Is Kenya Ready to Embrace the Power of Digital HR?

In the west, digital HR has become a booming business, with companies constantly seeking ways to improve operational efficiency and recognising the strategic value HR can provide, when empowered to act as a partner of the business. Things have progressed immensely in the last decade and in such a highly competitive marketplace today, technology plays a pivotal role in helping organisations to deliver the strategic HR agenda.

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Over the last few years, Asia has followed the trend and has also been building a strong industry within the HR technology space.

So, what about Africa? There are 54 markets in Africa and it would be impossible to summarise a complete view of the entire continent, this one is focused on Kenya.

Stewart Samkange, SAP SuccessFactors’ East Africa Director and Emily Kamunde-Osoro, a Leadership Coach & Director at Rise and Learn echo a similar view to what I concluded when I visited Nairobi in 2016 and Stewart conveys it well by expressing that “there is a luke-warm reception when it comes to digital HR – there is some interest but very little action.”

  • Traditionally, where companies have implemented solutions, it has predominantly been to support core HR process and payroll; little has been invested in supporting the softer side of HR, such as recruitment, performance, talent, learning & development.
  • Many multinational and large organisations have some form of HR technology in place but there is now a growing interest from SME businesses too and this movement is starting to gain momentum, primarily driven by the following influences:
  • Millennials are different and beginning to challenge the status quo when it comes to development, growth and opportunities.

Attracting and retaining top talent is becoming increasingly crucial, as the marketplace becomes more competitive.

The financial and telecommunication sectors, in particular, are facing growing pressures, prompted by disruption of new FinTech start-ups and better benefits being offered by cross-sector competitors. Leading organisations in these sectors are beginning to realise the importance of talent management and building proper succession plans.

Concerns around sensitive data leaks and security breaches have put HR data on the radar of CEOs and CIOs, who are demanding more rigour around data privacy.

Companies are under increasing pressure to show diversity statistics and demonstrate to the people that they are representing the full ‘face of Kenya’ (i.e. equality between tribes and ethnic backgrounds).

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