James Ramakau joins the 2022 CHRO Awards judging panel

The SABPP chair sees value in recognising those who champion the people agenda.

Dr James Ramakau, who is the manager of Talent and Sourcing at Anglo American, has joined the 2022 CHRO Awards judging panel.

James is skilled in HR policies, talent management, labour relations, mentoring, and individual coaching. He holds a PhD in Industrial and Organisational Psychology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

CHRO SA recently spoke with James, who is also the chairperson of the SA Board for People Practices (SABPP).

Q. What attracted you to become a CHRO SA Awards judge?

A: It is an honour to be part of the panel adjudicating CHROs who are at the pinnacle of the people practice profession. As chairperson of SABPP, the HR professional body in SA, I am always concerned about excellence, professionalism and definitive competency of our HR professionals and their impact in business, the public service as well as academia. Therefore, CHRO provides an opportunity and a platform to recognise excellence of these professionals. I am grateful to be part of the team that recognises and rewards talent and excellence.

Q: Why are HR leaders worthy of recognition for the role they play in companies?

A: Undeniably, people are the business in any sector, therefore HR leaders play a pivotal role in increasing morale and productivity in their workplaces. They are at the centre for supporting CEOs to drive effective culture and business performance. They mostly lead from the back and are hardly in the spotlight. As such, they deserve recognition and appreciation as they cannot support business, employees, and business leaders from an empty cup. They deserve to be celebrated and appreciated so they can continue championing the people agenda with excellence.

Q: How do you see the CHRO role evolving in the next few years?

A. The CHRO of the future is not just a business partner but an integral individual that the business cannot succeed without. This CHRO will be the centre of forward thinking and planning as we continue to put people at the centre of everything we do. This individual therefore will replace the CFO and the CIO to be the right-hand man of the CEO and indeed be the next CEO of the future.

Q: What skills will HR leaders require in future?

For me it will have to be foresight, contextual intelligence, innovation and heightened ethical competence. Businesses are concerned about the evolution of the world of work, multi-generational workforces as well as sustainability of businesses across all sectors. CHROs need to possess these skills to guide businesses, governments, and academia through this transition to building internal people capability for their organisations through this fast-paced journey towards connected, greener and sustainable economies. Human centred and environmentally friendly approaches to business are at their peak.

Q: Do you have any advice for the CHRO SA Awards nominees this year?

A. Yes! There will be only one winner, but all the nominees should walk tall because they are already winning in the different spaces that they operate. Being a nominee is already a great affirmation from business leaders and peers that their contribution is noteworthy. Continue being bold, continue to advocate for human flourishing and productivity, as this is the anchor of our future generations. Be proud of your contribution, and your profession (knowing that most HR professionals are rather modest and want to celebrate others than themselves).