Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

3 December 2012

Rwanda: Role of Human Resource Managers Should Increase

The Minister of Labor and Public Service, Anastase Murekezi, last week urged human resource managers from public and private organizations to play a critical role in addressing the skills gaps for performance improvement and driving the country's development goals.

According to the Minister, human resource professionals have to play a significant role in effective leadership, building successful teams, drive change management for better institutional performance. "I don't yet see any participation of human resource managers in taking public commitment," Murekezi said. "A human resource manager can resign and it won't be noticed for three months - we can't accept that."

He made the remarks during the third national human resource managers conference, which was attended by 250 of them from public, private and civil society institutions. He pointed out that the latest report by the auditor general revealed that the role of human resource managers was almost nil - all concerned officials blamed the mismanagement of funds on the lack of capacity of their workers.

For Murekezi, human resource managers are about more than checking attendance and payroll. "Development is about people," he said. "Let's consider human resource managers as key tools in driving socio-economic transformation of our country."

Nonetheless, the mismatch between skills and jobs still remains an issue of concern. Experts warn that the aspiration to achieve a knowledge-based economy requires effective and efficient human resources with capacity that can deliver to the expectations of the people.

That was the reason for the establishment of the Public Sector Capacity Building Secretariat (PSCBS), a government agency working with training institutions such as RIAM to build capacity of the workforce.

All officials agree that the continuous training of their staff is needed.

"I wouldn't say that there is no capacity in Rwanda, but it's not sufficient to drive our development as we want it," said Eugenie Kayitesi, a human resource development specialist at PSCBS. "So we are continuously trying to build capacity because we are living in a changing world and environment."

She explained that the capacity building is required on different levels, starting with institutional capacity which means that institutions have to put in place required equipment to create an adequate working environment. Individual capacity also needs to be given attention, which Kayitesi said should be the main responsibility of human resource managers, to make sure that employees are continuously trained to achieve the institutions' objectives. Proper guidelines also play a critical role in improving performance.

Steven Karangwa, the vice-chairman of the Rwanda Human Resource Management Organization (RHRMO), observed that regardless of someone's degree, training is essential for better performance. "Having a Master's or PhD doesn't mean that you are well skilled, you still need trainings to fit in the working environment," he pointed out. "Human resource managers should include training in their budget because well-trained workers are fundamental to institutional as well as national development."

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