Oluwafunke Amobi is the Country Head, Human Capital for Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc. (A member of the Standard Bank Group). Standard Bank Group (SBG) is Africa’s largest Banking Group ranked by assets and earnings. SBG is Headquartered in South Africa with operations in 18 African countries and 13 outside Africa including key financial centers in Europe, United States and Asia.

As Country Head of Human Capital, Funke has the responsibility for leading, defining and managing the Nigeria Human Capital strategy and the delivery of HC services, policies and programs across the Nigerian business. She is known for astutely aligning the Human Capital strategy to the Business strategy as well as shaping and driving organizational culture and employee engagement to improve business performance. Under her Leadership of the HR function, Stanbic IBTC has been consistently recognized with multiple awards for HR best practices in Nigeria; most notably the CIPM Best Practice Award for two consecutive years 2016 & 2017 as well as the HR Magazine Outstanding Employee Engagement Strategy Award for three consecutive years 2016, 2017 & 2018. N2growth Africa also recently recognized Stanbic IBTC Holdings as winner for the 2019 All Africa Customer and Employee Experience Award and 2019 All Africa Major Corporate Engagement Company of the Year Award.

We caught up with her to appreciate her thoughts on the changing phase/face of Human Resources management, following the occurrence of the covid-19 pandemic.

HCMA: Let’s talk about HR pre-covid19. HR has been described differently in different organisations at various times. I’m sure you’ve come through a lot of HR transitions. How would you describe HR pre-Covid19?

Funke: Well, the evolution of HR has been indeed quite revolutionary over the years and I will touch on what has happened right until not just 2020. The evolution of HR started as personnel management, which was to “hire and fire “, so we simply had the responsibility to get people hired, salaries paid, performance appraisals completed, people trained and indeed get people fired if the need arose for disciplinary reasons. However, over the years, HR began to feature in the strategic construct of the organization. People became increasingly indispensable asset for businesses success and that meant the HR function began to take on a strategic identity and became a partner helping the business manage change, drive employee engagement, ensuring that people are at their best and bringing their extra mile effort to the table. So, the journey and evolution of HR particularly in this part of the world has been a revolutionary one that has meant different things for the practice and different things for the practitioner. Down to 2020 which is pre-covid-19, I would say the focus of HR, for most Organizations, was how to keep employees engaged to deliver value. Some organizations had started to get into the awareness of the future of work and what it meant. My organisation for instance, was already at the cutting edge of the object where the digital agenda had become big, so HR had started thinking around a digital people agenda right about the year 2020.