Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations, Colin Jordan, speaking at the official opening of the 20th annual conference of the Human Resource Management Association of Barbados (HRMAB) at the Radisson Aquatica Resort yesterday. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Rethinking HR is not a new phenomenon, but remains a critical topic, especially at this time of our country’s juncture, says Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations, Colin Jordan.

The Minister was addressing the official opening of the 20th Annual Conference of the Human Resource Management Association of Barbados (HRMAB) Inc. yesterday at Radisson Aquatica Resort. The event was held under the theme: Rethink HR.

Acknowledging that Government recognized this need to rethink how business is done in Barbados, he said: “This has to be done because things have to change if Barbados is to rise and be transformed into a viable economy once again. Certainly, there is a need for attitudinal change from all of us, whether at the level of policy makers, ministers and public sector leaders, or employers and workers and their workers’ representatives – the trade unions.”

He stated, however, that the country’s challenges were not insurmountable and reminded the HR practitioners that Government had taken the necessary steps towards restructuring and rejuvenation through the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) Programme.

Mr. Jordan noted the importance of constant dialoguing with the Social Partners and shared commitment to enabling policymakers, employers and workers to design strategies and interventions that would successfully help in meeting the targets of the BERT programme.

“We recognize in order for the country to regain its place among the nations of this world, we have to do some serious introspection, some breaking down, some rebuilding and some construction. And so, we have chosen to do this through this constant dialogue.

“There has been some displacement and will be some displacement of workers within the public sector… As a government, the displacement of workers has been and continues to be painful for us,” he said.

Adding that Government would very soon be launching its retraining, enfranchising, retooling and empowering (RERE) programme, he said this would ensure displaced workers become equipped with more employable skills and could offer their skills in providing services and products to Government.

Referring to the project to digitize all Government records as an example, Minister Jordan reiterated it would lead to a more efficient and effective public service and create a more conducive environment for local and foreign investors wishing to conduct business here.

“Rethinking how we conduct business and rethinking HR must, therefore, work in tandem. It is imperative that HR practitioners raise their credibility amongst senior management, so it is acknowledged that they do more than support the organization’s operations. They must be seen as critical to the organization achieving its goals. Most line managers are hesitant in the management of people, and therefore rely heavily on HR managers to perform this role,” he opined.

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