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Meet Maureen Katusiime

Human Resource Officer

Great Vision Without Great People Is Irrelevant so says a celebrate author and management consultant Jim Collins. The human resource is the most foundamental resource for the success of any organization. In today's Career Spotlight we caugh up with Maureen Katusiime, A Human Resource Officer at Solar Now and she shared some deep career insights about Human Resource in the context of the work place. This is what we asked

Describe what does as a Human Resource Officer and what motivated her to pursue that career path?

I initially had no idea what course to take at the university but eventually i talked to my sister's friend who owns a recruitment firm and she advised me to do Industrial&Organisational Psychology which she explained at the time might not be understood in the Uganda career field but will later emerge as a need in many organisations.I felt it was a good idea given my personality and need to interact and solve problems head on.

Help a student understand the connection between Human Resource Management and Industrial psychology?

Human Resource Management and Industrial psychology both deal with people in the work place.The only difference is that Human Resource Management focuses alot on the work place processes and policies while Industrial Psychology involves understanding employees' behavior  in the work place and why they perform the way they do and relate it to the HR processes.Industrial Psychology inter-connects HR processes with human behavior to ensure a high productivity in the work place.

Any thing cool you find about this job and are there challenges?

What i like about my job is that it is not a monotonous job.Every day has a new challenge and it gives me ground to provide different solutions to different challenges.It also creates a learning environment for my career growth.
What i do not like about my job is that when you make one mistake,it affects a large number of people in the organisation.

What skills does one need to be a Human Resource Officer and how important are those skills?

These are some of the major skills a Human Resource Officer needs to have;
Attention to detail -An HRO needs to understand that every aspect of the HR functions is vital.e.g. mispelling an employee's name can lead to their salary bouncing,when writing a termination letter,is it in line with Uganda employment laws?
Decision making skills  -An HRO must be able to make decisions all the time because cases are different at the HR desk.e.g.You may be involved in an accident case,later a termination,next a performance or conduct hearing.etc.So it's important the decisions made are impartial and your conscience is clear.
Excellent communication skills -It is important to have excellent written and speech skills.One needs to know how they approach an employee's issue in a discreet and professional manner.HR also involves a lot of administrative tasks like writing appointment letters,transfer letters,performance letters.etc.One needs to know the vocabulary needed to use in an appropriate way.
Good judgement-One needs to have the ability to make a judgement call in cases where there is no definite policy written.
HR Legal -An HRO needs to have an understanding of the HR laws by heart because at all points of contact with employees in performance management and Exit processes they will be employed.
Organisational Skills:These are needed when prioritizing which tasks to do and in HR record keeping.i.e.Employee records.Very crucial in grooming an HRO.

Most of these skills develop over time and also one needs to be passionate and have the ability to put into practice the theory learnt in school.

So how did school prepare you for the career you are pursing today?

I did HEL/D (History, Economics, Literature and Divinity) :My love for Literature and History made me a good writer,a person who can read between the lines and understanding people's personalities.
In my school i had the opportunity to participate in different clubs.e.g. In my A-level i was the deputy speaker UNSA,Chair person Student's Council,President Debate&Journalism club ,Treasurer Scripture Union and Drama Club.O-Level:Vice Chairperson of the Girls' Brigade Club.
In all these clubs i learnt how to lead a team,to plan,to organise and to deal with different individuals and characters.This has helped me a lot in my current role given that i have a leadership role by virtue of my being in the HR desk.

What are some moments that made you proud to be a Human Resource Officer?

My salary was doubled after 3 months into this company.I was proud to be part of a team that appreciates effort and hard work.As a Human resource Officer i take pride in my role as a payroll officer when salary is paid on time. When i help an employee improve performance or when an employee with my guidance makes the right career move!

So what is the future like for this career field? What trends are you seeing that are going to define the field 5 years to come?

In the Industrial psychology field,i see this role evolving into a more people centered approach than an autocratic approach because human beings are dynamic.You cannot force them to stay in one place.Therefore recruitment,performance management,Rewards and recognition.etc. will be different.
Today an employee might be happy getting a certificate for good service but in the future with a generation that asks "Why" you could see the rewards going to a course in a particular field,a coach,a mentor.etc.OR even people moving to a professional approach to building sustainable  businesses and at this time,HR will be crucial in determining the trend of these changes.

Finally what advise would you give someone especially a young lady who dreams of walking on the same career path you are on?

My personal advice would be if you want to join the HR movement.You need to be passionate about  people,understand them,relate with them and enjoy the role.

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