Community Conversation: all about the CHRO community


At an open-mic session at the recent Community Conversation, CHROs took time to share what topics they would like to explore in order to shape the agenda for the year ahead.

Community Conversations provide a dynamic platform where HR leaders and CHROs unite to address hot-button topics, challenges and solutions. A first for the year, this Community Conversation was unique in that it was based on an earlier survey that was conducted to gather feedback from HR leaders in the CHRO South Africa community. The survey consisted of seven questions and received responses from 46 HR leaders.

Kicking off the discussions was community manager Sungula Nkabinde, who encouraged the 30-strong attendees to discuss the responses as a means to identify trends and key findings.

Bongani Phakathi, executive: HR and public affairs for Assore, complimented CHRO South Africa on the great mix of topics that were explored in 2023, “It is worthy to note that a few non-HR topics have come to the fore and it’s great that we can extend our topics to include those.”

Themba Chakela, BlueSky CPO added, “Top of mind would be the growing urgency around diversity, equality, inclusiveness and belonging (DEIB), and environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) is also climbing into focus. One would think that as HR we have nothing to do with ESG, but we do. I would like to see our approach to the 17 sustainable development goals and how we can go about accomplishing the goals in more clever ways.”

New approach alert?

When asked what interesting projects members have on the their watch for 2024, there was an array of issues including rebranding the HR function, better enabling business transformation, strategies for retaining employees from different generations, HRMIS – HR analytics, the future of hybrid working, as well as the impact of the Employment Equity Amendment Bill, AI and machine learning on big business.

Unathi Sihlahla, executive head: human resources and OD at Rand Refinery shared that her organisation is relooking at talent acquisition and retention strategy. “The broader talent management agenda is very topical in our space at the moment, given the type of skills that we recruit. Post-Covid, industries are rebounding and many organisations have recovered – because we are all fishing from the same pond, we understand that the kind of skills that we develop at Rand Refinery are attractive in both the domestic and international labour markets. So we are thinking about what is going to set us apart and make us attractive to the talent that we have, and what is going to make us an attractive employer for experienced hires and young talent in the market”

Chanel Smailes, human capital executive at KAP, agreed, saying the organisation's focus is also on talent management. “Our focus is also very much on talent management within the organisation. Over the last couple of years, we've found that skilled talent has become ever more mobile, and retaining and engaging these employees is a challenge we continually try to find solutions for.”

In the end, the attendees agreed that the talent conundrum is never going to end, but collectively and through such sessions, many are able to share ideas and learn from each other.


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