The future of work is the present preoccupation of everyone whose responsibility it is to shape today’s environment, to keep pace with the brave new world of tomorrow, as it is perceived, or imagined. That, they say, is where Eagles Capacity Building Centre, comes in.
From the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to some of the world’s leading consultants, such as McKinsey and Company, Deloitte, how the future work place will look, is a burning question globally, and Rwanda’s engagement with the debate is to say the least timely.
During what they called a work festival, at Kigali’s Serena Hotel, the organisers took participants, mostly Human Resources (HR) managers, through not only what work will look like in times to come, but what can be done now, to stay in tune with what is after all an evolving process, rather than an event.
Participants heard about Technology and the future of learning and development in the work place, there was Leading with empathy: the mindset shift in trying times, they were told about Business and Personal Ethics in Today’s Dynamic Workplace and How Leaders Adapt, and much more besides.
For all the emphasis on the future however, these necessary changes are it seems, underpinned by time honoured awareness for considerate human relationships, and the nature of leadership.
Talking about ‘leading with empathy’ the event’s key note speaker, Dr John Opute, Associate Professor of International HRM, emphasized the importance of understanding the people working within a department, rather than simply managing the department.
“Every HR manager, is a manager of people. If you show people that you care for them, it becomes difficult for them to let you down.”
Opute suggests that to properly understand this, managers need to be aware that there is a difference between management and leadership, that the two concepts are entirely different. Leaders do manage, but managers are not necessary leaders, and management is not necessarily leadership.
It is this understanding, this awareness that Eagles Capacity Building Centre (ECBC), aims to inculcate into managerial thinking.
Even as the work place prepares for the advent of Artificial Intelligence, ever increasing computerisation, the most important component, is still human intelligence, and the human emotions that come with it.
“Employers are focused on deliverables” says ECBC founder and Chief Executive Officer, Francine Uwera Havugimana, “ and it is important to remember that those deliverables are produced by employees, and the happier in their work the employees are, the more they are able to produce those deliverables.”
“Investment in the welfare of employees, is actually investment in the company” she adds, “you can have all the training tools in place, for instance, but if your employees are not happy, it is unlikely to achieve the desired results.”
The event’s message resonated with HR employee, Sonia Batamuriza. “I found the event interesting. It met my expectations, and I am glad I came.” She however, feels that there is a need for an awareness campaign, before employers understand, and are persuaded to subscribe to the thinking where employee welfare is put centre stage.
“We already try to practise many of the recommendations where I work” she said, “but in general, more education for both employees and employers, is needed, to change the culture in the work place.”