By Dasuki Ibrahim Arabi
The concussion of four important forces, i.e., urbanization, technology, demographics, and globalization is evidently causing enormous disruption. Worldwide rivalry and adjustment have hastened creative destruction and overtaken the ability of labor markets to acclimatize. Disruption is the act or process of disrupting something: a break or interruption in the normal course or continuation of some activity, process, etc. (Merriam-Webster, n.d.). When there is disruption of an event, system, or process, it is prevented from continuing or operating in a normal way. Before talking about people as a resource, we need to firstdefine people as resources. By people as a resource, we mean to say the people who form a part of the workforce and play a significant role in the economic growth by contributing to the productive resources of the country. Thus, along with various other resources, a country also needs people who can put those resources to good use and increase production. Investment in human capital is done through training, education, and healthcare, making the workforce more productive and hence more beneficial for the economy. On the other hand, generally, an economy is defined ‘as a social domain that emphasizes the practices, discourses, and material expressions associated with the production, use, and management of resources’. (James, et al, 2015). A given economy is the result of a set of processes that involves its culture, values, education, technological evolution, history, social organization, political structure and legal systems, as well as its geography, natural resource endowment, and ecology, as main factors.
On disruption, it’s perhaps easiest to understand it when we look at real-world examples of it in action: Netflix, streaming video, and OTT devices; King Price InsuranceService; Wikipedia,LEDs; Skype are few examples. The reader may at this juncture ask what a disruption isn’t. We can also make the case for disruptive innovation clearer when we highlight some examples of companies that aren’t disruptive such as Uber and Tesla. In Nigeria, there are innovations because of disruptions. Examples are Integrated Payroll Payment System (IPPS), Treasury Single Account (TSA), GSM Network (analogue to digital), Cable Tv, Abuja-Kaduna, Itakpe-Warri and Lagos-Ibadan train services, prepaid electricity metering, etc.
In terms of the importance of human resources (HR) on economic development, a proper utilization of resources such as human capital is considered the vital type of resources for attaining economic development of a country. Of course, among various types of resources, human resources are the most active type of resources. Qualitative and quantitative development of human capital is very much required for the proper utilization of natural resources of the country. The role of HR in economic development includes increased productivity, development of skills and increases per capita income. From the foregoing, let us define human resources and human resources management. Human resources are the people an organization employs to carry out various jobs, tasks, and functions in exchange for wages, salaries, and other rewards. Similarly, human resources management is the comprehensive set of managerial activities and tasks concerned with developing and maintaining a qualified workforce – human resources – in waysthat contribute to organizational effectiveness.
There are model ways to manage people and resources in a disrupted economy which include process definition, communication and engagement, preparation of individuals and organisations, embedding culture, and plan change. Process Definition: Understand the compelling need for change; define the change and assess the environment; and evaluate impact on people, process and technology. Communication and engagement:Explain “why” and the desired outcomes; communicate what will/will not change per stakeholder group; implement a formal change network; and engage in 2-way feedback process. Prepare individuals and organizations: Identify new skills and behaviour; redesign jobs, roles and structures; and develop and implement training. Embedding culture: Embed the change into systems, processes and policies; reinforce, model and reward new behaviours and achievements; measure ongoing performance and pursue continuous improvement.Change plan: Communication, engagement, training, support, metrics and transition.Others are: using incentives to accelerate change; using regulation in direct response to change; government’s power to regulate—to set standards and define the rules of conduct and markets—can play a vital role in modernizing economies and preparing for the future. Regulation can prove a particularly effective tool in places where market failures are obvious and structural issues inhibit adoption of best practices.Shareholders of large financial institutions can’t effectively ride herd on the risk-taking actions of executives, so regulators must impose capital standards and undertake careful supervision.
In addition to the foregoing let us now look at the vital role of human resources in an economy because products and industries are always dependent on the labour class of society, in order to meet the needs of the society and country’s dimension and, finally, to play an important role in international relations.Human resources should be considered from the angle of assets as well as the responsibilities associated with achieving economic development. In order to reach the economic welfare, it is desirable to have natural and human capital management.High-quality human capital (educated people) is an asset which plays a key role on agriculture, industries, growth, domestic production, GNP, industrial enterprises, etc.It is human abilities and talents in the countries which can differentiate the comparative advantage, as well as economics, developed and underdeveloped countries. In managing people in a disruptive economy,workers should be told that disruption, though often connotes negativity, is not bad. Rather, it’s an opportunity–and opportunity that hinges on the messaging set forth by leadership.Workers should be aware that large-scale government overhauls are always challenging, but are particularly difficult in times of crisis, when leaders are under pressure to deliver fast results.They should take note that experience has shown that dual focus on performance and organizational health leads to the most successful transformations. With every new shift in technology comes a new workplace response; a new experience that eventually snowballs into a larger cultural transformation down the road and impacts how people experience their everyday routine.
Arabi, the DG of the BPSR, The Presidency, writes from Abuja