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Namibian HR expert speaks on stereotypes

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VICTORIA FALLS — A top Namibian human resources (HR) expert Tim Ekandjo has urged local human resources managers to guard against regurgitating stereotypes, but create a conducive working environment for their employees.

Addressing an Institute of Personnel Management of Zimbabwe exhibition in Victoria Falls last Friday, Ekandjo said managers should strive to eliminate stereotypes and cultivate sound working relationships with their subordinates. Ekandjo, who is president of Institute of People Management of Namibia, said companies should embrace diversity and leverage on diversity to attain core objectives which should deal with removing stereotypes.

“The problem with stereotypes is that they are oversimplified by people and it is a generalisation that leaves no room for individuality,” said Ekandjo. “It starts at a personal level, that is learning about yourself, understand your own attitude, behaviour and assumptions and beliefs,” he said.

Ekandjo said some of the world’s best companies had talent and diversity-based reward and recognition programmes aimed at doing away with stereotyping at the work place.

“Best companies have diversity and inclusiveness plans, they hold executives accountable for diversity goals through performance- based pay programmes and they include diversity as an aspect of people and talent management criteria.

“The next time you are tempted to stereotype a group of people, think about the group to which you belong. List the stereotypes linked to that group. Ask yourself: Does each of those stereotypes apply to me as an individual? More than likely you will disagree. That is why it is important to judge specific individuals rather than the groups to which they belong,” added Ekandjo.

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