Category Archives: Industry Insights

The changes in our work environments have forced business owners to increase HR’s impact within their companies. Here we discuss, HR’s role and how it will continue to evolve in 2021 and beyond. 

 

Work Life Balance  

If your place of work is your home, staff may find it difficult to separate the two. How to have worklife balance in the same space which is your home? This is the question on staffers and employers’ minds. HR and business owners must play a critical role in helping employees manage these uncharted waters Communication with staff is important to hear what issues staff are facing in this new work environment.  

CRS works with organizations and their HR teams to creatively engage their staff. When staff feel supported and listened to, this can propel the business to success. “CRS is able to help companies because we had to do it ourselves. We have learnt from the practical experiences within our own organization, thus we are able to assist our clients. 

CRS HR Advisory Services  

Companies need to have a clear understanding of their future goals. Once a company knows its next move, CRS can assist with meeting those human resources needsThings are changing  constantly and at some point, business owners may question if they need this resource or not. We can gage what processes, benchmarks or KPIs are needed to structure your resources accordingly. Basically, what resources do you need now but also for the future.”  

Measuring Staff Performance 

For an employee in an administrative position, this “new normal” can affect how they work and their role within the company. A manager provides new technologies but may not equip staff with the necessary trainingIt is not as simple as adding technologyOur HR advisory service can access how these changes as a result of the pandemic affect a persons performance, how you plan to measure their performance and what recommendations can be made for re-training staff.” 

 HR’s role in 2021 and beyond 

HR has to continually build relations with the staff and act as an advisor to staff and employers to resolve any issues Traditional employee interactions have forever changed where they may no longer host staff functionssports days or Christmas dinners. HR can partner with staff to reinvent the employee experience and make staff a part of the planning process.”  HR teams will measure results as staff engage in organized virtual interactive events and some outdoors excursions in small groups. This unforeseen situation has presented an opportunity for better camaraderie and teamwork but also a new found respect for HR.  

Chat with us to discuss what are your employee challenges and how we can help you. Schedule a call with Mariska Seereeram at mariska@crsrecruitment.co.tt 

 

Author: Johanna Thomas 

 

By Angela Lee Loy, Chairman – Aegis Business Solutions, Eve Anderson Recruitment and Caribbean Resourcing Solutions

 

We can all agree that COVID-19 is going to be with us for a while and this is forcing us to change the way we do business. I don’t have a magic ball to see the future and how 2021 will evolve. But there are a few areas businesses can explore further for development and this is based on some key areas that emerged over the last year.

 

Are you reviewing your physical space?

Many companies are shrinking their offices spaces and testing the capabilities of their online networks. Although many parents are struggling to meet the demands of homeschooling their kids whilst managing work, the reality is, many of them may not have a reason to return to their physical office once things improve.

The Banking Sector is also reviewing their real estate space(s) and are restructuring based on their current and future needs. As they begin to restructure, some retail operations have already started exploring the process of moving inventory to increase sales transactions online. Foot traffic continues to decline therefore making rent and leases more difficult to sustain.

The landscape is changing at an unbelievable pace. The real estate business continues on decline as many of the traditional brick and mortar stores are now operating online or are in the process of transitioning to that model. This is happening globally. Our cities and downtown areas will evolve as we continue to move operations and customer experiences online in the Caribbean.

As a leader in any business, irrespective of the sector, it is important to invest the time now to move your operations online. It is extremely important to support your staff in getting the right tools, training and, developing the right attitudes for successful remote working.

 

Are you exploring new areas of service?

We have to pivot our business as the landscape changes. People need to re-examine and analyze which of their services cannot work during this pandemic and explore new areas for development.

One example is the hotel industry. Across the Caribbean, we are dependent on tourism. With a significant decline in air travel, our hotels and bed and breakfast businesses are suffering and a critical part of this is food and beverage revenue. Some restaurants have implemented ‘curbside pick-up’ and others have reduced their services in one area to make room for new services. This is to help generate the revenue and to also support the business through this challenging time. There are even those business owners and sole traders who have completely changed their entire business. I anticipate many people may take this route and completely start another business.

As a business owner, you must continue to look at your business differently now, without the emotional attachment of your original vision. Businesses have to evolve. Think about what services are needed at present and determine how you can meet those needs with the current resources you have.  Continuously ask yourself, ‘What else can I do?’ and do your research and adjust accordingly.

 

How often have you asked your employees, ‘How are you doing?’

We all have different personalities. Introverts may enjoy working from home at this time and avoiding their videos on Zoom meetings. Extroverts on the other hand, need social interaction. They may feel isolated at times and miss coming in the office environment to see their colleagues.

As we continue to navigate the challenges ahead in 2021, we have to book time in our diaries to check-in on those who work for us. Exploring ways to continuously keep our employees engaged in our business during this challenging period is important. As an owner, ask yourself, ‘How can I better understand the challenges my employees are experiencing so that we can work in solidarity with each other?’

 

Find new ways to support local

As foreign exchange continues to be more difficult to obtain, businesses should begin to explore how to produce things more locally and collaborate with local suppliers, innovators and research institutions. We cannot do it alone. But, we can do it together. This is the time to innovate, plan and prepare. This could well be a time when your businesses ‘leap frogs’ into the future.

Our manufacturing sector is extremely vibrant in Trinidad and Tobago and there are a lot of things that can be produced locally. This could be a period of innovation and adaptability for the manufacturing sector.

 

Invest in technology

If you are already investing in technology, that’s great. But it does not end there. As a business owner, I am constantly looking into new technologies with my IT Manager to ensure I have the competitive advantage. Technology is changing so rapidly. As we buy a new phone or software, there is already another version out on the market.  Delve into the details of your business to explore what efficiencies you can create through the use of technology so that you can focus on your staff to manage more meaningful work.

One of the areas I am fascinated by is – hydroponics in the agriculture sector. I firmly believe we need to continue to encourage people to grow our own food, buy local and support the new local products many people are developing. If you are not into technology and innovating  your services, you will be left behind.

Further your knowledge

The world is your oyster. You are no longer limited by geographic location to learn something new and with technology, you can have a wide array of products and services to market and sell.  Education is going to be key.  What education do you need to give your children now as we move forward? What skills do you need to learn as a business owner to move your business more online? We can look at every area across all industries and dissect it – how can I learn to do this better? What are the tech trends in my industry? There is so much to learn.

 

Be an authentic leader

People are struggling and things are getting more difficult. Whilst profitability is important, in 2021 it is not the most important thing as we work towards resetting. We have to think about the people working with us. If we don’t have people working, economies cannot move forward. Yes, businesses will take a massive hit and these businesses will dive into reserves for survival.

As difficult as it is, we have to look at maximizing your people. You can come together as an organization, communicate the situation and let them know what compromises can be done. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

You do not always know individual employees’ situation, so you need to have these honest conversations and be prepared to be vulnerable. Your employees will surprise you. The profitability will come. You cannot think short-term for long-term solutions but you need to work together.

If you are a leader and reading this – don’t lose sight of what is important. You have to understand this – ‘It is important to have business but the business you have is dependent on the people working for you.’ If you don’t treat your people right, you cannot expect them to give 100 percent? It is a partnership.

Shareholders with a dual role of director are in the position to determine their remuneration, as well as, they had many years to build their nest egg. Managers  and staff do not have that discretion. During these COVID times, shareholders/directors could survive on less.

 

There are going to be many things you can do differently in 2021 but there are some fundamentals that are emerging:

  • Isolation is real. Stay connected regularly.
  • Technology is the way forward. Educate yourself.
  • Retail space is on the decline. Build an online business.
  • Support local and seek opportunities.
  • Authentic leadership is key at this time.
  • Whilst profitability is important, it is not the main thing.

 

Angela Lee Loy is Chairman of leading business outsourcing firm, Aegis Business Solutions and the two longest standing recruitment agencies in the Caribbean, Eve Anderson Recruitment and Caribbean Resourcing Solutions. All three companies work together as a business hub for local and international companies operating in the Caribbean including Guyana. For more information, visit www.aegistt.com, www.eveandersonrecruitment.com, www.crsrecruitment.co.tt

View our story on page 19 and other stories here – https://amchamtt.com/Linkage-3/2020

 

How 20 minutes with your staff can lead to creative solutions and increased engagement? 

Stay Interviews are informal one-on-one structured discussions between a supervisor and a team member. It’s designed to provide insight into what keeps employees working for an organization and what aspects need improvement.  It is a conversation meant to identify the factors that drive an employee’s individual retentionengagement and morale. 

This is good way to get employees to feel part of the decision making of the company, get creative solutions on how they think the company can look at their services , new technologies and tap into the talent apart outside of the strategic level. This virtual world is a great setting for millennials thrive. By engaging staff this way, employers show individual support, empathy and motivate employees to be continue pushing through the pandemic, because now they engaged. 

 

The Benefits of a Stay Interview  

  • The information from interviews can also help to redefine your human resource strategy going forward. 
  •  Stay Interviews show that you recognize and admire the commitment and contributions of valued employees and that you care about their job satisfaction.  Furthermore, the employer can learn from employees their definitive reasons for continuing to work for this organisation 
  • These interviews will provide knowledge on how to retain current and valued employeesManagers can engage their teams to work better and increase productivity while still motivating them. 
  • Stay Interviews can create a trusting employee-employer relationship.
  • COVID-19 pandemic has led companies to adopt a work from home approach to ensure the safety of workers. Additionally, staff interaction and activities are less frequent or non-existentStay Interviews allows employers to know how staff want to be engaged and that they want to contribute to planning and organizing of such initiatives. 

 Tip: For new hires, Stay Interviews should be held in the first three to six months. For confirmed employees, it should happen at least once a year  

The saying, “You don’t’ know what you have until its gone.”, are very wise words employers should heed. You don’t want to receive a resignation letter from one of your valued employees. Caribbean Resourcing Solutions (CRS) can assist you with this stay interview process 

As your external Human Resource Partner, we will assist you in learning the possible reasons for why your staff stay and why they may possibly leaveStay Interviews can build trust between employers and employeesMost importantly, the insight gained in these interviews causes changes to be made to support and motivate staff in their work environment which leads to the betterment of the organisation 

 

 

 

Meet Johanna Thomas, a Public Relations Professional and avid film enthusiast whose marketing and social media internship with CRS ignited her desire to pursue a career in Digital Marketing.

How is your internship experience going?

It has been extremely productive and has invigorated my desire to further explore Digital Marketing and Communication as a career.  The opportunity to assist CRS in their Social Media content creation and management has challenged me to become more expressive, creative and authentic. Social media is always evolving and the chance to work in this field,  with CRS and fellow interns has been an amazing experience.

What are you studying and why?

I’m currently a 3rd year student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and a Minor in Film Studies. I have worked in the field of Communication & Public Relations and wanted to further my studies. I enjoy watching films and wanted to deepen my knowledge in cinema but mainly Caribbean Cinema. I believe we have amazing stories to tell and I would like to assist filmmakers or anyone  in the promotion of their ideas or concepts.

Share your projects, ideas and what you want to achieve.

I want to achieve 1st Class Honors in Communication Studies with a minor in Film Studies  and graduate in 2021.  To become certified in Social Media Management is a goal, so I want to attain a certification from Hubspot Academy or any accredited institution. I want to work in a production company or state agency using Digital Marketing and Public Relations to promote projects or ideas for creatives. Being part of a production team that makes a film, is also a project worth pursuing. I would also love to own a company that produces and sells local juices.

We enjoy chatting about communities a lot and we would be keen to know what you think you would like to do with regards to your community and interests.

I would love to see more activities geared towards Youth Development. I was involved in an Arts Programme in my community that introduced me to photography, film & singing and this propelled me to study communications and film. I also became a member of  The Marionettes Chorale due to my involvement in that Arts Programme , so I would like to see similar initiatives that  allow youth to learn and develop holistically.

What advice would you leave with future interns about doing a volunteer internship during the vacation period?

During this unforeseen time, opportunities such as internships like this are hard to come by. However, once selected absorb as much information, network, take any free and online courses but also put what is learnt into practice. Being able to work remotely and still receive hands-on experience during the vacation period can give one the edge needed to secure employment or stand out amongst your fellow colleagues.

CRS Recruitment in Guyana
Our social media and marketing intern, Futima Fraser met up with our General Manager, Mariska Seereeram to learn more about our company CRS and how we are shaping our space in the recruitment industry in the Caribbean and now in Guyana.

Adapting to new climates

When it comes to talent recruitment and building business relationships, Caribbean Resourcing Solutions (CRS) aims to always be accessible and adaptable. CRS prides itself on being the premier Caribbean based agency specifically for technical recruitment, and in keeping with their vision of supplying candidates to all of the Caribbean, they have taken a proactive approach when it comes to entering the oil and gas industry in Guyana.

General Manager, Mariska Seereeram said,

“One of the key things for CRS is to let companies know that they continue to evolve in facilitating processes virtually and are able to operate remotely.”

Supporting local in Guyana

CRS shows a real take-charge attitude in supporting the local businesses in Guyana, CRS is very driven towards local firms and cares for their livelihood. In a statement, Ms Seereeram said, “It’s keeping up to date and informed with developments in Guyana and how these companies would be affected and developing solutions beforehand. Building a partnership with local organisations is also key.” There’s no doubt that businesses who choose to collaborate with CRS, will be in great hands.

As CRS embarks on this new venture in Guyana, you may be wondering if anyone from around the world, including locals can join their database of candidates? Well it’s now easier and more accessible than you thought. Once applicants apply and send their information to CRS and it’s received, they contact the candidate and get an understanding for what they are looking for.

Maintaining relationships

“I believe that’s what sets us apart from the competition – we get on a personal level with candidates. This is also a plus for our clients whereby we are sending candidates that have a skillset that we understand fully and we know will be ideally suited. So expectations between clients and candidates are aligned.” says Mariska. This demonstrates the kind of meaningful relationships CRS cultivates between employers and employees.

As it pertains to Covid-19, there have been some challenges, but recruitment is not one of them. CRS has been able to adapt and also help companies adapt to the virtual world as communication is key in this time. Though the borders may be closed and business at a stand still, CRS is committed to helping companies evolve and find alternatives.

CRS has a track record that proves they have what it takes to support companies and create lasting relationships.

Due to their forward thinking, they have established, through their registered office, partnerships with local firms in Guyana. They are determined to make this current endeavor a success. Through these times CRS stresses the importance of adaptability and continues to make themselves accessible to all the world.

Author: Futima Fraser

Meet Futima Fraser, a budding interior designer and future entrepreneur who shares her experience on our remote internship program.

This year CRS launched it’s first July/August vacation Caribbean remote internship in partnership with business outsourcing firm, Aegis Business Solutions’ and fellow recruitment agencies – Eve Anderson Recruitment and Professional Resourcing Solutions.

How is your internship experience going?

I have learnt so much and grown as a person. My favourite part about this whole experience is meeting so many inspiring and hardworking people. Aside from the Managers and employees at the company, every week we have virtual meetings with entrepreneurs and persons who are excelling in their chosen fields.

It is an incredibly rewarding experience, especially the fact that it is virtual. I am able to work full time and still be a part of this year’s internship.

What are you studying and why?

I have chosen to study Marketing because I would like to work in the creative field, and run my own business. It is a lot more interesting than a regular business degree and would be the perfect blend between the business aspect of my business and the creative aspect. This would allow me to run my business successfully.

I would like to be an Interior Designer. I enjoy art, graphic design, crafts, DIY projects, and videography. All of these will help me in my pursuit of becoming an interior designer.

We enjoy chatting about communities a lot and we would be keen to know what you think you would like to do with regards to your community and interests?

Currently I work alongside my NGO, Rotaract Club of Tobago to execute community projects. However, how awesome would it be to one day say that I make people’s lives better and more organized through a well designed space that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

What advice would you share to other interns about doing a volunteer internship over the vacation holidays?

Go for it 100%. I have learnt so much without sacrificing the traditional relaxation and leisure time of the July/August vacation holidays. However you have to be organized, so ensure you make note of due dates and set reminders for meetings etc. This is all made easy now with scheduling options and apps that you can download on your devices.

Lastly, just do your best!

Guyana’s developing energy industry has led to numerous opportunities for businesses, investments and prospective job seekers. With CRS establishing operations and partnerships in Guyana, General Manager, Mariska Seereeram shared her insights on this development.

She discussed how CRS can provide recruitment and talent management support to local and international businesses entering Guyana.

CRS focuses on talent management

CRS specialises in recruiting in the I.T. and technical field and this is a key service offered to firms in Guyana’s energy sector. CRS General Manager noted,

“The focus is on talent management solutions. Partnering with or assisting local businesses with their business objectives, strategies and understanding how we can assist them. Whether it be sourcing, full cycle recruitment or part of that function, training, interviewing process, on-boarding and even psychometric assessment.”

There are many ways in which CRS can provide support to firms in Guyana. Seereeram shared, “Recruitment is our core service but we support local businesses by providing solutions to problems beforehand. As a recruiter, providing advisory skills is key in recruitment. Keeping firms informed about ongoing developments in Guyana and how can this affect their business are some of the ways we can also lend assistance.”

With companies such as ExxonMobil in Guyana and recent discoveries of oil and gas in Suriname, CRS had the foresight to set up offices in Guyana.  This facilitation will assist firms and build strong relationships.

The need for talent management solutions is evident and when implemented strategically can align with the organization’s objectives and goals. Sourcing talent for various functions in engineering and I.T. are some of the areas CRS discovered is in most demand.

CRS is ready to partner with those companies and manage their recruiting needs.  This agency is also able to partner with other recruiting firms in Guyana to assist with those projects.

Attracting the best technical talent

The recruitment agency also lends support in talent acquisition which allows firms to acquire exceptional and skilled professionals in their respective departments. To note, attracting talent and aligning them with a company that is suitable and the right fit is also of importance. For example, a specialized engineer with specific skills is hard to find. CRS works with companies to develop attractive packages. Thus, compensation is an important course of action to recognize, reward employees and their contributions.  This acknowledges their value to the organization.

Innovation is key during COVID-19

It is clear that recruitment is an ongoing process and that it is evolving. Even in this unprecedented time, Mariska shared that COVID-19 has not stopped recruitment. It has forced companies to be innovative and adjust to this new normal. She stated, “In terms of COVID-19 we have been able to adapt.

Communication between client and candidate has become crucial during this time. The realisation is that businesses, employers and employees cannot do it alone. CRS is competent to recruit in the I.T. and technical field and can offer sound guidance in talent acquisition and compensation.

As firms chart their next quarters, CRS will be a wise resource to companies wishing to conduct business or employ people in Guyana.

To schedule a meeting, email info@crsrecruitment.co.tt

Author: Johanna Thomas

 

Energy Conference, 2020

This year’s Energy conference theme was ‘Shaping the Caribbean’s Energy Future’. Presentations from key players within the sector highlighted concerns and perspectives for strategic decisions.

While the future is bright regionally and globally, there are significant challenges with the Caribbean that needs to be addressed urgently.

The focus from keynote speakers this year at the conference were in the areas:

  1. Energy costs, also affected by technological innovations
  2. Climate changes – especially advocated by the youth
  3. Good local content policies and structures
  4. Upskilling  -continuous unlearning and learning, training in the use of technology to solve real world problems
  5. Moving towards a low carbon energy future
  6. Re-establishing the objectives of the Treaty of Chaguaramas in dealing with the issues around energy. Prime Minister Mottley expressed the need for the regional commitment amongst the sovereignty of the nations. Working towards the benefit of all, leveraging expertise.

Engaging Young Talent

The conference also highlighted those companies such as Shell, Atlantic and BHP who have demonstrated their creative approaches to engaging their young talent, harnessing the value that the millennials can bring to the table, especially in the time of digital transformation. Companies continue to demonstrate their continuous efforts and support in giving back to our local communities, which is so important in building a stronger society.

Our Chairman, Angela Lee Loy shared her perspective from the conference and her key takeaway for us as a tech recruitment firm in the Caribbean market was to continue to push boundaries and lead the way in connecting technical people to companies locally and internationally.

Caribbean Integration is needed

The address from the Hon. Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados particularly resonated with us. “She was brilliant on pushing the focus on Caribbean integration and supporting each other through collaboration. After all, we are all small nations but collectively we have greater bargaining power and able to leverage on each other’s strengths across the Caribbean region particularly when it comes to renewable energy,” said Angela.

Going forward, our General Manager Mariska Seereeram shared, “With the increased focus on renewable energy, stakeholders are focused on re-training and developing the digital skills required to transition through this change. This shift in focus is what CRS has pushed for the last five years in encouraging and sourcing talent in the tech sector. We continue to pitch to companies the top IT talent that join our database locally, regionally and internationally.”

View pictures and full address by Dr .the Hon. Keith Rowley at the conference here via the Energy Chamber

The Annual Trinidad & Tobago Energy Conference and Trade Show concluded today, the theme was Technology: Transforming the Industry.

Presentations and updates from Upstream /Downstream Operators and Service Providers were of the highest calibre, also participation in this year’s conference was at record levels, surpassing attendance for the previous two years.

In his welcoming remarks Eugene Tiah, Chairman of the Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago, highlighted the need for regulatory reform and local content to foster growth of our local Energy Services Sector. The Prime Minister (Dr. Keith Rowley) and the Minister of Energy and Energy Industries (Sen. Frank Khan) gave optimistic views of the outlook of our Energy Sector in the near to medium term. Listing contracts with Upstream Operators such as BHP, BPTT, EOG, Shell and DeNovo. And citing statistics on expected gas in 2019 /2020 and beyond.

Panel discussions focused on technology efficiencies dominated conversations. Claire Fitzpatrick, Regional President, BP Trinidad & Tobago indicated that society has a growing preference for cleaner energy, and producing from maturing fields with ageing infrastructure requires investment. Technology is needed to ensure efficient deployment of investment capital. Dereck Hudson, Vice President and Country Chair of Shell Trinidad and Tobago gave an example of how Shell used technology to keep business running at full capacity despite only having 20% of staff situated in a temporary office due to damages sustained during the major earthquake Trinidad and Tobago experienced  in 2018. Vincent Pereria, President of BHP indicated that technology and innovation would give our companies a competitive advantage in the future.

In general Speakers agreed that technology was a disrupter that would determine how T&T could make future possibilities a reality. Business leaders of Upstream Operators gave examples of the new technologies being used for deep water drilling, listing some of the required jobs in a technologically advanced Oil and Gas Sector including Data Scientists and Wind Turbine Technicians as well as the use of machine learning and coding. There was an overall belief that the future of the Energy Sector was one where there was a marriage of hydrocarbon energy, energy efficiency, and renewable resources. To that end a Charter on Energy Efficiency among Trinidad and Tobago’s Upstream and Downstream Companies was initiated.

In his Vote of Thanks Dr. Thackwray Driver, President and CEO of the T&T Energy Chamber indicated that the Chamber was making efforts to balance the score on gender equality in the Sector. The Chamber moved the statistic for female presenters at the Conference from 10% in 2018 to 20% in 2019. This year the Conference had its first “All Female” panel discussion which included Claire Fitzpatrick, Regional President of BPTT, Pria Narinesingh, Country Managing Partner EY, Penelope Bradshaw-Niles, Permanent Secretary (Ag.)  Ministry of Energy & Energy Industries, Siana Teelucksingh, Renewable Energy Consultant, Kristen Ray, Vice President Technology, BHP (Petroleum), and facilitator, Dr. Carla Noel-Mendez, Corporate Affairs Manager, BHP.

This morning I attended AMCHAM Trinidad & Tobago’s session on our Economic Outlook for 2019.

The Keynote Speaker; Professor Gerry Brooks, Chairman of NGC Group of Companies, gave some interesting statistics on Global Economic Growth for 2018 / 2019, which was estimated at 3.7%. He also gave comparative figures of estimated GDP growth for T&T in 2018 of 1.9%. Mr. Brooks said that 2018 was the first time in some years that our economy had returned to growth, citing gas field development and production as the main contributor. He expected the Energy Sector would continue to grow in 2019.

Mr. Brooks also indicated that Non- Energy Sectors were not expected to grow and the rate of decline in these sectors was not expected to change throughout 2019.

He purported that for our economy to continue to grow in 2019 and beyond, there was a need for diversification away from Oil and Gas, a revival of entrepreneurship, and support of the SME Sector. He also said that digitalization was a must, indicating that Government Ministries should invest in data platforms and shared services.

Mr Brooks remarks were the catalyst for a panel discussion,  which included; Patrica Ghanny (President of AMCHAM T&T), Gregory Hill (Managing Director of Ansa Merchant Bank), Ravi Tewari (Group CEO, Guardian Holdings), Garvin Joefield (Manager and Economist at Republic Bank) and Facilitator; Nirad Tewarie (AMCHAM CEO).