Technology

Using tech to get right skills for your company

oriedo

Timothy Oriedo during training on Big Data analytics at his lab in Westlands, Nairobi. PHOTO | POOL

Summary

  • Hiring panels have had to deal with candidates who, pushed by the demand and pressure to succeed in life, lie about their qualifications and experience, just to land the job.
  • To ward off the tendency of candidates who lie to recruiters about their suitability, Mr Oriedo believes the creation of a nationwide blockchain system for placing education and training certificates would be a huge step.
  • Even as companies demand the best from employees, it has been reported that some have not put up the right working environment to allow smooth functioning of roles.

The human resource department has been the focus point of all enterprises in a world plagued by the Covid-19 pandemic, with employees fearing for their worst every month and companies getting public criticism for firing people just when a second wave of the virus is hitting the world.

But the companies have been unable to maintain staff in their payroll as revenues dwindle every day and are even incurring more expenses especially when retrenching employees hired on a permanent basis.

More often, corporates have found themselves terminating the contracts of the wrong employees, while regretting later that they lost talent that could help them emerge stronger from the pandemic. The retrenched employees usually end up helping competitors get back to profitable business.

"Skills mismatch and imposter syndrome, coupled with internal company politics leads to this situation. But to hire or fire staff, the decision should be informed by employee data analytics," says Timothy Oriedo, chief executive of Big Data training firm, Predictive Analytics Lab.

But with most human resource companies sitting on silos of employee data that is in traditional format, Kenyan companies find themselves trapped in complexities when looking for new talent or getting rid of unproductive staff.

"Training on Big Data analytics should start with all HR staff. It is from the skills they have in employee analytics that they can decide who to show the door or recruit. Firing people on hear-say is very unprofessional in a world dominated by technology solutions," remarks Mr Oriedo.

Data collected from various HR software about number of hours worked, missed deadlines, targets achieved, reporting time, workplace ethics, frequency of job attendance and projects delivered can be analysed to determine employee productivity.

He notes that HR teams need to identify various skills and courses that employees can be trained on, as well as maintaining budgets for preparing workers for the future of work.

"Employers must equip workers with skills that help them understand the future. They should recommend the right courses to various employees. The problem is that some employees go for Masters programmes that are not aligned to the future," he states.

Hiring panels have had to deal with candidates who, pushed by the demand and pressure to succeed in life, lie about their qualifications and experience, just to land the job.

Mr Brian Anwayi, a HR assistant at Tristar Group, decries how it has been hectic hiring the right person for the right job and retaining employees with the right skills.

"Some candidates are very talented but lack the communication skills to express themselves. Others pretend to be good but end up failing to deliver what they colourfully explained they were good at during the interview," he laments.

Some employees, he notes, are “very indiscipline” to the extent of stealing company property and perpetrating sexual violence against female colleagues, calling for corporates to share data regarding ethics to weed out employee impunity.

Absa Bank Kenya chief data officer Mr Hartnell Ndungi, who has traced the evolution of data science in the past 12 years, warns HR panels against hiring candidates on the basis of very attractive LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter profiles without vetting them.

"Don't run on hype of a particular emerging skill to hire people. Sixty percent of candidates who turn up for my data science interviews run on the hype of Big Data. They were unable to deliver the job obligations,” he advises

"As you hire, it is wise to give candidates real-life scenarios and problems to solve to avoid employing people who get raw information from the web. Do not hire from face-to-face interviews, give them practical tests."

To ward off the tendency of candidates who lie to recruiters about their suitability, Mr Oriedo believes the creation of a nationwide blockchain system for placing education and training certificates would be a huge step.

"At Predictive Analytics Lab, we embed digital badges on our certificates. The same happens for various online course but an HR blockchain for verification of all required documents would keep off sly and deceitful candidates," he told Digital Business.

Ms Lillian Ngala, head of human resources at Diamond Trust Bank says flexible working policies and employee reskilling are some of the solutions in shaking off hurdles that companies are facing in the 'new normal'.

Even as companies demand the best from employees, it has been reported that some have not put up the right working environment to allow smooth functioning of roles.

"Corporates will need the necessary hardware and software in place to support a conducive job environment. For remote working, organisations will need to be agile as a matter of principle. They will have to help employees shift their mindsets and automate HR systems to enable hiring of future-proof talent only," she notes.

Cultural intelligence expertMary Waceke says it is just the right time for Kenya's youth population to prepare for the dynamics presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

"The skills they learn in campus are not enough. The job market is fast changing, they need to acquire more skills in emerging technologies in their respective career interests," she says.

Companies and startups that understand the future, she adds, are nowadays looking for employees with particular skills or expertise in using various software in providing solutions to challenges, and professionals across various fields need to upskill to remain relevant during a technological revolution that is very competitive.