By Michael Kanaabi
To lead a large team with over 2,900 employees, an employer requires a diverse set of skills, experience and vision to keep the team together.
This is a piece of wisdom that the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) commissioner general, Doris Akol, imparted into a group of senior corporate executives brought together under the CEO Apprenticeship Programme recently.
“First of all, as a team leader, you have to be a person of high integrity because you cannot preach transparency while doing the contrary. Your team will not respect you when you are operating on double standards,” she said.
“Beyond transparency, as a leader you must promote equity and consistency in the way you reward and punish, so that your team keeps believing and trusting in your leadership. This gives them more reason to remain part of and grow with your organisation,” Akol added.
When it comes to incentives and rewards, Akol said she looks at the entire wellbeing of employees. “They are not just statistics but part of the URA family. We have to ensure that there is enough room for growth and development within the organisation, besides offering competitive rewards and compensation to employees that go beyond their basic salary,” she said.
The organisation and its leadership should appreciate individual brilliance that promotes better teamwork.
But individual excellence that is geared towards pulling all the limelight to oneself should be discouraged, Akol said.
To cultivate this culture and value in the organisation, URA processes are designed in such a way that teamwork is needed to pull off a project, she said. And that compensation outside basic salary is a key aspect of employee retention at URA.
Some of the incentives, she said, include extra avenues of savings in addition to the National Social Security Fund contributions.
Other incentives include special assignment allowances, a pay top-up for employees working in departments that are critical to the organisation’s very existence and survival, handsome performance bonuses, awards and consultancy opportunities which come with bigger pay.
These, coupled with an improved brand image and other incentives have ensured that URA’s employee turnover drops to just about 4% over the past three years. And as a result, the tax body has been named best employer of choice for graduates from 2012 to date.