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The Informative 2nd HR Forum; The Strategic HR

BrighterMonday Kenya held their 2nd HR Forum themed “The Strategic HR” on the 18th of August 2016 at Laico Regency Hotel from 7:00am to 11:00am. The lively forum brought together HR practitioners from different companies and diverse fields, where they had an informative discussion on the role of the human resource department in a changing […]

BrighterMonday Kenya held their 2nd HR Forum themed “The Strategic HR” on the 18th of August 2016 at Laico Regency Hotel from 7:00am to 11:00am. The lively forum brought together HR practitioners from different companies and diverse fields, where they had an informative discussion on the role of the human resource department in a changing world.

The forum was graced by experienced human resource practitioners who had great insights on how the role of the human resource department has evolved over time and what is to be expected in the future.

The main topics of discussion were:

  • The evolution of the HR profession
  • The strategic HR
  • Positioning HR as a business partner

The Evolution of The HR Profession by Joseph Gathuka; Head of HR and Administration, Web Tribe Ltd


Mr Gathuka took the attendees through the changing faces of the HR department over the years. The key points emerging from the discussion were:

  • The early days of the HR practice were about attending to employee needs brought forth by the harsh industrial era. Basically, the HR was a welfare officer
  • The HR role then moved to labour management where the manager monitored absence and managed training and recruitment. Labour relations also involved handling employee data and compensation
  • After that, the HR practice moved to the transactional phase where the HR practitioner was mainly involved in the formulation of policies for employee welfare, compensation, and output. The transactional phase was more structured and rigid. This was the era of personnel management
  • Currently, the HR function is transformational and is made more strategic by combining the transactional and transformational role of the HR department
  • The transformational role is marked by performance management and improved efficiency through incentives. The transactional HR is more proactive and participates in change
  • The strategic role of the HR is to thus promote change by being a strategic business partner and being a champion of the employees. The focus is now on value addition through digitisation and globalization.

The future of HR lies in:

  • Digitisation of the HR function
  • Embracing social networking platforms
  • Insight-driven HR practices that can be backed up by data
  • Flexible HR practices that accommodate the changing nature of the workplace
  • Strategic thinking by focussing on the whole business before making HR decisions
  • Talent management informed by the science of human behaviour
  • Globalization of talent acquisition

“HR is shifting from focussing on the organization of the business to focussing on the business of the organization.”

The Strategic HR by John Mwendwa; Leadership Development Manager, Unilever East Africa


Mr. Mwenda’s discussion was centred on how the human resource department can become a strategic business partner and get a seat on the board. A summary of this discussion is listed below:

  • Maximize on data to give evidence-based insights to the board. Human resource practitioners should move from using emotions to build a case, to using solid data
  • The focus should move to producing results by solving business problems through the right talent and skills
  • Think and act business. The HR should focus more on talent development than being an administrator so as to offer value to the business
  • Being a strategic partner by understanding the business needs and helping to find solutions through talent acquisition and retention
  • Leading change by communicating value
  • The new normal in the business is marked by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity

Positioning HR as A Business Partner by Nyakio Munene; HR Consultant, Anchor Consultants


Ms. Nyakio helped the HR practitioners understand how they could become business partners through the following key points:

  • Understanding that the company’s customer is the HR’s customer as well and this means that the people hired must be responsive to the customer’s needs
  • Understanding that as a strategic partner, the HR is the link between the business needs and the human capital needs
  • The human resource manager must study and deeply understand the business and its needs
  • Understand external business factors that affect internal business processes
  • The HR must now, more than ever, articulate how the HR function contributes to the company’s competitive advantage
  • The HR must champion change by helping employees navigate through the change
  • Know that the HR is now a champion of the employees. As such, the HR should collect and act on feedback and represent employee interests on the board
  • Understand that talent drives strategy and business success is dependent on getting the right people, with the right skills, at the right time, to do the right job
  • In a world that is being driven by technology, the HR must also adopt technology not just to monitor output, but to also interact with employees
  • Be adaptable to the changing nature of the business world by implementing policies that favour change

During the discussion, it emerged that the human resource manager has now become a critical business partner as he/she is in charge of a company’s biggest asset. As such, the HR now plays a critical role in business growth.

The highlights


The stimulating event started with an intense networking session where participants got other people’s name tags and were required to give them to their rightful owners. This encouraged interaction as people got to know one another and mingle.


The presentations were amazing with well-researched information presented by the guest speakers. The session was marked by laughter and knowing nods as all the presenters gave facts about the human resource industry and its practices. The key-note speakers also had very insightful examples which brightened the forum altogether.



Finally, there was a lively and interactive question and answer session which showed that the attendees were attentive and engaged. By the end of the forum, the hall was still full house and participants held animated sideline discussions about their experiences and challenges.


See you next time!


Download the presentations below

[button color=”#d37000″ size=”” type=”square_outlined” target=”_blank” link=””]The Strategic HR[/button]
[button color=”#d37000″ size=”” type=”square_outlined” target=”_blank” link=””]Evolution of the HR profession[/button]
[button color=”#d37000″ size=”” type=”square_outlined” target=”_blank” link=””]HR as a Business Partner[/button]


Watch the forum below


Download the White Paper below.

[button color=”#d37000″ size=”” type=”square_outlined” target=”_blank” link=””]White Paper – 1 – 09 – 2016[/button]

Mueke Katwa
Notification Bell