In Female Future Kenya’s first virtual engagement on 19th May 2020, it emerged that leaders have a big role to play in guiding employees during this pandemic. Agility, calmness, confidence, humility, commitment, compassion were some of the characteristics deemed necessary for leaders in this time. Nonetheless, leaders still need to focus on profitability hence the delicate balancing act of managing the social aspect and driving business strategy and goals.
The Executive Director Mrs. Jacqueline Mugo was joined by Mr. Philip Thor a management consultant in Norway. Mr. Thor who spoke about the never changing facets while leading in times of a pandemic emphasised on the need for leading through transparent communication. “You have to communicate quickly and clearly to be ahead of potential risks rather than to counter misinformation, “said Mr. Thor.
Before Covid-19 businesses were concerned about making strategies to improve business and how to lead in times of pandemic or chaos. However, it is evident that most strategies lack guidelines on how to deal with a pandemic. At this point therefore, reinforcing organizational culture and a sense of community i.e. translating office culture to the virtual workspace using collaborative tools becomes a necessity.
Ms. Tori the, Director of the Secretariat for Private Sector Development at NHO who supported this webinar announced plans to establish an International Alumni network for Female Future participants. The network will be a platform for enhancing personal growth, motivation, career support, peer to peer learning and increasing the number of women in multinational and national business. Eventually, it will be a strong voice in influencing gender policies globally.
In her recap, Mrs. Mugo concluded that in times of crisis a lot depends on leadership that inspires and gives hope to employees. Yet at the same time leaders have to keep their eye on the ball, to raise revenue, keep employees in jobs while keeping the business afloat.
The webinar was moderated by the Kenya Program Coordinator, Ms. Mary Nyaga and participants were drawn from other Female Future Countries i.e. Norway, Tunisia, Uganda, Tanzania and Ghana.
Look out for the Launch of the International Female Future Alumni (IFFA) in our upcoming webinars in June.
About Female Future Kenya;
The Female Future Kenya is a leadership program targeting women in leadership. The sole purpose is to develop women in the Country to move to higher level and take up higher leadership roles in every sphere of their life. It is in line with the affirmative action on the two thirds gender rule captured in the Constitution of Kenya 2010. So far, 298 women in Kenya have gone through the programme and the Federation tracks progress to see the change in the lives of the participants. Through the program, many have taken up senior level roles, got promotions, board membership and some have become Chief Executive Officers in leading organizations. Furthermore, other women have started their own enterprises and at a personal level have developed confidence in how they lead their various teams.
Covid- 19 presented uncertainty in many spheres of our lives and the public is anxious to get back to normal operations. In view of this, the Federation of Kenya Employers on 20th May 2020 brought together experts in various fields through its 7th Webinar to examine whether Kenya is safe to reopen for business. The panellist Kwame Owino, the Chief Executive Officer Institute of Economic Affairs, Mike Macharia, Chief Executive Officer Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers and Dr. Elizabeth Wala, Program Director, Health Systems Strengthening, AMREF Health in Africa explored the economic, business and health perspective respectively.
Here is what our participants had to say about Kenya’s preparedness to resume work;
1.Kenya’s capacity to test is very low in comparison to other countries. Therefore, the Government needs to enhance this so that the decision to resume work is based on adequate statistics.
2.According to data released by the Boston Consulting group, Kenya stands within the high infection category rate so no need to rush to get back to work prematurely.
3.Tourism and hospitality industry is hardest hit since businesses had to close down immediately based on the trends from source markets like Europe and China
4.To consider a revamp of products being offered. For instance, products that factor in the rules of social distances e.g. a hotel with capacity of 100 will not have the capacity to do so anymore
5.Data capturing is essential. Currently, it is unclear whether Kenya is ready for restart, given limited available data on health care capacity and testing in the public
What are the risks the Country faces?
•New wave on infection if citizens are not careful and don’t adhere to the regulations
•Psychological trauma for those who will not have gone back to work or those who lost colleagues and friends at work
•Low chances of investing in the businesses due to the long-depressed economy
•Larger scramble for a piece of the small pie due to price depression, high competition, increase in airline prices among other
•Significant need for regional coordination in terms of testing and contact tracing measures
•Safety and health protocols for businesses airlines, pubs and restaurants
•Government to provide businesses with incentives
•Training in health and safety is very important
•Communicate frequently since the comms is never treated seriously or the general public is in doubt
Eventually, the move to resume normal operations remains a delicate balance between public health and safety versus the impact on the economy. A cautious, phased out and gradual approach having covered all gaps. For citizenry, the low number of cases reported is not an indication that we have flattened the curve, lets religiously observe the containment measures.
The Federation will continue to provide such forums to allow members and interested organizations to participate and share their views. To become a member of FKE find out more here:- http://www.fke-kenya.org/site/index.php/join-fke/membership-benefits.