Telkom’s strategy of surviving in a changing market

Published on 02/03/2009

By Mary Kita

To meet the greater demands and expectations of a blossoming market, companies are changing the way they think, interact and execute.

However, it’s important to realise that when we say ‘companies’ – what we really mean is people.

Companies cannot exist without people. For a company to grow and reach its potential, its focus has to be on enabling people to grow and reach their potential. A good ‘people strategy’ is a prerequisite for any company that seeks to compete and thrive in the environment that it operates in.

Telkom-Kenya, for instance, has had to meet the challenge of transforming a former parastatal into an efficient, customer-focussed organisation in an increasingly competitive sector. To successfully make this transformation, we’ve applied principles and strategies that are fundamental to any organisation that wants not only to survive change, but embrace and succeed with change.

This involves first evaluating the skills that are necessary to deliver the services your organisation wants to deliver, and then aligning your staff and departmental structure accordingly.

The structure of the organisation should enable the whole team to be customer-focused.

Investing in your most valued asset through training is also fundamental. But training alone is not enough. It is important that companies create a support system and transparent performance management tools.

Together this ensures that teams have the right skills, support, productivity measures, rewards and recognition, benefits and remuneration so they are empowered to drive the organisation.

Short-term projects

Recruitment is another important tool – particularly to address any skills gaps. There are also several efficient and innovative practices that can help organisations build skills in house. At Telkom-Kenya for example, we’ve leveraged the human resource expertise available across the Orange group of companies in short term projects whilst simultaneously engaging in a skills-transfer programme to facilitate rapid transfer of know-how and develop capacity in new areas.

The new Telkom-Kenya is an example of the direction that companies are moving towards globally. The integrated communications solutions that we offer are enabling people to work in new ways as convergent technologies are giving birth to new business models. The ability to network, share information instantly, mix traditionally separated ways of communication is enabling teams to deliver more.

Making these kinds of changes is not easy. Organisations undertaking similar initiatives should expect to face challenges on individual and organisational levels but the end results are worthwhile.

For Telkom Kenya, the benefits are already being felt by the team and consequently our customers. The changes have been necessary for us to become a competitive national operator that Kenyans can be proud of once more. It is a journey of change that for us epitomises our philosophy: together we can do more!

—Mary Kita is Head of Human Resources, Telkom-Kenya.

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