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HR Challenges in Kenya: Harambee for Human Resources
HR Insights & Analytics

HR Challenges in Kenya: Harambee for Human Resources

Deepak Nachnani
August 8, 2023

Kenya – in the words of Jomo Kenyata, while gaining independence from the British, defined it as a moment for Harambee. Pulling it together, working together to build something rich and spectacular that is special not only for Africa but the entire world.  

What does Harambee mean?

The word Harambee, with origins in porters calling for help from fellow porters to lift something heavy, or the Indian migrant labourer that while trying to achieve a difficult objective together calling out to their god Hari and goddess Ambe. The word had defined the Kenyan experience.  

To collaborate, pull together, to help, contribute and for new beginnings. One that has built the Kenya of today.  

It’s time to Harambee for Human Resources, Kenya | peopleHum

The pandemic has aggravated economic and employment issues for millions of Kenyans. Over a million Kenyans have lost their livelihoods due to the impact of Covid. Rebuilding from the pandemic will require Harambee to pull it together. As was done by Jomo Kenyata after Kenya gained independence from the British.  

Rebuilding a country - as many countries will undergo after coming out of the pandemic - will require something like a Harambee to pull through the magic of collaboration and self-reliance. The private sector, collaborating with the government and the public sector, will be a key critical component in the rebuilding of people’s lives. Human resources in Kenyan organizations will play a bigger role during this rebuilding.  

They would need to opitimize, deal with the uncertainty of employees, focus more on employee engagement and for hiring talent to recover from the cutbacks during the pandemic which lead to a lot of HR Challenges in Kenya.

5 Human resource Challenges in Kenya to focus on

There would be a lot of people aspects that leaders and human resource departments would need to grapple with. This would be an opportunity to set organizational processes right for the future. To accelerate and make people operations more efficient. Technology will be a key enabler in this goal.  

HR challenges that most organizations would face is the solving for the various needs of different functions of the organization. Needs like hiring, engagement, productivity tracking, performance evaluation, and managing core data will be key.  

The future might mean hybrid workplaces. Some work-from-home to provide the flexibility that the employee requires, and some critical, operational and people functions that would need to be driven from an in-office presence. Managing and making the business successful will be a challenging ordeal.  

Technology is the only solution for keeping things tied-in and connected. But technology itself tends to be complex to onboard, train and use for effectiveness. Especially when organizations look for an individual tool to solve for a specific. Instead, most future looking organizations are looking towards end-to-end platforms that solve everything needed for a business function.  

An integrated platform, providing end-to-end functionality, with new age automation techniques to make things faster and more consistent. A platform that is built ground up to exploit the power of data and provide insights to make people functions more effective. Technology that is accessible from anywhere, anytime without the need to invest in data centers or IT personnel to manage. In other words, technology in the cloud that does not need any upfront investments, and can be accessed from the web, mobile and from communications platforms like Slack, MS teams and Google. Integrated and powerful since it is built for ease-of-use and easier onboarding. Something you can select, onboard all your employees in a couple of weeks including setup and training to really save time, cost, and resources to get up and running quickly.  

1. Hiring

In 2015, The Judicial Services Comission (JSC) advertised for 1000 vacancies and received 80,000 applications. Something similar is bound to be experienced as we rebuild from the crisis. The JSC had to pull in help from other governmental agencies to effectively carry out the recruitment process.  

Technology could have helped here. New technologies like resume parsing which reads the resume using machine learning avoiding the need for data entry. Once the resume is read by the system, applying probability determination to all the resumes for matching the job needs can also be done by the software. Once the probability is applied, it's an easy task for ranking the most suitable resumes that can perform the work without pulling in additional people into the manual filtering process. Once the filters are in place, it's as easy as coordinating, scheduling, tracking, offering and onboarding of the qualified candidates. Again, one of the HR challenges in Kenya that can be automated by new age systems like peopleHum.  

2. Collaboration and employee engagement

New and old employees will need help. To adjust to return-to-work conditions as well as adapt to a hybrid workplace. Giving them a voice would be critical. There will be a need for employee engagement tools to make the work easier for Human resources. Tools like customized surveys, polls and pulse surveys to get the beat of the people working for the organization. To institute rewards and recognition programs so that employees feel connected and recognized for their efforts.

The simple matter of notifications to keep everyone abreast of changing policies, needs and internal and external happenings. For senior leaders to directly communicate with everyone in the company will bring the organization together. Technology again will be critical in making this real. New age platforms like peopleHum provide for all these functions out of the box with all-in Employee Engagement modules that can be accessed via the web, mobile phones and chatbots.  

3. Performance management

One of the biggest opportunities for organizations rebuilding out of the pandemic is to create new age processes. Performance management is a backbone process for any organization that if done wrongly could prove very expensive to recover from. A new age periodic, or continuous performance management system that is completely paperless, automated for recurring cycles and provides drill-down across organizations, teams and individuals is an ideal choice to acquire.

Platforms like peopleHum provide such a performance management system to take the tedious out of the process, go paperless, increase effectiveness and efficacy of measurement and make it a breeze. Gone are the days of stressful planning, rollout and measure of the old days for Human resources. The process can now be powered through with powerful platform solutions like peopleHum.  

4. Analytics and insights

It is said that 86% of a Human Resources job is collecting, scrubbing and analyzing data and responding to queries. With advanced technology to help this number can be drastically reduced freeing time and resources to focus on the critical need for HR, to listen, connect, resolve and align employees and employee issues.  

A new age platform comes in built with deep HR analytics and customer report generators that make it really easy to pre-empt issues. Heats maps showing which teams are facing what sort of issues, insights into who are the best performers, recruiters, what are the best performing teams and a lot more can be at your fingertips.  

The custom report builder can provide for any kind of query and report that you will need to provide leaders and management on a real time or a periodic basis.  

5. The new, fully automated HR Service desk

HR service delivery takes time. Information is changing and working through a generalist setup in organizations to drive down policies, and getting information and data up has proved to be inefficient.  

Instead, the use of Natural Language Processing technologies has gained prevalence. Exposed via the means of a chatbot, this can take over entire HR service desks and the service delivery function to intelligently answer any employee question. Technologies like PHIA from peopleHum take this a step beyond. They do not require you to load Frequently asked questions that require a lot of time and effort to generate. Instead DocuSense, that is the core of PHIA, requires you to just load your policy, guidelines and other documents and the self-learning engine consumes, learns and is ready to answer any question in seconds.


Human resources will need a lot of help and as would leaders to make their organization more effective, and recover from the lost years in Covid. It would also mean adjusting to a new normal which leads to Hybrid workplaces as technologies become more widespread and allow people to work flexibly from wherever they are.  

Organizations would need to retool their processes to get faster and more efficient. People are the most important asset in any organization. As Zig Ziglar said,  

“You don’t build a business; you build your employees and employees build your business.”  

Technology has kept us occupied and sane during the pandemic, it has provided us the means to stay connected, to communicate and collaborate to keep things moving, meeting the needs of our customers. People technology built around the needs of an employee and the organization will become the de facto. Integrated platforms that bring in the power of the latest in HR and technology will become omni-present. It’s time you reflect on the need for today and for the world you are going to build for tomorrow. It's time to stand up, take charge and it's time for Harambee, to rebuilt, pull in together.  

Let us all work together. Let’s get up and go! There is a bright future ahead of us rebuilding from the crisis. And Human Resources has a very significant role to play.  

About peopleHum  

peopleHum is a one view integrated platform for the complete employee experience and journey from hiring to offboarding.

It’s time to Harambee for Human Resources, Kenya | peopleHum

Enable your employees to communicate, collaborate, and focus on resilience and productivity through a unique approach focused on experience design. All for a value equation for the Kenyan market priced in Kenyan shilling that is hard to beat.

No wonder a plethora of companies of all sizes and partners, integrators and consultants are flocking to peopleHum to drive the future of cloud based human capital platforms in markets like Kenya.  

Reach out to us to hear our story and how we can help your organization align and transform into the organization of the future.    

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