From Working with Kenya Airways to Starting Own HR Firm…Meet Gloria Michelle

Gloria Michelle Otieno - Director at Recours 4 Kenya

By Tabitha Makumi,

Once, she used to work for Kenya Airways in the customer care department. Life was fine and dandy until the early 2012 infamous retrenchment. She survived the ordeal and was shipped off to an outsourced HR company. But after six months, her heart was no longer into the KQ gig and so she decided to call it quits.

Meet Gloria Michelle Otieno, a go getter, feisty and everything young ambitious women…and men should strive to be; to see opportunities where lies none. Today she is a Director at Recours Four Kenya Consultants Limited, a firm that focuses on human resources and training in the country. In short, if you are looking for a ‘jobo’, Gloria’s firm will sort you out.

What was your first job and how much were you earning then?
I was working as a promotions and marketing assistant for a staffing firm in South Africa. I was earning about 3000ksh per week. Worked there for about two years and was later promoted to a Marketing team leader.

What’s the best professional advice you’ve ever received?
That would be to ensure that I always give value in everything that I do. What most people don’t
realize is that value creates a solid brand, repeat business, referrals and this has continued to nurture me as a HR Consultant in my business.

What have you done differently to be successful in your field?
Ingenuity: You find that people are hardwired to do what everyone else is doing. I chose to take the risk of taking the business a different route and putting more focus on innovation.

Working with what we currently have in order to achieve success through people. Success on the outside begins on the inside. How you treat your employees etc.

Have you ever researched on global organizations and how they treat their employees? I am particularly fascinated by the way Ducati – Italy treats their employees. I feel that if most organizations valued their employees, it would create more profits. But that’s just my opinion.

What’s your favourite interview question?
Why should we hire you? ….. This is because it creates an opportunity for any job seeker to sell themselves, be fearless and show value to the potential employer. We often forget that value is so important in all aspects of our lives.

Who has had the most impact in your career?
That would be my dad..James Otieno – a consultant Engineer and his commitment to responsiveness. You know, he was the first person I ever met who practiced near-instant responsiveness.

He constantly told me that this trait made him stand out in stark contrast to so many others in the same business who take long to get back to a client or simply failed to deliver what they had promised. He taught me that people want to do business with people who are responsive.

Are there parts of your job that make you want to pull-out your hair?
Yes definitely, when you spend time headhunting for the perfect talent, you find him/her, hand over to the client and he/she declines their offer. This gets me to the point of pulling out my hair. Yup it gets me to that “AAAAARRRRRGHHH” moment.

What gets you up early in the morning?
What gets me excited is the opportunity to do more, learn more and achieve more. I am a strong believer of “You Reap What You Sow”. My mind is constantly on the go’, I want to do more and I need to achieve more.

What’s your opinion on the current high level of underemployment right now?
“What else can you do?” - This is a question I like to ask youth. What else can you do? Is employment the only solution? I do not think so.

At the interview stage; what are you saying? Are you selling yourself enough? Have you taken the necessary preparations to ace that interview?

What other skills do you have? As you are job searching, are you building your skill set?

Lastly what does your CV look like? Do you match your CV?

What’s your advice to young graduates hoping to pursue HR?
They need to keep developing wisdom, respecting humanity and keep mastering their skill. HR’s are known to be strategic people in an organization and one should know the responsibility that comes with being in this field and be willing to commit to lifelong learning.

After a long day at work you like to go home and…?
The best way for me to unwind after a long day is to listen to some good music or watch a good movie. My mind remains calm and is still active. I strongly believe that your mind needs to be kept active in order to be productive in whatever you do.