British American Tobacco Nigeria (BATN) Human Resources Director, Temitope Akinsanya, told The Guardian about the company’s adherence to corporate best practices and its contribution to human resources and economic development in the country.
In terms of human capital development and skills transfer, how has BATN’s investments impacted the country since its return in 2001?
One of the benefits of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is technology and skills transfer. FDI inflows help to bridge the idea gaps between rich and developing nations.
It also contributes to the transfer of technologies and development of human skills in the manufacturing sector, as well as, other sectors of the economies of most African states.
Through these investments, we have created jobs directly and indirectly for thousands of Nigerians.
Our tobacco leaf operations have provided a model for backward integration, which has been adopted by both local and international organisations to ensure local content and sustainability.
Our operations have also generated a viable source of income for rural farmers.
In 2001, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Federal Government of Nigeria for an investment of $150m to build a state-of-the-art-factory in Ibadan, Oyo State shortly after becoming incorporated in 2000.
We have since made several other investments in the country, including the building of our ultra-modern Head Office, which was commissioned, in Lagos, two years ago.
How is the company taking advantage of the highly digitised workplace to enhance productivity and redefine its brand?
The future of the workplace lies in digital transformation. Therefore, for any company to stay competitive and relevant, it needs to implement and use digital platforms. It must make technology part of its corporate culture.
This is due to the realisation that the most efficient and effective tools to increase workplace productivity are digital in nature. We are not left out.
We believe that a digital workplace can empower employees and enhance bottom line performance. Thankfully, there are advanced applications and social media work tools that make life easier and even fun.
These tools, which are accessible at home and in the office, are efficient, effective and increase workplace productivity. It also makes us attractive to the next generation of leaders.
In terms of human resources, do you see Nigeria’s huge population as an advantage?
Yes, of course! Nigeria’s huge population is an immense advantage for the nation’s economy. The benefit of the nation’s population is not only in numbers, but also in the rich human resources it is abundantly endowed with. Nigeria has a wealth of talents who are often untapped.
At BATN, we have a culture of harnessing raw talents, training, developing them and providing opportunities for exposure into more developed markets, to empower our people to reach their full potential in an enabling environment.
Our Global Graduate programme is one of our strong and successful platforms for driving talent development within the country. We embrace diversity, encourage open-mindedness and give our people the freedom to be responsible, while acting as owners.
Nigeria is blessed with rich natural resources and huge human resources, which unfortunately have been largely untapped. Hence, there are abundant opportunities for growth and development within the economy.
In recent times, British American Tobacco Nigeria (BATN) has won both local and international awards, including the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria’s (MAN) ‘Best Kept Industrial Premises’ award and the ‘Top Employer’ award in South Africa.
What is the secret behind all these?
THE ‘Top Employer’ certification in South Africa given to BATN in 2017, as well as the recognition by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM) as one of the best three organisations upholding best practice in human resources in Nigeria is a demonstration of our leadership status in the HR environment and the optimum standards our organisation operates.
We are particularly delighted with the ‘Top Employer’ certification considering it the most prestigious HR award event on the African continent, and is a testament to our world-class employee value proposition.
At BATN, we consistently endeavour to nurture and develop talent throughout all levels of the organisation and always strive to optimise our employment practices. This success is driven by our people, who bring their differences every day.
What would you consider the most critical development channel for the staff?
Managing the great talent we have within the business is a key priority for BATN; hence, our focus on driving high performance culture and developing the next generation of leaders.
We demonstrate our commitment to promoting and developing the very best people, with investment in training and development and international career opportunities. Our global talent strategy aims to create a legacy of leaders.
We focus on driving high performance and the development of leadership capabilities to help our people realise their full potential.
We do this by providing the right job experiences, opportunities to learn from others and through our global learning and development portfolio.
How does BATN ensure staff welfare, as well as, promote workplace safety and best practices?
We create conducive environment for our employees to excel and attain their full potential, just as we constantly provide all the necessary tools for our people to develop and succeed.
We take workplace safety very seriously, as our vision is to close the gap to ‘zero accident’ in all our operations.
Aspiring to achieve this vision means changing the mindset of our key stakeholders to ensure employees and contractors, no matter their level or areas of work, believe all accidents can be prevented while offering a basis for learning from accidents and improving processes.
How does BATN recognise and reward diligence among its staff?
It is a high performance-driven organisation and we reward our employees for the great work they put in all year round.
We operate a ‘Total Rewards’ approach, where every component space i.e. quantitative and qualitative is treated extremely importantly.
We believe in our employee value proposition and we ensure that every component within our ‘Total Rewards’ space is very competitive, when compared with the industry in which we operate.
The components include our financial rewards and other non-financial rewards. It is good to highlight our strong recognition scheme, which embodies the culture of appreciating and saying thank you to employees, who have gone beyond and above their normal duty and have showcased our core values in delivering those responsibilities.
Our recognition culture is strong across the organisation and it encourages employees to do more, be more diligent and deliver beyond their previous achievements.