CASE STUDY THREE : The care factor
In difficult economic times, companies often seek to rationalise their staff numbers to remain profitable. One example of this was Ok Tedi, which in 2015 and 2016 experienced severe interruptions to its operations because of drought and accidents.
In 2016, then newly appointed chief executive Peter Graham and his management team met with every employee to discuss the company’s vision, values, goals objectives and expectations.
Graham said the aim at the time was to get staff to understand that the company cared for them but they had to understand what needed to be done and that non-performance would not be tolerated.
The message was that the company expects “every employee to give their best every day”.
Staff numbers were cut and operational performance greatly improved.
Speaking in London recently, Graham said the mine has gone from being one of the most costly in the world, and on “death row”, to being one of the most efficient.
“We have been able to lower our costs, get them down to the best quartile of copper producers around the world.” Graham said resources adjacent to the existing operations are now being explored, and the company is reinvesting in the mine.
Such rationalisation is now being undertaken by a number of companies in PNG.
The ANZ has sold its PNG retail, commercial and SME businesses to Kina Securities; the CPL Group has sold Paradise Cinemas to RH Group’s Vision City; Steamships Trading Company has sold Laga Industries to manufacturer Paradise Company, which produces Paradise Foods, Paradise Beverages and Queen Emma Chocolates.
The acquiring firms are also faced with a human resources challenge. Kina, for example, will have to absorb the ANZ operations it has bought into its existing operations.
Paradise Foods will also be faced with a management challenge. Anthony Smare, chairman of the board of the Paradise Company believes, however, that the manufacturing sites and staff will be unaffected, saying both companies (Paradise and Laga) have “first class systems and procedures with strong management frameworks” in place. “It really is business as usual for all staff as ownership changes to Paradise.”
Peter Graham … expects the best from every employee every day.