AN HR PRACTITIONER PAR EXCELLENCE
These were the qualifications that eminently place Oyeyemi Oyetola in vantage position to practice personnel management in the country today and he stands out amongst the lot.
Why did Oyeyemi Oyetola, now the Head, Human Resources & Administration of GZ Industries Ltd, a company which is novel in Nigeria and has the distinction of being the first can maker in the West African sub-region decide to go into the HR profession? He had this to say: “From school, I had always had a fascination for people, I loved working in groups and have always found the collaborations these groups achieved despite the differences in their persons amazing. It is in a quest to be sufficiently knowledgeable in managing people that led me to do my MPA in Personnel Administration”.
Urbane Oyetola who now has 23 years unbroken experience in the profession has in the past worked in such distinctively as Churchgate Group and Honeywell Group where he eloquently honed his skills in personnel management before berthing at GZ Industries. At GZ, he has been able to conquer the challenge of getting the right set of people with the required skills for the organization. Of course, this involved recruiting people from different backgrounds: racial, educational, professional and generational, but it is noteworthy that Oyetola has succeeded very well in managing the diversity issues. Boastfully, he intones, “We have successfully aligned our HR strategy to be sufficiently able to support the overall business strategy”.
Asked of his experience over the years as an HR practitioner, Oyetola said it has been varied. “I have seen the profession move from the hitherto hire and fire reputation to become more strategic to the business. I have seen value being created in the various organizations supported by HR. The Chartered Institute of Personnel Management, CIPM has championed the cause of the profession in Nigeria and the future looks bright”.
On the challenges facing HR practice in Nigeria, he posited that this stems from the fact that many organizations in the country still do not know the value inherent in it and so, are not able to effectively use its tools to improve their organizations. “A lot of the times, HR is viewed as an all-comers affair, organizations tend to push people to HR when they believe they have no jobs for them”, he says.
He is however optimistic that in the nearest future, HR professionals will take their rightful places in the country and in organizations. “The future is bright”, he says positively. “I have witnessed the growth of the profession from when it was regarded as union pacifiers to it becoming a strategic function in a lot of organizations. With the changes taking place in Nigeria, the role of the profession is becoming more eminent and opportunities now abound”.
The HR guru believes Nigerian professionals are as good as their peers anywhere in the world but that it is just that they have always been challenged by the lack of an enabling environment in their country, which is what has accounted for the brain drain being experienced. He is however of the view that the brain drain will stop in the future as government policies are now being directed at empowering professionals in the country. In addition, he declared, if we are able to get power, security and other basic infrastructure in place, the economy will certainly blossom as the manpower in terms of professionals to make this happen are in abundance in the country.
Blue-blooded Oyeyemi who is a scion of the Idimehinto Royal Family of Edunabon in Ife North Local Government Area of Osun State has words of advise for upcoming professionals. He urges them to ensure they acquire knowledge and constantly upgrade it. Furthermore, he enjoined them to maintain a high ethical standard in the discharge of their jobs and constantly network with colleagues. “They should ensure they make use of the right metrics and tools for value addition”, he added.
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