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Gcobisa Ntshona - Human Resource Director
14 Aug 2020 11:41 am
Gcobisa Ntshona - Human Resource Director
Gcobisa Ntshona joined the LexisNexis board in April 2018 as an Executive Director, and became a non-executive Director for Reed Exhibitions in 2020. Making strategic and operational decisions for the company, ensuring that statutory obligations are met and managing the company’s business are key roles for Gcobisa who is based in Johannesburg but hails from the small town of Ngcobo in the Eastern Cape.
A dynamic Human Resources professional, Gcobisa has delivered solid business results at companies including Barclays Africa Group Limited and Shell SA. She was tasked with spearheading LexisNexis South Africa’s Human Capital strategy, driving employee engagement and talent management, and establishing the company as an employer of choice as it continues its expansion strategy across the spheres of legal information and compliance, data services and business software solutions.
A charismatic leader who has the ability to balance empathy, she is firm on delivery and outputs. Her adaptable and collaborative style, with a focus on big picture thinking means she is very driven and committed to empowering her team to ensure that they go further for the business.
What is the current percentage of women within LNSA – overall as well as at managerial and Board level? At present females make up 56% of our Senior Management and 43% of our Top Management at Executive Director level.
- Research suggests that the presence of women on boards contributes to improving corporate performance. Yet, globally over 90 percent of directorships are held by men. How is LexisNexis South Africa addressing this? LexisNexis has been on a diversity and inclusivity journey. Just this year alone we have hired two females to board level, as CEO and to the role of Sales and Marketing Director. We have also appointed female leaders to head our Marketing function and co-head our Operations division.
- Can you outline some of the plans and targets LexisNexis has in place for increasing its female representation? We are making a deliberate effort to hire females where opportunities exist and where we find the right skillsets. LexisNexis is definitely walking the talk. We are creating opportunities and communities that will support our female colleagues to thrive and overcome barriers. We are on the lookout for graduates for 2021 as we understand the importance of early career development. The majority of the roles will not only be filled by females but with candidates from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.
- How will you ensure that it isn’t about tokenism or quotas, but a holistic approach that includes developing and recruiting the right people? We have put together a holistic Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) programme that not only focuses on D&I but also aims to foster a sense of belonging, with interventions aligned to these principles that we hope will create lasting and meaningful change.
- What do you believe are the benefits of female representation on Boards? Females bring a different edge to corporates. They are good at staying focused, less ego driven and keen to collaborate to win as one team as opposed to focussing on winning as an individual. The shift to add more females is a great addition to previous boards where females have been under-represented. Data is showing that female leaders are as good as their male counterparts, but systematic injustices of the past have resulted in their slow and gradual rise to board or executive level roles.
- What interventions does LexisNexis have in place to create a women-friendly environment where women are increasingly able to take advantage of the Future World of Work and the opportunities presented by the 4th Industrial Revolution? LexisNexis has looked at the trends of the new world of work and has put some interventions into play. These include involvement of females at work in mentorship programmes, designing and launching a graduate programme targeting females from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, and ensuring we benchmark roles and minimise or rectify pay parities. We have also looked at interventions that equip females to navigate the world of work, brought the lens and spotlight on LGBT to ensure that our colleagues feel included, and implemented a community that is a safe space for our females to share and learn and navigate some of the challenges by being involved in crafting relevant solutions. We are also planning on launching our generational differences and lifestyle balance campaign in upcoming months.
- What are your qualifications? I hold a degree in Human Resources Management and and an Honours degree in Industrial Relations from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. I did a brief stint in Business Management with Nuertigen – Geislingen (HFWU) University – Germany and have an MBA from Henley Business School.
- How do you empower women in your personal life? By being true and transparent as to how I have facilitated my journey. The goals and ambitions I have, how I work towards those and overcoming challenges along the way. I enjoy engaging with younger females who have a thirst for life, and who want to hit the “big time” career wise. I do believe that every generation of young people should always aim higher and have a greater impact that what the previous generation did.
- Do you have any mentors? I do and reach out to them from time to time. I have also formed good relationships with seniors from my previous roles that I can connect with and bounce ideas off when required.
- What are your hobbies & interests? What do you like to do in your spare time? I enjoy reading and occasionally watching cartoons with my toddler and travelling from time to time – especially back to my birthplace, the Eastern Cape.
- What is your experience of being a woman in the legal technology industry and specifically at LNSA? It has been an interesting one, a journey of learning, self-discovery and of building. I have been amazed by the technology we use as well as by the pride our people have in what we do. The fact that we use technology to make an impact for the greater good, especially in advancing the Rule of Law and Justice for all, is noteworthy and something I am truly enjoying.
- What’s the best thing about working for an organisation like LNSA as a woman specifically? I love the focus on outcomes and the flexibility to work in a manner and style with which I identify. We are on our own business evolution journey and I get to make an impact on how we leverage on technology in our quest to enhance the potential of the African continent by advancing the rule of law