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The Workplace Paradigm Shift in African Financial Services

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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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Corporate

TENDER NOTICE AND INVITATION TO TENDER T 1.1

3rd December 2021
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Corporate

GATA LE RONA Comes To Completion

6th September 2021
BPOPF

The Botswana Public Officers Fund (BPOPF) is now mandated by law to have pension fund administration and investment management conducted by independent licensed entities.

This means that these functions must be fully outsourced. This became necessary due to the enacting by Parliament of the Retirement Funds Act in 2014 (RFA Act) and the promulgation of subsidiary legislation governing the RFA Act by the Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBIFIRA).

Therefore, the outsourcing project name coded Gata Le Rona journey comes to completion as the BPOPF hands over fund administration outsourcing services to NMG Administrators Botswana. NMG Administrators Botswana will be collecting contributions on behalf of the BPOPF, maintain all Member records, payment of claims, permit any excess cash to the BPOPF for investment and manage pensioner payroll. The BPOPF remains committed to building brighter futures together.

Following a significant 19-month long transition journey, the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF), officially handed over fund administration services to NMG Administrators Botswana, as the outsourcing project comes to fruition. The project, which began in October 2019, commenced following amendments to the Retirement Funds Act (Section 15 (i).

Effective 2 June 2021, NMG Administrators Botswana will collect contributions on behalf of the BPOPF, maintain all Member records, payment of claims, permit any excess cash to the BPOPF for investment and manage pensioner payroll.

Noted CEO of the BPOPF, Mr. Moemedi Malindah, “This is a large-scale project and one we are proud to say was managed with the utmost diligence, with our Members at heart in all that we did and indeed continue to do. The BPOPF continues to engage all key stakeholders to ensure this transition is a smooth one.

Members can be rest assured that their pensions and benefits are not affected as NMG Administrators Botswana takes over the day-to-day fund administration tasks. This is a bright new chapter and we are more than ready and confident in the future.”

NMG Administrators Botswana is a joint venture between Lecha Administration (a company owned 100% by the BPOPF) and NMG South Africa. Lecha Administration owns 51% shares and NMG South Africa owns 49% shares in NMG Administrators Botswana.

“Re a leboga, Batswana, for your patience and support; especially our valued Members. We remain committed to investing in your golden years and building a brighter future together,” concluded Malindah.

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Corporate

BSB Expands towards financial inclusion

6th September 2021

“As part of the bank’s quest to fulfil its financial inclusion mandate, Botswana Savings Bank (BSB) has focused more on expanding its footprint across the country to take its services to the communities it serves during the 2020 fiscal period” said Nixon Marumoloa, the Bank’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

According to the CEO, BSB’s focus in 2020 was expansion, visibility, continued mobilization and delivery of its inclusive finance agenda to provide simple, appropriate and accessible financial solutions to the under-served in a sustainable manner.

“In order to achieve our goal, the bank had to make compromises on some of our short-term goals in order to fulfil long term solutions to our customers. In advancing the bank’s financial inclusion agenda, we are proud to announce that BSB launched four (4) Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in Gaborone, Mogoditshane, Old Naledi and Bokaa. This is in partial fulfillment of our strategy and commitment to our communities to ensure that our products and services are accessible to all. It gives us pride to be the sole service provider in these areas where financial services were previously non- existent,” Marumoloa said.

Botswana Savings Bank is currently approaching the final year of its strategic period of 2016-2021.  Marumoloa said BSB is now more determined to ensure that the Bank totally transforms to provide life events, cradle to grave products through digitised service channels for all income groups in Botswana and beyond.

Improved products will be launched into the market during 2021, moving on to 2022. The highlight product for the new financial year, according to the CEO is the Pensioners Loan facility.

“This product will ensure that the marginalised senior citizens continue to have financial freedom and access to financial services during their years of retirement,” he noted.

Further, the BSB CEO added that it is in the final year of the strategic period that the digitisation and integration programme will be executed and partially completed, with some elements overlapping into the following financial year. He said Point of Sales Machines will be deployed across the bank’s network to enable the phasing out of passbooks which will be replaced with Visa enabled BSB Debit Cards.

“As other banks close branches, we will open new branches and service points across the country to ensure we live up to our mandate of financial inclusion,” he stated.

The History of BSB stretches back more than 20 years. The bank has since experienced transformational growth, moving from a traditional bank to a 21st century financial institution with independent branches in Gaborone, Francistown, Serowe, Mahalapye and Hukuntsi.

The BSB Chairman Mr Kealeboga Molelowatladi added that BSB continues to increase its physical proximity to its customers as part of its financial inclusion mandate which has been embedded into the bank’s corporate strategy.

“Ultimately, our goal is to increase our footprint and brand visibility as we provide affordable savings solutions across the country,” he expanded.  Moreover, Mr Molelowatladi highlighted that The Bank is determined to ensure that it delivers on it’s five-year strategic plan by end of 2021.  He noted that the bank has embarked on various long-term projects that are currently work in progress.

These projects are part of the bank’s growth strategy with a focus to increase our footprint in Botswana.

Mr Molelowatladi stated that, this includes the opening of new branches across the country to ensure that BSB’s services are accessible to all Batswana.

However, he revealed that a major drawback in implementing the bank’s strategy was lack of integration of systems. As a solution however, he affirmed that the Bank is working on implementing new systems to improve the bank’s efficiency and effectiveness.

“We are looking forward to the phasing out of the traditional passbooks as we introduce digital channels and automate our processes for customer convenience. We remain confident that despite the rapid changes in our economic environment, our strategic priorities will enable us to drive sustainable growth for our business,’ he said.

During the same period, he also revealed that the bank identified a superior banking system that will be implemented and rolled out by 2021. He said, this banking system shall be the backbone in the bank’s digital transformation.  In his views, it is through this system that the bank will optimize its internal processes to provide a sound value proposition to Batswana and improve profitability of the bank by reducing the cost to income ratio.

The Bank continues to be profitable, with the year ended 31 March 2021 returning a modest profit after tax of P5.2 million due to pressure on both revenue and rising costs. Although the result could be easily read as a regression on the results of the year before, a simple reduction of the government grant received in the previous year paints a picture of a bank that is set to realize an improvement in its operating margins when measured by a significant growth in advances. The bank’s balance sheet continues to grow year on year.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, hinderances have become quite the norm but the Bank has managed to persevere and remain true to its strategic objectives. This reflects the undeniable resilience and the progressive leadership that is at the helm of the Bank. The expansion plans that are underway are a harbinger of the growth and success that BSB is on the verge of achieving.

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