In my article “Is Kenya Ready to Embrace the Power of Digital HR”, I looked at some of the challenges and opportunities around embracing digital HR solutions, with a focus on Kenya.
There is without doubt a growing interest and demand for digital HR solutions in Kenya but there is also a distinct lack of available information; finding expert knowledge and experience within the region can be a challenge.
This is a follow up article, that seeks to provide a few tips and tricks to help organisations in Kenya considering a move into digital HR. In the first article, I reached out to two well-respected and trusted in-country advisors, who have shared their own insights and experiences:
Stewart Samkange is SAP SuccessFactors’ East Africa Director and has previous experience working with IBM, Microsoft and Oracle. Stewart works with senior business and HR leaders, so is able to provide a good overview of the current market, and shares his experiences working with clients and prospects in the current Kenyan market.
Emily Kamunde-Osoro is a Leadership Coach & Director at Rise and Learn, an HR & leadership advisory practice. Prior to setting up Rise and Learn, Emily was HR Director at Jubilee Insurance, a well-known and respected business within East Africa. During her time with Jubilee, Emily commissioned a digital HR transformation. Emily shares her insights, industry knowledge and experience of working with business leaders at all levels.
So, here are 10 tips & tricks that I have put together exclusively for the Kenyan market, based upon my own experience, research and discussions with Stewart and Emily.
- Build a strong business case. Stewart advises to “start with the basics and attach to it something which will show a clear business return.” He adds that “most of the core elements normally speak to HR and HR alone; they need to produce an asset that touches the business – recruitment, getting better talent and an onboarding experience could be one way. Alternatively, touch on performance; many people do not like the traditional performance management, so think about continuous engagement and performance feedback rather than the traditional annual review.” He concludes that “both these aspects speak to the business.”
- For a faster return, Stewart suggests “look first at recruitment and learning, as normally there is a lot of money spent in these areas with limited return.”
- Address the known concerns and offer solutions for these – as Stewart puts it “it’s not all about implementing a bells and whistles system, it’s about changing people and creating a better workplace.”
- Pricing is usually a major factor, so ensure that a clear return on investment (ROI) is demonstrated, explain how this will be achieved and in what time frame.
- Watch out for scope creep; take time to outline the scope of the solutions being implemented – be realistic and detailed but also consider that it’s usually better to implement the basics or foundations first.
- Hire an experienced Project Manager (ideally somebody with HR technology experience) to ensure the project remains on track and does not get side-tracked by scope creep or other delays.
- Challenge current processes & think outside the box – the way it’s been done before, is not always the best way. How can it be enhanced? Avoid simply replicating legacy processes – use the implementation of new solutions as an opportunity to challenge the way things have been done previously and look for ways to improve efficiency or effectiveness.
- Having too many vendors can be a challenge to manage and more expensive to maintain; choose solutions that are ‘unified’ and offer the complete suite of functionality, which is required. If this is not possible, aim to keep the number of applications to a minimum and identify which application will be the master source.
- Mobile applications present a significant opportunity to help promote digital HR but also improve the engagement of people within the workplace. Stewart explains that “the fact people don’t need to go to the office to fill out a leave form or access their payslip is perfect for enhancing the ways of working.”
- Do not underestimate how crucial change management will be to the success of a digital HR transformation; implementing the technology is the easy part – the hardest part is about winning hearts and minds, promoting buy in and encouraging engagement from the business. Ensure there is a solid change management strategy that is well-defined, clearly addresses key concerns and runs in parallel to the technology deployment – don’t leave this component to the end.