An agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment & Commerce, the JBDC is Jamaica’s premier business development organisation working collaboratively with government, private sector, as well as, academic, research and international communities.



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The Jamaica Conference Centre was transformed into a power-haven on Tuesday October 31, 2017 as approximately 300 senior professionals turned out for the inaugural Employee Engagement Conference staged by the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC).The conference staged in partnership with the University of the West Indies followed the release of the National Employee Engagement Report (2016) which found that only 41.5% of Jamaican workers are actively engaged on the job.

Participants were engaged in an intense line-up of sessions throughout the day, headlined by renowned Executive Engagement Coach and author of The People Pill, Australian, Ken Wright as Keynote Speaker. Wright’s highly anticipated presentation Engaging the Sweet Spot and Administering the People Pill was the grand climax after several top local experts and resulted in copies of his book being sold-out at the venue. Wright cautioned that disengagement is costing Jamaica billions of dollars based on the current statistics.

Excited participants register before entering Kenneth Rattray Room at the Jamaica Conference Centre where the JBDC’s inaugural Employee Engagement Conference was held on Tuesday, October 31, 2017.

Local presenters included: Dr. Orville Taylor – Head of Department, Sociology, Psychology & Social Work – UWI, Clement Branche – Head of Unit, Human Resource Development Graduate Programmes – UWI, Dr. Patricia Holness – Former CEO, Registrar General Department, Dr. Carvell McLeary – Senior Director, Human Resource Management & Administration, Airports Authority of Jamaica, Dr. Hopelin Hines – Director, Total Rewards & Evaluation , Scotia Group Jamaica Ltd., Tyrone Wilson – President & CEO, eMedia Interactive Group Ltd., Desrine McFarlane – Manager, Business Human Resource, Jamaica & Trinidad, 3M Interamerica Incorporated, Melverine Hemmings – Head of Human Resources, Red Stripe, Dr. Sophia Morgan – Organizational Consultant & Lecturer, UWI and Lisa Taylor-Stone.

In her opening address, JBDC’s CEO Valerie Veira said one of the key determining factors to the success of business at any level is the ‘people’ working in the organization. “As the government’s premier business development support organization, JBDC has sought to highlight this critical element through research on employee engagement, engagement must become a priority for employers in order to increase productivity in the workforce and drive economic growth,” she said. Miss Veira added that the aim of the conference was therefore to bring together public and private sector executives and managers with a goal to transform each leader into a “master of engagement intelligence.”

Some of the distinguished presenters who contributed to a successful conference. From left, Dr. Clement Branche, Dr. Hopelin Hines, Miss Stacy Morgan, Miss Rochelle Cameron and Dr. Carvel McLeary.
Chief Executive Officer of the JBDC, Valerie Veira (right) takes the Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, Minister without Portfolio in the Economic Growth and Job Creation Ministry (centre) on a tour of the Things Jamaican display after the completion of the Employee Engagement Conference’s Opening Ceremony recently. Dr. Chang who was the guest speaker said that the active engagement of workers is critical to the overall development and growth of Jamaica’s economy. Also sharing in the moment is Assistant Marketing Services Manager at Things Jamaican, Vivette McFarlane (left).

According to Dr. Orville Taylor, Head, Department of Sociology, Psychology and Social Work, UWI, “treating workers like they matter and are integral to the organization and indeed, part of society, is the most essential ingredient in arriving at the economic results that firms and countries seek.”

Continuing, Dr. Taylor argued that a paradigm shift is needed, wherein employee engagement and decent work are not seen as the result of good management practices and thus are not what benevolent employers give to their workers after the requisite levels of economic growth are achieved. “The work of this conference is more than timely. There have been myriad studies over the past four decades which have pointed in the direction of more humane human resources practices being directly correlated to the very sort of targets which financial controllers, production managers and chief executive officers desire,” he said.

One of the highlights of the conference was a presentation by Dr. Patricia Holness, former Chief Executive Officer of the Registrar General’s Department (RGD), who shared her success story at the agency which experienced an improvement in birth registration by nearly 100{fbd61ff76c61b3982bde629cd839722851010808a34e81233833430f65074a9c} and increase in income from $7 million in 1996 to over $500 million in 2011. This, she said would not have been possible without effective employee engagement strategies.

The National Employee Engagement Report, Jamaica – 2016 was designed and executed by JBDC and comprises data that was provided by over 500 employees representing 37 companies across multiple industries within the private and public sectors in Jamaica via survey using convenience sampling over 5 months spanning January 2015 – February 2016.

Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) is an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture & Fisheries.


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