In this week’s issue, The Voice reporter Daniel Kenosi gets closer to a rare gem of a woman, Mavis Annah Keogotsitse.
Keogotsitse is the lady who volunteered to share part of her salary every month with an unfortunate Francistown young lady who was reported to have given birth to triplets in 2010.
In this interview she takes us through her journey, how she managed to survive a male dominated industry of Unions and how she is settling in her new job at Limkokwing where she works as a Human Resources Director.
Q. Good Day. I hope you had splendid Easter holidays. Please briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Mavis Annah Keogotsitse.
I am a lady from Molepolole but my maternal parents are from Lerala and so I grew up around those areas where my father worked but most of my schooling was in Molepolole and Gaborone.
Q. A village girl I must say. So what do you do for a living now?
I am an HR and employee specialist and of course the Director of HR at the Limkokwing University taking care of all Limko campuses in Africa.
Q.You have a lot at hand. How do you manage to take care of all the three institutions and having to deal with different people?
It’s not easy and has its own challenges; but I must say it’s exciting at the same time because I learn something new every day.
The most important thing is to have a good attitude and appreciate that people come from different backgrounds and have other socio-economic issues that affect how they perform at work.
It is important for to attend to all that and make sure that they are productive to help grow the organization.
Q. Sounds hectic and calls for a very tough lady. How do you manage all the controversies that keep coming from all these institutions?
I manage all these because I accommodate the expertise of all my team members.
I don’t work alone. I believe in team work so whenever there is need I do pull the whole team so that we go ahead together. I am still new on my post at Limko and all I am working towards is to build that strong relationship with my colleagues.
Q. Talking of your new job. What’s the difference from HR then and now?
What has changed now is that we look more into what someone may bring in to the job not necessarily qualifications.
There is something called competency based where we try to utilize our best talent whereas in the past people focused much on the experience not what someone will bring as an outcome.
Q. Most companies don’t believe there is need for HR and most of them have been running for decades without the post. What’s your take on that?
I don’t believe that is what is supposed to be happening.
There is a need for HR personnel because it helps in coming up with best candidates for the right post and ensuring that all processes are followed so companies need to have an HR expert.
Q. But our country’s job market is too small.
Do you really think there is still need to encourage students to study towards that?
HR has a lot of specialties. So I would encourage students out there to choose the profession and make sure they specialize in employee relations and talent management because I feel those are the areas that have been and continue to be overlooked.
Q. Even if you talk about right procedures we know very well that most HR managers are always caught ignoring the right procedures of hiring and instead hire their friends or relatives through ‘back door.’ What do you think of that?
That’s true but there is what is called head hunting where we go out to get someone who is an expert somehow.
But in cases where a post is vacant and your relative or friend applies for it, it’s always encourage that the particular HR person declares that and move away from the deciding bench because we won’t stop our qualified relatives and friends from applying for posts they want but declaration matters to avoid nepotism.
Q. You worked somewhere before Limko. Please share with us how it was working for an organization advocating for labor issues.
I was with Southern African Trade Unions coordinating council.
I was the coordinator of all women committees in the trade unions in Southern Africa.
The organization forms part of the tripartite structure with the governments, employers and trade unions so what I was responsible for was to ensure that all new employers’ policies favored the employees.
Q. Do you think our government takes unions seriously?
I think unions could do much more to be heard.
I must say they are given an ear because their strength is in numbers but at times I feel unions in general fail to stick to their mandate of engaging with their members.
Some of the leaders forget the members once they are elected into office.
Q. People generally view union leaders as rowdy people always hell-bent on causing trouble by complaining. Is there anything better that they offer?
I know that belief but Unions are good in a sense that when there is a good relationship between the unions and the employers the whole process of managing people would become better but over the years unions have been politicized and only if they could focus on their mandate of advocating for people’s rights and not get carried away with party politics then we would have better working conditions.
Q. Very few women are engaged in labor issues does that mean our women don’t have interest or are just left behind?
Women do have interest.
The problem is that labor issues are demanding and in most cases local women will be engaged with families hence being left behind but I think with time we will see a lot of young women getting involved more especially in union leadership.
FULL NAMES: Mavis Annah Keogotsitse
PLACE OF BIRTH: Molepolole
DATE OF BIRTH: 26 September 1973
FAVOURITE MUSIC: Gospel
PASSTIME: Cooking and cleaning
MARITAL STATUS: Single (Has one teenage daughter).
CAR DRIVING: Audi Q5