The Employer of the Year Awards is a corporate social event organised by the Federation of Uganda Employers to recognise the best employers in several categories.
It is a climax of a survey carried out among established companies and SMEs under a specific theme.
The awards were first held in 2001, with the major objective of identifying, ranking and recognising organisations in Uganda that have excelled in instituting and remarkably executing world class human resource management policies and practices and to encourage other organisations to follow suit.
"The other reason we came up with these awards was to assess and reward improvement of employee working conditions throughout the country. We also wanted to develop a set of human resource and management guidelines, derived from the survey findings, by putting together expert advice and practical experiences that have evidently worked," Rosemary Ssenabulya, the executive director of the Federation of Uganda Employers, says.
Who qualifies for the awards?
Ssenabulya says all legally registered employers, both established and upcoming, can participate in the survey. The Employer of the Year awards have a number of categories, including the young employer's category, small and medium-size enterprises, as well as special categories.
This year, the awards attracted 91 organisations. To promote transparency and dispel any conflict of interest fears, the federation hired an independent consultant to do the survey.
In a speech read for her by Dr Chris Baryomunsi, the state minister for housing, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, who was the guest of honour, said the surveys carried out for the awards give organisations a chance to share experiences and information.
The overall winners were Uganda Breweries Ltd (Gold), Uniliver Uganda Ltd (Silver) and National Social Security Fund (Bronze). The winner in the category of SMEs was EFC Uganda Ltd, while Grant Thornton was the runner-up.
The PWDS award went to Welthungerhilfe (Winner) and Royal Suits Bugolobi (Runner-up). Global Christian Trust took the Young Employer's award, while Ambrosoli Wonder was the runnerup.
In the special category, Uganda Wildlife Authority won the award for corporate social responsibility, while Total Uganda won the occupational health and safety award. Wagagai Ltd took the Employee Motivation Initiative award and Stanbic bank won in the category of Learning and Development one. The most benevolent CEO award went to Dr Andrew Seguya, of the Uganda Wildlife Authority
How EFC won employer award
Entrepreneurs' Financial Centre (EFC), after five years of service, won the prestigious Employer of the Year, SME category in the recently concluded Federation of Uganda Employers Awards. EFC is a fast-paced microfinance institution that specialises in financial services to entrepreneurs.
The microfinance institution offers business loans, home improvement loans, women market trader loans and savings accounts.
"We started our business five years ago, with less than 10 staff, and we have grown it to a stronger institution with two fully-fledged branches and six business service centres. We have grown our client numbers and loan portfolio to 4,539 and sh18b, respectively, and we hope to surpass sh20b by the end of December 2017," says Claude Lafond, the managing director of EFC Microfinance Uganda Limited. Lafond attributes the win at the awards to the company's ability to drive innovation and competition in the SME sector.
"I know that we were competing with some of the best brands in the SME category, including leading microfinance institutions, which were rated and compared based on their employment skills, human resource practices, approaches towards nurturing talented employees and provision of development opportunities," he says.
Juliana Kayaga, the EFC human resource and administration manager, explains that the organisation takes pride in developing its staff through training and providing them with the required tools and atmosphere.
This is to enhance human capital as a competitive advantage to enable the organisation achieve the vision of being the preferred financial services provider for entrepreneurs in Uganda.
"We recognise that people are our biggest asset. We make sure they are part of the company, and despite being a young financial institution, we try to come up with crosscutting interventions to make them the best," Kayaga says.
"We are a small company of 120 employees, but we try to retain a semblance of a family. When we achieve something, we celebrate it together. When we, for example, disperse a billion Ugandan shillings in form of loans, everyone will know. We struggle together and celebrate everything together," she adds. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS STORY