Hilda Kragha, CEO of The African Talent Company (TATC).
The year 2020 may have gone, but the effects of the global lockdown and COVID-19 pandemic are still visible in every work of life with many countries and organisations working to stabilise economically. One of the most-hit sectors during the pandemic is labour, employability and how people work in compliance with the new normal.
Unusual times as such require a new approach for organisations to adapt. In this interview with Dennis Erezi, Hilda Kragha, CEO of The African Talent Company (TATC), discusses work-life in the post-COVID era, adaptation and the spiralling growth of the tech sector in Africa.
For those less familiar with The African Talent Company (TATC), can you explain exactly what your company does?
The African Talent Company is Africa’s largest career development and recruitment platform. We work through our portfolio of recruitment platforms in West Africa (Jobberman Nigeria & Ghana) and East Africa (BrighterMonday Kenya & Uganda) to bridge the talent and skills gap in Africa by connecting African talents to opportunities and developing their capacities to compete in the global space. Recognising that solving talent challenges in Africa cannot be done without addressing both the supply and demand sides of the labour market, we have recently expanded our services to cover the full spectrum of African Talent Management. We offer online and offline recruitment solutions, business process outsourcing and working with like-minded partners to dig deeper into talent development through learning and upskilling, ensuring young Africans are better equipped to participate in labour markets with solid and relevant skills.
And how does this play into the future of work in Africa? What role do you see TATC playing?
We believe that the future is digital, and we see that work must be done to bring trust to online recruitment. This is why we have developed a hybrid approach to recruitment that meets employers where they are to match them with the best talent. We also understand that upskilling and developing talent is crucial to ensuring they are not left behind and can hold their own as the world of work continues to evolve globally.
Given the challenges facing Africa Tech, both short and long-term, are you confident in its future?
Absolutely. It’s important to note that Africa’s digital revolution holds more promises than perils. Africa has historically been on the disadvantaged side of the digital divide. However, the recent increase in the rate of digital adoption has proven that we can advance more quickly than we have up to this point.
What is the future of work in Africa with BPO and the gig economy?
It is definitely promising – Africa is the next global labour frontier for remote work and Gig work. The continent is starting to draw international attention for its viability as a BPO and Gig economy destination for several reasons. Some of which include the predominantly youthful population of the continent, language diversity, and relatively low labour costs, among other things. The opportunities are endless, we just need to ensure that we are ready and well equipped to take advantage of them when they come.
Technology is key to bridging the talent gap in Africa, how is TATC helping to bridge the talent gap?
Technology is at the core of our work as we deliver simple talent solutions to meet both the supply and demand sides of the labour market. For employers, our Digital recruitment products are easy to use and designed for efficiency, allowing employers to access candidate pools and use tech-based analytics to simplify their hiring needs. On the job seeker side, we have developed pathways that leverage the booming internet penetration in Africa to make e-learning more accessible. A quick example is our ongoing partnership with Mastercard Foundation to upskill over a million young Nigerians, placing them in dignified jobs. We have trained more than half a million Nigerians in Soft Skills, which is the primary driver of the project. We continuously rely on various Edtech platforms to achieve this goal.
What are the key trends/practices that companies need to start embracing?
Flexibility has to take a top spot. The post-pandemic era has bolstered employees’ confidence to demand flexibility in the way they work. While the full remote work route may be off the table for most organisations and their employees, the hybrid work model offers an excellent middle-ground for both. Companies keen on staying at the forefront of productivity and innovation must therefore embrace the hybrid work model practice. Flexibility is also an effective way to take a proactive stance against the quitting trend that hasn’t stopped ravaging the labour market post-pandemic.
Another vital trend organisations should embrace in this era is BPO and Gig work possibilities. The business landscape is more unpredictable than ever; companies are therefore constantly looking for ways to do more with less. Embracing BPO will help companies reduce overhead costs with smaller-sized full-time workforces and output-based contracts.
Lastly, companies must be on the lookout for tech solutions that will significantly impact productivity. This is the era to be alert and keep up with changes and innovations in the digital terrain like automation. With the persistent shortage of talent, automated solutions are a terrific way for companies to optimise routine tasks and use resources more productively.
What productivity tips can you share with companies looking to make a four-day workweek and work from home part of their culture?
Considering employees’ preferences. It might seem obvious that this is already at the centre of creating a hybrid work mode for employees. However, a closer look at the different circumstances of employees will give a better perspective on how best to ensure they are productive whether they work in or out of the office. Employee A may prefer to work from home on a day that may not be convenient for Employee B, based on circumstances that for instance, can range from the availability of child care to commute peculiarities.
In essence, one size fits all approach can be the bane of a company’s hybrid work model- hampering productivity.
Can you share the top two influences shaping how you think about productivity and leadership?
Dave Crenshaw, Erik J Fisher and Kathryn Finney.