Amcham: Think outside the box for happy workforce

Managers have an important role to play in creating the right type of work environment. Photo taken from -
Managers have an important role to play in creating the right type of work environment. Photo taken from -

The goal for a happier, healthier, and productive workforce relied on stepping outside the box and changing with the times.

It's the advice president of the American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago (Amcham TT) Toni Sirju-Ramnarine gave on the first day of Amcham's 25th HSSE (health, safety, security and environment) virtual conference and exhibition on Monday, in which she challenged companies and government to rethink HSSE policies, encourage collaboration and embrace technology to create a safer more sustainable way to do business.

She said the covid19 pandemic, rising risks of climate change among other things have presented challenges but businesses were slowly reopening and there was a regeneration of employment through the creation of the safe zones.

“Recent incidents at home and around the world underscore the need for continued attention to be paid to all aspects of HSSE.

“Flooding, for example, remains an issue in communities across the country and indeed the region. This should lead us to question and consider what small changes can be made to our housing developments, drainage, soil management and water capture systems to better manage the increased runoff we experience during heavy rainfall,” she said.

Sirju-Ramnarine added that digitisation and digitalisation have become integral to the “new norm” for quicker and efficient services and should be considered in future policy and planning decisions.

Pointing to the recent Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram black out, she said it was also necessary for local companies to invest in alternative means of communication.

Sirju-Ramnarine explained, “This occurrence demonstrated the need for companies to have multiple avenues for communication and connection with their stakeholders in the event of an emergency. We cannot talk genuinely about resilience and business continuity if core functions like communication and sales are solely dependent on platforms that we do not control.

“At a socio-economic level, the need is for us to quickly digitise our national records so that we are better able to manage the risks associated. Data would also allow us to better trend key economic markers that can be used to inform future policy and planning decisions.”

Due to the pandemic, Sirju-Ramnarine said, workers have been able to adapt to remote working which has been beneficial to employers, and this should be encouraged.

“Locally, I think the reduction, if not elimination of long commutes and traffic delays, is one of the driving factors behind this sentiment. Employees who have been working remotely with no loss in productivity for over a year will want to maintain this new found work-life balance.

“Keeping these workers motivated and engaged will require companies to consider hybrid ways of working; where employees feel empowered and have the tools to work safely from anywhere at any time, and should include policies such as remote work, flexitime, and mental health days,” she said.

Atlantic LNG CEO Ronald Adams said it was also important to place heavy emphasis on learning, research and development and research and development.

China and the United States, he pointed out, have invested billions of dollars to such initiatives, which root for breakthroughs which over time can yield new business opportunities, new jobs and new exports.

Adams said, “This is very instructive for Trinidad and Tobago. We too should prioritise learning, research, and development in a new national culture of learning. Government initiatives such as the proposed research and development capital allowance are welcome. This can help spur our innate capacity for innovation. As a country, we already have two inventions under our belt – the steelpan and the G-pan.

“The critical need of the hour is that we build support systems and public sector/private sector partnerships that help our local experts and students bring viable ideas to the new marketplace.”

He added that as an energy-based economy close attention should be paid to the changes of the global energy transition, and TT must be able to evolve with it.

“Global demand for LNG is forecast to increase by 200 per cent over the next twenty years. This means that TT’s LNG business must continue to evolve to remain competitive and relevant.

“None of this has escaped Atlantic’s attention. Domestic gas supply shortfall continues to be a challenge and is not projected to return to normalcy before the latter half of this decade.”

The theme for this year’s conference was Learn, Evolve, Thrive.


"Amcham: Think outside the box for happy workforce"

More in this section