KATHMANDU: These days, Nepali companies seem to find it more and more difficult to find and retain experienced skilled workers. Reports show a high unemployment rate, but companies are desperately searching for qualified, dedicated staff. The ultimate challenge for companies right now is to retain skilled labour and minimise labour migration. Here are some ideas on how companies and industries can attract and retain employees and at the same time improve their corporate social responsibility score.
Engaging and sponsoring youth: Companies can sponsor or provide loans for the education of qualified youth in return for a commitment of two to three years employment at the organisation. This allows the company to train students on-the-job. The combination of internal and external education will make those students valuable assets for the organisation. Provided that there are clear contractual agreements, competitive salary packages and working conditions, the students will seek to remain with the organisation instead
of looking for other job opportunities.
Investing in employees: The best way to retain skilled employees and increase productivity is to provide decent salary packages, a good working environment, child care facilities, social security, medical insurances, training and development opportunities. Investing in employees will save cost related to high turnover and recruiting processes and employees being loyal to the company.
Improving human resource (HR) practice: Lack of proper HR practices in organisations causes employees to become
de-motivated, disloyal, less productive and exhibit dissatisfaction in jobs. Cranet (2004) proposed three major steps to improve HR practice, to enhance employees’ commitment, compliance and retention. One, increase interpersonal and communication skills of
employees and management to clearly communicate policies and expectations. Two, increase professional and vocational skills of employees so they can perform satisfactorily. Three, enhance leadership skills of managers because qualified and ambitious employees no longer accept hierarchical and status-driven management structures. S, managers need to learn new management skills and act more like coaches.Creating entrepreneurs: Training institutes should impart entrepreneurial know-how rather than only focusing on technical skills. This allows the trained youth to be more business-minded if they are employed or venture into innovative areas to provide services to industries. Companies can outsource their non-core activities to such individuals or groups. This scheme can also work for start-up businesses in carpentry, masonry, plumbing, machine maintenance, et cetera. If they partner with others in the same or similar professions, they can even receive micro-loans on group basis. Established companies can again support youth to pursue such education to improve their own supply chain and directly benefit the company’s bottom line. There will always be some employees who can not be
retained. In the long run, however, all companies will benefit from an overall increased skill level of Nepali youths — as productive employees, more financially strong consumers, or because they are happily employed. Even those who decide to migrate will
probably contribute to higher consumption in Nepal through remittances or return one day with additional qualifications. Education will never be a failed investment.
(The author is a project manager at National Business Initiative Nepal and can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org)