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.

Client Satisfaction!

“The customer’s perception is our reality.”

Client feedback is the soul of any business and we are glad that we did get an opportunity to receive some of that from one of our clients in the PR and Communication sector. Our partner, Clutch did catch up with Rose Kogi – HR Manager at Oxygene Marketing Communications Ltd and a Clutch analyst personally interviewed Rose over the phone. Below is an edited transcript

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the HR manager of Oxygène Marketing Communication. We operate in the PR and marketing space. Essentially, we’re an integrated agency that does end-to-end services. Besides the usual PR, we also do crisis management and advisement services to clients on whatever they may need, for example, financial help.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Crystal Recruitment Ltd?

My company hired them for recruitment services. We recruit a lot in our business in direct client management areas. Crystal Recruitment helped us in our search for individuals to fill our head of mobile services and account director positions. We use Crystal Recruitment specifically for their direct headhunting approach.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

First, we internally identify the needed position and ask ourselves if we can upscale someone within the organization. If we can’t, then we venture outside and have Crystal Recruitment search for candidates. When we approach them, we provide a description of the caliber of candidates we’d like to interview. We provide details about years of experience, preferred credentials, and so on.

After communicating our needs to them, they go to the market and find individuals who match the criteria. From there, they come back to us with five good candidates. That’s when we start the fast but thorough vetting process. Crystal Recruitment gives us the top three candidates. Then, we hold in-house interviews and select the best person.

For the head of mobile services position, we wanted to develop a mobile app and sell it in the market. We got an individual on board, and they came in and pushed the product into the market. The account director position was for very high-level work in PR. Crystal Recruitment helped us fill both of these positions.

What is the team composition?

I only work with Justine (Managing Director).

How did you come to work with Crystal Recruitment Ltd?

Justine and I belong to an HR network. She was referred to me by someone who worked with her before. This network contact was happy with Justine’s service so I asked to meet Justine in person. Before this engagement, I previously worked with Justine when she was at another firm.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve invested between $5,000–$10,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started the engagement in March 2018, and it’s ongoing. Recruitment is always ongoing. As a company, we’re constantly growing and looking to venture into new business. We work with Crystal Recruitment on a needs-basis, dependent upon when positions open up.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We have our own performance metrics within the organization that are based on targets. If the candidates meet our targets and can bring in new business as well as build on existing business, then we’re pleased. All our new hires should be able to sell the same high standard of service to our customers.

One thing that Crystal Recruitment does particularly well is that they approach our competition. They look at our competitors and see which individuals fill their positions and then select candidates from the market who emulate those characteristics.

How did Crystal Recruitment Ltd perform from a project management standpoint?

Crystal Recruitment was able to recruit individuals for the two positions within the allotted time. By nature, recruitment occurs on an urgent timeline. Most of the time, managers needed someone to fill the position and do the work yesterday.

Crystal Recruitment started on the process immediately. Within a week they had identified three candidates and by the second week, we were looking to interview. In terms of meeting timelines, I can really vouch for their good work.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Their two most impressive attributes are efficiency and time. I’ve worked in recruitment myself, so I have a lot to compare them to. Recruitment is all about speed, it’s vital to get someone who fits the criteria and will be a good resource for the company. Crystal Recruitment possesses that efficiency.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No, I can’t think of anything. In terms of communication, they were very open and receptive to feedback. For example, if they found someone who’s a good fit for skill but not culture, they’d go back to the drawing board and find someone who fits both. Crystal Recruitment handles feedback in a positive manner, so I’m content.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Go for it and work with them. They’re a good recruitment firm and will meet your needs.

So there you have it, do give Crystal Recruitment a try and expect stellar services from us. We will work with you and for you and will not stop till you get the right people for your business. Do reach out today via our office line 0202101466 or email address and we will get back to you for further discussion.

Crystal Recruitment Recognizes Small Businesses in Kenya

Thank you for your business and your trust. It is our pleasure to work with you.

In Kenya, small and medium-sized enterprises make up about 98% of all businesses in the country. Additionally, SMEs’ share of the economy is growing substantially. Even though each individual small business contributes a small amount to the economy, together, they make up the backbone of the society. In the current climate, it’s important to recognize these contributions and honor them. As a small business ourselves, we know it isn’t always easy, but seeing the impact our work makes on our clients’ livelihoods makes it worth it. 

We have a small, but mighty team that has worked to place candidates in temporary and permanent positions. Since 2015, we’ve worked with numerous clients from different industries including Manufacturing, Hospitality, Business Process Outsourcing, Law, Marketing, and Finance. Our services make it easier for our clients to focus on their core business while we provide full-scale recruiting services. This is because of our promise to deliver on below.

  • Scalability – Scalable access to Talent when and where You need it
  • Quality – Higher quality talent aligned to your business vision
  • Speed – Business critical roles filled faster to impact bottom line
  • Brand– Enhanced employer brand, diversity and competitive position

Over and above, we’re happy to have the support of platforms like Clutch and the Manifest where we can be listed for free among other B2B service providers. The Manifest helps clients connect with leading business experts in different service areas and geographic locations. Similarly, Clutch offers ratings and reviews from previous customers.

We recently received a 5-star review from a happy client who we worked with to fill two positions based on their requirements. You can read the full review here. We’re so appreciative of the hard work that our team put in to make this project happen. Our team adhered to timelines and delivered results on time. In fact, our team was able to present candidates that met the client’s needs within a week.

Here’s what our client has to say: 

“Recruitment is all about speed, it’s vital to get someone who fits the criteria and will be a good resource for the company. Crystal Recruitment possesses that efficiency.”

We’re thankful for the clients that chose to work with us, and we’d appreciate it if you supported us at this time by leaving a review on Clutch.

And if you need a little bit more convincing why you should work with us, see our proposition outlined.

  • Crystal Recruitment sources for highly skilled set of talents by use of a sophisticated screening / interviewing system i.e. a structured behavioral interviewing system (SBI) to accurately screen candidates, which is statistically far more predictive than any other system.
  • Our team is proactive in sourcing and have an ongoing candidate pipeline development.
  • We have an 85% fill ratio for every open position we partner for.
  • We have a region wide presence within East Africa
  • High caliber candidates as we are always sourcing for candidates with the below qualities;
  1. Consistently exceed expectations
  2. Get things done on time without making excuses
  3. Are great problem solvers
  4. Fit with the culture, the team and the Hiring Manager
  5. Are highly motivated to do the work that needs to be done.

If you have any questions or are interested in working with us, don’t hesitate to reach out and you can also follow this link to view our company profile. You can email us at selection@crystalrecruitment.co.ke or check out our website!

What you need to know before you start your new remote job!

“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”
~Stephen Covey

As the country continues to grapple with the effects of COVID 19, the economic effects are gradually being felt. Employees in the aviation industry, transport sector as well tourism sector have either been furloughed or laid off. Job loss in this particular environment can be difficult, if not complicated, given that jobs seem to be scarce and hard to find. This does not mean that there is no hope for you. Organizations are increasingly realigning their workforce as they seek to diversify and confront the challenges that have been presented by COVID-19.

Remote working is new for most organizations.

A survey carried out in Kenya in 2019 indicated that 63.3% of millennials in the country would prefer to have flexible working hours. For years, organizations have been slow to adopt flexible or remote working models. This crisis has been a crash program for most of organizations. Amidst challenges with infrastructure and cyber security, human resource managers have had to reconsider their talent management strategies.

An organization may have hired you remotely but that does not mean that processes such as onboarding have been integrated into the remote working model. Adapting the onboarding experience to remote working might not be a priority for the organization at the moment. As the new hire, it counts to have that in mind. It helps you keep your expectations in check and directs you towards asking questions that can ease your entry into the organization.

What do you need to do as the new hire?

Your attitude determines your altitude

Focus on the bright side of things even as you ease into your new role. Remote working is the future of work moved forward. It can be adapted to various roles with relative ease. You will not have to worry about going to an office most of the time hence it is safe.  Be enthusiastic about it. Learn every day. Embrace the opportunity to tackle a new challenge. 

You should have a proactive approach towards learning given that it may not be possible to be in the same space with your colleagues. Schedule time at the beginning and at the end of the day to draft questions you may have about your work. In the office, your team mates can easily pick up a quizzical look and clarify their points. Due to the limitations of virtual technologies, this may not be possible during a video conference call. Embrace a “think-on-your-feet” approach and seek clarification whenever you are uncertain on matters arising during a virtual meeting or phone call.

Every organization has its unspoken norms. It is easy to pick on these while working in a physical office. When working virtually, this may prove to be challenging. Schedule one-on-one meetings with at least two or three colleagues in order to get to know the company’s culture better. These interactions can be an opportunity to talk about the projects you are working on as well as learning about the projects that your colleagues are working on. This will provide you with insights that can help you address some of the challenges you could be facing.

In addition to this, it is easy to assume that virtual technologies are sufficient to remind you of what needs to be done. Keep a notebook and a pen on your desk as you work. It is easy to forget new aspects of your new “office.” Writing notes in a diary and reading them later can help you with that.

Etiquette

The fact that you are “technically” at work does not mean you are not at work. Observe the company’s dress code at all times. Be formal and polite in your verbal and written communication. Your managers may not be there to supervise your every move but this is not an excuse to binge watch television shows or chat incessantly during working hours.  A daily routine is essential in ensuring that you succeed as a remote employee. 

 IT considerations

Every organization has its own IT policies which are particularly important when working remotely. Learn these policies and observe them. Some organizations might require their employees to work via VPN’s in order to ease access to resources in the main servers. As a result of this, the speeds may be affected. Patience, they say, can cook a stone. Embrace the challenge that comes with it and learn to work around it. If the organization allocates resources such as data bundles and call resources, it is important to ensure that those resources are strictly utilized for carrying out work related functions. It may also be important to identify a room within your house with minimal distractions. This will enhance your productivity and ensure that you meet your objectives.

Performance considerations

It is important to understand the metrics that will be used to gauge your performance in order to focus your efforts. For instance, if you are in the sales and marketing department, you need to work towards ensuring you generate a specific number of leads per day in order to meet your monthly target. If you are working as an accountant, you need to have a daily flow of tasks that culminates into meeting the month’s objectives.

Planning ahead is the first step towards getting ahead.  

 Identify your mentors

*. There are two types of mentors. The first type of mentors is comprised of people who know how to get things done within the organization. The second group of mentors is comprised of people who are well connected within the organization and beyond and helps you navigate key spaces with ease. If you have just started working remotely, the first group of people is essential. Using emails and professional networks like LinkedIn, you can work towards building a network that will help you succeed in your career.

Announce that you are new

People tend to notice a new face in the office with relative ease. In such circumstances, they easily offer help. This is not possible when working remotely. Whenever there is a team meeting, make an effort to introduce yourself in the early stages of the meeting. You can also indicate that you are new to the team in your emails. This will enable your colleagues to bring you up to date on any details that you may not be aware of. It is not easy to be the new person in the office and the current situation does not make it any easier. By being proactive, asking for help and building relationships, you will eventually adopt to your new remote job.

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.

Mental Health in the Workplace

“The strongest people are those who win battles we know nothing about.” 

According to the World Health Organization, mental illness affects one in four persons globally. In Kenya, it is estimated that about one out of ten individuals suffers from mental illness. 25-40% of people seeking treatment from general medical facilities suffer from mental illnesses. Most of the individuals who are affected by mental illnesses are below the age of 35 years.  A survey carried out by Dr. Edith Kwobah which was published in the BMC Psychiatry Journal indicated that there might be close to 5 million Kenyans affected by mental illnesses.   

The effect of the subtle and often ignored mental illness is made evident by the rising number of suicides in the country. Conservative estimates indicate that the suicide rate in Kenya is about 7.9%. Mental illness related suicides are not limited to any tribe, religion, gender or social class. In October 2018, Steve Mumbo who had worked as business recovery manager at PwC, a leading audit firm in the country plunged to his death from the 17th floor of a building. It was speculated that his death may have been as a result of work related stress and depression.  Mental illnesses can take various forms including bipolar disorders, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and psychotic disorders. The underlying causes of mental illness are complex and multifaceted but work related pressures have been known to trigger or aggravate pre-existing mental health conditions.

In a speech that was delivered by the Director of Medical Services, Dr. Jackson Kioko, it was revealed that 10% of absenteeism from work is related to mental illness. It has also been found that an episode of depression can lead to a loss of up to 36 working days. Mental illness can also result in presentism which results in employees being present but mentally disengaged from their jobs.  While statistics on the effect of mental illness on business in Kenya are scarce, other countries have found that mental illness has serious financial implications. For instance, statistics from the USA indicate that depression costs the economy $51 billion. Estimates from the UK indicate the mental illness costs UK businesses about €26 billion. 10% of these costs go towards the replacement of staff, 20% are attributed to absenteeism while 60% are attributed to reduced productivity at work. In the report on the costs of mental illnesses in the UK, it was reported up to 30% of these costs can be reduced by implementing work place well-being programs at the workplace.

 Mental illness remains a taboo subject in Kenya with most people attributing it to spiritual causes. The country only spends 0.05% of its health budget on mental health making access to mental health facilities beyond the reach of many. There is a scarcity of psychiatrists and psychologists in the public and private health care sectors. Insurance companies are hesitant to cover costs associated with mental health related illnesses in the country. These factors contribute to making it difficult for organizations to take steps towards the improvement of mental well-being at the work place.

On average, a person will spend 90,000hours at work. Internal or external factors related to the work place can contribute to poor mental health which in turn affects employee’s productivity and career prospects. Work related matters such as an overload of work, long working hours, unreasonable deadlines and job insecurity contribute to poor mental health. A review of 228 research studies on employee wellbeing reported that there was a significant relationship between work place stress and health outcomes. Job insecurity was found to increase the odds of reporting poor health by about 50%. Having high demands at work increased the odds of being diagnosed with illness by a physician by 35%. When a local office technology company in Kenya carried out a survey, it was found that most of the employees only had functional relationships at work. Most of the employees stated that they felt isolated and unrecognized which made them anxious at times. This is just one of the many organizations in Kenya whose employees may be courting poor mental health at the work place. Most organizations lack data on the status of the mental health of their employees in spite of the significant contribution of mental health to productivity.

In as much as there has been an increase in awareness about mental health in the workplace, most organizations have been slow to implement mental health policies. Traditionally, most organizations implement mental health initiatives at work following a mental health related incident in their organizations. Reactive measures towards improving mental health at the workplace often have little effect as compared to proactive, data driven measures. Most organizations also lack an understanding of the business case for having initiatives that promote mental well-being at the work place. Measuring the return on investment (ROI) for workplace well-being programs often stands as a barrier to companies seeking to improve the mental well-being of their employees.

In spite of the existence of these barriers, a number of organizations are leading the way. Unilever is a good example of an organization that has a mental wellbeing program in place. The company provides training for its managers to enable them to recognize signs of mental illness. The Copy Cat Group Limited in Kenya has an employee assistance program in place which allows employees to call a counsellor who works for the organization and discuss matters relating to their mental well-being. Kenya Railways has trained peer educators and counsellors as part of its work force who help their colleagues navigate matters related to mental health.

There are still many organizations in Kenya and in other parts of the continent that are lagging behind in promoting mental well-being at the work place. This mirrors the low priority assigned to mental well-being in the continent. Statistics by World Health Organization indicate that about 46% of countries in Africa lack a mental health policy. Employers need to create a culture of mental health awareness and promote initiatives that help prevent mental illness. Leaders play a crucial role in encouraging employees to talk about mental health and providing support for those who suffer from mental illness. This would help in mitigating stigma associated with mental health hence improving outcomes associated with mental illness. Barclays Bank (currently trading as Absa Group) provides a good example on how to do this. The bank had a campaign dubbed “This is Me” in which employees suffering from mental illness talked about their struggles and triumphs with mental illness. There are other actions that can be implemented by organizations such as:

  • Creation of  a culture of proactive, preventative management of  workplace well being
  • Having leaders model work-life model
  • Evaluation the effectiveness of  workplace well-being interventions using tools such as Mind Workplace Wellbeing Index

There is no one size fits all but a company needs to start somewhere; and what better place than how you hire by really getting to know your potential employees. Talk to us today for your hiring needs and we shall be part of your employee’s journey.