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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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Corporate

Cresta Group Sets Foot in Scenic Cape Town

16th April 2021
cresta

Home of Table Mountain and Robben Island now has one more four-star national wonder on their list, Cresta Grande Cape Town.

Cresta Marakanelo Limited was proud to support and celebrate its sister company Cresta Hotels, as they opened their doors to the scenic Cape Town hotel, the first time the hotel chain has operated in South Africa’s internationally renowned global tourism ‘capital’.

Cresta Marakanelo Limited operates 11 hotels in Botswana and 1 hotel in Lusaka, Zambia. Sister Company Cresta Hotels, operates 5 hotels in Zimbabwe; making the Cape Town property the 6th Hotel in the Cresta Hotels portfolio
The name Cresta Grande Cape Town is reflective of the magnitude and refinement of the 19-story establishment, which is situated in the heart of the Mother City.

“Cresta Grande Cape Town was formally opened on Thursday, April 15, 2021. We as Cresta Marakanelo Limited were very excited to be a part of the unveiling of the new addition to the Group.” stated Mokwena Morulane, Cresta Marakanelo Limited Managing Director.

Cresta Grande hotel has 242 elegant bedrooms, that provide scenic views of the Table Mountain and refreshing oceanic views a stone-throw away. A series of conference and banqueting rooms, a 24-hour café, bar and lounge, gymnasium, sauna and steam room, covered and access-controlled parking area, and outdoor swimming pool with sundeck make it ideal for both business leisure.

Travelers from all corners of the earth can now indulge in the beauty, class and exclusivity of yet another Cresta Group masterpiece. Experience authentic global modern metropolitan experience dovetailed with true African hospitality and bespoke service.

“If you yearn to savor scenic landscape views, aesthetic hotel features and superior service, then, come home to Cresta Grande Cape Town.” noted Jean Pierre Moggee, Cresta Grande Cape Town General Manager.

We are optimistic that the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines will provide much needed stimulation of the local and international travel industry. Our priority as the tourism industry is to emphasise safety and get local and global economy firing again. This new addition to the Group will allow for experiences of True African Hospitality, where our guests can enjoy the scenic cosmopolitan Cape Town, enjoy a direct flight to, and stay with us at our Cresta Maun properties; providing the perfect Gateway to the Okavango Delta.

Travelers can further enjoy our Cresta Mowana Safari Resort & Spa, which is situated on the banks of the magical Chobe River. Our Cresta properties will continue to maintain extra cleaning protocols and minimal touchpoint experience and will ensure that staff and guests alike take all due COVID-19 precautions.” concludes Morulane.

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Business

BancABC’s new brand promise places prominence on enhanced customer experience 

30th March 2021
BANC-ABC

BancABC, the BSE-listed bank, today announced the launch of its new brand promise, “We Understand You” to further encapsulate the Bank’s commitment to its customers and their needs.

The rationale for the launch comes at a time that requires innovative and agile financial solutions in order to improve customer’s banking experience, deliver consistent quality service and solidify relationships established over the years.

Commenting on the launch, BancABC Managing Director, Kgotso Bannalotlhe said, “The launch of our new brand promise follows a deep dive into our employees, customers, partners, and investors’ expectations, which was prudent in order to understand their evolving needs.  We have taken heed of all the feedback received and remain committed to continuously seeking ways to offer improved products and services, reinventing financial solutions and above all, a seamless banking experience.”

The launch of the three year “We Understand You” campaign, comes on the back of the Bank’s 10th anniversary, and in these rapidly changing and tumultuous times, the Bank has moved with dexterity to fortify its value proposition to its customers. Through the launch of this new brand promise, the Bank seeks to strengthen its offerings within Retail, SMME and Corporate banking.

The Bank’s previous brand promise was “Changing For You” and has now evolved into the “We Understand You” that reflects BancABC’s commitment to understanding its customers’ needs, offering solutions for every stage of their life and business journey, as they strive towards achieving their financial goals.

In light of prioritizing customer experience, the Bank increased its transactional capabilities by launching a new 3D Secure programme called Verified by Visa. This online security protocol, which provides cardholders with an additional authentication layer that confirms the validity of their identity, prevents the unauthorised usage of payment cards. Additionally, BancABC introduced Contactless debit and credit cards, which give customers the convenience of making payments by simply tapping their card on contactless Point-of-Sale machines.

“These customer-centric solutions are a demonstration of our promise to positioning ourselves as the preferred bank for the people of Botswana. These are also proof points of the Bank’s efforts to enhance the transactional capabilities by offering customers hassle-free functionalities that encourage them to transact more; and as a result, improve the overall value proposition,” says Grace Setlhare-Mankanku, Head of Retail Banking.

BancABC also made significant efforts to increase its geographical footprint, by adding four new ATMs to its network at the various Sales and Service Centres across the country, to decrease traffic at the branches and services centres and provide customers with easy access to banking services.

To better serve customers who prefer remote banking and to promote social distancing practices, BancABC successfully its revamped mobile banking platform, SaruMoney which is accessible through USSD and as an App. The Bank continues to expand capabilities on the SaruMoney platform in line with its focus on innovative digital banking solutions.

Designed with the typical Botswana bank user’s needs in mind, SaruMoney has increased security features, ensuring safe, accessible, reliable, and universal movement of funds. Additionally, BancOnline, the state-of-the-art digital platform, tailor-designed for improving the digital banking experience for Commercial Banking customers has also helped spur growth in BancABC’s transactional volumes, further entrenching the Bank as Botswana’s bank of choice.

“We Understand You” is an outward expression to our customers and the communities we serve, and it affirms that we acknowledge them, hear them, and recognise their needs. This is particularly essential for us right now, as we are required to be nimble in order to adapt to market changes, trends, as well as customers’ dynamic needs.

I firmly believe that our new brand promise is a testament to our business’s ability to respond to the evolving market conditions while ensuring we deliver quality services for the next ten years and beyond,” concludes Bannalotlhe.

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Corporate

Digitalization safe to restore future economic challenges-Huawei

18th March 2021
Huwaei & Botho

Giant Information and Communications Technology service provider, Huawei Botswana and Botho University have established a partnership to bring a cutting-edge ICT gear to Botswana for the future use of teaching and research.

As the world continues to choke on COVID-19 contagious waves and economies declining, knowledge and digitalization could be key powers critical in bringing stability and fast restoration for both social and economic challenges, post the COVID-19 fever.

This was said by Huawei Botswana Managing Director, Ye Huihui, at the launch of Huawei Academy at Botho University on Thursday in Gaborone. Huawei Botswana has invested in the academy that will see two hundred students enrolled for ICT studies and research every year.

“Setting up the Huawei ICT Academy in partnership with Botho University was not an option, rather a must to enable the young generation to learn and use the expertise to safe work and also to bring economical balance to everyone. Huawei, as a solution in the global ICT space, we carry a lot of expertise from technology.

We established through our digitally linked business platform to build a robust internal knowledge community. We will be grateful to share our global cases to this nation and its citizens to help them to ease the way to the recovery process,” said Huihui.

Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Dr Douglas Letsholathebe shared the same sentiments, saying COVID-19 has rapidly morphed into an unprecedented health, economic, sociocultural and geopolitical crisis. The education minister says the impact on the educational sector resulted in the disruption of learning at all levels of education (as evident by the poor performance in the BGCSE).

“The use of ICT has taken precedence in order for institutions to stay afloat in the space of training for the knowledge-based economy. The need to increase access to off campus online teaching and learning is seen as a measure which can support the learning never stops initiative.”

The Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential to raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for populations around the world. Technology, Letsholathebe says, has made possible new products and services that increase the efficiency and pleasure of people’s personal lives.

Huawei has provided fully equipped labs for the new academy and training materials for various courses worth P350 000. Through these labs, Botho University will target to train more than 200 students per year in the latest technologies such as routing and switching, cloud computing, internet of things, 5G technology, big data, storage and artificial intelligence. Further, students who have demonstrated interest in the ICT sector will get a chance to enrol for the various courses at Huawei Academy for free. The academy will host multiple creative learning resources such as books, lab guides, e-learning and online tests, along with various simulation tools.

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