During a Regional Human Resources Management Training Conference held in Kigali, 150 delegates from different sectors and organisations within Rwanda, East Africa, DR Congo and Zambia, committed to adopting new norms in the workplace to ensure that high performance and efficiency are maintained during the era of Covid-19. The training conference was organised under the theme; “Highly Productive and Engaged Employees for the 21st Century” by Rwanda Human Resources Management Organisation (RHRMO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Service and Labour (MIFOTRA) and took place at Serena Hotel - Kigali from November 29 to 30. The participants included Chief Executive Officers, Chief Human Resource Officers, Human Resource Directors, Human Resource Specialists, Human Resource Managers and Administrators in charge of people management. It focused on thematic areas such as boosting staff performance for higher organisational results, the new trends of work: managing remote working for higher results, key trending skills for the 21st Century as well as managing different generations for higher results. The participants also covered modules about creating an ideal workplace for employees which included understanding how mental health impacts employees and the importance of addressing mental health issues. Work-life integration, situational leadership, emotional intelligence, coaching and employee engagement – were also among the covered modules. Speaking at the conference, Fanfan Rwanyindo Kayirangwa, the Minister of Public Service and Labour said that as the world evolves, human resource also evolves, adding that an ideal workplace certainly reflects the new era of quality service delivery and effective human resource management. She challenged the organisations to build responsive, competitive and skilled HR personnel to enhance professionalism and sustainable performance, which she said bears a direct impact on the country’s development. Steven Karangwa, the Chairman of RHRMO said that during the conference, delegates from different countries shared expertise on how HR practices are conducted in their countries, the challenges they face and how Covid-19 has changed the normal of work. He stated that from sharing those experiences, the most outstanding observation was that the pandemic has shown that work should not be confined to particular workplaces like offices, adding that what is most important is for employees to meet the targets. “The trend of work shows that time, place or area is no longer the issue. The issue is how to monitor how we work and how we achieve our targets,” he said. However, Fabian Rwabizi, a Senior Manager in charge of employees at Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA), said that while working from home, employees should balance work life and home activities so that they don’t conflict. “As HR professionals, we have committed to raise awareness about mental health at the workplace and educate ourselves as well as other employees on how to handle mental health issues. We should aim to create a conducive environment between managers and employees,” he said. Doreen Sakupwanya, an HR expert from Zambia said that since the world of work has changed, HR experts need concerted effort to put together ideas on how they will improve the economy. “One of the most important factors of production is labour and if we do manage that, we have to put together our efforts to be able to manage our labour very well and be able to become more productive. That way, we are going to grow our economies,” she said. Joseph Mugo, the CEO of ABMC International and a member of the Institute for Human Resources in Kenya said that Covid-19 has shown that people don’t have to always look for competencies abroad rather than find them with local professionals who are able to deliver. He declared that when HR professionals gather, it helps them assess if they are playing on the same playground and are able to compete with international standards for international jobs which helps them grow locally and globally. “Sending people to get qualifications abroad is okay, but let’s also invest in local institutions so that they can also be able to provide those kinds of competencies and empower individuals who are currently working in Rwanda or in the region to be able to benchmark with professionals outside there,” he said.