FKE, the Federation of Kenyan Employers, is one of the most important employers federations in Africa. Via its associational and direct membership, it represents about half of formal employment in the country. Amongst them also an important number of companies of Dutch ownership or origin, active in sector such as flowers, food, dairy, industrial supplies and logistics. FKE has strong representational functions, and has a wide range of services in the field of IR, labour law and HR.
Nevertheless it faces a number of challenges: slow growth in membership, the need to improve service quality and client orientation, the wish to boost policy influence to fasten the move to a better business environment. To tackle these issues within a long term perspective, the FKE Board has developed and adopted during a retreat a new strategic plan 2018-2022, in which DECP was strongly involved as external advisor.
Contrary maybe to many other strategic plans, this one is very concrete, with a whole list of achievable, specific actions, to which outcomes are linked. Follow up and monitoring is provided for via regular reporting to the Board on the basis of clearly defined KPI’s. This should ensure constant pressure for effective implementation.
It was remarkable that the board, in the discussion of the plan, also insisted on taking up responsibilities, beyond their statutory role as Board: enthusiasm and engagement to mobilize their competencies and networks to play their role in the execution of the plan.
A number of concrete support actions were indeed listed where Board members’ status, access to important political decision makers, business experience and role model function towards colleagues CEOs would help in recruitment for membership, policy influence and improvement of service quality and sustainability. A Board Charter will further elaborate these points. This direct involvement and willingness for concrete engagement by company CEO’s is a welcome strengthening for FKE. It is also an interesting novelty in the functioning of African employers’ organisations, which hopefully will get many followers.