We had the opportunity to interview Irene Gloria Addison of HIREghana and we learnt quite a lot of things from here concerning Human Resource Management. She seems to an expert in what she does and does it very well. Let’s read on as she shares her journey as a Mompreneur with us.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
Of course, I am a mom of plenty of boys and I am loving it! And we are a multilingual & multicultural family.
I came to HR from Educational Project Management, where I started slowly getting more and more involved in HR & Recruitment over the years.
I started HIREghana (www.HIREgh.com) almost 3 years ago out of my strong belief that bringing the right candidates and the right organizations together, is what makes the difference in great organizations and also in delivery of successful projects.
I have always envisioned the Recruiter’s relationship with any Client as a strategic partnership (than just a plain Stakeholder) where we connect them to the genuine talent that will make their organizations outstanding and that’s what we do.
What does it take to be a successful working mum?
Definitely good planning of both your workweek and your weekend.
Disciplined kids make life easier; so does a supportive husband/ partner, family and neighbors.
And if possible leave your work issues there when you go home and keep home items from interfering with your work- environment.
Basically, strike the right balance between motherhood and entrepreneurship please.
What led to your decision to become an entrepreneur?
Having worked in the Recruitment & Staffing industry, I knew that I could be nicer to candidates and I can really add value to employers: to the best of my knowledge, we are the only company that pre-screens candidates and only if qualified spends their CVs with their explicit permission to clients. We never engage in the art of ‘CV -Spamming’.
What are some of the challenges playing a dual role as a mother and entrepreneur?
Working long hours – I mean really long hours, including weekends. So, I have learnt when it is time to do any family activity, that is the priority of the moment and it did never gets postponed.
I might never be the World’s best entrepreneur but I will be the World’s Greatest possible mother – that simple!
How much capital do I need to begin life as an entrepreneur?
As a philosophy, we are against raising capital – at least in most cases. If you can manage to operate with no borrowed money, you will be exposed to the full spectrum of all possible business risks and you will make the mistakes than no business school could ever teach you; so you get all this valuable lessons early in the life of your Start-up. When you ‘play’ with borrowed money, you become by ‘nature’ risk averse, and possibly end up postponing making several mistakes at a point in time where they are most costly. Please do remember that a big risk could also be a great opportunity)
We subscribe to the idea of organic sustainable growth. On purpose, our investment ‘seed’-capital was the Registrar’ fees to become a legal business and those needed to acquire a domain; originally we even used a free-hosting website before investing in a normal webhosting solution.
Our emphasis was placed not on finding money to finance our growth, but on finding the right intellectual capital, both in the people who work for us and in our candidates.
Our growth and success has been based on the classic word- of- mouth, a strong branding effort and the way we respectfully treat our customers and our candidates.
OK… let me summarize please:
- Invest the time to develop a solid Business Plan, instead of eternally chasing capital.
- Grow organically in a sustainable and scalable manner. Don’t get caught up in the ‘find financing’ rat-race please- run on your own ‘steam’ instead of running with all the restrictions coming with someone else’s money.
- Love and face business risks – but prepare for them (risk management & contingency)
Practical Fact: You will face a lot of social bias and there is very limited & restricted capital/ funding for mother- entrepreneurs.
What are some of the challenges you faced starting your own business?
As any Start-up, we at HIREghana had to develop a lot of new relationships and work extremely hard to gain trust of our clients and candidates in the shortest possible time. We decided to differentiate ourselves not on price but on high quality and high impact recruitment. We prescreen all our candidates (usually twice) and we perform random employment and reference checks before we introduce any candidate to a client- we never blindly flood a client with CVs the way other competitors do.
Unfortunately, at least in West Africa (we have different experiences with European and East Africa companies) employers do not yet realize how expensive is to hire the cheapest recruiter or the cheapest employee; we should all aim at long-term strategies.
We also invest time (at our expense) in teaching the prescreened how to interview, something that seems not to be a common nor prevailing skill in Africa – at least in our experience. We even come across quite frequently of highly educated and experienced professionals who lack those skills. Maybe that was the past, but why the majority of new graduates, can’t write e CV or lack interview skills? What do the people in the University Career Placement offices do?
We once in a while get rejected by newcomer organizations because they wrongfully assume that we are not big enough to handle massive recruitment. We decided to keep our niche and remain a small (less than 15 employees) but high-impact recruiter.
Once in a while, we get faced with unethical situations (e.g. if you find a job for my nephew or myself, I will give you this recruitment assignment) but we always -as a matter of principle- walk out of it and we always walk tall !!!
Our focus –from Day 1- has always been in creating value for our Clients and our Candidates too.
How were you handling your life as a mother and a corporate lady if you have ever worked for someone?
Good communication and clear expectation between the employer and me, resolved all issues; also, I have been lucky to have employer- support which never take it as a given.
What has always been a grave open issue -according to my own experiences and humble observations- is that both to- be- mothers and employers (including colleagues) are not prepared to address pregnancy and any related absence from the work floor (especially in the case of complicated pregnancies).
If we have internships, traineeships, etc., … then why we can’t have ‘momships’ (or even ‘fatherships’) to help an employee prepare to the parenthood transition and then smoothly come back to work?
Obviously if you are away for several weeks/ months and you keep no contact even for a few hours per week, you will return to a work environment that could be drastically different. Wouldn’t that make any returning mother feel awkward and influence her productivity?
Please tell us about what you do and how we can get in touch to patronize your products / services?
HIREghana (www.HIREgh.com) is a Leading Human Resource Management and Recruitment Agency and a HR & Organizational Development Consultancy providing intelligent and high quality human resource- and recruitment- solutions to business and institutions in all parts of Ghana. HIREghanaprovides the full spectrum of Human Resource Solutions and Services.
Besides classic active headhunting, we also offer Career Coaching and Executive Mentoring. Over the last year, we have also started been involved in Recruitment for Startups, Board Member Selection & Setup of BoDs for SMEs (as part of our OD consulting activities)For Employers- we could:
- help you find the right employee or perform various checks.
- organize the right Customer Loyalty training for you
- or help you with all sorts of HR matters if you are a Start-up or a SME.
You can contact us please at Clients@HIREgh.com or at +233 266 555 907 and +233 50 228 5155.
For Candidates – you can contact us at CV@HIREgh.com for services such as:
- registering your CV with us (Word files only + please include a cover letter)
- 1- on- 1 CV & Interview skills workshops
- Career Counselling & Executive Coaching.
Final words of encouragement to any mother out there struggling with combining work and housekeeping.
Maybe it would sound too trivial, but I will strongly advise to talk to your partner or your family members (if you are a single mom) and even to your neighbors and explicitly explain to them what kind of help and support you need from them and why. Don’t underestimate the kindness that people could exhibit if they understand why they are asked to do something to help you. Your partner should share all house-keeping chores – in 2017, you should not be coming home from work and having to cook, clean the house, feed the kids, while someone has launched themselves on the couch consuming colossal amount of fufu and beer while successfully watching TV or facebooking… And once in a while your family & neighbors could help by watching after your children or getting things for you whenever they go to the market, etc.
And always have the grace and kindness to return / payback all that help, ideally by going the extra mile. And remember… that extra mile, is never crowded! And it always pays off to drive there!
Finally, I am most thankful to God for blessing me with extremely supportive family, friends, neighbors, associates / employees, partners, clients and candidates too.
About the Author: Irene Gloria Addison is the owner of HIREghana [Human Intelligence Recruitment], a Leader Recruitment Agency and HRM & OD Consultancy. Irene -who has a LinkedIn footprint of 30.000+ connections- and her team have also been constantly mentoring and coaching candidates on how to improve their job-hunting & career- planning skills.
Irene welcomes your feedback/ comments/ remarks/ suggestions via your email message to Press@HIREgh.com
Our website is http://www.hiregh.com