Michael graduated from the University of Namibia with a degree in social psychology in 2016, at which time he learned that CGN Swakop Uranium Co Ltd was looking for fresh graduates for its team. Michael submitted his resume and later passed the interview, joining the company as a management trainee of the Human Resources Department. That year, Swakop recruited 17 graduates like him.
Recalling the experience, Michael said he felt lucky, "the employment rate in Namibia is not very high, so I am very lucky to have joined Swakop as a fresh graduate."
Before joining Swakop, Michael did not know much about China, let alone CGN, and his knowledge of employee relationship management came mainly from books. He has now fallen in love with his job, and is very proud to be able to make use of his psychological expertise in dealing with employee appeals and psychological counseling after two years of training, job rotation, and practice. In May, he passed his assessment and was hired as a staff relations specialist.
During his time at Swakop, Michael fell in love with not only his work, but with Chinese culture as well. "As a hard-working, ambitious young professional, I'm eager to stand out, and I feel excited about new challenges. When I was assigned to this position, I thought of a quote from one of my favorite books, The Art of War by Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu. The quote goes: 'if you want to start a fight, you must first come up with a plan.' This appointment means that my superiors trust in my abilities,” he said.
The company has many employees like Michael who grew up with the Husab Project and are familiar with CGN's corporate culture.
Swakop attaches great importance to the training of local talents to ensure the sustainable development of the Husab Project. As of 2018, the company has more than 1,600 employees, about 45 times more than when it was acquired in 2012. The number of Namibian employees exceeds 1,500, accounting for 96 percent of the total. Local employees, especially those on the frontlines, lack advanced knowledge and skills. Over 800 employees had no relevant work experience or minimal experience when they entered the company. Swakop has introduced a series of training programs ranging from safety and skills training to corporate culture.
"In the first three years, we spent a lot of time honing employees’ abilities and making sure they were equipped with the appropriate skills and knowledge to carry out their work. We invest in our employees to ensure the company can achieve its goals," said Sophy, the company's organizational development and training manager.
Swakop employees come from nine different countries, and more than 98 percent are foreign employees. Even the local employees come from a variety of cultural regions and races. Cultural conflicts often occur due to different cultural and educational backgrounds.
The company has put a lot of efforts into communication to overcome cultural barriers. "No matter where the employees come from, whether they are locals or foreigners in Namibia, they are all CGN employees. We advocate team work, and emphasize mutual respect and support," said Percy, vice president of the company.
In early 2018, the company launched a president reception day, allowing frontline employees to voice their opinions and complaints directly to the higher-ups. Joint training, learning, and team activities are often held among the various departments. More and more Chinese and foreign employees are becoming friends and inviting each other to dinner.
At the 4th Husab Cup Marathon, Swakop workers came up with a slogan: "They call it husab, we call it family."
Michael told his Chinese colleague He Fuping that he used to dream of buying a ferrari after graduation. But now he had bigger dreams, to gain more experience in the field of employee relations, become a department manager, and get the chance to work at other CGN companies in China."