Meet Mo: a catalyst for Diversity & Inclusion in South Africa!
Morongwa is HR Lead for South Africa and Nigeria, HR Transformation Lead and Africa Go-To-Market (Sales) Business HR and this is her story. The story of a South African woman with an IT background who chose to build a career in HR and is now driving the diversity agenda in her country.
Read how a two-year transformation effort put HP among the highest-ranking companies on the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment scorecard in South Africa.
What is the biggest challenge in your job?
Dealing with cultural differences and constant change. To give you an idea of the diverse backgrounds – we have 11 official languages in South Africa only.
Also, change has become the only constant since 2015 – there were two different managing directors, now transitioning to a third one.
Best decision that contributed to your career?
When I decided to stop giving in to fear to build the best version of me.
That would be 3 years ago – when I joined HP. There were a lot of changes and initially I felt overwhelmed. My manager and mentor, Younes Benali, told me: “I hired you because I believe in you, you need to believe in yourself, I can only hold your hand thus far.”
The best decision I have made in HP is to be a fervent Diversity and Inclusion advocate. The most recent proof is a team effort under my leadership – HP South Africa received the B-BBEE level 1 contribution (AAA+ mark), as one of the top 3 multinationals to ever achieve it under the new legislation.
What is B-BBEE and why does it matter for HP South Africa?
B-BBEE (Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment) is a driver of transformation for businesses in South Africa. It seeks to address the injustices of past legacy systems which disadvantaged various groups of people from participation in the formal economy.
Complying with BEE is your license to conduct business, it is your license to trade.
It challenges businesses to act responsibly and to contribute to the sustainability and empowerment of the country’s economic growth. This, in turn, makes us a preferred business partner and helps strengthen customer relationships.
What is the process of acquiring such accreditation?
A two-year transformation effort – months of planning, strategy development and designing a successful framework, continuous education of stakeholders on the importance of BEE compliance.
We always need to keep abreast and current with the legislation to keep winning with integrity. It is a team effort spearheaded by the Transformation lead, the Managing Director of the sub-region and the whole HR Team.
How would our AAA+ grade impact the way HP does business in the Republic of South Africa?
It becomes a sales tool and a reason why your customers want to do business with you.
Companies that want to partake in business with any kind of government body – be it, apply for a tender, purchase a state-owned asset or enter a public-private partnership – will have to ensure that they are 100% BEE compliant.
Being BEE compliant is not only beneficial if you want to do business in the public sector. Private companies that engage in business with each other may also reap the benefits of being compliant. Preferential procurement in private companies has a knock-on effect throughout the supply chain, which, in turn, affects all business entities.
If you have a BBBEE Certificate, larger businesses are encouraged to do business with you because it improves their own BBBEE score.
HP’s vision is to create technology that makes life better for everyone, everywhere. How do you contribute to this through your role?
I feel privileged to be involved in the selection and implementation of projects which use technology to better the lives of local communities.
I could help bring the brand of HP into remote and rural areas, thus impacting the lives of people who would otherwise have no access to technology.
Moreover, considering BEE, I am proud to be part of a company which demonstrates its commitment to acting responsibly and mobilizing economic activity.
HP South Africa has taught me that that social responsibility is embedded in our DNA.
What is your personal Diversity & Inclusion goal for HP South Africa?
I aspire to increase the number of females in leadership positions across HP Africa.
I have partnered with women in Go-to-Market (Sales) to set up Women’s Impact Network (WIN) Africa. We are focusing on African women – from entry to senior management level – mentoring and empowering females to take on leadership positions and responsibilities. This is only achievable through effective collaboration across functions to ensure we have the right talent in the right place.
What is the next big thing for you and HP South Africa HR?
My next move will be to make a positive change, especially around Diversity & Inclusion.
I aspire to set up a non-governmental organization to help women and children in rural areas.
I love making a difference, I will continue doing that. 😊