Transforming HR functions in HE institutions

Bringing together 16 HR practitioners from across the Commonwealth, the inaugural HR Global UK Study Tour took place from 14-25 May. The tour saw participants visit HR departments in universities across the UK, attend the Universities Human Resources (UHR) Conference, and hear from various associations and HR experts. Richard Manano, an ACU bursary recipient, talks about his experience. 

My experience

My participation in the HR Global Innovations UK Study Tour was one of the most exciting and enriching moments of my career in HR management. The warm welcome from the HR Global Innovations team and fellow participants made me feel immediately comfortable.

The HR Global Innovations UK Study Tour covered renowned UK Universities – including the London School of Economics (LSE), Lancaster University (combined with University of Liverpool), Nottingham Trent University, and the University of Birmingham. This was done under the guidance and mentorship of the HR Global Innovations Partners, Steve Daysh, Liz Baré, Brian Mallory and John Steele. They provided us with the opportunity to learn and share experiences of how the above universities transformed their HR units from being merely transactional and operational to strategic partners that play an active role in achieving their respective vision, mission, and goals.

It was captivating and motivating to hear the success stories of our HR counterparts in the UK and the experiences of my fellow tour participants. 

Richard Manano

The tour culminated in our participation in the Universities Human Resource (UHR) Conference in Bristol, where the  was ‘Universities: competitive advantage or collective advancement?’. 

The plenary sessions, workshops, legal sessions, exhibitions, excursions and networking dinners were professionally programmed to provide opportunities for learning, experience sharing and networking between participants, facilitators and sponsors. It was fascinating to learn that the ever increasing challenges of these institutions necessitated them to collaborate on addressing common interests in research and teaching to effectively deliver the best systems and practices across the UK. The conference focused on identifying opportunities for competitive advantages in universities and assessing the effects this has on HR.

Whereas the competencies of the HR practitioner are vital, it takes an institutional commitment and support from the top to buy-in order to succeed in transforming the HR function.

I learnt that collaboration and partnerships are important to share best practice in HR management.

Next steps

After my experience at the HR Global Innovations Study Tour I feel challenged and inspired to transform the HR functions in Kyambogo University and share experiences with other HE Institutions.

I will share these practices with HR colleagues in local, regional and international universities. I also wish to rally the support of HR colleagues in Ugandan universities to replicate the UK UHR forum and conference. 

I appreciate the ACU for initiating and sponsoring the HR Global Innovations UK Study Tour which has stimulated my compelling desire to transform the HR functions in HE institutions. Many thanks go to the HE institutions that facilitated their HR staff to participate in the study tour. Commendations to the HR Global Innovations team for the leadership and my fellow participants for warm reception, openness, and accommodation of each other’s views and opinions during the stay together.   

HR in HE CommunityRichard Keuber Manano is Director of Human Resources at Kyambogo University in Uganda. 

He will be speaking at the upcoming ACU HR in HE Conference, which will be held at the University of Waterloo, Canada, from the 23-26 September 2018. Watch this video to find out more.

If you are interested in joining the HR in HE Community, please email 

Last modified on 11/09/2018