Published On: July 16, 2021|Categories: News|

This week, SBS has hosted HR professionals and HR business leaders for this year’s Virtual Annual HR Summit. This year’s event was spread out across three days and attracted more than 50 HR Professionals from different sectors across the East African region.

The theme of this Summit this year was Strategizing for Business Re-entry: Redesigning the HR Value Chain. This year’s theme was driven by the fact that many businesses were pushed to make drastic changes in terms of how they defined work, the workplace, and the workforce to survive in the pandemic and post-pandemic world.

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in overnight shifts to remote work, drastic business transformation, and digitization to facilitate new ways of working. This has now become commonplace for organizations, even though many did not have remote work policies. HR leaders found themselves in the driving seat, given their central role in enriching the workplace, remote working cultures, leading and accelerating business transformations, and business continuity. Working from home has presented new opportunities for redesigning the workplace, ranging from defining the new workplace (the office-less or hybrid workplaces), policies to guide remote work, redefining the digital employee experience, among others. This may mean shifting the HR roles too.

On day one, the discussions revolved around the officeless organization and how it can be redesigned to improve employee engagement and productivity. Speaking during the event, Michael Chemorei, Head of Talent at Amref Health Africa noted that the officeless organization was here to stay and HR professionals needed to change their mindsets in terms of officeless work. “The officeless organization calls for a paradigm shift in terms of how we think as HR professionals and how we manage our people. By adopting a changed mindset, we will be able to leverage fully on employees’ skills, he noted.

Speaking during a panel discussion on organizational culture, Dr. Vincent Ogutu, Vice-Chancellor Designate Strathmore University, emphasized the importance of organizational culture. “The values of your organization are the building blocks of your organizational culture. Organizational culture is not about pushing employees to comply with your organizational culture, nor is it about enforcing an organization’s beliefs, it is about converting your employee to your organizational beliefs,” he noted.

On the second day, we began the session with an insightful session on the lessons from Tech organizations. During this session, the panelists spoke on how to achieve the digital mindset across the organization and how to build a digital-ready culture in traditional organizations. There was also a session with CEOs that sought to give the participants the CEO perspective on the future of work, future-ready organizations, and the role of HR. Nancy Matimu, Managing Director, Multichoice Kenya, gave her experience on how her HR team stepped up to support employees amidst the pandemic and how some of these interventions are still in place 18 months later. “As a CEO, you need the head of HR to be someone you can trust,” she said.

Today marked the end of the summit with discussions around repositioning the strategic role of HR in organizations, the employee experience, and Legal hurdles that are likely to come up in the new normal.

About the HR Summit

The Annual HR Summit is a yearly event targeting HR business leaders and professionals from the East African region and beyond. The Summit aims to support HR professionals navigate through, thrive, and optimize their human capital as businesses adopt new strategies for business re-entry in a post-pandemic world.

About our Executive Education Programmes

In our endeavor to transform leadership in Africa, we pride ourselves in influencing the leadership of public and private sectors in the continent through Executive Education.

Our Executive Education Programmes use globally tried and tested teaching methodology with both local and international Faculty, while at the same time partnering with local industry experts for localized experiences from the ground. Our Programmes comprise a host of leadership and management courses that aim to provide professional and personal development across different cadres.

Article by Juliet Hinga

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