What you need to know:
- Throughout my career, pivotal moments have emerged while navigating organisational transitions.
- One such instance was my involvement in steering the Human Capital function during shifts within telecom and during SBM Bank's acquisition of assets from Chase Bank.
- As HR Director, my task was to transition a workforce of approximately 700 employees into a new identity within a single day.
Jackie Ogonji is the Director of Human Resources at SBM Bank Kenya. With over 20 years of diverse industry experience, Jackie describes herself as a risk-taker, collaborator and catalyst for success. Her journey is one of calculated risks, constant learning, and empowerment in the dynamic world of HR. She shares her journey with Mynetwork.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What principles do you swear by?
Succeeding at any task or goal is very critical to me. Failure is not something I allow or entertain particularly when there are resources and strategies that can enable the opposite. I always take calculated risks to ensure I arrive at success. I challenge myself to wider roles and responsibilities within and out of Human Resources and in the process, empower others to succeed. I gain wisdom by observing colleagues and friends who excel in their fields. Their expertise serves as my inspiration to learn and grow.
What does your role at SBM Bank entail?
I am responsible for developing and executing the Human Resources strategy in support of the overall banks strategy, specifically in the areas of culture, change, talent management, succession planning, organisational and performance management, learning and development, employee relations, employee’s overall wellbeing and rewards compensation. I also provide strategic leadership on Human Resources needs and plans to the executive management team, shareholders and the board of directors.
What are some of the key moments in your professional journey?
My journey has been marked by adventure across various industries over the last 20 years. My propensity for taking risks is evident in my ability to adapt and succeed in different sectors. This has enabled me acquire new skill sets and reinvent myself several times.
Prior to joining the banking sector, I had worked in Telco, Engineering, and Consulting. Each transition represented a fresh challenge, allowing me to leverage the expertise I had amassed over the years. The immersive nature of my roles aligned perfectly with my passion for work.
Throughout my career, pivotal moments have emerged while navigating organisational transitions. One such instance was my involvement in steering the Human Capital function during shifts within telecom and during SBM Bank's acquisition of assets from Chase Bank.
As HR Director, my task was to transition a workforce of approximately 700 employees into a new identity within a single day. This involved cultivating a new culture and aligning staff with the company's vision. Drawing from my previous role's experience was valuable, but the key to our successful outcome was unwavering support from leadership and committed staff throughout the entire process.
Presently, my focus is on fortifying our organisational culture to one that is cohesive, aligned with the company's vision, and empowering. Our culture, encapsulated by the acronym ASPPIRE, serves as our guiding principle: As one, Share Information, People Centric, Purpose Driven, Innovative, Respect, and Empower. I engage with colleagues daily through various initiatives, reflecting how we operate at SBM Bank.
As a manager of people, what does success mean to you?
I actively pursue the development and progress of each individual, recognising the profound effect it has on their personal growth and its subsequent impact on the business. My approach involves fostering an environment that encourages continuous learning, skill enhancement, and empowerment. By prioritising the growth of each team member, I am able to harness their potential to drive positive outcomes for both their own professional journeys and the overall success of the organisation.
What are the key trends impacting workforces today?
Modern workforces exhibit dynamism in response to evolving business environments. Employees today are more demanding and temperamental, prompting organisations to reconsider employee engagement strategies to channel talents effectively for impactful outcomes. A key consideration is the work model: in-person, remote, or hybrid. While remote work proved productive during the pandemic, it impacted team cohesion and staff mental well-being. As a solution, a hybrid model strikes a balance, allowing flexibility while nurturing office culture.
Addressing generational diversity is another challenge that requires HR to tailor models that cater to varied preferences and maximise value. The shift is towards impactful work, supported by innovative HR roles like Happiness Officers and Diversity Champions. Organisations must embrace a holistic approach, addressing well-being, mental health, and personal challenges to sustain positive employer branding. Shifting values among diverse generations, especially the vocal and purpose-driven youth, calls for redefined workplace values and creative energy channeling. At SBM Bank, our distinct approach shines in inter-bank sports competitions, fostering a fun, positive experience that showcases our unique participation.
What do you enjoy doing outside work?
I am a mother and I enjoy spending time with my family. I support a number of youth and groups to help them achieve their goals through mentorship and my participation in their programmes. It always feels great to know there is that one person who always supports you and believes in your dream. I needed that in my youth. In the course of my engagements, I have found my children supporting some of these initiatives. I generally find myself gravitating towards young people and this enables me to appreciate their perspectives, potential, challenges and experiences as well as learn from them. I also enjoy networking with my peers to keep up with what’s going on, be present, learn, support and have fun.
What advice would you offer to young individuals entering the workforce?
I encourage them to be risk takers and seek to be stars in their area of responsibility. Go beyond the usual and learn as much as you can. For those aspiring towards HR, think of the work force needs and devise lasting solutions. Think of building a sustained culture that will drive performance and the organisational vision and values to give a great employee experience.