HR Person of the Year 2019

HR Person of the Year 2019

Ola Ehinmoro HR Director Unilever Nigeria and Ghana

1. What significant impact has HR made in supporting business profitability? HR Function’s strategic role is to enable business performance and success through and efficient organization in the first place and therefore contributes immensely to the profitability of the business. In specific terms, HR drives the processes that enables acquisition, development and deployment of the right employees to drive business agenda, they also responsibility for ensuring optimization of overhead cost with direct impact to the bottom-line. In essence, HR partners with business leaders to ensure deployment of capable employees on the front line, provide enabling environment and culture for people to thrive and ultimately helps the organization to be in control of their cost structure to improve profitability

2. What areas of HR function (like Learning and Development, Compensation, Business partnering etc) do you think HR in Nigeria needs to improve on? And what can we do better? HR Function has come a long way in Nigeria and the evolution has been impressive. In today’s HR practice, emphasis is moving away from conventional L&D, Compensation and Business Partnering model to building an agile learning/working environment, propelling collaboration on the move, driving deep knowledge of the business and customers and tailoring interventions to address diverse employees’ motivations. People experience and employee advocacies have become extremely key to employee engagement, retention and performance. So, you can see the HR landscapes are changing and the traditional topics are being reinvented

3. Do you think HR is contributing to people and human capital development in Nigeria as a whole? Are we doing enough? The private sector organizations are operating under a very tough economic conditions with increasingly harsh government policies and regulatory oversights putting strains on their capacities. The educational system has also suffered huge neglect and created difficulty in churning out graduates prepared enough as talent pipeline for the world of work. Poor investment in capability development has also plagued the public sector. Amid these contradictions, the HR function has helped their organizations to survive by being resourceful, driving wellbeing and various employee engagement initiative to help employees cope and unleash their potential. We do still have a lot to do in bridging the capability and value gaps between the current sets of leaders and the young and upwardly mobile professionals in the workforce. HR professional in the public sector would need to focus on creating value adding job that drives efficiencies in government. The CIPMN has a big role to play in advocating for HR Management Transformations in the public sector

4. What advice would you give to HR professionals who are willing to develop their skills and gain more experience in HR? The individual professional needs to discover their real purpose and how this drives their hunger for continuous learning to advance their experience. Self-motivation is key – When you are clear about why you are in this profession, learning and courage to advance your experience become easier. HR professional should also take advantage of different business cross functional projects to continuously improve their business acumen and remain clearly informed on business issues, impact on the organization and how their role drives appropriate collaboration for results. It is important to leverage various HR networks locally and internationally to broaden their worldview and above all, Act on your plan decisively, track outcome and sell your result to appropriate stakeholders

5. Looking back at HR in the last 10 years and looking forward to the next 10 where, would you want us to be? Ten years is a very long time in the world of work. For sure our role would have changed tremendously over and over again from managing different complexities, simplifications and flexibilities technology would have brought to the world of work into having generational shifts where the millennials leading businesses and governments. I see a ten years’ time where; you will have very few full-time employees with extremely short time in role and most other roles are done by freelancers on part-time basis. The need to manage and reward diverse employee types will take different shapes, most policies today would have become irrelevant and digitalization a new normal while HR analytics becomes oxygen for decision making. HR Professionals will need to reinvent itself with new skills to be relevant and stay ahead for the future of work by anticipating the evolution and proffering solutions upfront. The HR of the future will be fully embedded in the business and people becomes more and more the most important determinant of business successes