Living a borrowed life

A human capital consultancy recently conducted a survey in the banking sector and found that most banks in the country lack realistic and scientific data to aid their planning process. Is it any wonder then that the banking sector has so many issues?

Over 1,230 workers from 14 banks were interviewed and the findings were that about 70 percent are unsatisfied with their conditions of service. Clerical staff receive low wages, yet are compelled to appear ‘corporate’ – wearing suits, ties and dress shoes which absorb a big chunk of their earnings.

The respondents also complained of huge remuneration gaps, unfair bonus schemes and heavy bureaucracy in operations. However, about 79 percent of the respondents described the targets given them as unrealistic – and this is where the crux of the matter lies.

If the banks lack ‘realistic and scientific’ data to aid in the planning process, how then do they set such unrealistic targets when they cannot be measured?  The regional Managing Director for Acreaty, Elsie Appau, put it succinctly when she observed that target-setting or performance targets are sometimes above expectations or realities of the market.

This is because having such a significant number of workers wanting to leave the sector is indicative of the stress that most of them go through, yet people view such bank workers as fortunate because it is perceived they are well-off because of their appearance.

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The ball is now in the court of the banks, and we also have reason to question the mode of recruitment when third-parties or recruitment agencies are asked to recruit staff who are badly-paid or given a pittance, since a percentage goes to the recruiting agency.

This mode of contracting workers is not only found in the banking sector but is also gradually gaining favour with most organisations. We believe such entities should not only concern themselves with the output of individual workers, but equally his/her welfare as well. This is because a happier worker is bound to give better results.

For instance, Google Inc. even has day-care facilities at its premises – with other recreational and health facilities for the benefit of its core staff. Some of these advances can be emulated to good effect if we really want to improve the welfare of workers.

The National Labour Commission should be adequately resourced to ensure provisions like the casualisation of labour do not become the norm.

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