By Morris Rowe

It is true to say a company is only as strong as its people. A productive workplace is vital to the success and sustainability of every company. That is why teamwork remains essential to a company’s overall success.
And this is why it is crucial to provide a conducive working environment that inspires staff to work in harmony with one another, despite their differences.

Understanding the importance of team work
Apart from having the right knowledge and key competences for a job, a well co-ordinated workforce is fundamental to increasing efficiency, productivity and the overall success of any business.

For a business to be effective, its management should have the ability to understand the importance of teamwork. The company should always ensure it settles staff disputes, while ensuring each employee feels he or she is a key player in the operation and success of the company.

A responsible company promotes healthy relationships among employees and the communities where it operates. The challenge, however,lies in finding the right balance between respecting and accommodating the difference in cultural and religious beliefs, while promoting co-existence among the many different nationalities the company many have  employed.

By investing in the well being of its employees and the communities where they live, the company can record worthwhile returns. A well coordinated and productive workforce helps companies achieve their set goals and objectives.

Despite the technological advances in the mining sector, First Quantum Minerals believes one of the most important things at any mine  is its people. The people mine the copper, the machinery are but tools to make mining copper easier.

The company’s focus, therefore, must be on empowering its people, via training and education. Being a multinational company, FQM believes despite the many different nationalities among its staff, establishing the right work culture and ethics leads to a happier workforce resulting in a successful organisation.

Expatriates transferring skills and knowledge to locals 
As the mining industry continues to push the boundaries of automation, any serious mining firm needs to put a comprehensive skills development programme in place that can enable the local workforce to contribute to the improving company operations.

FQM understands a long-term solution is required to address the skills gap between expatriates and local people, that reflects a shortage of highly skilled and qualified employees.

We have identified knowledge transfer and skills training as key drivers of long-term sustainable employment for our workforce. The company has embarked on a skills development programme aimed at creating quality long-term employment for local people,while promoting good working relationships with expatriate workers

Appreciating your staff and the local economy
Companies need to treat  employees with respect and dignity, as well as paying them living wages and benefits tailored to their region. Companies must provide employees with the opportunities to advance and contribute to the best of their abilities through a variety of career paths.

Development of the local economy in which any multinational company operates is a key priority.This can be achieved through dialogue, and working in partnership with, local communities.

Direct employment is one of the key benefits a mine delivers in terms of social and economic impact. Skills training, entrepreneurial programmes and efforts to foster local economic development are also vital for long-term sustainable prosperity.

These can only be made a reality through teamwork and co-existence.

Morris Rowe is the general manager of First Quantum Minerals’ subsidiary, Kalumbula Minerals Limited 

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