HR executive Germinah Nyikana relishes the human element

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Clicks Group HR executive Germinah Nyikana shares her philosophy on HR and people-centric leadership

Embarking on a career journey can often take unexpected turns, leading to fulfilling paths we might not have initially imagined. Germinah Nyikana, HR executive at Clicks, shares her story of resilience, determination, and the profound influence of key individuals she encountered along the way.

Life’s lessons and ambitions

Germinah’s formative years in Vosloorus, growing up as the middle child in a family of five, greatly influenced her perspective on life.

Becoming a mother at a tender age marked a profound turning point in Germinah’s life journey. It was a chapter that tested her resilience, determination, and her ability to juggle multiple responsibilities. Navigating the intricacies of motherhood while pursuing her educational and career ambitions is a testament to her unwavering faith and spirit. She faced the daily challenges of meeting her child’s needs while striving for personal growth.

She says the cornerstone of her life has always been her profound relationship with her mother. While initially, her life choices may have brought disappointment to her mother, the unbreakable thread of maternal love remained intact.

She says, “My mother’s commitment to pursuing education after her divorce from my father was a testament to her unwavering resolve to create a better life for her family. This tenacity in the pursuit of knowledge left a deep impression on me and ignited my determination to excel in everything I would do in future.” Knowing that her mother stood by her side, regardless of the circumstances, gave her the strength to confront obstacles head-on.

Academia and ambiguity

Germinah initially pursued a career in electrical engineering before realising it wasn’t her true calling. However, a fortunate encounter with a helpful individual at university led her to embark on a BA degree, propelling her towards the fields of psychology, information science, and industrial psychology. She began her career in a company specialising in TV rentals and over time, she gradually transitioned into the realm of cell phone sales.

Despite this seeming divergence from her initial dream, these experiences played a crucial role in shaping her future. As she navigated her role she found herself moving from sales to a vital position: training consultants on the operation of cell phones. This transition marked a turning point in her career, highlighting her adaptability and eagerness to embrace new opportunities.

In a twist of fate, during the acquisition of the company by one of the major cell phone organisations, Germinah discovered an opening for a junior training facilitator role in a clothing retail company. Little did she know, this step would eventually pave her way into the dynamic field of human resources.

Coaching and empowering the next generation

In her role as an HR executive, she skilfully oversees a team of approximately 150 professionals, the majority of whom are young, talented women. “I am passionate about empowering others, particularly those starting their career journeys,” she says. “I wholeheartedly offer mentorship and guidance because I am aware of the vital role of recognising and fostering potential in individuals.”

Germinah underscores the necessity of a thorough understanding when guiding others. “To claim that to mentor and coach people, I must truly understand the subject. That is why I pursued my master’s in leadership and management coaching at Stellenbosch,” she says.

“We sometimes cause harm if we do not fully understand what we are dealing with and the long-term implications of our actions,” she explains. “I provide guidance to interns, graduates, and young individuals seeking advice," she shares. Her mentorship and coaching are grounded in just in personal experience but in formal learning and a dedicated commitment to empowering and uplifting those around her.

The power of context and representation

Germinah firmly believes that understanding the context is paramount when guiding others. She often emphasises: “Context is everything.” To drive this point home, she shares her own experiences to highlight the importance of comprehending various contexts, particularly in diverse environments where different viewpoints are essential.

“A particularly eye-opening coaching session with a young black professional underscores the significance of representation and recognising one’s role within a broader context. In this session, “I had the opportunity to help him understand a crucial principle: when you’re part of a team, it’s important to understand what is required to perform in a role, team and business context. This lesson not only benefits individuals but also contributes to the overall success of the team and organisation.”

Demystifying human resources

She is deeply passionate about highlighting the pivotal role of HR within an organisation. To her, it’s vital that people recognise the complexity and significance of HR. “Many tend to oversimplify it, missing its various facets and intricacies. HR brings a human touch to a business, significantly impacting the creation of a positive workplace and the wellbeing of employees.”

Her mission is to redefine HR, promoting professionalism by treating everyone with respect, understanding, and kindness. “I see myself as the human aspect of the resource,” she says.

Leading with purpose and integrity

In her unwavering commitment to purposeful leadership, Germinah emphasises the significance of anchoring oneself with supportive individuals, be it family, friends, or trusted colleagues. She says, “I would not be able to do my job without the support of my husband and children, mentors, friends and amazing team. These relationships provide not only emotional support but also valuable insights and guidance essential for effective decision-making and leadership.”

Faith, a cornerstone of Germinah’s leadership philosophy, forms a vital anchor in her life. Guided by her beliefs and principles, she says she leads by faith, which empowers her to face challenges head-on, bolstered by the conviction that she is part of a larger purpose, both personally and professionally.

These anchors not only fortify her against the challenges inherent in leading a substantial HR team but also equip her to contribute meaningfully to Clicks Group.

 

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