Last month, we launched a remarkable social media campaign called “HR Heroes”, inviting employees to recognise and nominate HR Managers who demonstrate exceptional dedication and support in the workplace. Among the outstanding HR professionals nominated, Dianabasi Edo, the esteemed HR Administrator at Sundry Foods, emerged as one of the HR Heroes. We are delighted to present her inspiring journey and accomplishments, and we invite you to join us in getting to know her better.
My name is Dianabasi Edo, a chartered Human Resource professional and practitioner. I am a young lady from Nigeria, Akwa Ibom State; I live and work in Port Harcourt, am the last child in a family of 8, and am a Christian.
What motivated you to pursue a career in HR, and how has your journey been so far?
In 2018 I had an opportunity to work as an office support officer in the HR department of a firm back then, I got to recruit and induct new hires and did a background check for new hires as well, and instantly, I fell in love with this path, so I did some background check and found out Human Resources is a field with tremendous career growth, I researched about courses available and how to get them, that was how my journey started. It has been an interesting journey so far; every day, I face new challenges, and it’s an opportunity to learn something new; there has been no regret.
What’s a common misconception people have about your role, and what is your opinion about it?
People assume HR are mean people and HR are wicked, but this is not true. There may be a few bad eggs, yes but trust me, as a chartered HR, we go about everything with professionalism, so long as you are doing your work, you won’t have any issues, and even when you do, we are human enough to blend justice with humanity. HR MANAGERS ARE YOUR FRIEND.
How would you describe your approach to supporting and engaging with your colleagues in the workplace?
I believe in being an active listener and working collaboratively with my colleagues to find solutions. I also think it’s important to be respectful and empathetic towards others. As an HR, I would strive to create a positive and inclusive work environment where everyone feels valued and supported.
Could you share a specific example or project where you went above and beyond to make a positive impact on your colleagues and the company?
I recall one time in my previous company, everyone had this notion that HR managers are rigid and not social, it was an entertainment industry, and when I came in, I introduced fun activities, and we recognised people who put in the work over the years in my station, I followed my crew for social events and just try to be present in social activities and functions, this created a great bond between my team and me, it has been a year now I left, and I still relate with them like we still work together. For my company, it was a period we witnessed engaged employees, and you know what happens when workers are engaged? They put 100% effort into their work.
What strategies or initiatives have you implemented to enhance employee well-being, satisfaction, and overall workplace culture?
I think my previous answer did justice to this question. I implemented various initiatives such as employee recognition programs; in my present company, I handle crew recruitment, and during documentation, I spare a little time to take the new hires on policies so they know and improve on our workplace culture even before their orientation program. During interviews, I try to encourage and advise candidates on career progression so that even when they do not get the job, they take up a learning experience.
Can you highlight a challenging situation you faced as an HR manager and how you successfully navigated through it?
For me, that will be being unable to proffer immediate solutions to staff complaints; you know how it is, management has to look through things to get it done; some you get and some you don’t. Going back to them and telling them I am sorry this can’t be processed at the moment wasn’t easy. I remember when some staff I worked with at the bakery stopped receiving milk for months, I promised to get this done as soon as I could, and I was able to bring this initiative back thanks to my boss and the bakery manager; I felt fulfilled then.
Share a memorable experience you’ve had working as an HR manager.
One of my most memorable experiences as an HR was when I was able to help an employee who was struggling with personal issues outside work. I was able to provide him with the resources and support needed. Seeing him overcome his challenges and return to work feeling more positive and productive was incredibly rewarding. Another experience would always be, being the go-to person in my circle whenever anyone wants to tour the HR career path, they refer them to me, and I guide them through it’s always a blessing and joy seeing someone I once coached making progress in the HR field.
In your opinion, what are the key qualities that make a successful HR professional?
Determination, and when you get in, do the work, put in your best, do research, ask questions, and improve on yourself at every little opportunity you get, and lastly, pray because man can only plant God gives the increase. God is everything at the end of the day; if he doesn’t approve, who are we?
How do you stay updated with the latest trends and best practices in HR management?
I encourage everyone practising HR in Nigeria to be a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria CIPM, yes, I know some people want a global certification, no doubt, but start with home; this is how I stay up to date, of course, I have a handful of mentors who are always ready to help when I feel lost, I have an HR Managers WhatsApp group I belong, on LinkedIn I follow Harvard business review, this is just to mention but a few.
What advice would you give aspiring HR professionals starting their careers?
Be sure HR is what you want, do it for the love of it. That should be the driving force, then get certified, network (this should be capitalised, your network it’s very important, this is how you get hired), and get yourself mentors.
What strategies do you employ to attract and retain top talent in a competitive job market?
Offering competitive compensation and benefits packages, providing opportunities for growth and development, fostering a positive and inclusive work environment, and promoting work-life balance. I also emphasise the company’s mission and values to help attract candidates who share our vision; many of my candidates say they love our brand, so they applied to work with us. I am always impressed.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges HR professionals face in today’s ever-evolving work environment, and how do you navigate those challenges?
In my opinion, I would say managing remote teams, adapting to new technologies and changing regulations, and addressing employee mental health and well-being. To navigate these challenges, I believe it’s important to stay informed and up-to-date on industry trends and best practices and to be flexible and adaptable in our approach. It’s also important to prioritise open communication and collaboration with employees and other HR professionals to help address these challenges effectively.
What strategies do you employ to promote work-life balance and employee well-being within your organisation?
Some strategies I employ to promote work-life balance and employee well-being `is encouraging breaks within work hours and taking some time off, you need this so you don’t get burnout, and by the time you are back, you will be refreshed and ready to give in your best at work. I lead by example. I prioritise my work-life balance to set a positive tone for anyone. Except it’s really important, work is work and home is home.
Lastly, what does being recognised as an HR Hero mean to you, and how does it inspire you to continue making a difference in your role?
Honestly, I didn’t know we would get to this interview process; I thought it was just an Instagram thing, this week I was a bit down because someone made a statement of me showing off my achievement, but this is just one of many other recognitions to come, it’s telling me Dianabasi do all you can, get all is required, follow your passion no matter what, you are worthy…
This is a great deal to me; it validates the hard work and dedication that I put into my role as an HR professional; it inspires me to continue making a difference by pushing me to strive for even greater success and impact in my work. It is also an encouragement to continue learning, growing, and being up-to-date with HR trends. This is a testament to the positive impact I can make in the lives of employees I have worked and still working with and the organisation in my few years as an HR professional.