Talking Talent: Recruitment Professionals In Kenya Brainstorm Disruptive Approaches To Solving Pressing HR Issues And Unearth Some Interesting Trends

A wrong hire, rushed recruitment or exit of a high performing employee costs an organisation on average 3x the annual salary of that position, once all the basic costs are included in calculations. This is a terrifying expense and one of the reasons recruitment leaders have to ensure that their companies must attract the right fit and strategically plan for succession, at all levels. One pioneering HR consulting company is trailblazing the course to help Kenyan companies achieve this. 

On Thursday, September 12th 2019, over 50 HR Experts and Top Business professionals gathered at The Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya to discuss human resource management strategies that help organisations plan for the right hire, identify, develop and retain top-performing talent and position teams for a smooth succession. This event, ‘Talking Talent’, is the second edition of a series of HR workshops planned to take place across different countries in Africa and is the brainchild of The African Talent Company (TATC), a Pan-African recruitment firm offering ‘Fit-For-Purpose’ HR solutions across Talent Acquisition, HR Technology, Data Analysis, and Consultancy.



Key speaker of the day, Martin giving his presentation on how to future-proof your business

Senior HR professionals from a wide range of top companies and industries, such as Wananchi group, CBA, Kenchic, Ramco, Netfund, Karen hospital, Autoxpress and Melvin’s Tea, were in attendance as speakers, panellists, and workshop participants. There were presentations and panel discussions, however, the two key activities that struck a chord with the participants were the presentations and the break-away sessions to deep dive on three key HR pain points: ‘Hiring Right’, ‘Managing Talent’ and ‘Succession Planning’. These one-on-one sessions were respectively led by three talent Gurus: Heather O’Shea – Managing Partner, TATC; Martin Sutherland – Global Director, PeopleTree Group and Brett Mulder – COO, PeopleTree Group.  

The presentations were very interactive feedback sessions, as the two presenters from the PeopleTree group had six quick disruption conversations with the audience around Personalizing Engagement; Rethinking Assessment; Talent Investment Strategies; Curating Learning Resources; People Analytics; and Data-driven succession planning. An encouraging statistic that stuck out was that succession planning is being practised at the top level in Kenyan companies although not in as many organisations as would be desirable. That implies that there is a need to encourage and grow this trend in all economic sectors to ensure that whenever high performers leave, a skills gap is not evidently felt in business operations. Brett Mulder, who led the breakout group on Succession planning, said, “data is useless unless someone starts doing something with it. Turn data into conversations, and with it create a development plan for your organisation that will encourage and drive succession planning.

Heather O’Shea, who focused on hiring right, also said, “Top companies all struggle with getting their workforce planning correct, not knowing when to ‘Buy, Borrow, Build or Bind’ the skill. This can be very costly, from a time, money and emotional perspective and we want to make it easy for HR leaders to understand how to choose the right strategy”. To facilitate this learning, participants were given a free workforce planning template and a demonstration on how to use this template at their respective companies.

During the panel discussion, chaired by BrighterMonday CEO, Emmanuel Mutuma, he mentioned, “There are behavioural traits in an individual, beyond the technical skills or qualifications listed on a CV, that can help recruiters identify top performers and high potentials. The panel was discussing ‘How to identify top performers and how to retain them’ and had panellist Martin Sutherland, highlighting that “High performers are not necessarily high potentials. High potentials can be hard to spot because high performance is so easy to observe that it clouds the less obvious behaviours and attributes that characterize high potentials, like change management or learning capabilities. A clear and strategic growth plan should be put in place to nurture, train and position for succession”.


Panel Discussion moderated by BrighterMonday CEO, Emmanuel Mutuma- middle.

In engagements with clients in 2019, TATC asked: “How do I future-proof my business to ensure I have the right skills to continue to grow well past 2020?”.  This was the key pain point, and to address this, TATC decided to not hold “‘another conference”‘ but rather to have a workshop, where TATC could share insights and offer their talent specialists who could bring their expertise to share with clients. Delegates were offered the opportunity to have one-on-one sessions to speak about their challenges because TATC wanted to offer the expertise to clients in an open, yet intimate forum.  The results were intriguing, as key insights around the challenges HR leaders face in succession planning and workforce planning were discovered and discussed. This is a high-impact workshop series that will occur regularly across the different markets that TATC operate. The maiden event happened in Lagos, Nigeria on the 30th of July 2019, and this second event in Nairobi was a step in the right direction, hopefully with more events in key African capital cities in the near future.


Group breakout sessions on Hiring Right


The African Talent Company (TATC) is a subsidiary of The Ringier One Africa Media Group, housing the biggest and most successful recruitment websites in Africa, including Jobberman in Kenya and Ghana, BrighterMonday in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. TATC is well-versed in understanding and solving the complex HR challenges in Africa today and takes pride in delivering the right people for the right job; thereby ensuring the clients’ growth and continued success in Africa.  TATC is proudly building Africa’s businesses with Africa’s own talent and the team is spread across 6 countries and growing.  


See pictures from the event below.

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