There are so many important aspects that a Human Resources Business Partner needs to see to; most of which go unnoticed. From talent management through to employee assessment and KPI development, employee relations and training, managing learnership and internship programs, and and payroll, they do it all. Hence, it’s high time we sat down with the women that keep Thebe’s wheels oiled and find out more about what they do.
Join us for a visit to HR Ignite.
Q. Tell us more about what prompted you to start HR Ignite.
Both of us (Amanda Earle and Seapei Makgoga) have had a lifelong dream of becoming entrepreneurs. However, like many other people, we got caught up in the safety of permanent employment, and the fear of starting a business without having a stable income.
However, when Thebe Investment Corporation decided to outsource their HR Department and wanted to do this through forming an EME, I jumped at the opportunity to start a business. Due to the nature of my long-term relationship with both Thebe Investment Corporation and Seapei, I decided to end my tenure as Executive at LabourNet and approach Thebe to start this company with Seapei as equal business partners. Seapei has served as HR Manager at Thebe for several years, and therefore, the transition from being an employee to being outsourced partner was perfect for Thebe.
Even though economic times in the South African economy were tough, we decided to forge ahead, as this might be our one opportunity to secure funding and become entrepreneurs. This was a chance we could not let slip through our fingers.
Q. What sets you apart from other HR agencies and in-house HR solutions?
HR Ignite will never sell you something you don’t need. I think this is the core of our philosophy. Often you find consultants who enter your business, draft extensive strategic plans, with excellent theoretical results, and two years later, you notice it had no impact. We forge a long-term relationship with all our clients. We walk the talk with them, and not only develop the strategy, but we also stick around and ensure its implementation and effectiveness.
HR Ignite simplify Human Resources. We give real solutions, not jargon or elaborate power point presentations; we deliver, and you will see the positive results in your productivity and profit margin.
Often you find that HR Professionals have focussed their careers on a specific area, or have not advanced far enough in their careers to manage an HR portfolio, yet the size of the company does not justify an internal HR team. When outsourcing, you have access to senior HR resources, as well as specialists in each area of Human Resources, yet your cost is less than even one resource’s salary.
Also, effective HR management should be a profit centre for your business and not a cost centre. HR Ignite has shown our clients that having effective HR solutions will deliver actual profit improvements.
Q. What has been the most trying thing about starting your own company?
The transition between working in your business and not on your business. We found ourselves consumed by unnecessary administration, which could easily be done by our employees, yet, we are so dedicated to our clients, that we focus more on the clients than on our own business. We have also found it difficult to balance client expectations and deliverables.
As a small new player to the market, we’ve noticed that we underquoted and underestimated the time and effort needed for some tasks. This, I guess, is a general problem for most new entrants into any market. We have, however, stabilised this concept and are now seeing the growth and value for our clients and our own business.
Q. What are the best and the worst things about working in HR?
The best thing about Human Resources, are the Humans! We love people, and love to engage with them. They are such dynamic beings, and without people, no business would survive. We enjoy seeing people grow and develop. We enjoy working with companies who are serious about their people, and serious about productivity, profit and sustainability. We, thus, enjoy partnering with our clients to deliver on these targets.
The worst thing about HR, well, a lot of administration.
Q. What advice do you have for the South African youth, specifically those who want to pursue a career in HR?
Focus on your education. Without a good education, a career in Human Resources will not be possible. Don’t squander the opportunities you get in life, and learn to say yes more.
Q. What is next on your list?
Next? Right now, we are focussing on the now. HR Ignite has done exceptionally well in our first year of business, and for now, we are focussing on growth and expansion. Next will be tomorrow’s discussion!
Q. What are your life mottoes?
We have three general mottoes: the first is for our clients, the second for our own careers, and the third underscores our core values:
- Great vision without great people is irrelevant. – Jim Collins, Good to Great
- Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. – Confucius
- Treat all people with dignity, respect, and equality, because we all smile in the same language 🙂