Cronyism hurts economic development
THERE was startling news recently when it was reported that 75 percent of the employees at Chitungwiza Town Council did not have the minimum five O-Level subjects considered a pre-requisite for employment.
Should this be true, it can then be argued that there is a positive correlation between the level of competencies in some local authorities and shambolic service delivery.
One shudders to think if the same situation prevails at other public institutions.
But how much of this practice is negatively affecting the local economy? Obviously, the value of education cannot be understated.
Thought leadership and a comprehensive skills set – preferably professionally horned – is crucial in shaping the organisational efficiency of companies and institutions.
As the saying always goes, “readers are leaders”, which is always true. Successful leaders often learn effective leadership techniques by reading the works of others.
An unprofessional workforce is a recipe for disaster as it cannot possibly be expected to be conversant with either business processes or the professional aptitude to discharge their duties.
In some instances, this might be detrimental to the organisation.
For example, a worker who is mandated to deal with a company’s tax issues should have a basic understanding of what the law says.
In tax, there is no room for ommissions for this is likely to attract hefty penalties from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.
Nepotism and cronyism have undeniably been some of the challenges facing the effective administration of both public and private entities, especially in markets where unemployment is high.
Where high competition for a few jobs is supposed to enhance meritocracy, it unfortunately often leads to nepotism.
And this is one of the reasons why some companies go bust.
Workers that are employed in such a manner often have a sense of entitlement and are difficult to rein in.
Obviously the performance of those so employed cannot be evaluated fairly, which has negative connotations for the business.
So, no matter how well-intentioned one is in hiring their friends or relatives in their organisaton, it’s a slippery slope one is about to traverse, especially if they perceive this act as just the first step in a long road of favouritism.
When pre-existing personal relationships appear to take precedence over actual qualifications in the hiring process, the adverse effects on morale are likely to be felt by all parties involved.
Put simply, organisations should simply hire people on merit.
Nepotism is defined as a form of discrimination in which family members or friends are hired for reasons that do not necessarily have anything to do with their experience, knowledge or skills.
It normally occurs more frequently in family-owned businesses, but sadly it has now become pervasive in most developing countries, Zimbabwe included.
If one does not have the basic knowledge or skills for the job, they are very high chances that the individual will not do well on that particular task.
Some business owners might pride themselves that they are doing well in business without the necessary education, but this is not always the case.
There are those who are always quick to point to Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg as college dropouts who have been very successful in their pursuits.
But one needs to appreciate their background.
What is clear in their case is that their passion overtook their studies. They had the foundational background to launch their careers.
The Bible – considered by many the wisest book ever written – says in Proverbs 29:11, “Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.”
While educated people may be willing to take the narrow road to success, uneducated people do not hesitate to do short cuts.
Quite clearly, education is an important asset for running a business.
Studies that have been done in the United States of America prove that Washingston could not have been as globally competitive as it is now if its colleges weren’t able to continue providing a steady stream of well-educated, self disciplined and motivated young people. The same can be said for Zimbabwe. Students who finish high school with minimal reading, math and communications skills will not be able to work effectively as part of a team, operate sophisticated machinery, solve problems, or take initiative on behalf of their customers.
In short, they will not be able to do today’s jobs well, let alone tomorrow’s tasks.
Education is, therefore, an integral part of how companies are run.
Human resource departments should employ competent people. An uneducated society can create disaster for our country.
Mark Zuckerberg only dropped out of college after his passion overtook his studies