José Asumu Onguene

National Human Ressources Manager and Planning and Monitoring Evaluation Coordinator SOS Children's Villages in Guinea Equitorial
photo: © 2018 Stefan Lechner Photography

Facing challenges to succeed. Solving challenges in Human Resource Development

In my daily work as a HR, I learn a lot from people. Every day you realize that each person is like a world. For instance, what seems good to one does not have to look good to the other. The social and cultural context greatly influences the way people think and act. So, you should be more careful and tactful when you manage each person. Every day you discover how important it is to listen people, analyse each word and emotion before reacting. SOS Children villages operated in Equatorial Guinea for more than nine years without Human Resources Department. This situation was a turning point in terms of managing culture changes, implementing new strategies and procedures. I would just highlight some topic and challenging moments in my story:

Explaining HR department role for staff
I remember the first day that many employees asked me more about Human Resources Department. It took me some days organising focus group and explaining to my colleagues and Head of Units the role of the HR Department. They were very surprised because they discovered that HR department is not only recruitment, payroll, Hiring and dismiss people, etc. They discovered other functions for HR Department as an strategic position in term of promoting a good Leadership within the National Association, working for the motivation for all staff in order to have a better performance, encourage internal communication, advise staff on Labour Law and internal Manual, Promoting, retaining talents, create wellness and recreation programs, staff planning, Performance evaluations, etc.

The first step
I remember very well the first month we had to update the file for all staff and when we prepared the Job description Book. It was a difficult issue in order to clarify and separate task and responsibilities.

I also remember the period that The National Association lacked an additional legal instrument to solve the various specific aspects that were raised day by day. The Local Labour Law is very generic and does not take into account the specific cases. After a few intense months of work and with the support of the Regional Office and the Local Labour Inspectorate, we were able to take forward the Internal Regulation. Since then, managing staff has been substantially improved in several aspects that previously created unnecessary controversies.

Promoting motivation and internal communication
In term of motivation, HR department with Management Team prepared a motivation Plan for all staff. Some aspects were implemented in the budget for the first time, such as: birthday’s celebration, excursions, awards for the best employees, etc.
An Internal Communication Plan was elaborated in order to break the different communication barriers that existed. This Communication Plan was discussed, amended and approved by the entire Management Team. Thanks to this Plan the internal communication improved a lot.

Changing the way of thinking
Two more topic that comes into my mind are: the first moment we implemented the Code of Conduct. Although it may seem simple for any new employee, however, but I still remember the first time we encourage people to sign the Code of Conduct. Some veteran staff were quite resistant to sign it. After carrying out several awareness campaigns all staff accepted to do it.

The other topic was about the first retirements. In our culture, people do not like to be retired. It is thought that being retired means that someone is no longer useful for the society. I remember that it took me a lot of effort and time to convince the affected employees, the advantages offered by the Local Law for retirees in terms of free medical care, life pension, etc. Despite such resistance, the first retirees are satisfied and grateful at present.

José Abeso Asumu,

Human Resources Manager and Planning & Monitoring Evaluation Coordinator-Guinea Ecuatorial

Jose’s passion is finding the right people for each position, which makes him a committed Human Resource Manager. As he also carries out the function of planning, monitoring and evaluation, he holds a holistic view on the organization. Jose lived in Spain for over 15 years and came back to his country in 2010. He immediately started working for SOS Children’s Villages. Jose was born into a big family and now has five children himself. For him family is what gives meaning to life. He tries his best to balance work and family life. In his leisure time Jose enjoys doing sports like running and walking. He needs physical exercise to function well. He also tries to follow political debates and the successes of his favourite team FC Barcelona. Jose describes his country Guinea Equatorial as one of the most beautiful places in the world. It has lush forests, beautiful beaches and a pleasant climate. With approximately two million people, it is a small country. Its people live in peace and harmony. Most people are Christians.

Video Harvesting Workshop 2018