By DERRICK VIKIRU
LAPFUND’S chief Manager of Strategy & Business Development Galm Jaldesa says companies that participate in Awards should focus on the value drawn from each step of the process
For many, the idea of retirement translates to easing into a more relaxed lifestyle, having time for hobbies, family and friends, travel, and many other recreational activities. However, for many approaching retirement, apprehension and worry may be all they feel, pondering whether there will be enough money to maintain their lifestyle without a constant income stream. This is where Local Authorities Provident Fund (LAPFUND) comes in to aid its clients in saving towards retirement with a clear and informed vision in mind. Established in 1960, Lapfund is one of the oldest retirement benefits schemes in Kenya tasked to offer social protection through its various products. The institution is totally focused on helping individuals to achieve a better retirement outcome. In an interview with Management Magazine, Lapfund’s chief Manager of Strategy & Business Development Galm Jaldesa spoke on the Fund’s strategic direction that saw it win an award at the just concluded Company of the Year Awards (COYA) organised by the Kenya Institute of Management (KIM).
Lapfund emerged winner in the Leadership and Management category, and First runner up in Financial Management and Customer Orientation and Marketing categories. Like all winners, the company went through a rigorous Organisational Performance Index (OPI) process; a business excellence tool developed by KIM and benchmarked with global business excellence tools.
“COYA and OPI process can be incredibly time-consuming but it comes with huge benefits. Winning the category award has helped us build recognition for the work we have been doing since we joined,” says Jaldesa.
The recognition is in line with the organisation’s promise to endeavour to continuously maintain and improve an efficient and effective Quality Management System in accordance with the requirements of ISO 9001 Standard. Their acquisition of award for Leadership and Management goes further to prove that the company does deliver in its promises. “This award has boosted our credibility among our members,” Jaldesa is quick to note. “A business may struggle to prove its credibility, but an award win certifies their place in the industry,” he adds.
Lapfund, a defined Contribution Scheme is a state corporation that draws its mandate from an Act of Parliament Cap. 272 Laws of Kenya and County Government Act 2012 (section 132), and regulated by RBA Act, 1997 and Regulations 2000. According to Jaldesa, currently, Lapfund has a membership of over 45,000 members drawn from all County Governments and associated organisations. “Lapfund’s investments are held in various asset classes as outlined and regulated by the Retirement Benefits Authority (RBA) such as government securities, equities and deposits, and property,” he notes.
Consistency in service
Jadesa observes that the OPI process has helped the institution focus on consistency of approach in delivering its mandate, a move driven by technology that is easily understandable by clients and puts clients in charge of their retirement. “Our big focus is on continuous improvement and this has been necessitated by the transformation that we have undergone since joining OPI. We are not where we want to be, but we are at a much better place than where OPI found us.”
“We have shifted our improvement drive and we are focusing on marketing and the customer,” he added. He notes that their organisation is customer based and it is only prudent that they align their processes to favour the customer. This is also in line with their other promise to the customer; ‘to strive to understand and fulfil customers’ needs and expectations’. These attributes make Lapfund a customer centric organisation. Jaldesa infers that whether retirement is on the horizon or decades away, it’s never too early to start securing ones financial needs for the golden years.
True to its values
From the conversation,it is apparent that professionalism is highly valued at Lapfund. This is engrained in Lapfund’s promise to uphold integrity, accountability, cost effectiveness and adherence to professional ethics at all times. Jaldesa reiterates the willingness of management to support initiatives that steer the company to sustained growth, continuous improvement, customer focus, improved human resource focus, vision mainstreaming and profitability. He constantly cites the company’s comprehensive technical reporting and ongoing monitoring of funds to give clients easy access to their financial statements and foster peace of mind. “We are working on a portal where our members will be able to access their statements online from wherever they are. New members can equally register on the portal and make payments online,” says Jaldesa.
Value of awards
The glitz, the fun, the celebration, the glamour and of course the champagne makes attending awards something we all are excited about; but Jaldesa quips that just winning a trophy should not be the ultimate goal. “There are many awards in the market today, but it is paramount for a participating organisation to focus on the value drawn by participating in the process. It is also important to use the award process as a team engagement tool. Let the employees participate in the entire process,” he concludes.
Derrick Vikiru is the Sub-Editor Management Magazine. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org