|Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo (FP)|
Someday, Barbados will be known as a world-class centre of excellence through quality customer service, which is second to none.
So says Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, as she addressed a Special Leaders Forum hosted by the National Initiative for Service Excellence (NISE) yesterday. It marked the release of the NISE Employee Engagement Index Results and the launch of the ???100 Improvements in 100 Days’ initiative.??
Stressing that Barbados’ economy relied heavily on the provision of services, the Labour Minister lauded the efforts of NISE in educating customers and service providers on the expected standards of service transactions.??
Dr. Byer Suckoo lamented that, for some time, there was a concern about worker attitudes, service delivery, productivity and service excellence, and she praised NISE for highlighting some of the factors that influenced organisational performance from the employees’ perspective and also for suggesting solutions that both employers and employees could explore.
The Labour Minister said she was happy that NISE recognised the importance of employee engagement in achieving service excellence, adding that this would lead to more efficient organisations.
"Engaged employees are proactive and persistent, and make decisions that are consistent with the company’s strategic goals and objectives. These employees feel a sense of ownership of the organisation and, consequently, feel responsible for the organisation’s outputs."
"A satisfied employee will, most likely, be willing to go the extra mile to ensure that his or her customers are satisfied…The converse is that a dissatisfied employee gives the bare minimum," Dr. Byer Suckoo added.
Nonetheless, the Labour Minister declared that more needed to be done.?? She explained that discussions tend to focus more on what government should do.?? However, she stressed that even with the best framework in place, government’s efforts would go in vain, if employees did not feel satisfied or valued.??
"Discussions about national competitiveness, productivity, entrepreneurship and attracting more businesses and investment to Barbados have not been balanced, but have seemed to centre more around what Government should be doing about a legal and policy framework and about the speed of delivery of some Government agencies.
"These are indeed valid discussions – I am not denying that – but even with the best frameworks and the most valiant attempts at restructuring or rationalisation to have staff positioned to use their skills optimally will not bear fruit, not if the employees are not satisfied, and not convinced that they are seen by the leaders as adding value," she maintained.
Explaining she was referring to all employees and not specifically Government employees, the Labour Minister stressed that employee engagement was essential to achieve service excellence.
She emphasised that the Ministry of Labour supported decent work and aimed to create satisfied employees through legislation such as the Employment Rights Bill, the Sexual Harassment in the workplace legislation, Anti-discrimination in the workplace and Occupational Safety and Health legislation.