— T. Nelson Williams tells HR Professionals
T. Nelson Williams, Jr., a member of the board of the Association of Liberian Human Resource Professionals (ALHRP), says human resource managers remain the nuclei of every organization, because they keep management and employees on track.
Mr. Williams made the remarks on Friday, January 31, 2020 during the ALHRP code of ethics validation exercise held in central Monrovia. He told human resource professionals of their role to mediate and ensure that things are on course.
“We can see the progress. I see you (human resource managers) as one of the most important persons in each organization, including public or private, because you remain the nuclei of the organization,” Mr. Williams said.
“According to him, sometimes, HR professionals are sidelined and intimidated by their bosses, while “referencing the situation at the GT Bank where the senior manager throw calculator at an employee and investigation shows that more have been happenings”
Mr. Williams said he spent 22 years as an HR professional in the United States and had a strong network that usually called each other just to know the happening in various workplaces. He underscored the importance of the establishment and enforcement of standards among the community of HR professionals.
“The Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) can sanction their members who are not adhering to the practices. Every profession and even the medical profession, there are certain things you cannot do, which runs from the lowest person in the organization to the highest level. If a doctor consumed alcohol before coming to operate, no, you stop the doctor immediately,” Mr. Williams said.
Jonah S. Kotee, Secretary-General of ALHRP board, said since 2013, the ALHRP has conducted 29 trainings for Human Resource professionals, which include 26 local trainings, and three international trainings with PWC and a team from Ghana.
“On advocacy, ALHRP was the first group of organization to advocate for arbitrary salary deduction across Liberia and the message was clear. When there was a salary cut ongoing in the public sector, we decided to advocate,” Mr. Kotee said.
According to him, ALHRP engaged in advocacy because arbitrary salary deduction is against not just our law, but international labor convention.
“We advocated against the ill-treatment of people with mental health problems in workplaces, workplace safety, and the gender pay gap, whether male or female, regardless of the position held in the entity because everyone has equal rights,” he said.
According to him, ALHRP also partnered with the Ministry of Labor during the national labor conference to harmonize the Decent Work Act and the civil service standing order, even though it is still in the pipeline with the Legislature.
Mr. Kotee emphasized that the ALHRP played a part in deliberating, especially on a specific topic given to the organization.
He said ALHRP also partnered with the Ministry of Labor to advocate for breastfeeding in the workplace and lauded ALHRP’s representatives.
“On international fraternity, ALHRP is current a registered member of the African Human Recourse confederation, the umbrella of all human resource associations in Africa. Today, we have had several programs, including meet and greet in 2019, meet and greet in 2020 and bringing all HR professionals together to meet and know each other,” Mr. Kotee said.
“We are here today basically to have feedback and have discussion with members and stakeholders, including Ministry of Labor, Civil Service Agency (CSA), Labor Union, and bigger organizations that have large HR workforce,” Mrs. Brenda B. Moore said.
Mrs. Moore said the ALHRP has been around since 2013 and currently has 72 registered members and 140 affiliate members who are not registered but form part of most of the meetings and provide inputs.
“Every major organization has a code of ethics that guard them and we think that it’s time for the only HR association in Liberia to have minimum standards that members can adhere to and be accountable to,” Mrs. Moore said.
According to her, the draft was done in 2019, and reviewed by a renowned lawyer who provided some feedback. Stating “today, we have invited registered members who will be held accountable to these standards to give their own feedback.”
She said plans are underway to engage in serious awareness across the country to ensure that all HR professionals are members of the association and benefit from opportunities, including local and international trainings.
“We will give it to members who will sign up to the code and, more formally, notify their employers that these are standards that the association will be holding the HR personnel to adhere to. So if the organization has a problem with ethics of the HR personnel, they can actually report such person to the association,” Mrs. Moore said.
Mrs. Moore said “if a member breaks confidentiality at a work, the association will take action against you. Most often, people don’t talk about confidentiality and it’s very important. If someone has a medical condition and informs the HR for which he or she is not coming to work but later everyone gets to know about it.”
According to Mrs. Moore, she believes that there is more HR in the country and need to form part of the organization. She said part of the initiative is to strengthen the capacity of its members.
“If we recommend a member to you, the employer will know that the person is well scrutinized and not someone who has just left from the street and claim of being an HR. Again, we vetted all our members and know their standards. Today, Liberia does not have HR being offered as a degree program,” Mrs. Moore said.
Mrs. Moore said a few of the members who have traveled abroad and obtained knowledge in HR are now sharing it with members who are yet to have the opportunity to travel for such education.
“We are now trying to lobby with some schools to see if they can take HR as a graduate course. Cuttington University has incorporated it last school year,” she added.