The New World of Work

Themba Chakela, People and Culture Director for Go-To Market at Dimension Data, shares his vision of how HR is changing.

In this episode of our Working better, together. podcast, Themba Chakela joins us for a chat around the state of HR and the “new world of work.”

Themba wears many hats (check out his LinkedIN profile), but is currently the new People and Culture Director for Go-To Market at global IT company, Dimension Data (founded in 1983 in SA).

As a well-educated and experienced HR practitioner, Themba gives us some great insights into the HR landscape, as well as what the future may hold. He believes that middle management plays a bigger role in organisational culture and employee retention than we realise.

“What you need to think about now [in HR], is how do you get people to engage with an organisation from a head, heart and hands perspective…”

Themba argues that the golden egg for your company could be in unlocking the secret to great middle management. As a manager, you should be setting the tone for robust, candid conversations to take place. Management truly sets the standard for their company’s culture.

In the episode, Themba shares some great stories of how a CEO’s behaviour can have an incredible impact on the company’s culture.

“Two things that have stood me in good stead, is to show up and to put your hand up.”

Themba was the former General Manager, Group Organisational Effectiveness at Britehouse, which has now become part of Dimension Data. In his new role at the new company, he sees himself as being in the fortunate position of watching a beautiful learnership unfold as the larger company’s thinking and conceptualisation is transforming the smaller company, and vice versa. It might be difficult for some to believe, but large corporates and SME’s can actually learn a lot from each other!

“Yes, there are challenges and they are significant, but I believe I haven’t met a challenge that I didn’t want to get to know a little bit better.”

Regarding the role of HR in businesses, Themba is well aware that they often have the least say in the conversation. “The further you move away from the financial indicators of your business, the less time you get to represent yourself,” he says. This means when HR speaks up, it really has to count…

Enjoy! Hit play ▶️ above to watch the interview video.
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Timestamp notes:

0.50 — About Themba: where he’s from and how he ended up in SA working for Dimension Data.

3.09 — Moving to Lesotho at a time when SA was steeped in Apartheid.

4.55 — Sweden vs South Africa today.

6.56 — About Themba’s role and education.

10.48 — HR as a discipline and how it has been evolving.

15.14 — Company Culture: The biggest opportunities companies are missing out on.

20.00 — Themba’s learnings on his journey in HR.

22.05 — An average day in the life of Themba.

23.10 — His favourite reads.

24.56 — Productivity tools/software he uses daily, like Outlook, Microsoft teams, Trello, Planner.

25.41 — What is Chucky Management Mondays?

26.42 — Themba’s channels: LinkedIN, Twitter. He keeps his Facebook and Instagram personal.

27.27 — Famous last words: “The New World of Work.”

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