CHRO Clement O’Reilly is deliberate about diversity


Create a place where employees can live their purpose, change and grow, the HR leader says.

Clement O’ Reilly, group executive head: human resources at MultiChoice, says it was his work in IT that led him onto the human resources career path. In fact, it is his passion for people and systems that is the cornerstone of his success.

“I was always responsible for people, so it wasn’t really a big divergence to move into the people space – although the volume has definitely increased. There is always a bit of transition period,” he says.

That transition, for Clement, also included the Covid-19 pandemic – as he took on his current role in December 2020. Prior to that he was the head of total reward for the MultiChoice Group.

“It was a difficult transition. Being unable to mingle with people was very difficult, but when we got back to the office, everything fell into place as you could meet people in person and have the required interaction,” he says.

It is through this interaction that the company has been able to “maintain and re-invigorate our great company culture”.

Part of this strategy is ensuring that people are happy and fulfilled in their jobs, thereby ensuring talent attraction and engagement.

“Our people are the means to win the hearts and minds of Africa. We know that creating great experiences across people engagement points is important to our talent. In our experience, above this is working with leaders and enabling them to grow team environments where our people are valued, listened to and supported to bring their best,” he explains.

Clement adds, “Further, we invest heavily in building critical skills and capabilities, creating high performance ownership and talent advancement so that we have sustainable value that can power our business today and into the future.”

Fulfilment in the workplace
As a result, MultiChoice continues to be a leading global media and technology employer, with a diverse workforce that operates in more than 50 markets across the continent.

A critical business issue is diversity and in Clement’s view, it is really about the customers the company serves. “That is the foundation piece because we want to innovate for our customers, which means we need to understand them and the lives that they live. Compliance is a secondary positive effect of doing the right thing as a business.”

“We therefore are deliberate in attracting and growing diversity, focusing on making sure our staff and management reflect the customers we serve. We know that having great diverse talent is one critical ingredient for success, but we also continue to foster a great place to work so that our people can live their purpose, and be challenged positively to create change and growth,” he says.

According to Clement, a common misconception is that a great place to work means that everyone must be happy. However, he notes, it’s more about being fulfilled.

“This is a challenge, because if you are not growing, then you are stagnating. As Jack Welch said, ‘I commit to making this a challenging workplace where you will not be doing the same thing over and over again’,” he explains.

The avid sports fan compares this to helping employees win season after season, not just setting the team up to win one match.

At the heart of this, for HR, is ensuring a seamless employee experience, providing opportunities for career advancement and creating cutting edge learning journeys.

“Our people teams proudly rally around a simple motto of building tomorrow’s business through great people now,” Clement concludes.

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