KIGALI - Human resource management has for long been perceived as a supporting function rather than a strategic one, something experts say is a hindrance to the growth of many organisations today.
According to the General Manager of CIAR Africa, Ruth Kwalanda, many organisations do not perceive human resources management as an important component.
Organisations focus more on the financial component, forgetting that the finances and equipment are used by the people to achieve goals and objectives within the organisation.
Kwalanda is in Kigali for the EAC human resources managers’ summit organised by CIAR in collaboration with the Rwanda Human Resource Managers Association.
CIAR Africa is a leading professional and corporate training company in the region.
“Organisations must change their stance and look at human resources management as a strategic function. They should let human resource managers sit on their boards,” Kwalanda said.
She said that because critical decisions are made at the board level, the presence of the HR manager would be imperative because at the end of the day, all decisions made on various strategies will need skilled, talented and passionate human resources to push them.
“It is the job of HR to select people with the above criteria and make sure that they are motivated enough so that the organisation can get the best out of them,” she said.
“Even in Europe and America, they are still struggling to put the HR function where it deserves to be. But in Africa, especially in East Africa, we need to work this out earlier so that our human resources are able to drive our economies to the development we aspire to have”.
She, however, said that the onus is on HR managers to convince CEOs and heads of organisations to position the function in the strategic spot.
“A study in Africa shows that less than 20 percent of organisations recognise HR as a strategic function. This shows that HR managers still have a long way to go,” Kwalanda said.
She pointed out that the EAC HR forum, which begins today, will focus on how all those challenges affecting the function can be dealt with systematically.
Speaking to The New Times, the president of the HR managers’ association in Rwanda, Alice Mugeni, said that Rwanda’s vision of developing human resources and basing on it to drive the economy is helping to shape the country’s human resources.
“The government has done a lot in ensuring the development of skills, through the Public Sector Capacity Building Secretariat (PSCBS). The Private Sector Federation is also doing a lot in this direction,” Mugeni said.
The convention, which aims at establishing the current status of talent in Africa and the emerging challenges, will be held under the theme ‘Talent and Engagement’.