I wanted to do or what I was good at. So I went from working as Customer Service Executive in a Courier Service company to working briefly as a Dietician to working presently as an Administrator/Human Resource Management Personnel.”
Due to her willingness to learn from scratch, Kosisochukwu continues to make tangible progress at work,
“I went from working as a Volunteer to an Intern and then a Full-Time Employee in the firm where I presently work.”
Kosisochukwu, as a result of her ability to dare, has served in different capacities, graciously pioneering each role even without prior knowledge. She indicated that this experience has improved and refined her to a great extent.
“Working with the firm where I am presently is my best experience so far. Here I found a platform to explore and learn things about myself that I never knew. I have grown beyond my imagination, I dare say. Taking on a role/responsibility of heading a department with no prior experience/knowledge has helped me realise that it’s in our own minds that we stay limited. I have learned, unlearned and relearned and still undergoing the process as I work understanding the system and getting grounded in it. My Boss has been beyond amazing, it’s not every day someone takes a chance on you and sees a million and one things in you that you don’t and never gets tired of nudging you to do and be better.”
As expected, her new role at work did not come without challenges which practically demands she learns on the job.
“Considering it’s a role that I have absolutely no experience/knowledge in, it’s still a bit of a struggle finding my feet and setting up the HR/Admin system of the firm,” Kosisochukwu admitted.
Concerning her finances, she had this to say, “I won’t say there is an improvement in my finances but I have learnt to be more frugal with my spending, be very conscious and intentional about saving and I’m also learning to invest.”
Having learnt some quality life lessons from her experience, Kosisochukwu shared some piece of advice to those who are just starting out their career, “Be open to learning. It pays to be teachable. Nobody really has it all figured out but you have to be willing to take on opportunities when they come, seek to improve yourself and trust in your abilities.”
From her perspective, we can deduct the fact that in life, sometimes, we probably have to test different waters and cross several seas of uncertainty before getting to the final destination. It is during this journey, we acquire the knowledge and experience that eventually adds to the quality of our person.
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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It is no longer news that unemployment is on the rise in Nigeria and most parts of Africa. In times past the matter of contention was the fact that most people were not qualified for the vacant roles advertised. However, in recent times, scarcity of jobs has become the plague affecting our society leaving us with a wide river of unemployed graduates but very few companies to fish them out.
According to statistics by Africa Center for Economic Transformation (ACET), over 50% graduates in Africa are faced with this tough reality. A lot of employers handle employment cases like a thing of favour rather than a search for competence and suitable team members. Recently, this attitude has been displayed by some employers and we have used one of them as a case study for this article.
About a week ago, an employer publicly shamed a jobseeker on Twitter for requesting a reschedule of an interview date. Seeing this as an unserious act by the jobseeker, the employer disqualified the candidate. In her words, “Sorry mate, your loss. With such high youth unemployment, an interview is now a treasure not to be taken lightly.” From the recruiter’s tweet, she obviously implied that the prospective employee didn’t take the interview seriously and had no right to ask for the interview to be rescheduled.
Reacting to this, some Twitter users felt the employer approached the situation with the demi-god attitude as opposed to finding the qualified candidate even if it means rescheduling. With such an attitude, there is a likelihood they wouldn’t be patient enough to get the best during any recruitment. When companies are too rigid with their interview processes, it could be a loss at both ends.
Another flow of thoughts are those who think the employer has an entitlement mentality believing that they can lord over those they intend to employ and practically would expect their employees to be at their beck and call. This category of employers would probably boss their staff around giving no room for their opinion. As a result of this attitude, the enterprise usually reduces the capacity of their staff.
Another perspective some other persons pointed out was the fact that the prospect might have been facing some challenges which prevented him from coming and had the right to inquire the possibility of an interview reschedule.
One of the commentators, advising both employees and prospective employees, indicated that it is okay to even ask for a raise if need be.
Having read through the entire thread, we see need for employers and recruiters to make their recruitment processes more flexible. Nevertheless, this doesn’t imply that rules and regulations shouldn’t be put in place during an interview. Rather, employers should bear in mind that unforeseen circumstances may occur which may prevent an interviewee from showing up and in such cases, adjustments should be made.
Conclusively, employers need to keep an open mind towards potential team members, treating them with fairness and not as though the job is a favour.
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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The engineering profession which officially dates back to 1390 has always had a strong label attached to it, “The Man’s World”. This meant its doors were shut to women and that made it almost impossible for females to get involved. Fast forward to the twenty first century, its doors sprang a bit open and accessible to females all over the world. Queen Ochuba, our interviewee for the week is one of the few females treading confidently and leaving footprints in the engineering field.
Knowing the odds and hurdles she would have to cross, Queen took out time to lay her foundation properly and be well-grounded in her chosen career. This has opened the doors of opportunities she has walked through over the years.
“I have a bachelor’s degree in Petroleum Engineering and an MSc. in Petroleum Engineering and Project Development. I’ve previously worked as a petroleum engineer (before and after my masters) and I currently work in a business development role for a petroleum engineering software development company.”
With a good number of years of experience under her belt, Queen has continued to make a bold statement and build her relevance professionally.
“I’ve developed my technical skills and I’m better at managing relationships. I’m also more independent, more confident, more out-spoken and I can blend into just about any circle.”
Big things they say start small and oftentimes it is in the small things that our level of commitment is tested. Queen’s progress so far can be linked to the level of commitment she has poured in the minor roles she has had to take on in the past.
“I started out as a Petroleum Engineering Graduate Intern in 2014, went on to do a master’s degree in 2016 and in 2017, I got a Graduate Trainee role in an oil service company after which I got a permanent offer towards the end of 2018. The benefits and conditions of service have been better with each offer.”
In the process of working, she has had some remarkable experiences but the one that stood out for her is the endless possibilities learning opens us to.
“I worked on a project in 2016 with my team. A few weeks later, I casually wrote a scholarship test and 85% of the questions were in the same area I had just worked on. Naturally, it felt good to know that I had learned a lot from the project, more importantly, I got funding for my masters as a result of being in that environment at that time. I learnt the value of information.”
Speaking about her financial life, Queen simply mentioned how she has been able to manage her finances as a working class lady. “I’ve developed financial discipline overtime, I’ve learnt to plan better and I’m able to contribute to my community.”
When asked about the disadvantages in her work, Queen couldn’t pinpoint any but rather made a suggestion on how things could be done better.
“I’m struggling to pick out a disadvantage. If I had to change one thing though, it will be to make working hours and location more flexible.”
Moving on to spot out a major challenge which she faces at work, Queen said, “I occasionally struggle to keep up when there’s an avalanche of events going on at the same time. Overtime, I’ve learnt to use to-do lists, group similar tasks, prioritize, and maintain focus through it all.”
Queen is not the regular kind of petroleum engineer who only depends on the oil money for her survival, she is skilled up, has her side hustle intact and juggles both work and it smartly.
“I love order and I’m great at organizing. Following this passion, sometime in 2013, I did a 3-month training in decorations and event management. By the end of the third month, I was already getting juicy offers to decorate for events and the rest they say is history. Interestingly, most of my jobs are on weekends and I’ve been able to assemble a team so it’s easy to juggle both.”
Ending her interview, Queen gave a short and precise advice to younger folks starting their career. “First, know the basics. Put yourself out there. Get mentors. Keep improving yourself and always have a positive mindset.”
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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