Trend Alert! New Ways of Working in Africa

Human capital advisory firm, Africa People Advisory Group, has released the findings from a recent Pan-African study into “New Ways of Working”. The goal of the study was to understand organisational responses to the impacts of COVID-19 whilst at the same time recognising how organisations are responding to the continued impact of 4IR (4th Industrial Revolution) and technology.

African businesses will be adopting new ways of working
The workplace as we know it is set to change in Africa. Image courtesy of Luca Bravo on Unsplash

What makes the study and its findings unique is that it gathered responses from multiple countries and industries across Africa, and represents a true African view, unlike so many studies of this nature.

The six trends defining the present and future of work in Africa

The study identified six trends that should be important for CEOs and business leaders alike in planning their employee and people-response to the issues covered.

Hybrid working models

The first finding highlights the reality that Africa is likely to adopt hybrid working models in the future. This means that employees would be able to work remotely or from an office. It will also require a new set of skills to be built for leaders to be effective.

Close up image of african woman working from home
Businesses in Africa may adopt hybrid working models in future. Image courtesy of Photo by SHVETS production from Pexels

Says Janene Schwartz, Managing Partner at Africa People Advisory Group, “Leaders really hold the key to unlocking “New Ways of Working”. But at the same time, we should not assume the leaders of the past have the skills to drive the change. Skills such as digital literacy becomes important for leaders to lead effectively into the future.”

4IR and technology

Currently, not many organisations are thinking about the impacts of the 4IR and technology on their business and structures according to findings from the study.

African businesses should be thinking about what new roles are needed to enable them to adjust to a new work reality if they must remain relevant. Despite this observation, many organisations have been quick to pivot their learning and development functions to deliver learning in a whole new way in the last year.

Higher risk of employee burnout


The new working model will require better wellness initiatives
Employees are more likely to experience burnout and will need better wellness packages. Image courtesy of Monstera from Pexels

Outlook number three shows that there is a heightened risk for employee burnout and that organisations need to refresh their employee wellness strategies and programs. It is encouraging to see that many organisations have adjusted their strategies, especially so during COVID-19.

The evolution of HR

One of the most critical of all disciplines in the organisational structure has been the function of Human Resources over the past year. “HR professionals have been stretched and challenged in ways we have never seen before”, says Deon de Swardt, Managing Partner at Africa People Advisory Group.

HR professionals must build a new set of skills to adapt to the future of work in Africa. Skills such as HR Metrics and Analytics becomes key in helping the business solve people challenges. There is a gap in where HR needs to function and where the function is right now.

The adoption of global HR practices
HR in Africa must employ new ways of working including global practices
HR must adopt global best practices to advance the workplace. Image courtesy of Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash

The fifth outlook indicates that our continent is lagging as far as implementing global best practices in Human Resources. “To be globally competitive, Africa based organisations need to start focusing on implementing best practices. Placing the employee at the centre of the organisational universe, through concepts such as employee experience (EX) will go a long way in delivering value”, says Janene Schwartz.

Diversity and Inclusion

The final trend suggests that Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) efforts are not getting the right level of attention, and to truly make progress the discussion on D&I should be elevated to the boardroom.

The full report provides some guidance and recommendations for organisations to address some of the issues identified. “It is our hope that senior leaders will take heed of the recommendations in the report to enable a smooth transition for their organisations to “New Ways of Working”, says Deon de Swardt.

Africa People Advisory Group (APAG) is an advisory firm that unlocks business growth through people insights while serving clients through nurturing long-term relationships, understanding local context and placing people at the heart of the business. APAG provides a range of human resource solutions focused on rewards, organisation effectiveness and talent management.

Source: Africa Newsroom

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