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Corporate bosses testify: Jamaican workers are the best!

Published:Friday | May 25, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Adam Stewart
Denis O'Brien
Orrette Fisher
Gary 'Butch' Hendrickson

In a recent Gleaner Editor's Forum, Gary 'Butch' Hendrickson, CEO, Continental Baking Company, gave credit to his "remarkable team of employees who have, over the years, performed exceptionally well on the job". He said there was no better worker anywhere in the world than a truly hardworking Jamaican worker.

The Gleaner caught up with some other corporate bosses to see if they shared his view. Denis O'Brien, head of Digicel, shared his views.

Expressing the wish that the Jamaican DNA was imprinted in workers all over the world, O'Brien expressed pride in Digicel being a Jamaican company that has flourished and been successful on the world-wide stage. "And much of that success is attributable to our fantastic Jamaican staff. I would like to thank them all for their commitment and hard work.

"Our fantastic, tenacious, and hard-working Jamaican managers are now scattered far and wide throughout the world, and their talents have made a massive impact on our operations," he said.

Investing in natural talent

"Our ethos is to create a different, more responsible form of capitalism. All of our wonderful 5,500 staff, wherever they may be across the globe, are exceptional and have worked with us to achieve our goals," the Digicel boss noted.

Adam Stewart of the Sandals Resorts International and ATL Group says the Jamaican labour pool is laden with raw talent and is committed to being better. They are virtually unmatched in the world. "We say hire the attitude and teach the skill," he added, noting that what First-World countries have over Jamaica is a more skilled labour pool because of their better educational opportunities. "But if Jamaican companies are prepared to invest in training, a typical Jamaican worker is almost like putty that can be moulded into the the best worker anywhere in the world.

"You can't worry about the challenges. You have to make your worker into what you desire, and our labour pool is amazing. We just have to commit to training them," Stewart said.

Orrette Fisher, director of elections, Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ):

"I sincerely value the exemplary level of dedication and commitment displayed by the staff at the Electoral Office. Our team has as its main focus the delivery of a fair election acceptable to all stakeholders. They are always willing to go above and beyond the call of duty; willing to work any time, any hour, and anywhere they are assigned, even overnight if necessary," Fisher said.

He noted that particularly during an election period, working at the EOJ requires enormous sacrifices from staff. It demands time away from their families, going into areas that persons would normally avoid, sometimes even working 36 to 48-hour shifts to meet a deadline. In spite of these sacrifices, the EOJ staff remains committed to getting the job done.

Citing the the last parliamentary elections held right after the Christmas break, he said several staff members spent the entire holidays, including Christmas Day and Boxing Day (some working 36-hour shifts), preparing and dispatching final electoral materials.

"But what really impresses me is that even during times of immense pressure, they have the remarkable ability to remain upbeat and positive, rarely complaining, while displaying a commendable spirit of teamwork."