When a mining company transplants an expat into Africa in a management role is training, hiring, and succession planning part of the assignment?

Advancing Skill Development and Competencies of Nationals


Making local talent development a high priority by attaching measurable objectives outcomes is arguably the most important role of an expatriate assigned to remote mining projects in Africa. The push to transfer knowledge and ensure indigenous professionals are being positioned to take on leadership roles in local operations is more prominent than ever with organizations like BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) stepping up to monitor initiatives by which employers carry out programs to advance skill development and competencies of nationals working for local and multinational companies.

Training Nationals for Leadership Roles


BEE sets out objectives for organizations to offer indigenous peoples the opportunity to acquire advanced skill and participate in the local economy. Mining operations owned by multinationals have the opportunity to pave the way with Individual Development Plans (IDPs) for nationals that include training for leadership roles and growth in earning potential.  But it wont happen unless expats are mandated with training, coaching and mentoring nationals in view of sustainability and succession planning.

Clarifying performance expectations before expatriate assignments begin and attaching performance ratings to developing indigenous workers is an important step to nationalize mining operations in Africa and beyond.

Knowledge Transfer For Sustainable Growth


Overseas assignments are challenging when you consider the work and contribution required just to do the job. Add to that the requirement to transfer knowledge for sustainable growth and development of local people and it forces organizations to rethink the role of expatriate. What other skills will an expatriate need to be successful in transferring knowledge? Being a subject matter expert (SME) alone doesn’t speak to a person’s ability to coach, train or mentor with the objective of developing people. An expat’s performance should be tied into the expat’s ability to build indigenous teams, cultivate successors and implant sustainable initiatives for leadership development.

Coaching and Cultural Awareness


Coaching and cultural awareness are likely the two most important skills (aside from subject matter expertise) when transferring knowledge successfully across a cultural divide. Lack of awareness on these two fronts can create roadblocks and setbacks. Having a plan for succession is only one part of the equation, finding the right people to deliver the strategy requires companies adopt broader candidate assessment criteria that surpass experience and skill.

Cowan International sources, selects and recruits senior mining professionals for Africa.

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