Estate Construction sets firm team work foundation for its employees
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Wednesday, June 9, 2021

In these trying times of COVID 19, businesses favor the most cost effective ways to profitably run their establishments and as such, spending on staff development becomes the least of their priorities. However, this is contrary to Estate Construction’s culture and belief. The company believes that undertaking team building exercises for any of its new recruits goes a long way in improving their individual efficiency and performance hence the just ended intensive team building trainings that the company conducted for over 500 of its staff complement.

Estate Construction, Contracts Manager, Maynard Kandaya acknowledges that training people during these financially straining times for any business is not only costly but also a gamble in that the employees so trained eventually become employable and attractive in the job market. However, he enthuses that as a wholly citizen owned company, their business model is service oriented. Their target market is all Batswana and as such any form of giving back to the nation is what they pride themselves with.

“We do not look at training employees as a loss. To us this gesture is a national service course. Even if we lose employees trained by us to our competitors or and someone else employs them the end result would still be a win-win. They would have gained expertise on one end and we, on the other end, would have rendered our noble service to the nation, that of training it citizens. The economic impact of this activity, to the nation, in the long term, is positive’’, enthused Kandaya.  

Conducting Team building trainings is part of Estate Construction’s tradition. It is a way of integrating new staff members into the organization. This year, a total of 60 Batswana new recruits were brought on board, 28 being the graduates that were hired on a 3year intensive graduate programme that comprises Engineers and Occupational Health and Safety Officers and the rest being on internship from various local tertiary institutions. Ideally when an employee joins an organization, after all HR processes have taken place including induction and onboarding, team building should follow. Team building is a Human Resource Management concept that should then follow for smooth assimilation of an employee into any organization.

“The process of onboarding is crucial in any organization. It allows an employee(s) to find their feet and learn the organization’s culture as well as blend in with the rest of the staff and company’s structures,” explained Marang Isaacs, Estate Construction Office Manager.

For all the team building trainings, the participants selection criteria was such that participants in a particular group would be those whose tasks were related and interdependent as such employees of the same trade were to come together so as to appreciate each other’s job rationale; how their jobs relate to the others.

One of the facilitators, Prosper Ndlovu of Success Designers concurs that for a complex organization structure like that of Estate Construction with such a huge staff complement, team work is the subject that has to be preached before employees are allowed to proceed with any technical work. He further says that this is why there are several stages in the team building trainings that entail different processes such as developing a team mindset, what it takes to be a team player, aligning oneself to the organization’s mission and vision and communication. All these are geared towards creating effective teams that are efficient and productive.  

Training capacitates young graduates

Over and above that, for the young graduates, with little to no work experience and only armed with theoretical knowledge, the team building training was meant to condition them into understanding that theory should be utilized well towards innovation in the work environment.   

“This training has been an eye opener for me and will be quite beneficial in equipping me with the necessary skills to integrate well with the Estate Construction team on site and in the office so that I can work well with the whole team in order to achieve our goal of providing proper sewerage infrastructure for the Kanye Community,” said Fidellma Marumolwa, a trainee civil engineer based at the Kanye sewerage scheme project.

The training was structured such that there would be outdoor activities all geared towards achieving a principle in the work environment that requires team work. These activities were also slotted in to address a project management concept of stages of team formation termed as a dysfunctional stage of storming or conflict. Teams undergoing through this stage for unnecessarily too long tend to underperform hence the introduction of the activities that addressed these and equipped the participants with tools and techniques to be used to overcome such dysfunctional stages for purposes of high team productivity.  Ndlovu further explains that the activities were properly thought out to aid in the process of production. Such activities included the 5x5 exercise that requires strategy, planning, communication and finally execution; the nail balance that encourages a defective mentality but stressing that nothing is impossible and finally, target hitting which instils focus, in the team members, on the goal ahead.

“All these processes are key for in team work to develop. It is possible to have an activity in a workplace and yet achieve no production solely due to lack of team cohesion and the propensity to achieve the desired goal,” explained Ndlovu.

Trainings empower local businesses

The trainings were spread over a period of four weeks to focus on small groups as dictated by the COVID 19 protocols. In addition to that, venues for the trainings were randomly selected from the different wards of Kanye so as to empower the local businesses in those localities. For instance, Kanye Warm Hands, Royal Plateau and Mmakgodumo Guest Houses, were some of the local lodges and hotels that hosted the team building trainings.