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Saturday, 11 April 2015

Things Only Experence Can Teach You!!!

Long Serving Employees with Charles Ireland (EABL) and Ivan Menezes the Diageo Global CEO
On Friday 10th March I happened to attend the Uganda Breweries Long Service awards where those that had served the company five years and above were recognized. Just like any other ceremony ,the occasion kicked off with a prayer in a very calm atmosphere filled with happiness from those that anxiously waited for official recognition. Nyama Choma and the wonderful Bell cans, water and Alvaro all decorated on round tables. One thing that stood out so well was the emphasis from the Human resource department representative who continually echoed that The long service awards are a sign of Valuing each other and valuing the efforts that individuals put in to have the organization efficiently running.

Being part of the people that attended this wonderful event , I quickly remembered one of my secondary school teachers who had taught for over twenty years but was always complaining on how his efforts had not been recognized by those in charge. I  also hacked back the time when Dr. Jose Chameleon sang a song titled "Basiima Ogenze" which literally means that People always appreciate others great efforts and achievements after they are long gone. Many companies and organizations usually ignore this activity of recognizing their employees but its a great thing to see one of Uganda's top companies fully inculcating this into their operational programs.

Moments got even sweeter when the longest serving employees were asked to briefly talk about their experiences while working at the organization. These "Senior" employees in terms of time of service ranged from 5 years of service to 25 years.  First those that have served for 5 years fully described their journeys but one thing was reflected that they have gone through tough and good times while serving at the company. They also expressed how the company has given them opportunities to explore different opportunities which confirmed that there was individual and Career growth. The endless smiles on their faces made each of us feel like we should get there someday.

Astonishingly, the writer is only two years older than the experience of the current longest serving employee at Uganda Breweries who has served the organization for now 25 years and still going strong. Andrew Ojok described his 25 years journey and one thing was clear that he made mistakes on his journey but they did not hold him back from continuing to serve. He also described a moment when the company had closed down for some time , the pain and challenges they faced on re-opening most especially the machines that had become hazardous to their safety then. Remembering that I am only two years older than Andrew's experience made me look into the future 25 years from now and wonder if such tremendous years of dedicated service would be a possibility for me.

After listening from the recipients of the awards ,Samuel Murumu the Operations Director said he was so happy to see people serving the company with dedicated service for a very long time. He also described how they have been capitalizing on the experience of these employees to serve the company better. There after Samuel invited David Bagenda the company's Finance Director who also represented  Nyimpini Mabunda the Managing Director, he was asked to share a word and hand over tokens of appreciation from the company. Dressed in a checked shirt with a humorous face David extended his gratitude to the recipients and fully congratulated them on being able to serve the company for a very long time.

The finance director also said its not easy to find long serving employees in the demand section of the business but he was motivated by the fact that among the recipients were some from the demand side. He also said that Long service comes with golden experience which the companies capitalize on to avoid a repeat of regrettable events while running business.

Just like the saying goes that all that begins well ends well. Here is my best part of the function apart from the Nyama Choma. Joas Mulega is an agriculturalist representing and coordinating activities in Kapchorwa. He has served Uganda Breweries in the Agriculture department for Five years. Joas had missed the first opportunity to share his experience with the team but later on he was given his opportunity. In a checked long sleeved shirt and a khaki trouser complemented by a pair of black shoes Joas took his spot on the stage, coughed a bit as though he was testing the microphone but I later realized that he pulled the attention of everyone and that one could hear a pin fall.

"JOB" Just Obey Your Boss "echoed Joas in a relatively low tone. On realizing moving meaning Joas had attached to the word Job, he was asked to say it one more time. He continued to say that when you have a job you are lucky. Amazed with the strong words of wisdom that experience brings,the whole team now widely accorded the aura of total attention span that no one was moving about. Joas fully gave accountability of his ups and downs in the five years but also added that before joining Uganda Breweries he had worked with the Coffee Marketing Board which was dissolved and all employees asked to go home jobless. He therefore encouraged those in employment now not to take it for granted as life without a job can be very challenging. Joblessness pains even harder when it comes at a time you least expected narrated Joas.

Mulega the agriculturalist could not leave the stage without describing the typical job and work environment. "While at work we are like a passion fruit plant which if not given support will remain on the ground will bear less fruit but if given support will eventually cover the whole tree with much fruit." said Joas in a loud and clear voice. He explained that when we come to work and we are supported, we eventually grow and even at times take over our boss's shoes or even better but that only happens when you remain  nice and good to people on your way up.

By Mwebya Fred

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