EFC Uganda Voted Best SME – Employer of the Year 2016/2017

EFC Managing Director Mr. Claude Lafond (C) and Human Resource and Administration Manager Ms. Kayaga Julianna (R) receive the SME Employer of the Year Award from the FUE Executive Director Mrs. Senabulya Rosemary (L) recently at the EFC Uganda head office

EFC Uganda Limited MDI took part in the 2017 annual Federation of Uganda Employers (FUE) Awards and emerged winner in the small and medium enterprise (SME) category due to her ability to drive innovation and competition in the SME sector.

FUE is the national voice of employers in Uganda representing the interests of businesses in the country. Its major objective is to enhance employers’ competitiveness through policy advocacy, fostering best employment relations and provision of business development services.

The Employer of the Year Awards is an annual employer award ceremony in which the best employer practices are recognized and awarded.

The year 2016/2017 for EFC has been a year filled with many highlights of innovations and culture enhancement policies and practices to become the employer of choice. All efforts have been geared towards employee engagement to enhance performance levels. Employee relations and job involvement have been the major area of focus and concern.

In the 2nd quarter of the year, EFC took part in the annual FUE survey. In this survey different employers around the country are divided into categories and compared in a bid to leave a mark on the employment sector of Uganda.

The different categories are awarded based on their extraordinary ability to think outside the box and stand out in developing best employment practices

EFC Uganda Limited (MDI) being a microfinance deposit-taking institution was grouped in the SME category competing with well established brands including some of the leading micro finance institutions in the country. The different organizations were then compared based on their employment skills and employee practices, different HR practices, approaches towards nurturing best employment relations and provision of business development services in the country.

The survey at EFC was carried out using questionnaires as Data Collection tools, with EFC staff as respondents.

The questions were structured in a way that would elicited information from the respondents on current practices and past practices that have already been established. Based on the analysis of the information shared and current trends of practice, EFC Emerged as the best SME employer for the year 2017.

Why EFC won?

Rosemary Ssenabulya, the Executive Director of the Federation of Uganda Employers, the organizers of the FUE awards explains that one of the reasons EFC won was because the organisation uses data to identify employees who are consistently performing well as experts. During the onboarding program, the identified experts are requested to share their work related experiences with the new recruits.

“In addition, the new recruits are paired with experts as trainees for coaching and mentoring. 50% of the new employees that were assigned to excelling employees for mentoring last year were able to meet their targets within the first three months of their employment,” says Ssenabulya.

Another factor that impressed the judges was the organization change of strategy in apprehending those in the wrong.  In the past, all employees who were consistently absent or late would either be reprimanded, given a warning letter and eventually dismissed.

But after introducing the ethics and disciplinary committee, fair hearing on the reasons why people are consistently late or absent was given. Some of the data that was collected during the hearings indicated that some employees had genuine reasons for being late.

“A resolution was made by staff to contribute funds and buy a bicycle for the custodian who was coming from very far away on foot because he could not afford Boda-boda charges.  The bicycle was bought and he has never been absent or late again,” said Ssenabulya.

“Another pregnant staff who had been advised by the midwife to take some bed rests during the day in her third month of pregnancy was given a computer and other necessary facilities to enable her work from home,” Ssenabulya adds.

Impact of the award

“Because everyone is looking at us as the one to beat, this award will motivate us to do even better.  It will also create mobilization and motivation among the staff and the result will be high quality service to our clients,” Lafond says.

“Our desire is to be close to perfection, we want to succeed, but with a staff that feels respected, treated fairly, a staff that is more like family. With our kind of business, human resource is our biggest asset,” he concludes.