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GEA holds virtual conference for Women in HR

Mrs Victoria Hajar

The Ghana Employers’ Association (GEA), has opened a two-day virtual conference for Women in Human Resource (HR), to provide a platform for sharing experiences and practices.

The conference is also to enhance career prospects and advancement in the corporate world.

The annual conference, which is the sixth since its institution by the GEA, was in recognition of the significant contribution of women in HR to business outcomes, business performance, competitiveness, and overall industrial harmony.

Mrs Victoria Hajar, the Second Vice President, GEA, in her welcome address at the opening ceremony in Accra on
Tuesday, said the conference provided a unique opportunity for female Human Resource (HR) practitioners to grow the network, enhance their knowledge base by interacting with speakers who would provide them with insight and current trends in the profession.

She said the chosen theme: “HR Leadership for the New Normal,” for the 2020 edition, was being held at a time when the world had been hit by a global pandemic creating unprecedented disruptions to workplaces, presenting new challenges for HR development and accelerating the focus on the future of work.

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However, despite the difficulties, the GEA believed that the disruption could present more opportunities for the membership, to rethink and re-imagine the future, restructure and reskill workforce for higher productivity, Mrs Hajar said.

She said while applauding the Government of Ghana for measures taken to contain the spread of the COVID-19, it was worth noting that the impact had led to sizeable and widespread economic damages with spillover effects on the labour market, and the industrial relations climate.

“The pandemic has placed employers and employees in a situation where employment policies need to be applied more carefully,” Mrs Hajar said, adding, this had made the HR role more demanding than practitioners could have imagined a few years ago.

She said gone were the days when HR management focused on issues requiring happy hours, policy violations, employee relations, benefits and recruiting, but with the outbreak of COVID-19, the roles had now been extended to include acting as diplomats, nurses, and regulatory experts, with their voices becoming the most important in management meetings.

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Mrs Hajar said leadership, was, therefore, a non-negotiable skill and capacity that HR practitioners must demonstrate in uncertain times, hence, the theme for the conference would enable participants to deliberate and identify the critical leadership styles that would most suit the workplace during and after COVID-19.

She outlined a few areas that should engage the Conference’s attention, such as leveraging on the required technology to transform the HR domain in their various organisations.

Mrs Hajar also called for greater capacity in emotional intelligence to deal with the psychological disruptions caused by the pandemic.

“We need to create the right environment for workers to understand themselves emotionally and be able to find the right balance between their personality and their work demands,” she said.

Mrs Hajar indicated that organisations, having suffered reduced productivity to some extent, which needed to be restored in a rapid manner, would require the leadership of HR practitioners to put together the right policy mix, to motivate employees to exert the maximum efforts to render services that would ensure sustainable productivity and guarantee growth.

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Ms Vibeke Ostensjo, the Director of Administrative Services and HR, Confederation of Norwegian Enterprises, spoke about the challenges of gender imbalance and stereotyping against women in HR, saying like all other females in management in the corporate world, they encountered various challenges that made it difficult for them to climb the corporate ladder and eventually to be at the apex of their roles.

She acknowledged how crucial the role of HR practitioners had become in the era of the “new normal,” and urged them to be key drivers by putting in more efforts.

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