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Investing in Human Capital to deliver an Effective Workforce: HR Summit 2018

  Sep 28, 2018

Given the changes in the world of work and emerging trends such as artificial intelligence, digitization, globalization, the internet of things, it is clear there is a dynamic shift in the industry, and the future world of work will look radically different. As business and Human Resource (HR) leaders, there is a need to understand what the future will look like in order to effectively create and facilitate the development of this future.

The Strathmore Business School 2018 HR Summit held on 20th and 21st September provided adequate platform that steered discussions on how to leverage on the opportunities that the 4th industrial revolution present. The summit focused on the strategic leadership of our human capital to deliver via an effective workforce. Among the key speakers at the summit were: Dr. Gilbert Saggia (CEO, Business Strategist and IT Expert, Vishal Agarwal (Chairman and CEO, Full Circle Africa), Glynis Rankin (CEO, Creative Metier), Dr. Julius Muia (Principal Secretary, State Department for Planning), Timothy Orideo (Executive Coach and Data Scientist), Sarah Richson (Global Speaker and Human Development Expert) and Paul Russo (Group HR Director, KCB Bank)

 “The most important resource that any organization has is the people.”  Dr. Vincent Ogutu, Vice Chancellor Designate Strathmore University said in his opening remarks. Without employees driving business activities, companies cannot innovate, grow, or evolve. The Human Resource (HR) role needs to be a more proactive function. For organizations to thrive in the modern global marketplace, they need a balance between business and human resources. Investing in people is investing in the success of an organization, and today’s global marketplace demands such an investment.

Below are key considerations that can steer change in HR Leadership:

Pillar One:  Transforming the workplace of the Future

HR wants a seat at “the table.”  But for this to happen they must earn it. Collaborating with each department head individually to learn what their needs are and what they expect from HR is a proper way to get HR ideas and practices accepted and implemented in your organization.

Appointing department training managers and supervisors who take on the responsibility of coaching employees will help overcome cost and time-consumption to reduce performance problems this in turn strengthens employees’ skills, so you can delegate more tasks to them and focus on more important managerial responsibilities.

HR leaders must transform how they lead. Millennials constantly express their desire to assume more challenging duties and on-the-job growth. This highlights the importance of breaking with tradition and implementing innovative HR policies to keep them engaged.

Pillar Two: Digital Learning

The days of being tethered to workstations are gone and the current generation is one that is highly mobile and always connected and expects organizations to adapt accordingly. Technology has taken over the workplace. Millennials are attracted to organizations with modern technology. Employees connect using the organization’s intranet, therefore, creating a cohesive organization.

The Kenyan Imperatives and the Kenyan Perspective

Kenya holds a dominant position in the East African region with regards to economic growth and business development. Despite this, we continue to have challenges to minimize unemployment and to maximize organizational performance. The informal sector constitutes to about 83% which continues to be a source of employment in Kenya. Mostly, this sector is associated with small and unpredictable incomes, poor working conditions or even low proficiency. Human resource needs to interact with the informal sector to help curb the 36% of Kenyans who are unemployed by increasing chances of people to be employable through training to enhance skills that are practical.

Leadership development is a critical management practice needed to ensure an organization’s long-term survival and competitiveness, therefore, mentorship should be in practice especially for millennials who crave opportunities to learn. Mentorship programs can also help companies match millennials with key executives in the roles they aspire to fill. It is important that we understand that HR must contribute at a strategic level and there is a need for HR to rise above the challenges and deliver at a strategic level.

To view pictures of the 2018 HR Summit, click here.

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