Introducing Enugu SME Hackathon

Do you have an idea that can improve Enugu state?

Do you have an idea that can better Business operations Agriculture, Education sector, Public Health, Technology etc.

Join our group of thinkers :

and win US$3,500 grant through our partners.

Note: applicatants’ ideas

•Must be a smart solution for sustainable business operations

• Innovative

• Cost-effective

• Sustainable

Register here:

Hon. Arinze Chilo-Offiah
Special Adviser, SME Development
Head, Enugu SME Center

#Gburugburuissme #Enugusme #Enugujobs
#hackathon #technology


Enugu Auto Revamp Training Program

The Enugu state government through ENUGU STATE SME Agency in partnership with AutoEase have crafted  Enugu Auto-revamp Innovative Programme for ndi Enugu in the Automotive  industry under the Human Capital Development Loan Programme.

Apply here:

To learn:
• Car upholstery & interior designing
• Automobile colour theory & painting
• Oven Baking
•Chasis Straightening
• Automotive restoration
• Collision repair
• Customer  Management System etc.
Jobs upon completion of training by Autoease.

Hon. Arinze Chilo-Offiah
Special Adviser, SME Development
Head, Enugu SME Center

To register, visit here:

#gburugburuissme #EnuguJobs


Enugu Wifi Zones

The Enugu Wifi technology is a novel innovation in the history of Enugu state and  the first of it’s kind in Nigeria.

An innovation that nulls the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic, provides jobs and internet secured connections for ndi Enugu.

This technology is endorsed by  Enugu state Government, His Excellency Rt. Honourable Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi,

Through the Enugu SME Center, under the leadership of Special Adviser, SME Development
Head, Enugu SME Center, Hon. Arinze Chilo-Offiah

Connect to an Enugu Wifi Zone near you today!

#Gburugburuissme #Enugusme  #Enuguwifiagent #Enuguwifi #tbt


Top 10 highest earning CEO’s in Nigeria

The figures only refer to their annual remunerations as the highest-paid directors.

The responsibility of piloting a firm’s affairs and ensuring profitability often rests squarely on the shoulders of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Agreed, running a company is never a task that can be accomplished by just one person. But that notwithstanding, CEOs are the ones at the helm of affairs. As such, they take most of the blame for the lows, just as much as they take the credit for the highs.

It goes without saying that CEOs are also the highest-paid staff of every company. In Nigeria, the CEOs of the major companies are remunerated handsomely for their efforts. However, just as much as these companies have ranks in terms of asset size and profitability, so also do their CEOs’ earnings have ranks.

This article, therefore, looks at the highest-paid CEOs of companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The focus here is on how much they earned in 2019.

Do note that the figures given here do not include what the CEOs might earn in dividends as shareholders of their respective companies. The figures only refer to their annual remunerations (executive compensation) as the highest-paid directors.

Ferdinand Moolman

Ferdinand Moolman, MTN Nigeria, N586 million

Ferdinand Moolman is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of one of Nigeria’s biggest, non-oil foreign direct investment – MTN Nigeria Communications Plc. He was promoted to the position of CEO on December 1, 2015, as part of a major reshuffling of the telco’s operating structure which was aimed at strengthening operational oversight, leadership, governance, and regulatory compliance.

Before then, he was the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), a position he occupied immediately he was transferred from MTN Iran cell where he was the Chief Operating Officer (COO).

It makes a lot of sense that the CEO of the biggest company listed on the Nigerian bourse should be the highest-paid CEO in Nigeria.

Moolman earned N586 million in 2019, 2.5% up from the N571 million he took home in 2018.

Austin Avuru

Austin Avuru, Seplat, N440 million

Augustine Avuru, the co-founder and CEO of Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, is the highest-paid director in his company, and second highest in Nigeria for the year 2019.

Prior to becoming the Chief Executive Officer of Seplat in May 2010, he was Managing Director at Platform Petroleum Limited, a company he founded. He had spent over a decade at Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC), holding different positions including that of wellsite geologist, production seismologist, and reservoir engineer.

He had also worked as an exploration manager and technical manager with Allied Energy Resources in Nigeria, a pioneer deepwater operator, where he spent ten years before starting Platform Petroleum Limited in 2002. He is also a director of MPI, which is listed on NYSE Euronext Paris.

Avuru received N440 million as his remuneration in 2019, a shortfall of N44 million when compared to his 2018 earnings.

Recall that Seplat had announced Roger Brown as the incoming CEO that will take over when Avuru retires on July 31, 2020.

Segun Agbaje

Segun Agbaje, GTBank, N400 million

Segun Agbaje joined Guaranty Trust Bank as a pioneer staff in 1991 and rose through the ranks to become the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer in 2011 after Tayo Aderinokun, the previous CEO, passed on.

As CEO, Agbaje took N400 million home in remunerations for the year 2019. This shows an increase of N16 million from his N384 million remuneration in 2018, and given the impressive results that the bank showed for the year, we can say that it was duly justified.

He was recently elected an independent member of the Board of PepsiCo, the American owners of popular beverage drinks Pepsi and Moutain Dew. As Nairametrics reported, Agbaje will officially assume his duties as a board member and audit committee member at PepsiCo by mid-July.

Yaw Nsarkoh

Yaw Nsarkoh, formerly with Unilever Nigeria Plc, N330 million

Yaw Nsarkoh has had a long career within the Unilever Group, occupying top positions like the African Regional Brand Manager, Production Manager for Unilever Ghana, among others.

He headed several regional headquarters of the global manufacturing company, especially in Africa. He also served as a Strategic Assistant to Unilever’s President for Asia, Africa, Central, and Eastern Europe.

He resigned from his position as Managing Director in December 2019, to take up new roles within the Unilever group across Europe. He was succeeded by Carl Raymond Cruz in January 2020. Prior to his departure, he earned N303 million in 2019, 8% less than the N330 million he earned in 2018.

Michael Puchercos

Michael Puchercos, formerly with Lafarge Africa Plc, N272 million

For the financial year ended December 31st, 2019, Michael Puchercos earned N272 million, marking an 18.7% increase when compared to the N229 million he earned in 2018.

Before his appointment as Lafarge Africa Plc’s CEO, he worked in various capacities within the cement industry for two decades. He was the President & Chief Executive Officer of Lafarge Halla Cement; Director of Strategy and Systems at Lafarge Gypsum; Chief Executive Officer of Bamburi Cement and Hima Cement; and Chairman of Mbeya Cement in Tanzania.

He resigned from Lafarge in January 2020 to join competitor brand, Dangote Cement Plc and was succeeded by Mr. Khaled Abdelaziz El Dokani, the former country CEO of Lafarge Holcim Iraq.

CEO, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Jordi Borrut Bel

Jordi Borrut Bel, Nigerian Breweries Plc, N271 million

Jordi Borrut Bel is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Nigerian Breweries Plc. Mr Bel is an experienced manager and has served in Heineken’s different subsidiaries across different countries. He was Managing Director at Brarudii SA, Manager-Project Distribution at Heineken Slovensko AS, Brand Manager at Heineken France SAS and Director-Sales & Distribution at Heineken España SA. His last position prior to coming to Nigerian was that of the Managing Director of Heineken Burundi.

Bel’s earnings experienced a quantum leap from N190 million in 2018 to N271 million in 2019, an increase of about 42%. He was the sixth highest-paid CEO in 2019.

Mauricio Alarcon – CEO Nestle Nigeria

Mauricio Alarcon, Nestle Nigeria Plc, N218 million

Seventh on the list is Mauricio Alarcon, the Chief Executive Officer of Nestle Nigeria Plc. Alarcon was appointed CEO in 2016, after a progressive 17 years career with the Nestle brand. He started as Area Sales Manager with Nestle Mexico and later became a Senior Brand Manager.

He worked as Marketing Advisor at Nestle Headquarters in Switzerland, Country Manager at Nestle Cote d’Ivoire and later became Managing Director of Nestle Atlantic Cluster between June 2016 and September 2016, overseeing Senegal, the Gambia, Guinea, and Cote d’Ivoire.

Alarcon earned N218 million in 2019, a slight increase from the N210 million in 2018 he earned in 2018, placing him 7th place in the list.

Lars Richter – CEO Julius Berger Nigeria Plc

Lars Richter, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, N217 million

Presently, Lars Richter occupies the position of Managing Director & Director at Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, a position he was appointed to in 2018.

Before this appointment, he had garnered over 16 years’ experience in the construction industry, with 10 years spent in Nigeria, in different positions including Division manager, Project manager, and Project engineer.

Richter places 8th on this list, with an income of N217 million in 2019. This is quite a significant reduction from the N319 million he received in 2018 although there is no obvious justification for this.

Emeka Emuwa – CEO Union Bank of Nigeria

Emeka Emuwa, Union Bank of Nigeria, N172 million

Emuwa earned an annual net income of N172 million in 2019, the same as he did in 2018. He was appointed CEO of Union Bank of Nigeria in November 2012, after a progressive 25-year banking career at CitiBank across several African countries.

He started out as a Management Assistant at Citibank Nigeria Limited and was later promoted to the position of Country Head, Cameroon. At this time, he was also overseeing all the bank’s activities in the Central African region, including Congo and Gabon.

He occupied strategic positions in the company across several countries like Tanzania, Ghana, Niger, and Nigeria, serving as the CEO between 2005 and 2012, before he took up the appointment with Union Bank Plc.

Imrane Barry, Total Nigeria Plc

Imrane Barry, Total Nigeria Plc, N163 million

Total Nigeria Plc has Imrane Barry as its Managing Director. Imrane is not new to the Total group as he had previously served as Managing Director of Total Uganda in 2013, Total Cameroon SA in 2015 and Total Nigeria Plc in 2018. He also worked with other Total affiliates in Kenya and Ivory Coast, at SEP-Congo as the Technical and Transport Director, and in Paris as the Strategy and Development Senior Officer.

He was appointed Deputy Executive Vice-President of Total Africa & Middle East in 2012,

Before joining Total, Imrane worked in several capacities in Engineering and Construction Companies in Guinea Conakry, Cote d’Ivoire and Gabon.

Imrane took home N163 million as remunerations in 2019, 41% more than his 2018 earnings of N115 million.

Note that these figures were sourced from the companies’ FY 2019 audited financial statement. As such, the figures represent these CEOs’ income for the year 2019. As was explained in the article, a couple of the CEOs no longer occupy their positions, but since there has not been a full year financial statement explaining what their successors might be earning, these figures are the most recent.



Orientation And Dispatch of Enugu wi-fi Agents

The Special Adviser to the Governor on SME and Investment Promotion; Head, Enugu SME Center, Hon. Arinze Chilo-Offiah introduces the 1st batch of Enugu Wifi Agents.

They have been trained and fully equipped to
activate  their various Enugu Wifi Zones.

Enugu Wifi is a reality!
Connect to Enugu Wi-fi near you!

#Gburugburuissme #Enugusme #Enuguwifiagent
#jobs #wifi #internet #technology #wireless #network  #router #tecnologia #telecom


FG to spend N2.3trn to fund its Economic Sustainability Plan

The Federal Government will spend an estimated N2.3 trillion to fund its new Economic Sustainability Plan it is counting on to revive the economy.

The plan is big on mass agricultural programme Nigerians are already familiar with

A draft of the plan which President Muhammadu Buhari described as “our most exacting yet” was developed in response to the ongoing global economic and health crises which have taken a toll on the economy.

According to the plan obtained by BusinessDay, the chunk of the stimulus, as much as N471 billion, will go to the agricultural sector with the objective of expanding existing production in the agricultural sector and stimulating the establishment of new farms in partnership with state governments, the private sector and individual citizens.

“The intention is for the project to create jobs by focusing on increasing land under cultivation with state governments contributing between 20,000 to 100,000 hectares from a combination of aggregated smallholder farms between 1 acre to 1 hectare and utilisation of abandoned states farm settlements and agricultural projects,” the document said.

The plan also shows that the sector getting the next huge boost is small businesses in three tracks. The first track is to guarantee offtake scheme for MSMES, survival and intervention fund in the amount of over N415 billion.

The plan is big on mass agricultural programme Nigerians are already familiar with. It also seeks to stimulate growth through major and rural road construction programme, mass housing programme and large scale installation of solar home systems in a minimum of 5 million households currently not on the grid.

“The strategy is to ensure that all these programmes use only local materials,” the document said.
The government says its role is to be the provider or facilitator of resources for private sector programmes, and ultimately to be the guarantor of last resort of what is produced.

“This means that government must help to guarantee uptake for work done, houses built, or goods produced,” the plan said.

On how the programme will work, the document says, for example, that “for roads, where we cannot afford to import bitumen or asphalt with our scarce resources, we have to use limestone and rocks in abundance.

So all roads, especially the roads to be built with pension fund investments, must use locally produced materials.”

The same principle is to be applied in the mass housing programmes where local materials and labour only will be used.

However, it will make some exemption in the off-grid energy space allowing for ‘minimal imports’ to provide solar power for 5 million households.

“There are indications that some of the world’s leading manufacturers are prepared to set up manufacturing locally. With a plan for 5 million homes to be delivered by the private sector, this can be attractive to the manufacturers,” the government report said.

It further said that the plan will entail massive support for MSMEs in local production technology, agro-allied value-chains, garment production, information and communication technology, entertainment, tourism, etc.

“Instead of the prospect of 30 million unemployed Nigerians staring us in the face, we can put 30 million Nigerians to work immediately. The principal challenge of our economy is implementation. This also means coordination. We can mobilise Nigeria behind MSMEs and insist on local production, especially in the agro-allied value-chain,” the report said.

The final plank of the plan is the social investment programme where it is proposing a one-off cash payment of a minimum of N10,000 to at least 30 million Nigerians, and the government will spend over N400 billion on various programmes.



Enugu WIFI project is a Municipal Wireless Network, offered by independent Data Resellers deployed in Enugu State, Nigeria. It is a low-cost paid Secure Wi-Fi connection sponsored by Enugu State Government through the Enugu SME Center at various locations within the state, known as Wi-Fi Zones.

In respect to the activation of the Enugu Wifi zones,  the first Batch of Enugu WIFI agents who scaled their interview have began training on Thursday, 11th June, 2020. Activation of Enugu Wi-fi Zones will succeed duly.

Keep in view, successful applicants who are yet to be trained will  receive a date for training duly, as training is being carried out in sets, in compliance with the Enugu state Covid-19 regulations.

Adittionally, applications are still being reviewed for subsequent batches of WIFI agents.

We implore ndi Enugu to  follow our social media handles on Facebook and LinkedIn : @Enugu State Sme Agency
Instagram and Twitter: @enugusmeagency
for more updates on the Enugu State Government Empowerment project through the Enugu SME Center.

#Enugusme #Gburugburuissme #Enuguwifiagents #Enuguwifi


Enhancing Employee Engagement in the New Normal

Engaged employees apply their total self (physical, emotional, mental) to their roles. They are creative, innovative, and go the extra mile in executing their assigned tasks. Engaged employees recover quickly when their companies go through challenging times; they provide competitive advantage to organisations. Engaged employees are valuable in a pandemic where uncertainty is a norm because they help organisations to keep afloat in the short-term and to work towards long-term recovery. However, the challenge is that before the pandemic, employee engagement was low across the world. Depending on the source of information, the level is put between 35% and 50%. Unless something is done differently, this is likely to decline. What are the drivers of employee engagement in a pandemic? The answer is the essence of this article.

Studies have shown that employee engagement elicits positive emotions from employees and thrives in a work climate that favours communication; growth and development; recognition and appreciation; and trust. A work climate is the outcome of leadership behaviour; hence, the foundational driver of employee engagement is leadership behaviour. With declining revenue owing to the global crisis, a leader cannot leverage the hard aspects of these drivers – growth and development – and the hard aspects of recognition and reward based on monetary incentives. Consequently, the article will discuss how the leader can use soft drivers such as leadership behaviour, communication, trust, and eliciting positive emotions to drive employee engagement.

Leadership Behavior

Leadership behaviour is the surface aspect of leadership that is apparent in an organisation. For example, one can identify autocratic and authentic leaders by their different patterns of behaviour. It is generally believed that under certain conditions, an authentic leader creates a positive work climate that will engage employees more than an autocratic leader. However, rather than focus on the surface aspect, it is better to examine the underlying causes of leadership behaviour which unfortunately cannot be noticed on the surface. This is the understanding of leadership or what some people call motive for leadership. There are two motives for leadership; it can be a source of status or a process of service. When leadership is motivated by status, followers are made to serve the leader. The environment created will be toxic and will never engage the employees. However, when leadership is understood as a process of service, the leader creates an environment that values employees and helps them to be the best they can be. Such a leader will exhibit the positive leadership behaviour that creates a positive work climate. Fortunately, leadership motive is not hereditary but can be changed through a deep desire to question the purpose of leadership and its effects on relationships.

In this period of uncertainty and fear, a manager’s leadership motive is reflected in how they communicate, create an environment of trust, and empathise with employees. A leader whose motive is to acquire status will leave employees to care for themselves and will take decisions to enhance organisational survival without regard for employees’ survival. A service motive will work to understand and relate with what employees are passing through and would do what is possible to help them work through the challenges. Empathy is a major tool of such leader.


In a survey of 1,090 people during a recent panel discussion, 28% reported that their salaries were reduced in the period of lockdown, 64% said that there was no communication between them and their organisation before the reduction, while 40% stated that the reduction affected their perception of their organisation. The problem is not the reduction because employees know that the organisation is facing hard times that require some level of adjustment. The first problem is that most of the respondents had no communication between them and their organisations before the salary cut. This action demonstrates that many organisations are yet to recognise that communication is critical in getting employees to understand organisational challenges in this new reality. Engaged employees want to be heard in matters concerning the organisation and their wellbeing. The second report from the discussion was that the lack of communication and subsequent reduction in salary affected the employees’ perception of their organisation. Engaged employees want to advance the reputation of their organisations but cannot do this when they have a negative perception of the organisation.

Communication builds a partnership between employees and their leaders. Partnership makes the organisational actors see individual challenges as a common challenge that requires joint action. Partnership is enhanced when the communication is 2-way, authentic, optimistic, and filled with empathy. When communication is 2-way, it allows for each party to voice their concerns and empathy ensures they are heard, understood, and appreciated. For example, imagine that before the salary reduction, the leaders discussed the challenges that necessitated the reduction with employees, and both listened with empathy. If the communication is authentic and optimistic, the result would be a joint understanding of the situation and acceptance of an action plan needed to sustain the organisation in the short-term and position it for survival in the long-term. Engaged employees study and understand the time in which they live. They recognise volatile environments and know that drastic actions are required to survive now and position organisations for future survival. They want to be part of the journey of the organisation now and in the future. The level of communication between them and their leaders gives an indication of how they are valued, and in turn, affects their level of engagement.


Trust is built and earned. It can neither be demanded nor legislated. It does not arise from the authority the leader has. Trust is an individual’s desire to be vulnerable to the leader. It is a decision an individual makes consciously; it depends on the perception of the quality of the past, present, and future relationship between the employee and his/her leader. In a crisis, trust is enhanced by the level of interest organisational participants show in the emotional challenge and other challenges of another organisational participant. For example, the organisation is uncertain and fearful about its present and future survival while employees are afraid of the health implications of COVID-19 and are uncertain about their current and future cash flow arising from the payment of their salary. Trust is built when both parties communicate honestly about each other’s challenges, and there is genuine care and desire to work together to create an acceptable path to survival. Trust does not depend on finding the best solution for each party but agreeing on a solution that is mutually satisfactory and allows for sacrifice from each party. Because trust also depends on the quality of past relationships, leaders whose relationship with employees in the past is poor will find building trust much more challenging, but not impossible. Engagement is enhanced when already engaged employees can offer their total self to the organisation, and trust that their leaders would not take advantage of them by refusing to do what is good for them.

Eliciting Positive Emotions from Employees

The emotional climate in organisations is the result of the leader’s emotional intelligence. Emotionally intelligent leaders understand their emotions and how they affect employees. They manage their emotions in ways that ensure that they do not affect the employees negatively. They are aware of the happenings in their social environment and use such awareness to design a mode of interaction that allows for a productive relationship between them and their employees. For example, emotionally intelligent leaders understand how emotionally depressing the COVID-19 situation can be for them and employees. They know that over-emphasizing on how they are affected emotionally while disregarding that of employees will not create a positive work environment. Such leaders can manage their emotions and recognise that of employees in such a way as to elicit positive emotion from employees. Emotionally intelligent leaders communicate authentically by telling the truth about the situation of the organisation and recognising what the employees are going through. The leader is not conservative with the truth. This would give a false impression of the severity of the situation and the need for action. While being authentic, such a leader does not lose hope that the future though uncertain, can be made remarkably interesting. The leader gives an optimistic view of the future, even when the uncertainty is recognised. In this way, the leader creates a positive emotional climate which elicits positive emotions of ‘can do it now and in the future’ from employees. Apart from organising seminars to help enhance emotional intelligence, pattern analysis can help in identifying emotions and reflecting on how to manage them for a productive relationship.


Organisations may not have the resources to enhance employee engagement with the hard factors of the drivers because of the reduction in revenue and poor cash flow. They can, however, leverage the soft factors which are based on the climate created by leadership behaviour. This is the time when leaders should question their motive for leadership, especially for those that have had a continuous past poor relationship with their employees. While organisations are using the COVID-19 situation to examine their strategy, business models, and processes, it is also worthwhile for leaders to question their understanding of leadership. This is the only way to enhance leadership behaviour and create a positive work climate that will improve and sustain employee engagement.

Article by Dr. Okechukwu Amah

Dr Okechukwu Amah teaches Organisational Behaviour and Management Communication at Lagos Business School


What start-ups need to attract investors

It is important as a start-up to ask yourself whose money you will use in the process of making your business idea a reality.

Would you fall back on your own nest egg to fund your start-up, this means you have saved up some money over time. It appears not many young entrepreneurs have nest egg to fund their start-up.

Now, will you go the route of debt financing? In other words, will you take out loans and pay them back with interest? This is an option to be considered with great care.

One of the benefits of using your own money is that you retain the profits and all control of your business if it succeeds. Your other option is to seek equity financing from angel investors, venture capitalists and others. In this business model, you owe less money, but you will share the profits with your investors. You are basically trading equity in your company for cash.

Going this route enables you to raise large sums of money for your start-up without going into debt. You will lose a bit of your control, giving your investors a “say” in your company. After all, they do expect a return on their investment. There is a catch.

Intending entrepreneurs brimming with confidence in their business ideas tend to believe all they need to take-off is see capital from venture capitalists. For venture capitalists the story is different because they are aware that nine out every ten start-up fails, they understand that funding is usually not the most important thing to consider when starting a business but structure.

Venture capitalists want clear answers to questions about who the business targets as customers, market size and how the business plans to grow and expand.

David Tele, managing director at Seedstars Academy, a seed capital venture firm at a Career Fair organised by BusinessDay in 2017 said that they evaluate start-ups approaching them for seed capital based on the Content, Process, and Results (CPR) method. The content dimension of the evaluation is data-driven: customer, market size, and projected revenue.

Process entails setting clear specific, measurable, ambitious, and time bound goals. It starts with setting annual goals, broken into monthly goals, then down to weekly and actionable daily goals.

Results comprise outcome from the two preceding phases and the cycle is repeated. Therefore, a start-up needs to do substantial due diligence before it approaches a seed venture capitalist. Below are a few things a start-up must do to attract seed capital.

Have a Business Plan

The first item on your list is to create a business plan. Venture capitalists deem this your most important task because, without a business plan, they are flying blind. You must create a plan that presents your overall business summary and a description of how it will make money.

In addition to your business plan, your investors will appreciate seeing one, three and five year plans. They want to see your goals and strategies for growth. They are looking for your “staying power.”

Conduct Market Research

Your investors want to see your market research. They want validation that the market can sustain your business and that your start-up is viable. This is the “proof” that your business plan is sound and provides you with numbers to back up your claims that your start-up will be successful.

Prepare Financial Models

Venture capitalists and angel investors are smart, and they know how to drill through your materials to the proof that your business can actually make money. Your financial models should include spread sheets of projected costs, acquisitions, sales and revenue, profit margins and growth rates. Bottom line: they want to know when they can start seeing a return on their investment.

Article by Stephen Onyekwelu


Setting Business Standards

Clarity = productivity

Let’s say, you’ve entered the dating world and decided to find a boyfriend/girlfriend. Unlike Tolu, our example in the last article, you’ve done the work and know why you need a romantic partner. You have a clear idea about the holes in your life that need filling. You want someone who will be your ‘plus one’ at all your social events; someone who will listen to your problems; cheers you up when you’re sad; snuggles with you while you watch Premier League matches and National Geographic documentaries, and go to Burna Boy concerts with you. That is the job description (JD).

In order to find someone who can do those things for you what’s your first step? You must decide which specific traits this love interest must possess in order to fulfil these mandates as your boyfriend/girlfriend. You must set your standards and be clear on what they are. The person must be presentable so you aren’t embarrassed to introduce them to friends or family. They must like to go out to places with you and be in your company. They must be attentive and caring, so they can listen. They must be funny or lighthearted, so they can cheer you up. They must enjoy intimate physical contact, like football, and find documentaries interesting. They must be an Afrobeat fan and not mind being in loud, sometimes crowded places. They must like Burna Boy. Not just Wizkid, Davido or Mr Eazi: Burna Boy.

It works the same way in recruitment. You design your JD so you can look at your list of tasks that need to be completed and match each one to the skill required to get it accomplished. You’ve done the work to prioritize ‘needs’ over ‘wants’ over ‘might-as-well-get-done-while-we’re-at-it’s, so you work from the most important to the least and list your required competencies for each duty that must be fulfilled. Your employees are disorganized? You need someone who can organize and motivate them. Your social media outreach is abysmal though you are in an industry that requires rapid and frequent engagement? You need someone who is adept at navigating and utilising Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp etc, is good at search engine optimization and is on top of the latest online communication trends. The whole point of going to the trouble to create a JD is so you have a crystal-clear framework you then use to deduce and decide your competencies.

Credentials are not competencies

Competencies could be technical (“hard”) skills such as the ability to analyse large data sets or the ability to develop financial statements. However, they could also be “soft skills” like the ability to communicate effectively or work well with others. They could be personality traits such as assertiveness (showing confidence) or flexibility (being easily adaptable). In your case, they will be whatever combination of these things are tailored to your organisation’s requirements.

Defining required competencies is integral in Nigeria because of the fundamental flaw in our education-to-employment pipeline. Our education system teaches students academic theory and neglects practical instruction and the development of industry­-relevant skills. Everyone believes, we, as employers, focus on a university degree as the most relevant qualification for employment. Therefore, young people zone in on this milestone believing it will equip them for the world of work. When we, in turn, do not use competency-based hiring practices which elevate executable talent over academic theory, we perpetuate this misunderstanding. There is no pressure on educational institutions to adapt their curricula for job-preparedness, or partner with our industries in order to create work experience opportunities which will enable graduates to become an optimizable pool of talent for us. Prioritising competencies in the hiring process instead of using academic qualifications as a proxy for skills is the only way to recruit candidates who can perform the real-life tasks that we require of them in order to meet our business goals.

Are your needs met by their skillset?

Why are defining the competencies so important? Because they keep you from getting distracted and wasting your time. Let’s say in your search for the boyfriend/girlfriend we just talked about, you meet someone who is very kind to beggars, has a PhD in engineering, loves gospel music and saves up money to take a trip abroad every year because they want to broaden their horizons. Though these are all positive attributes, they do not match your mandate. Without your list of competencies (presentable, attentive, caring, funny, lighthearted, a fan of Afrobeats, concertgoer, lover of Burna Boy) you could very well fall for this generous, well-educated, God-fearing, world traveller. You might be enamoured with them in the beginning. However, it will very soon become clear, when they drift off while you are talking about your day, or tell you Afrobeat is demonic, that they are unsuitable for the JTBD.

Without deducing and deciding on desired competencies, we disempower ourselves in the recruitment process. With just a JD (what we need to get done) the only question becomes whether the potential talent is willing to do the things we require. We are asking and they are answering. What equally matters is whether they are able to do the things we require. They are seeking and we are choosing. Deciding what we need makes the first step of the recruitment process(creating that JD) worthwhile. It makes the next step (figuring out who we are and our journey to demanding these things) meaningful.

  • Article by Misan Rewane

Misan Rewane is co-founder and CEO of WAVE, an organization focused on rewiring the education-to-employment system to create a level playing field for every African youth to access the skills and opportunity to become what they imagine.