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In today’s feature, we bring you yet another speaker at the forthcoming African Women In Technology (AWIT) conference slated for late this month. Emmanuela Unuode is a Human Resource professional who leverages on technology, innovation, and the future of work.

She has used technology to create programs and processes that make it easier for corporations to manage people. Unuode will be speaking at the Upgrade your Skills – HR at Tech Firm session. Below is a brief overview of our conversation with her.

 AWIT Emmanuela UnuodeAs a Human Resource Professional, how has technology advanced your job?

More and more, technology is impacting the practice of HR and redefining how I work. For one, it has eliminated geographical boundaries.

We have a team of employees in distributed locations across Nigeria and still have very strong alignment to our company value and culture. That wouldn’t be possible without collaborative tools like slack, trello and advanced video conferencing.

I was privileged to transition HR from manual to digital (particularly onboarding, performance management, and learning system) in an organization where I worked recently, saving the company thousands of dollars and hundreds of man/hours. With such savings, HR has gained more prominence and respect from the leadership of the organization and now less perceived as a “cost-center” and more as a value-creator.

How long have you been exposed to the African tech field, and how has this influenced your knowledge of technological advancement in Africa?

I have been exposed to the African tech field for about 5+ years now. Over the years, I have worked in several organizations in Africa contributing and building products to solve world problems. In the wake of the Ebola outbreak in 2014, software developers in eHA developed several tech tools like the contract tracing app to support the Ebola Surveillance and Contact Tracing. I witnessed firsthand how the app was used to transform disease surveillance and response in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

This has inspired and influenced me to dive deeper into the tech field to explore opportunities to create innovative HR Tech solutions. I just registered for a 6 months data analytics course and hope to apply my experience in using people analytics data to achieve business results.

As an HR Professional, does technological skills and expertise matter during recruitment processes

Absolutely!! Recruitment is one of the most delicate and difficult aspects of HR. It’s the process that requires an accurate prediction of human behavior. Realizing the difficulty in this task, technological solutions have made it easier to predict future behaviors and validate past performance during the talent selection process. Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics area of tech that has now been applied to the recruitment process, making it much easier to predict human behavior of potential new hires.

In your experience, how has strategic networking influenced your career?

Networking has been a major driver in my career over the past 10 years, I have secured several job placements through referrals within my professional network. I switched my career very early on, from Law to Human resources and, I started out being strategic about who I reached out to or surrounded myself with.

Developing my network has also opened doors to new ideas, opportunities and people I could not have reached on my own. Last year I successfully launched the Lagos Chapter of Hacking HR (a global community sitting at the intersection of HR, future of work and technology), where I’m privileged to collaborate, and share ideas towards continuous innovation, evolution and growth of HR in Nigeria. This was possible because of strategic networking.

Besides securing jobs & opportunities, my network also helps me keep focus on my learning goals,  having surrounded myself with people with similar learning goals or mentors who have already achieved goals like my anticipated level of learning.

It is believed that we are being launched into the third industrial revolution, and this digitization will consequently change the politics of jobs. How do you think women in Africa can take advantage of this to advance and stay relevant?

Tech is, by nature, constantly evolving and effecting how we work, so women need to be prepared to adapt quickly. We should constantly build our networks, seek industry mentors & make it a habit of attend relevant Meetups/networking/professional mixers. This is a great place to start because that’s where you’ll start to hear about new ideas before they become trends.  

We should proactively embark on a never-ending quest to learn and develop relevant new skills sooner, rather than later.  Questions to constantly ask ourselves – Are my skills still in demand? What’s the outlook for these skills? And what skills could I work on today that would increase my income potential in the coming years? If we do that, we can stay relevant and improve our marketability for years to come.

Volunteering is also a great opportunity. The next time there’s a special project, volunteer for it. You’ll learn something and others will get the chance to see you in action.”

 

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