Friday, July 12, 2024

ʺWe prioritize a human capital management consultancy focused on humanizing processesʺ

Vicente Sitoe is a name that is gaining more and more prominence in the business and human capital consultancy market. With an enviable track record, he is currently Executive Director of SDO Mozambique. In an interview with Profile, Sitoe shares in detail SDO’s vision and the challenges facing the sector in Mozambique.

Profile Mozambique: SDO is a Mozambican company with 15 years of experience in the business management and human capital consultancy sector. Considering this significant journey, how would you describe your mission and vision?

Vicente Sitoe: Our vision is clear: to bring a human capital management consultancy focused on humanizing processes. Humanization is our key word. We want and intend to show companies that it is feasible to manage business and human capital with humanized processes, from recruitment to the process of disconnecting employees from the company. Our aim is to humanize every stage, including the reception and induction of employees. In short, our vision is the humanization of human capital management processes.

PM: Over the years, we have witnessed the emergence of several consultancy firms in the country. What would you say sets you apart from the competition?

VS: Every day new companies emerge, whether individual or collective, some large and structured, which somehow become our competitors. The difference that makes us stand out, once again, is our methodological approach. We don’t underestimate any job. Each client is treated uniquely. We honor the commitments we make and are aware of the expectations clients have when they contact us. We meet deadlines and always deliver better quality than the client expects. I believe that the personalization of the service, the quality and, above all, the fact that we use consultants who are mostly nationals, people who know the culture and needs of the companies and employees, sets us apart. So I think having in-house consultants is a great advantage.

PM: Looking at the wide range of services and products offered by SDO, the focus on corporate training is notable. What impact has this training had on companies’ results?

VS: We don’t take a standardized approach to training. Each training program is preceded by a diagnosis, in which we visit the client to understand their current problems, difficulties, challenges and barriers on a given topic. From there, we design a tailor-made solution to meet those exact problems. That’s why the results and impact of our training is unquestionable.

We have witnessed clients, for example, in sales programs where we not only offer classroom training, but also mentoring, coaching, follow-up and monitoring sessions. As a result of the training, these clients significantly increase their sales volume.

In the case of training in communication techniques or teamwork, we often come across clients whose interpersonal relationships and communication are problematic. After our intervention, because it is not a “one-shot” intervention, but an ongoing program, we notice that teams become more cohesive, people get to know each other better and there is interaction not only on a professional level, but also on a personal one. So the impact of training is visible.

PM: In terms of demand, what kind of training has been most requested?

VS: The most sought-after topics in terms of training, first of all, are those related to leadership, specifically to train middle leaders, those who are on the front line and manage the day-to-day running of teams, especially operational teams.

Often, these people are promoted to these supervisory, coordination or area manager positions because of their technical, operational or sales performance, but when they reach this level, they face different challenges, mainly related to the management and expectations of their team members. Therefore, most of the demand for training in our company is related to team management.

The other prominent theme is sales training, but this is aimed at a larger number of people, as many organizations recognize that not only front-line sales professionals need these skills, but all employees should have some sales ability. And finally, the third most popular topic is communication, because of the difficulties I’ve already mentioned.

PM: In the second topic of our interview, I’d like to discuss the recruitment and selection process. Considering this, what competencies and skills have been most valued by human resources departments when assessing candidates for job vacancies?

VS: Thank you for this question. I really enjoy addressing these issues, even though it’s a delicate subject, as it’s one of our key areas and people have high expectations of it. It’s important to note that each position has its own specific needs and requirements. However, there are transversal competencies, i.e. skills that are common to several or most vacancies.

The first is digital competence, which involves dealing with information technology in the workplace. Unfortunately, many young people lack these skills. Although they can master the use of social networks such as WhatsApp, Facebook, TikTok and Instagram, they often have poor skills in using work applications such as Primavera, SAP, MS Project, Excel and PowerPoint. This deficiency is more evident among women, which leads us to raise the banner of female training and employability.

Another crucial transversal skill is the ability to learn. Many young people leave university feeling that they already know everything, but in practice they need to keep learning.

The third most sought-after skill is teamwork. It is essential to know how to collaborate, listen, express opinions respectfully and understand that success does not come from individual work, but from collective effort. Unfortunately, many young people have difficulties in this area, either because they lack experience in study groups or because they don’t know how to communicate and collaborate effectively in a team. That’s why, alongside recruitment, we have various initiatives aimed at preparing young people for the job market.

PM: How does SDO deal with feedback for unsuccessful candidates? Considering that many face similar challenges. How does the company approach this issue?

SV: All applicants receive feedback from the start of their application until the end of the process. We inform them when a vacancy is closed and that we will not proceed with their applications. Those who do go ahead also receive a notification to that effect. However, due to the large volume of applicants – with an average of 1200 for each vacancy – we are unable to provide personalized feedback that indicates which individual factors contributed to the unsuccessful outcome.

However, in order to provide detailed information, the gaps in recruitment processes and respond to common problems, we hold free events called SDO Talks, where candidates can get guidance on topics related to various employment and recruitment issues. I also encourage young people to seek out a Mentor, as they can analyze their CVs and applications and offer personalized guidance on how to improve their chances.

PM: What are the main challenges facing business and human capital management consultancies?

VS: One of the main challenges we face is the issue of female employability. We often receive requests from clients to find women for certain areas, yet these women end up failing selection exams, which is worrying and deserves attention. This is worrying and deserves attention. Of course, we can’t fail to highlight those who pass these processes because of their qualities. However, in statistical terms, they are in the minority.

The second challenge we can highlight is the lack of investment in training, especially by small and medium-sized companies, which see training as an unnecessary expense. Many of them still don’t understand the value of having well-trained employees, both in terms of motivation and competence.

In addition, we face challenges related to procurement processes in companies, where the selection criteria is often based solely on the lowest price, which is not suitable for human capital consulting services. It is necessary to evaluate not only the cost, but also the technical quality, the implementation team and the proposed methodology.

PM: What are SDO’s expectations for 2024 in terms of growth and influence in the consulting sector?

VS: As part of our 15th anniversary celebrations this June, we reaffirm our commitment to continuing to serve our clients with excellence. We also reaffirm our commitment to our employees and partners.

For 2024, we hope to further strengthen our position in the consultancy sector by expanding our range of services to other regions of the country. On the other hand, we want to strengthen our investment in innovation and quality, seeking not only to grow, but also to positively influence the consulting landscape.

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