Chief executives, business leaders and entrepreneurs advised companies to invest in human resources development to build the next generation of leaders.
A separate human resources ministry with the prime responsibility of creating and developing skilled manpower for the country's corporate and business sectors should also be established by the government, they added.
They were speaking at a discussion on the sidelines of a daylong international conference on human resources organised by Bangladesh Society for Human Resource Management in association with Grameenphone in Dhaka.
At a session styled 'Human resources development: challenges and opportunities', Arif Dowla, managing director of Advanced Chemical Industries (ACI), said employees have to understand the purpose and values of their organisation.
It's intangible, but critical, and makes the employees passionate about working at an organisation; so companies should invest in it, he said.
“When we come to empowerment, you have to understand the relative achievement of your team and you will have to do it based on their performance, initiatives and compliance,” he said.
Different people have to be empowered differently, he said. “We have to understand who to empower more or less.”
Shehzad Munim, managing director of British American Tobacco Bangladesh, said his company's aim is to remain a high performing organisation that can retain the next generation of leaders.
“To develop leadership in the organisation we have to have a plan, build experience and have the youth as a driving force. We ensure experience by learning on the job to make sure that people actually acquire skills that they need through the real life experience.”
Jalalul Azim, managing director of Pragati Life Insurance, said the organisation that neglects its human resources may not be successful in the long run. “Developing human resources is not an expenditure, it's an investment.”
Vivek Sood, chief executive of Grameenphone, said employees should remain engaged towards the business goal. “Most important is how you communicate with your employees.”
“You have to have a clear desire and ambition and that desire has to be something that people can associate with. You have to create a spirit of something to achieve every day, and I think that drives an organisation,” he said.
Speaking at another session on the “Role of entrepreneurs and government in promoting best human resource practices”, Mohammad Noor Ali, chairman of Unique Group of Companies, said: “We have advertised several times for top level executives such as chief financial officer and general manager for our business entities, but we did not find anyone, and then we recruited top executives from abroad.”
Skilled manpower needs to be created first, he said. “Then we can develop a corporate culture.”
The government should also introduce technical subjects from primary or secondary school levels, along with traditional subjects, so that a student can find a job soon after completing his or her education, he added.
Md Sabur Khan, immediate past president of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, urged the government to remove the quota system in recruiting public service officers. “Otherwise, we will not get proper people in proper places.”
He also said human resource managers are now playing a key role. “It is going to be the heart of the industries,” added Khan, also chairman of Daffodil University.
Moderating the discussion, Aftab-ul Islam, president of American Chamber of Commerce, said human resource development receives low investment and fewer priorities.
“We need government policy on human resource management and development in the country.”
AR Khan, chairman of Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission, however said it may not be possible for the government to impart trainings on a large scale, as the government deals more with peoples' basic needs.
“The private sector can come forward to set up a training institute for human resources development and the government can play the role of a facilitator here,” he said.
Ernesto G Espinosa, president of Asia Pacific Federation of Human Resources Management, and Graham Moore, an international thought leader on emotional intelligence, presented two separate keynote papers.
Md Musharrof Hossain, president of Bangladesh Society for Human Resource Management, was awarded the Life Time Achievement Award for 2013.