Employees must be developed

Caymanians comprise 50 per cent or less of the workforce here.

And it’s a number that is likely to decrease, according to Philip Scott, deputy director of the Department of Employment Relations.

A growing economy and a declining population growth rate are combining to affect the per cent of Caymanians as part of the employment figures, he explained

‘In the future, Caymanians are likely to be the minority in the workforce,’ Mr. Scott said.

The businesses here are both foreign and locally owned, with diverse corporate cultures, he told about 50 human resource professionals at a two-day conference, HR in the Spotlight, organised by the Cayman Islands Society of Human Resource Professionals and held last week.

‘You need to be aware of what organizational cultures hold,’ he said.

From a human resource standpoint, the implications on the job are that Caymanians may feel overwhelmed and powerless, and believe that the system is unfair and there is institutionalised discrimination, Mr. Scott explained.

Companies can take steps to deal with these problems.

‘You need to avoid marginalisation of Caymanians. You need to encourage the upward mobility of the local workforce and ensure that people feel they have a sense of control over their own lives.

‘We are seeking to create an environment where the human capital needs of employees and the social and economic needs of these islands are both met,’ he said.

These observations were part of his discussion on the concept of emotional intelligence which encompasses self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management.

Mr. Scott stressed that while mental ability has historically been a key concept for success, emotional intelligence is increasingly being seen as what differentiates the star performers from the rest of the pack.

‘Evidence suggests an emotionally intelligent leadership is the key to creating a working climate that nurtures all employees and encourages them to excel. That enthusiasm leads to improved performance. Improved business performance should lead to economic development.’ he said.

Walling Whittaker, director of the Department of Employment Relations, earlier addressed the general needs of workers and the workplace.

Cayman is moving away from being a pure service economy toward a knowledge-based economy, he explained.

‘In order to participate in this emerging knowledge economy, we need our people to update their skills continuously,’ Mr. Whittaker said.

He stressed the need for lifelong learning.

‘The future vision of the Cayman Islands is one where people take the initiative for their own learning and development, and where the workplace itself becomes a vehicle for personal growth,’ Mr. Whittaker said.

For this to happen management must be supportive and facilitative, and organisational barriers to learning must be removed.

‘It will require you to sensitize managers to the benefits of investing in the people of the organisation,’ Mr. Whittaker said.

‘If we are going to transform our country into a learning society, you will need to continue to play a leadership role.’

This marks the third annual conference that the CISHRP has organised, an initiative that his department supports, Mr. Whittaker said.

‘Human resource management is important to good employment relations in the Cayman Islands. Employees and employers need to work together in a cooperative synergistic environment.

‘Human resource managers are the key to successful business performance and employee development,’ he said.

Among the first-day speakers was John Rubino, president of US-based Rubino Consulting Services, who spoke on how to reward employees.

He favours a shift away from base salary merit increases to performance-based increases, explaining that variable rewards can create and support an environment that discourages what he called an entitlement mentality where the worker simply expects the raise.

‘Every single employee can be part of the variable pay program,’ Mr. Rubino said, from officers and directors to managers, the technical professionals and support people.

He told the group that to be successful in human resources they have to be good psychologists and detectives, to be able to read people and learn what makes them tick.

‘Use your people knowledge to solve the mysteries of achieving organisational success,’ he said.