Windhoek-The theme of the seventh Institute for People Management (IPM) conference, which kicked off in the capital yesterday, is ‘Leading in Turbulent Times’. According to the conference organiser, MTC chief human capital and corporate affairs officer Tim Ekandjo, the theme befits the country’s current economic situation.
“We have placed great emphasis on leadership, as can be seen from the different speakers’ topics, because instead of drowning ourselves in our current economic situation, we want to recognise that there is opportunity in every economic downturn and that it is our responsibility to create such opportunities through effective leadership,” Ekandjo said at the start of the two-day conference.
During the official opening yesterday, Public Enterprises Minister Leon Jooste said the IPM topic was relevant, as
the global village faces unprecedented uncertainty, economically, geo-politically and in terms of climate change.
“The nature of the global corporate business environment has dictated interconnectedness, which guarantees that no matter how hard we work to create stable and healthy organisations, our organisations will continue to experience dramatic external changes far beyond our control,” he said.
During his opening address, Jooste said the role of artificial intelligence (AI) would soon become a major factor.
“AI has the capability of analysing data to streamline the entire recruitment process. Instead of ploughing through reams of applications and weeks of interviews, AI can analyse data to find candidates who will make excellent team members. Using data from multiple sources, AI can narrow the choices down to those candidates who not only have the qualifications for the position, but also are likely to be a great fit for your company culture.
“AI offers benefits far beyond the hiring process. Better informed management can ensure new hires are onboarded properly, with training matched to their abilities and learning speed, and then assigned to the right projects with an optimal compatible team, where their strengths add value to the team. In the right environment, team members are thus supported in every way,” said Jooste.
The minister further quoted the Human Capital World Report of 2016, which suggests that the Fourth Industrial Revolution will lead to profound shifts across all industries, reshaping production, consumption, transportation and delivery systems, among other factors.
“At the same time, the very nature of work is changing, in part due to new technologies and their subsequent impact on business models, and in part because of new platforms that allow talent to connect to markets in wholly new ways.
“As much as these new technologies are disrupting labour markets, they also provide the potential to change how we learn throughout our lifetimes, how we educate the next generation and how we re-train those that are facing declining returns to their skills,” Minister Jooste added.
He concluded that the development of relevant talent would determine whether everyone partakes in and capitalises on the opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or experiences its disruptions as bystanders or observers. “The question we need to ask ourselves today is: at which level are we in Africa going to respond to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”