ACU HR in HE Community Conference 2018: Inspired and energized 7 months on

With fresh experiences from the HR Global Innovations UK Tour in May 2018 and the resolve to be a HR change agent in higher education, my participation in the 8th ACU HR in HE Community Conference at the University of Waterloo, Canada, provided me with a golden opportunity to share insights from my own university: Kyambogo University in Uganda.

Despite delays in acquiring a Canadian visa, I was still able to present one of my papers, which focused on how we have transitioned from operational to strategic human resources management at Kyambogo University. I gained some enriching comments and conclusions on potential ways forward from those who attended my presentation, including the importance of effectively project managing HR transformation activities and ensuring that HR data is up-to-date before digitising.

Other key themes from the conference highlighted the profound issue of retention, and the need to develop professional staff so they can contribute to higher education success, as well as the need to step up our efforts to roll-out performance contracting.

Having missed the campus visit and gala dinner, I could not afford to miss the remaining social activity of the conference, the tour of Niagara Falls.

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Picture above: A group of the ACU HR HE Community Conference on the Niagara Boat Cruise

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Picture above: At the tunnel behind the Niagara Falls

Thankfully, I was then presented with a golden opportunity to join Ayana Gloudon from the University of West Indies (Trinidad and Tobago) on a knowledge and experience sharing day with the HR managers at the University of Waterloo. We met with many of the team there, including Lee Margaret Harnberger, Director Total Compensation, and Michelle Hollis, Director HR Client Services, who shared their experiences of instilling consultative and participatory approaches to managing change, and the use of staff relations committees.

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Picture above: After fruitful Discussion with HR Team at the University of Waterloo

Back at Kyambogo University, we have been putting these ideas into practice. For example, while reviewing the HR manual, we consulted with staff associations and unions, we have implemented the use of 'Plan, Do, Check and Act' as a continuous process to manage change initiatives, and also identified the need for a technology and analytics team to transform our approach to information management.

This is leading to some concrete actions, including:

  • The HR Directorate has agreed with the Directorate of Information of Communications Technology Services on the process of improving our HR management information system. This will lead to the improvement of key business processes, including recruitment and selection, leave management and performance appraisals.
  • Performance contracting is being rolled-out to members of top management and has recently been adopted by the deputy vice chancellors.
  • Within the HR team, we are set to embark on the development of a strategic HR plan, which will be designed to be a rolling plan implemented through the annual work plan and budget.

I am very grateful to the ACU for providing me with a bursary in order to attend this conference. It was a truly invaluable experience that is leading to real change in our approach to HR management at Kyambogo University.

Richard Keuber Manano is Director Human Resources at Kyambogo University in Uganda – an ACU member institution – and an active member of the HR in HE Community since 2016.

Find out more about the HR in HE Community and become a member on the Community's webpage.

Last modified on 10/05/2019
Tags: ACU HR in HE Community, Human Resources, higher education