Women have fundamentally been at the back-burner of hard and soft skills within the workspace and not highlighting their strengths, especially when it comes to technology. In celebration of South Africa’s Women’s Month, IT News Africa will profile Women in Tech who are making strides.
For the first segment, we feature Sandra Crous who has recently been appointed as the Managing Director of Cloud-based Payroll and Human Capital Management Software, PaySpace.
Crous has an impressive 32-year run at Sage in South Africa, where she fulfilled diverse roles including Sales Director, later taking up the helm as Vice-President for Mid-market Africa and Middle East. Sandra has been breaking glass ceilings as a woman being in the corporate space, moving from the conventional HR tasks and roles to being in a cloud and technology environment which is more fast-paced and very male-dominated.
She has also held positions in the education sector, which she is fervently passionate about, most recently as CEO of both Damelin Online and the London College of International Business Studies. Here’s what she had to say:
1. How do you drive innovation within your current role as the MD of PaySpace?
The PaySpace Payroll & HR system and Innovation has always been synonymous, we innovate on an ongoing basis and I think it has become part of our DNA. Interestingly when it is part of your value system and attract talent that love doing things better, it makes my life as MD easy.
2. What have been some of the challenges of working in a fast-paced male-dominated industry?
Always make sure your skillset and knowledge outpace the colleagues around you. I believe in a culture of learning, making sure you are ahead of the game, and making sure you dominate with knowledge.
3. How would you describe your management style?
My management style is participative and I focus on keeping a flat structure, regardless of the role that a person is in, I want to trust and empower them. I also believe in meeting with people in person, for me individual time and face to face meetings is extremely valuable.
4. What advice would you give to other women who want to join the tech industry?
I believe the acid test for women who to join the tech industry is knowledge, make yourself invincible and invest in your knowledge.
5. Moving to e-learning within the community of Human Resources, How has e-learning changed the workforce?
Education and e-learning is very dear to my heart, I am of the opinion that knowledge is power, with so many excellent e-learning courses, from HR management to a Grade R teaching qualification, effectively we have the opportunity to change the lives of anybody by giving them an opportunity to study. The beauty of e-learning is how is breaks down the barriers to entry, whether it is solving the distance to a campus or just allowing someone to access valuable content from a phone, it gives hope and opens opportunities.
6. Mobile workforce means you really do need a mobile payroll and HR office/solution – what changes have been occurring over the years to make this a reality?
The new generation of mobile workers would like to enjoy the same technology benefits they have at the office, when they are working remotely or simply accessing records when they are travelling. We have seen how remote working conditions have increased the demand for Payslips, leave applications and any claims disbursements, all happening 24/7/365 of the year. It is amazing how employees have embraced Employee Self Service and Manager Self Service.
7. In your opinion, what is the state of the cloud-based technology industry in Africa?
We are seeing more and more companies adopting a cloud-first strategy, with some leading Enterprise businesses transforming to cloud.
8. With the introduction of the 4IR, how does the future of the cloud-based technology look like?
It is extremely exciting and with Payroll & HR software being so data-intensive it will be vastly influenced by AI and the Internet of Things. One can imagine Bots handling labour intensive Payroll & HR queries and Payroll & HR managers having more time to assist with the war for talent, retention and making sure the workforce is engaged and motivated.
9. What future plans do you have for PaySpace?
We have always had the vision to expand globally, right now we are busy looking at global opportunities that we can take advantage of.
10. Would you like to add anything else?
Lastly, make sure your Payroll & HR office is future proof and your technology stack can cater for the demands of your business. 9 times out of 10 your Payroll cost will be one of the biggest expenses in the business and you always want to manage the cost-effectively with the best return.