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The Workplace Paradigm Shift in African Financial Services

Face Masks required

As the economy deals with the effects of the disruptions caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, decisive strategies are required to gear up businesses for the future and make them agile enough to survive the challenging times.

Companies have suffered from retrenchments, revenue losses and cash flow declines which have forced them to revisit their strategies and prioritise business resilience more than ever. Both the local and global uncertain economic conditions will still persist long after the pandemic is over; however, it’s the businesses and sectors that respond swiftly and in a sustainable manner that will come out strong on the other side.

The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we do things. The little things we took for granted, such as chats in the common areas and the last-minute brainstorms to solve a crisis had to be limited and to some extent were completely absent. As the world continues to deal with the spread of the virus, stringent regulations will remain for the short-term, resulting in restricted movement even within the workplace. Given where we find ourselves at the moment, industries have been initiating conversations on what the future of the workplace will look like in the short to medium-term.

Changing the way we do business as a sector is, therefore, not only an opportunity but an inevitable necessity. Companies are recognising the increasing importance of workplace innovation as the shape and form of the prescribed workplace are starting to change. The Pandemic has demonstrated that work can occur anywhere, as long as employees are capacitated with the appropriate equipment, infrastructure and support. Business leaders who do not adapt to this change will find themselves out of the loop as workplace culture rapidly changes course. But this change will require a paradigm shift in terms of workplace dynamics while prioritising the wellbeing of employees.

As businesses figure out what the new workplace will be, it is vital for them to strive for a balance of seeking optimal outcomes from their employees as they work from home while remaining human in a technologically driven work environment. During the last few months, businesses discovered that technological advancements are not the enemy but rather the biggest barrier is the difficulty of integrating employees with these technologies. As such, human capital departments will find themselves evaluating how people adapt, behave and work within these newly formed ecosystems while ensuring meaningful, connected interactions still occur in the workplace.

In order to successfully and efficiently implement remote workplace strategies, all businesses from the smallest to the largest corporates would have to consider several challenges:

  • As working remotely has not been a normal concept for many people, structural changes may have to take place. Setting up a home workstation and ensuring stable connection is now paramount.
  • Organisations need to assess if all employees are able to create a conducive environment, especially where employees are living with extended family and may encounter various distractions.
  • Leaders will need to adjust to a new way of managing employees that does not require monitoring. This is an opportunity for growth of employees as businesses foster more independence.
  • With independence comes great responsibility. Employees will have to discipline themselves to avoid temptations inherent to working remotely, such as waking up and getting ready to ensure productivity rather than lounging in pyjamas all day.
  • Communication is now more important than ever. Employees and managers need to adjust their expectations and communicate them efficiently. Providing clear, frequent communication and is also crucial to keep up morale.
  • Clear Human Capital guidelines have to be put in place, adapting to remote working practices. It is important for employees to understand that working remotely is still working and should be treated as such.

Working during a global pandemic is a new experience for everyone, and it has added an extra layer of stress for most people. As industries continue to invest money, time and efforts to ensure the equipment and infrastructure are efficient, what remains critical is how they show up to for their people; therefore, one cannot overlook the need for empathy, especially during the tough times. While employees continue to play their part in ensuring the success of the business, management needs to extend themselves and create an environment where employees are able to communicate any challenges they may be facing and know that they will be afforded the necessary opportunity to deal with off-duty obligations, as well as get sufficient rest and recovery. Businesses need to be clear and deliberate in their approach to promoting employee well-being, as the health and well-being of their people are and will always be crucial to the success of the business.

The Coronavirus pandemic will have a lasting impact and shape how we see the workplace in the future, be it working remotely, flexible working hours or integrating more virtual engagements instead of face-face. Due to the current market condition, it’s imperative for business leaders to evaluate their organisation’s operations and strategic goals in order to determine how they adapt to the changes that have been brought about by the pandemic but also, how they continue to thrive and achieve long-term sustainability.

Human Capital Department, BancABC.

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Letshego launches the LetsGo digital mastery programme

21st June 2022

Letshego Holding Limited (Letshego Group) has officially launched the LetsGo Digital Mastery Programme at an event held at Masa Protea Hotel in Gaborone. This follows their recent recruitment campaign for 10 candidates across Botswana, where over 1,000 applicants applied for the programme.

The Letshego Group is a truly African multinational organisation committed to achieving social impact through its retail financial services strategy across 11 sub Saharan markets. Letshego first opened its doors in Botswana 23 years ago and today has over 3,000 employees including Direct Sales Agents, or “Digital Eagles”.

Letshego customers include individuals, as well as micro and small entrepreneurs (MSEs). Letshego Holdings Limited (holding company) is listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange, with subsidiary listing on the Namibian stock exchange. Presence markets include Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Eswatini, Lesotho, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria and Ghana

Following the rigorous selection process of the candidates. 15 brilliant minds were announced for the enrolment in the programme, compromising 10 members of the public and 5 Letshego employees from across its 11 country footprint. This is part of Letshego’s people-first strategy that aims to build future-fit communities where digital or tech is used as a strategic enabler for growth and economic development.

“Today we confirm the successful candidates for Letshego’s inaugural LetsGo Digital Mastery Programme, as you are our first COHORT of Digital Associates to our Digital mastery Programme in the region, you will be trail blazing a path and setting the standards for our future cohorts in Botswana, as well as our next Mastery cohorts set to launch in other Markets,” said Letshego’s Group Chairman Enos Banda.

Qualifying applicants demonstrated foundational digital expertise, and a passion to expand their aptitude into digital financial skills and hands on regional experience within the swiftly evolving financial sector.

“By 2100 one in a three people will be African- this means that by the end of this century, our region, Sub Saharan Africa, will be home to almost half of the young people on the globe. Finding innovative ways to empower fellow Africans with digital and entrepreneurial skills will not only build future leaders but also support future economic growth”, said Banda.

Recruitment was managed by Letshego’s education and leadership training partner, ‘Fast Forward innovation’ compromising a world class approach with a series of exercises, tests and interviews. Psychometric assessment were used to measurable, objective data and comprehensive view of suitability, enabling scientific credibility and objectivity in the selection process.

In congratulating the candidates Banda said that they are excited to welcome the 15 bright young individuals to LetsGo and they look forward to seeing them flourish and grow in to tomorrow’s bright young leaders. Banda further added that these Digital Associates have managed to navigate and process through a thorough and intense selection and today they are awarded their tickets to a journey that is destined and designed to open doors and dynamic opportunities for personal growth to ultimately brighten their future

This was followed by practical projects where candidates were introduced to Agile Methodology and tested on their digital ideas, personal planning and ability to deliver. Finally, the candidates were taken through a series of interviews with Letshego Executives to discuss potential, verify experience, qualifications, drive and organisational fit.

Letshego’s Intern Group Chief Executive Aupa Monyatsi added that The LetsGo Digital Mastery Programme is a unique way they are extending the benefits of digital transformation outside of their organisation. “Though this programme we are supporting the Botswana Government’s objective to build a knowledge-based economy, as well as empowering individuals with entrepreneurial mindsets and skills to spur sustainable and innovative development to grow future leaders and benefit our nation,” Monyatsi concluded.

The 18-months LetsGo Digital Mastery includes a practical learning sponsorship worth over P500, 000 per candidate to develop a digital business idea through training and practical learning. The candidate will gain expertise and become confident digital leaders with international exposure. At the end of the programme, the candidates will be enabled to grow innovative digital ideas from the sand box and ideation phase to a minimum viable product and to grow and scale existing business ideas by harnessing digital technologies.

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Bofinet engages stakeholders on data protection and cyber security

21st June 2022

On Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st June 2022, Botswana Fibre Networks (BoFiNet) will hold breakfast seminars with the banking and financial services sectors to engage on data protection and cyber security issues.

The aim of the seminars is to create awareness about the impending Data Protection Act (2018) and how BoFiNet can partner with the industry to assist them to comply with the Act. During the engagement sessions, the Data Protection Commissioner, Ms. Kepaletswe Somolekae will address the industry on the Data Protection Act, which came into effect in October 2021; and a grace period of 12 months was given to persons and organisations that have custodianship of personal data, to ready themselves to comply with the Act.

This grace period comes to an end in October this year. Another speaker at the event, Mr. Chris Johnson of African Cyber Security, will share with the attendees, the latest trends and insights on cyber security in Africa.

BoFiNet will also share with the stakeholders an update on the data centre project currently being undertaken by BoFiNet at Botswana Innovation Park in Block 8. Known as Digital Delta, the data centre is a 1,000sqm, 400-rack vendor-neutral facility that BoFiNet will complete later this year, that will provide colocation and Internet Exchange Point (IXP) solutions for the local market.

BoFiNet is a wholesale provider of telecommunications and ICT services to licensed Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Value Added Network Service Providers, Public Telecommunications Operators in Botswana and internationally. The company owns and operates the largest fibre network infrastructure in Botswana.

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Hilton Garden Inn Gaborone Launches New “Travel with Purpose” Initiatives

31st March 2022
Hilton Garden Inn
  • The new sustainability initiatives aim to contribute towards greater best practice efforts and supporting the local community
  • Introduction of the New Executive Chef who aligns to the sustainable food and dining experience

Gaborone, Botswana – March 29th, 2022 – Hilton Garden Inn Gaborone has officially launched its new and innovative sustainability initiatives as part of Travel with Purpose, Hilton’s Environment, Social and Governance strategy meant to redefine and advance sustainable travel globally.

The initiatives extend into the dining and culinary experience, with new Executive Chef, Shaneil Dinna, championing a new approach to food at the hotel. Hilton Garden Inn Gaborone has made deliberate efforts to incorporate local “touches” thus presenting local signature dishes on the new menu.

Beyond the new sustainable culinary approach, Hilton Garden Inn Gaborone will be implementing other initiatives such as:

  • Meet with Purpose – Meeting Impact Calculator – Hilton is launching Meeting Impact Calculators which uses data gathered from our Light Stay platforms in partnership with South Pole, one of the leading developers of emissions reduction projects worldwide. This is in effort to track and measure our carbon footprint, with the end goal of reducing emissions. The report produced from the calculator details the predicted carbon, energy, water, and waste generated by meetings and events.
  • Hilton Africa Big 5 – Through our drive to prioritise sustainable travel and tourism in Africa, Hilton has launched a campaign to focus on five key areas, namely: Wildlife Protection, Local Sourcing, Youth Opportunity, Water Stewardship and Anti-Human Trafficking. This is in line with the buy local #PushaBW campaign, which also prioritises local sourcing and youth empowerment. This initiative will be highlighted at the upcoming #PushaBW Brunch in May.

Ms. Thabani Ndlovu, General Manager at the hotel, said, “At Hilton Garden Inn Gaborone, we pride ourselves in being an establishment that exemplifies sustainable tourism, development, and leadership. The hotel is moving towards aligning itself with the Botswana national eco-tourism strategy.

We are purpose-driven and constantly strive to represent the brand’s commitment to building a sustainable environment, all the while contributing towards protecting the planet for generations to come. We have also welcomed a new team member, Executive Chef Shaneil Dinna, whose menu incorporates traditional and home-grown ingredients. He will no doubt also contribute towards recognising and preserving cultural heritage.”

Chef Shaneil brings more than 18 years of experience in an array of contrasting and complex environments within the hotelier industry. His previous roles include working at The David Livingstone Safari Lodge and Spa (in Zambia) and The Hyatt Regency in Johannesburg. Shaneil’s focus will include working to define the menu for more local food appreciation, as well as incorporating more local brands and produce into his kitchen.

With the world becoming even more aware and concerned with the impact travelling has on the environment, the hospitality industry is working towards creating a lasting positive impact on the planet. The continuation of environmental sustainability is essential for businesses such as hotels to grow and evolve – an outlook synonymous with the Hilton Garden Inn Gaborone brand.

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