How will you describe the job market in Kenya today?

Kenya is still recovering from last year’s election mess. It all started with political uncertainty, then two elections had to be conducted where in between, there was governing crisis, resulting to violence and skirmishes. This situation affected the country’s economy as insecurity was on the rise forcing some organisations to shut down, while others downsized, leaving many people jobless. We therefore have a significant number of people still looking for jobs, increasing the job applications, but with poor response from organisations as approving employment budgets with a recovering economy is a tricky affair. Positions replacement after resignations or parting ways is a deep-thought decision-making process with high percentage resulting in tasking the remaining staff to multitask as organisations wait to regain after the losses incurred earlier. From all this you will realise that;

  1. Around 20% of organisations may not have new positions to recruit into
  2. Most organisations will not have salary rise this year
  3. To increase revenue, sales and marketing jobs, a well as ICT and Accounting positions have risen.
  4. There is a rising number of applications, but poor response from organisations

How has the economy affected recruitment in your company?

Organisations suffered a big blow economically as generating revenue while violence and skirmishes prolonged became a pipe dream. This has affected employment budgets reducing employability. The situation is changing but at a slow pace. By the end of the year, we should see most organisations registering profits and allocating more to employment budgets.

What will give one candidate an edge in this low employability times? (Geocentric or other?)

We do traits check in the interviews, that is several interviews for each candidate. Naturally, it is not easy to pretend if a series of interviews are set before concluding. With the right interview panel, we identify the following traits;

  1. An intense determination to get results
  2. Willing to make hard decisions (heart and mind balance)
  3. Ability to persist when encountering roadblocks
  4. Rigorous in identifying ways a team could perform better.
  5. Care about the real impact of their work (not just appearances)
  6. Display a deep commitment to learning and continuous improvement.

What is your approach to providing a good employee experience, considering your culture, company values and the current economic situation?

All staff job descriptions have to be well understood by each staff member. In fact, meetings have to be set regularly to feel the staff perception and the will to achieve the set tasks. That involvement plus coming up with the KPIs together help the employee own their role in the organisation, creating motivation. The organisation’s strategy needs to be well presented to the employee, where each understands their piece or the pillar to support and their expectations. This creates an intentional or visional driven teams and synergy in the whole organisation, making everyone productive. In addition to this approach, trainings about work-life balance, how to reduce stress and improve attitude, staff engagement and teamwork skills will inject energy for staff to stretch themselves beyond comfort levels. Continuous communication of the set policies of the organisation, especially from the HR manual keeps the staff aware of the expected values from everyone.

What is the general overview of the practice of HR in your country?

With organisations embracing professionalism, the HR function has been taken more seriously, especially at strategic level, beyond the normal administration. Most HR Managers are key drivers of organisational strategy or vision. Allocation of resources to support the step-by-step achievement of the set objectives has become a major role of the HR professional. Learning and development, and performance management aligned to achieving the vision is an HR key role. I can say that the department is now more appreciated than it was in the past.

By George Njoroge


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