Clutch Recognizes Crystal Recruitment Amongst Kenya’s top HR Firms for 2020

“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
~Warren Buffett

Our team at Crystal Recruitment has some exciting news to announce! Our MD just got off the phone with analyst Jake Cox from Clutch, who let us know that Clutch just awarded us as one of the top HR for 2020! Investing in your business is more important now than ever, which is why we’re honored to be listed as one of Kenya’s best HR firms for 2020 by Clutch!

“We are thrilled to be listed as one of the top B2B service providers in Africa. Our pride is in providing viable Talent Solutions and Human Resource Management services across Africa with a special focus on Eastern, Southern and West Africa Countries” —Justine Ziruel – Managing Director, CrystalRecruitment  

Clutch is the world’s leading B2B ratings and reviews platform! Located in the heart of the historic DuPont Circle neighborhood of Washington DC, Clutch has a dedicated team who independently verifies each and every review that they conduct with verified clients from around the world. Clutch is the gold standard for ratings and reviews for B2B service providers, which is why we’re incredibly honored that Clutch’s 2020 research shows us as one of the best HR services providers in all of Kenya!

We love to show off our stellar rating on Clutch! We have received perfect score 5.0-star reviews from our satisfied clients, a testament to our consistent quality work.

In a recent review, the HR Manager for Oygène Marketing Communication, Rose Kogi, praised our recruitment services!

“Their two most impressive attributes are efficiency and time.”

We’re incredibly blessed to be listed amongst Kenya’s top HR firms for 2020 by Clutch! Please contact us today to see how you can join our many satisfied customers today.

You can reach us via email address selection@crystalrecruitment.co.ke or call our office lines during working hours Monday through to Friday; +254 (0) 20 2101 466. Talk to us for your HR services needs and we will be happy to support you.

Beyond #IWD2020: Reflections on women, work and the way forward in Africa!

Africa has often been described as the rising phoenix thanks to the strides the continent has made and opportunities that have emerged as a result of innovation and technological advances in the continent. Women make up 50% of the continent’s population yet they still lag behind at the workplace. In 2018, women only contributed to 33% of the continent’s GDP. The Mckinsey Global Report indicates that $316 Billion could be added to the continent’s economy if all the countries in the continent matched the gender parity score of their best performing neighbour. If the current rate of progress towards gender parity is to be maintained, it would take about 142 years to attain it. Most of the women in the continent work in the informal sector and have limited access to high quality jobs due to factors such as lack of access to education, financial services and technological tools that would improve their lives. Africa has a high rate of labour force participation but representation of women in the formal sector remains low. The formal economy in Africa is ranked as the least gender equal in global rankings.  The global average female- male ratio is 0.86. The ratio in Africa is 0.68.

State of gender parity in the workplace in African countries

In an analysis that was done by the Mckinsey Global Institute, African countries have  varying performances in terms of their efforts to attain gender parity:

Leaders in gender parity: Lesotho, Rwanda, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia have made significant progress towards representation of women in the political sphere, the number of women in professional and technical fields as well as other societal indicators of gender equality.

Middle of the road: Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Cameroon, DRC, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Uganda, Togo, Madagascar, Burundi, Angola, Mauritius, Democratic Republic of Congo

These countries have average scores in terms of progress towards gender parity. For example, Ghana has attained significant gender parity in education while Madagascar has above average female participation in technical fields and high quality professional fields.

Countries with room for improvement: Algeria, Tunisia, Chad, Cote d’ivoire, Liberia, Mali, Malawi, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Burkina Faso

These countries need to make concerted efforts towards inclusion of women in the workplace. The number of women in leading roles in politics and business in these countries is relatively low as compared to other countries.

There is good news: Africa tops the world in terms of female representation in boards

The global average of female representation is 17%.  25% of board members in boards across the continent are female. A 2016 study by Mckinsey Global on impact of female representation on boards showed that pretax earnings by companies with at least 25% female representation were 20% higher than the industry average. Female representation at the board level has increased by 4% since 2015. Female representation in executive committees has only increased by 1%. South Africa tops the list of countries with a high number of women in boards at 29%.

But, women are still lagging behind in the workplace in Africa

Women who are formally employed are likely to have higher educational qualifications which gives them opportunities to leadership opportunities. In as much as there is a limited formal economy in the continent, employers need to encourage women’s participation since they shape the experiences of the majority who are participants in the sector.

Only a few countries have made concerted efforts towards inclusion of women in leadership roles therefore enhancing the continent’s gender parity score. These countries include Botswana, Kenya, South Africa and Rwanda. If the current rate of progress towards gender parity is maintained, it would take 20 years to attain equality on boards and 18 years to attain equality on executive committees.

60% of the women on boards across the continent have staff roles rather than line roles. This has implications on female board members’ likelihood to become CEO’s because CEO’s typically come from line roles. Line roles focus on core operations, finance, risk and strategy while staff roles focus on legal and human resources.

The progress that has been made towards increasing the women in middle management roles in Africa has been less than impressive. Research indicates that the representation of women in professional and technical fields is relatively low as compared to the global average. Africa’s gender parity score has remained at 0.68 since 2015 with the majority of countries in Central and West Africa having some of the lowest representation of women in the workplace.

What are the barriers to gender equality in the workplace?
What is the way forward?

Organizations need to make concerted efforts to ensure active participation of women in the workplace. The first step towards this is to combat bias. Bias is often subtle and most organizational leaders struggle to acknowledge that it exists. Bias keeps women from being promoted or hired in some extreme instances. Organizational leaders need to challenge it head on by discussing the types of bias towards women and their effect on the organization’s gender inclusion efforts. They also need to take research backed efforts towards confronting biases. Organizations need to work towards rooting out language and behaviour in the workplace that enhances a culture of bias towards women.

Research has shown that there are few women who become managers in their organizations. For every 100 men who are hired at entry level positions and promoted to managers, only 72 women are hired and promoted to managers. Most women remain in entry level positions in spite of their talent and professional qualifications. This has significant impacts on the talent pipeline. This remains one of the greatest challenges for talent managers hence the need to critically examine the processes and practices that keep women in entry level positions.

Balancing work and life can be difficult juggle. Considering most women bear a significant burden of care at home, having flexible working hours is vital in promoting work-life balance. It can play a role in ensuring women are not left behind. Workplace policies that support women make them more productive and happier at work.

Are you working on a diversity and inclusion strategy especially to have more women professionals in your organization? Talk to us today and we will connect you with amazing women that your organization will benefit having them around.

~Corazon Achieng – Storyteller and Content Creator

Is Your New Hire Struggling?

Once upon a time, Jayne *, the human resources manager at company X met Phyllis*, a potential candidate. Phyllis* was the ideal candidate in person and on paper. She aced all the interviews. She was brimming with ideas and energy. She was the perfect culture fit. There was no doubt in Jayne’s mind that her search had ended.

Within a week, Phyllis* got the job and was posted to her new work station. The first few weeks were spent learning the ropes. The company had a mentorship programme in place so Phyllis was assigned to a mentor. Within the next few months, Jayne began to doubt her decision. Phyllis was struggling. Some department heads found it difficult to work with her.

The situation above is more common that most human resources managers and CEOs would care to admit. Based on our work with hundreds of organizations, we have identified the following common pitfalls and measures to avoid them:

Mistake #1: Inefficient testing of the candidate’s standard skills

Human resource professionals have for years been pondering over factors that predict whether a candidate’s past performance will be replicated in the new role. It has been proposed by some organizational psychologists that unstructured sequential questions would be the best predictor of future performance. The limitation of this is that one cannot glean sufficient information from a candidate based on these questions regardless of how they are structured.

As experts continue to ponder on the best way forward, it is important to determine whether the candidate has standard skills. The 4C’s summarize the crucial standard skills a candidate must have: communication, creativity, collaboration and critical thinking. For instance, if you are looking for an administrative assistant, you need to determine whether the candidate has proper report writing skills, is organized and time conscious.

THE 4C’S THAT ARE CRUCIAL

Mistake #2: Failure to regularly review your interview questions

Research carried by Glassdoor indicates that the average interview duration has almost doubled since 2009. It may sound easy to interview a candidate but in reality, interviewing is one of the most technical aspects of hiring. Biases easily affect the process of getting a good hire. Most companies have a template in place but this template is rarely reviewed to eliminate questions that do not add value to the process. For most organizations, interviews are an opportunity to determine whether the candidate fits into the culture of the organization. In reality, most organizations have a poor understanding of what constitutes their culture and what sort of candidate would fit into it by extension. Have measures in place to review and improve your interview process.  

Mistake #3: Poor relationship building

It is possible that one of the reasons why Phyllis was struggling could be due to a poor relationship between her and her mentor. While most organizations have some form of mentor-ship program for new hires, few of these organizations work towards finding out whether these programs are working. Human beings naturally gravitate towards familiar faces. It is not always easy for one to build a relationship in the work place in spite of having common goals. This may be attributed to difference in personality types or learning styles. Organizations should frequently review their mentor-ship programs and improve them accordingly.

Mistake #4: Using performance improvement plan as a prelude to termination

Performance improvement plans (PIP) are an essential tool in determining what is not working. They should be developed in a way that clearly identifies the problem, outlines the steps that will be taken towards the improvement and timelines for improvement. Using examples, the plan should help the employee understand their deficiencies and why they need to work towards improvement. If a plan is structured properly, it may foster collaboration between an employee and their departmental head that will result in improvement of performance.

Mistake #5: Failure to pay attention to learning styles

People learn in different ways. Some people can watch someone perform a task once and have the confidence to perform the task by themselves after that. Some people need steps outlined for them so that they can refer to these steps later. Others prefer a video or a book. Your organization might not have the capacity to train all types of learners according to their learning styles but it can adjust accordingly to ensure that no one is left behind.  The organization can expose new hires to different types of learning material. Instructional material can be in the form of booklets, videos and infographics.

Image courtesy: Project-general.com

Mistake #6: Organizational culture that has never been challenged and changed

A few years ago, PwC in the USA noticed that most of its new hires were leaving the organization as soon as they got a chance to leave. This took the consulting firm by surprise because for years, the organization had employees who had accepted the long working hours.

As millenials increasingly became a part of the organization, the attrition rate soared. PwC also noticed that there was reluctance among younger college educated candidates to join the organization. The organization commissioned a study to determine why it was losing its top talent. The study revealed that the millenials were more willing to question assumptions about work that had long been held as truisms. In response to the crisis, the organization introduced flexible schedules and a wellness program.

Africa will boast of the largest population of young, working employees in the next decade. Using yesterday’s work approaches with today’s Gen Z employees will not work. Organizations need to be agile and adaptable in order to retain top talent particularly millennials and Gen Z who will make up a significant portion of the workforce in the next decade.

Do you have a vacancy that you need to fill? We are available to walk with you the talent search journey just as we have done with our clients. Crystal Recruitment puts clients and candidates at the heart of their operations and nothing is more rewarding than hearing that new hires have performed and they are not struggling to settle in.

What are you doing as a Company to prepare for tomorrow?

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Abraham Lincoln

The inevitable future of work is here with us. Automation and AI are set to result in the creation of new roles, redefine the existing roles and create new tasks.  As leaders of organizations gear up for it, there has been a mixture of anxiety and excitement. Employees are grappling with whether their jobs will still be there or not as they seek to remain relevant. Organizations know that they need to prepare for tomorrow but very few are taking active steps to prepare for tomorrow. This may be as a result of not having a clear understanding of what they need to do in order to prepare for the future of work.

Having worked with leading organizations regionally, we compiled a few tips on what organizations need to do in order to prepare for the future:

  • Create a more engaging people experience in order to maintain a competitive advantage

People experience encompasses all aspects of work including the workload assigned to each employee, the office design, training and support provided by the HR. As automation increases, organizations are increasingly adopting lean teams comprising of highly skilled individuals. Tech evangelists admit that the human element can never be entirely replaced hence they advocate for emphasis of core skills such as creativity, empathy and critical thinking.

Cushioning one’s organization against the effects of talent attrition calls for building social resilience which will ensure that new models of work such as flexi-time incorporate human interaction using collaborative technologies. In adopting this approach, organizations will ensure that they have “big ideas crowds” which can provide inspiration and validation of ideas. This will create and sustain a culture of innovation within the organization thus ensuring that the organization remains dynamic.

In addition to this, organization need to make agility and adaptability a part of their values. To make these values a reality entails creating a culture of lifelong learning in which employees are aware of the dynamic nature of work.

  • Support intrapreneurship

Established organizations can learn from startups by encouraging “intrapreneurship.” Leaders should be encouraged to take risks so that they nurture teams and create space for development of ideas. Encouraging intrapreneurship means providing space for autonomy within the organization.

As organizations prepare for tomorrow, they must constantly evaluate the measures that they have put in place. For instance, allowing flexi time for employees can have damaging consequences if the targets are not agreed upon. Having off site employees can put pressure on employees because they feel that they constantly have to be at work. There is a thin line between promoting autonomy and creating a fragmented work force that does not work as a team. Getting feedback from employees and tracking the progress while learning from the mistakes is vital in the success of any organization’s efforts to prepare for the future.

  • Use data analytics to make use of talent

In order to gain a critical edge in gauging the future talent needs of the organization, organizations ought to adopt data analytics in talent management. Data analytics can help in the creation of a compelling employee experience and eliminate biases during the talent recruitment process. A survey of over 2,000 HR and business leaders from different parts of the globe that was carried by PwC showed that only 38% of the respondents use data analytics to gauge their talents. This is an indication of the hesitance to use predictive analytics to plan for their workforce. In spite of the availability of more tools that are user friendly to help in the process, organizations still struggle to interpret the data they hold into actionable steps that will help them manage their talent.

To remedy this, organizations need to use more precise analytical tools. HR teams ought to use tools that not only provide data but also incorporate data visualization tools in order to encourage feedback from leaders and staff. As concerns about data privacy increase, organizations should go to great lengths to ensure that the data is protected and staff know what their data is being used for. People experience can be personalized through organizational network analysis (ONA), skills mapping tools and career mapping tools.

Embracing use of data analytics more in HR can help in the elimination of bias. Data analytics would help organizations track the rates of promotions and recruitment among marginalized groups. In doing this, it is important to ensure that algorithms are not wired to replicate human biases by ensuring that the data analysts understand how algorithms work and are capable of making adjustments in order to result in a diverse pool of talent.

  • Support vitality and tackle burnout

Research studies have demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that burnout is on the rise and it affects the bottom line. It is not enough for organizations to set the length of the working day and targets. Organizations that are seeking to retain and engage their talent also ensure that there are measures in place to promote employee well-being.  For instance, Google East Africa has an office that is designed to promote creativity through the incorporation of color and crafts. Organizations are increasingly challenging their employees to take health breaks and engage in physical activities. Organizations can also adopt the following measures to support vitality:

  1. Allow the workers to choose where they want to work from if possible
  2. Promote synchrony between the virtual and physical working environments
  3. Encourage employees to take time away from work
  • Mind the gap

It is often said that human beings are likely to underestimate the likelihood of a bad outcome and overstate a good outcome. This applies to preparing for the future because most leaders assume that they are on the right track yet the reality betrays them. Bridging the gap calls for the following:

  1. HR teams and business leaders must ensure that their employees are future proof by consistently communicating on the initiatives that they are implementing and ensuring they are understood and lived within the organization
  2. Coach team leaders on how to effectively lead the way without leaving their teams behind and encouraging them to have means to track their success
  3. Encourage HR to take a leading role in thinking and planning for the organization’s future.

Is your organization struggling with preparing its employees for the future? Talk to us today

Top three reflections before you make a career move in 2020

As we celebrate getting to see the new year 2020 (Happy New Year), it is important to reflect on the milestones and learn. For some, this is the time to plan for one’s career growth in the coming years.  It is difficult to maintain a positive outlook towards career prospects in the New Year given there are gloomy reports concerning the state of employment in the country. Recent reports indicate that more than 300 firms have closed in the course of the year. In addition to job losses, it is estimated that 50,000 graduates join the job market every year.  Even with the sharp increase in job losses in the country, there is no reason why you should not future proof your career prospects. We look at the lessons learnt in our interactions and interviews with top notch candidates who have succeeded in their careers:

Lesson #1: Learn a new skill

It is often said that those who do not learn eventually rust. This could not be truer than in this day and age where technology is becoming part and parcel of every aspect of life.

It is no longer wise to say “I am a marketing professional, not a techie.” Technology is changing how we work, where we work and the kind of work we do. A World Economic Forum that was carried out recently indicates that 65% of school going children will do a job that does not exist in the current market but is likely to emerge as a result of technological advances in the next few years.  It is estimated that the ICT sector in Kenya has been growing at a rate of 10.8% since 2016. This is expected to continue in the near future as the uptake of technology tools such as AI and IOT continues. The sector is regarded as a promising source of job creation but there have been concerns about digital displacements as technological advances render certain jobs obsolete.

Recently, Singapore implemented a plan to prepare its young citizens for the work environment they are going to work in by creating a learning account for all its citizens above the age of 24 years.  Account balances can be utilized on acquiring skills from approved training providers.

In France, all employees in the private sector get a learning account from the time they are employed. The account remains operational until they retire. Each employee gets 24 hours of training in a year of full time work until they get to the threshold of 120 hours.

A marketer who understands data analytics is more likely to advance in his or her career than a marketer who lacks these critical skills. Acquisition of skills can be inexpensive due to availability of free online tools such as EdX and Coursera. If technology will shape the future of work, lifelong learning will shape the future of workers. Growth in one’s career in the future is pegged on one’s willingness to learn.

Lesson #2:  Make a move

Sometimes, you need to move vertically in your career in order to grow. Sometimes, you need to move horizontally in order to grow in your career. In the not-too-distant past, it was possible to work in one industry until one retires. In today’s dynamic job market, this is unlikely to happen. A global study showed that the average worker today can hold up to 11 jobs over the course of working years. Employment contracts have diversified with an increasing number of open ended contracts and part time contracts being issued by organizations. A report by the McKinsey Global Institute indicates that by 2030, up to 14% of employees globally will need to shift occupational categories in order to meet the needs of a changing labor market. If your current organization lacks opportunities for you to grow, consider moving to another organization. In doing so, you might acquire the skills you need to remain relevant in your skills as well as the much needed experience in your field.

Lesson #3:  Think and act like a global citizen

A factory that makes shoes in Kenya can sell them in China through its website or platforms such as Amazon. As technologies improve, firms are finding more efficient ways of running their operations and opportunities beyond the confines of their borders. While there are fears that automation will induce unemployment, there are emerging opportunities in most countries in Africa. Rwanda has positioned itself as the tech startup capital of Africa hence competing with Kenya and other African countries. The gig economy is not limited to the confines of a particular economy. For instance, Andela, a US company provides training for software programmers across Africa using tools that are availed online. The software developers work in Lagos, Kampala as well as Nairobi. Kenyans are finding job opportunities in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Malawi, and South Africa among other African countries.

If opportunities for growth of one’s career are not available locally, it is time to think and act global.

If you are ready for a career change, then reach out to us. Crystal Recruitment is a Leading Recruitment Agency that connects top talents to top brands.

The future of the workplace in Kenya

A few years ago, banking halls used to be a mess. Clients would flock the banking hall at certain times of the month.  The bank employees would be overwhelmed by the number of requests. Fast forward to today, most banks have empty banking halls for the better part of the month. Most transactions are carried out online. There has been a significant rise in the adaption of mobile banking solutions by individuals and organizations. This is just an example of one of the sections that has rapidly evolved as a result of technological advances. With these advances, some jobs have been created while others have been rendered redundant. Many organizations have been forced to lay off staff as they seek to remain competitive in this ever-evolving business environment.

According to research on the future of work globally, that was carried out by Price Waterhouse Coopers, the future of work is unpredictable given that it is subject to competing forces whose relation to each other is complex.  In as much as technological uptake in most sectors has been on an upward trend over the last couple of years, it is subject to other forces such as government regulations, consumer trends and shifts in economies. Robotics, artificial intelligence and automation are beneficial in a number of ways. They enhance productivity and improve lives but they can also be a source of unrest due to their disruptive nature. There have been reports in many parts of Europe and North America about protests by taxi drivers due to the expansion of Uber. Driverless cars have raised concerns about safety and led to protests in some parts of the USA.  

There is widespread fear and alarm as organizations try and grapple with the realities that will be brought about by the rapid shifts in the workplace. These fears are to some extent based on the realities. Recently, East African Breweries Limited announced that it was laying off some of its staff. Telkom Kenya also issued a notice indicating that some of its staff would be laid off. As it is, it is estimated that 5.2 million Kenya youth are either underemployed or unemployed. Reports about the emergent challenges and opportunities brought about by the preparation of most organizations for the future of work can be demotivating for those who are seeking to find their footing in their careers or to remain relevant in their respective careers.

The future of work presents unique opportunities that are yet to be fully exploited. In spite of the job losses that have been experienced in certain sectors in the recent past, there is a silver lining. Research by PWC categorizes the emergent opportunities for organizations and individuals into four: the red world, the blue world, the yellow world and the green world. Estimate reveal that while there might be up to 75% displacement of jobs, there are about 133 million jobs that will be created1. The opportunities in the yellow world are tied to the social nature of the sector. Business in this sector is secondary to the desire to do social good.

The Red world presents opportunities for innovators. Organizations in the red world are quick to adapt to new advances as they constantly seek to fulfill the desires of the consumers. Recently, Little Cab which has been offering shuttle services in Nairobi via a hailing mobile application was forced to halt its services after the government transport regulating agency, NTSA, flagged the company for failing to comply with its regulations. The online betting companies, Sport Pesa and Betin were recently forced to halt their operations and lay off their staff following a protracted battle over tax compliance. Facebook has been on the spot in the recent past due to concerns about data privacy. These are just examples of how innovation outpaces government regulation. In spite of this, the red world continues to constantly create new products and services for the ever-changing needs of consumers.  

The blue world thrives on having large corporations that are constantly seeking ways to expand their business portfolio. Mergers have been witnessed in Kenya in the retail and banking sectors as organizations prepare themselves to handle the challenges that will come with operating in an ever-evolving world. Large corporations possess the muscle and the skills to devote resources to research that will enable them to compete in the dynamic business environment in the future. Green world organizations pursue business models that factor in sustainability and concerns about demographic changes and climate change. By 2030, it is estimated that the world’s demand for energy and water will have increased by at least 50%. In Kenya, the pressure on water resources is increasingly being felt as the effects of rapid urbanization and deforestation threaten the traditional sources of water. The Green world provides opportunities for new engineering processes, recycling technologies, alternative energy sources and waste management processes.

The future of Organizations

Given that the changes in the workplace cannot be stopped, it is paramount that organizations and society adapt accordingly. For organizations, it is important to place more emphasis on training and retraining. People, not jobs, should be viewed as a priority in every organization.

In as much as the responsibility to acquire new skills is largely dependent on the individual, organizations that will thrive in the future need to make room for their employees to try new ideas, learn from their experiences and constantly rethink the ways in which they do their jobs. In order to remain relevant, the war on talent in the four worlds of work will remain fierce as organizations strive to remain relevant. It will be paramount for organizations to explicitly draw the link between people and performance and use this data to link the business objectives of the organization and the talent strategy of the organization. Traditional contracts that offer benefits such as medical insurance and pension may be rare as the world of work evolves. Organizations may find themselves grappling with the size and scale of their workforce as they seek to keep up.

What does this mean for the Workforce?

Adaptability is crucial for anyone seeking to advance his or her career in the future. In spite of the technological advances that have been made in the recent past, skills shortages are still being experienced particularly in the STEM areas. This does not mean that there are no opportunities for those whose education and skills does not fall under the STEM areas. A report of the top emerging professions listed sales and organizational development specialists alongside data analytics and software development. A survey of chief human resources officers drawn from various organizations listed the following capabilities as critical in the future workplace: creativity, complex problem solving, management capability, originality and entrepreneurship.

The World Economic Forum report on the skills required for the future workplace indicates that there will be a need for the aforementioned skills set to be blended with soft skills such as active listening, emotional intelligence and critical thinking.

In conclusion, work as we know it is constantly evolving. Those who will thrive read the times and adapt. Those who are keen spot the opportunities and take advantage of them. Change, as they often say, is the only constant thing in life.

We at Crystal Recruitment are in the business of getting you the talent that is adaptable to your business needs as the workplace keeps changing. Do reach out to us today.