The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: HR Managers Asked to Think Business

Human resource practitioners have been challenged to ensure that their decisions positively impact on the business side of the organisations where they work.

Francis Kamulegeya, a senior partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers Uganda, told HR managers at a meeting last week that they could propel the business of their organisations because they were the custodians of talent.

"Time has reached where organisations need you as business leaders with HR expertise," he said.

Themed Defining the next stage of HR practice in Uganda, the meeting at Serena Hotel was organized by the Human Resource Managers' Association of Uganda (HRMAU). Its purpose was to find out what chief executives expect from their HR managers.

"How many of you can sustain a conversation about business for more than five minutes?" Kamulegeya asked.

"You are experts in human capital management but to be relevant, you ought to be at the forefront of the organisations and sell the brand. Learn the language of organisational growth," he said.

Prof Waswa Balunywa, the principal of Makerere University Business School, said HR managers seem to handle petty issues justifying why some executive officers rarely seek their views while taking decisions.

"I can't take you serious when you come to my office with hygiene issues. But I will listen if you come to discuss how we can empower employees for better productivity," Balunywa said.

But Henry Kibirige, the HR manager for Community Integrated Development Initiatives (CIDI) international, differed.

"When I come to you with hygiene issues, it means that there is a big problem that can affect the organisation's productivity" he said.

However, KCB bank's Learning and Development manager, Sarah Kajumaba, said most organisations did not prioritise capacity building which indirectly affects productivity.

"The best way to increase productivity is through trainings that increase employee capacities. But our bosses see trainings as a wastage of money," she said.

Prof John Munene, a human resource consultant, proposed that instead of confusing human resource managers with business models, they should be trained in HR analytics.

Munene said they can develop a programme where HR managers can be empowered to track, in numbers terms, how their activities contributed to money generation for the organisation.

"Don't be misled by CEOs. They want you to know everything but in trying to know everything, you may end up de-skilling yourselves," he advised.

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