At a recent MTN REVV Masterclass, our Managing Director, John Obaro shared some insights on how businesses can adopt technology to grapple with the realities of a disrupted landscape occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Emphasising the positive correlation between technology deployment and productivity optimisation, he highlighted the need for small and medium-scale enterprises to leverage everyday technology in new ways to enhance the various aspects of their operations for value creation, team building and superior returns.
Organised by MTN Nigeria, the event was aimed at equipping small businesses with access to new markets, productivity support and business advisory services.
“We must not underplay the role of technology for optimal performance especially during the growth phase of businesses where it is important to keep costs low, operations lean, creativity at its highest and customers excited,” he said.
The COVID-19 pandemic offers enormous opportunities to SMEs to reimagine and recreate their businesses, leveraging online technologies as well as engaging customers beyond the pre-COVID norms.
Drilling down to the issue of team-building and people management in the new normal, he advised small businesses to leverage technology to build a family-like atmosphere within the workforce to deepen teamwork, trust, and ultimately increase productivity.
“The basic thing for me from the outset is that relationships matter. You hire right and relate well with your employees. You need to create a work atmosphere where people are free to make mistakes and learn from them. I have always placed emphasis on giving them (employees) the kind of freedom that they need. Building that trust in a relationship is important.
“As an SME, it gives you an opportunity to really get personal; as you grow bigger, it probably becomes more difficult, as you would need to get more structured. And of course that comes with different challenges,” Obaro added.
He advised that small businesses should be careful to employ people that buy into the organisational vision because an employee without passion for the business would be counterproductive.
Speaking further, Obaro said as SMEs grow beyond early stages, they would need to pay more attention to employee issues such as performance management, compensation, capacity development, career progression amongst others.