We recently had the privilege of interviewing Naledi Gallant, CEO of Dalitso Holdings (Pty) Ltd. Her company meets its clients’ recruitment requirements and offers fantastic career opportunities to aspiring job seekers. Likewise, her distinctive service offering is focused on leveraging cutting-edge technology to assist businesses in becoming employers of choice for attracting and retaining top talent. Naledi is a Seasoned Innovation and Business Executive and a Savvy Business Entrepreneur. She primarily focuses on bringing out the best in people and offers a wide range of HR services. Naledi Gallant is also passionate about expanding and advancing entrepreneurial activities on the African continent. She is also associated with several prominent organizations and projects, reflecting her expertise. Let’s learn more about Naledi Gallant and her journey through this interview below.
Milestones In The Journey
We were intrigued to learn about the significant turning points in her career journey. So, we asked, “Can you share some pivotal milestones that have marked your journey as an entrepreneur and business executive?”
She shared, “It all started after I completed my Honours Degree in Accounting and then 2 years into my first job realizing that being an Accountant was not for me and that I was inherently entrepreneurial in nature. I left my job and started working on several ideas and concepts I had thought I could do once I got the opportunity to be an entrepreneur.
Unfortunately, a few of those ideas were unsuccessful, and things didn’t go as planned. I realised that market research is a critical step in entrepreneurship. With entrepreneurship, risk-taking is part of the territory, therefore my journey has been riddled with several business trials and errors; I’ve made and lost money. I feel that had I had a good business mentor, and I could have minimized some of the mistakes that I went through. Nonetheless, I learned a few valuable lessons along the way.
Another pivotal milestone was the global economic meltdown that occurred just as the business had started to flourish. At the time, we provided a niche service within the financial services industry. And unfortunately, that sector was the hardest hit by the global economic crisis, and I helplessly watched as my entire business disappeared. I had to retrench over 150 employees and lost all the office furniture because I could no longer pay the rent. I only walked with my laptop and nothing else.
During COVID-19, we learned very quickly that adversities can present other opportunities as well. We were able to pivot quickly enough to start providing those pertinent HR services needed to support organizations and employees under distress due to COVID-19.”
Inspiration Behind Building The Company
To learn more about the aspects that inspired her to dive into this industry and to establish her brand, we asked, “What motivated you to venture into the HR services industry and establish Dalitso Holdings?”
She replied, “I ventured into HR by first providing recruitment services. There was a significant need for qualified black professionals in the financial services sector. And given that I had started my career in that industry, I had many contacts and great networks to supply financial services with those resources. As the years progressed, there was a need to cater to the growing demands of our clients. We started providing additional services to our bouquet of products.
Today Dalitso Holdings comprises a group of divisions that provide a diversified range of outsourced HR services, such as End-to-End HR outsourced services and consulting, Recruitment services, Training and Development, Bursaries administration, and Payroll administration. We provide outsourced HR services in South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Lesotho, Tanzania, Ethiopia, India and most recently in the UAE, Dubai.”
Adopting innovative approaches plays a crucial role in maintaining sustainable growth in a business. We asked, “How do you cultivate a culture of innovation within your organizations?”
Naledi Gallant shared, “We have an engaged workforce that is involved in most organization decision-making processes. They are part of our annual strategic planning sessions. We conduct internal surveys from time to time. It is imperative for employees to feel heard and recognized for their hard work and efforts. I encourage employees to have an entrepreneurial mindset and to provide solutions to any challenges we face as a business.
At the same time, employees feel validated, valued, and feel part of the team when management takes their recommendations seriously. We are intentional about cultivating a culture of innovation within our organization.”
Attracting The Right Talent
Another major factor that adds to the success of any business is having the right and top-notch talent on the team. Therefore we asked, “How do you attract top talent to your organizations, and what strategies do you use to retain them? In your experience, what role does company culture play in this?”
She replied, “We attract talent by providing employees with a conducive work environment that deals with issues and proactively addresses conflicts as they arise. I recognize that employees spend 75% of their time in the workplace and that it is important to create a healthy workplace where our employees’ well-being takes priority. Furthermore, we offer competitive salaries and provide our employees with benefits such as medical aid, provident fund, life and death cover, and 24/7 employee wellness support.”
Importance Of A Mentor
Having the right mentor can correctly take one to the heights of success. We therefore asked, “How has mentorship impacted your journey as an entrepreneur?”
Naledi Gallant replied, “My Mother was a serial entrepreneur that was highly industrious, enterprising, dynamic, and ambitious, running multiple businesses in various sectors and geographies simultaneously. I learned so much from her about hard work, ethical business practices, and value creation for your customers. She was innovative and strategic in all her business decisions and introduced all her children into the business. I have 4 siblings, and all of us are successful entrepreneurs. My Mother was my first mentor, and I continue to seek guidance from how she executed her business strategies.
Furthermore, my first successful entrepreneurial business was in partnership with 2 strong ladies in the recruitment industry for a long time. They mentored me and showed me the ropes of navigating the recruitment industry. They provided an excellent foundation for launching my HR business when we parted ways. From there onwards, when I established Dalitso Holdings, I also read books and biographies of public figures I admired in the business world but needed direct access to draw inspiration. Mentorship comes in many forms; it is not always about having direct access or contact with a particular person; inspiration and mentorship can be found in podcasts, TED Talks, books, seminars, and networking sessions.”
Overcoming The Risks
Every business goes through specific challenges and tough times and overcoming them effectively reflects authentic leadership. We asked, “How do you assess potential risks in your ventures, and what strategies do you employ to mitigate them effectively?”
She shared, “Given the high level of business uncertainty and the continuous changes in the business landscape with the advent of AI, one always needs to continually scan the business environment and look out for the changing needs of our customers. Our strategy is to be customer-centric and aware that our customers are now psychographics whose requirements must be catered for. We also mitigate our risk by leveraging technology to give us a competitive advantage.”
Adapting To The Latest Opportunities
Adapting to emerging opportunities at the right time is paramount for achieving a strong position in the market. We probed further, “How do you adapt your business strategies to capitalize on emerging opportunities and keep up with industry shifts? Can you provide an example of how you’ve pivoted your strategy?”
She shared, “We have recently launched Dalitso Virtual Assist (DVA) to specifically cater to the HR needs of SMEs by making them compliant, have professional processes, and free up entrepreneurs so that they can focus on growing their core business. Entrepreneurship and technology offer immense opportunities and potential to leapfrog SMEs onto the same play level field as their larger counterparts which can lead to many benefits such as increased productivity, creation of more jobs, more extraordinary wealth creation, and overall contribution to the country’s economy. Thus, DVA leverages technology to scale and reach as many SMEs as possible globally that require HR services at a reasonable rate.
Another business strategy was to expand the business to the UAE because we aspire to become a global brand. After much research, we decided on the UAE because it is a global business hub with ambitious plans to bolster funding and support businesses to make it the number one business hub globally.”
Advice To Beginners
Starting in a similar industry will find it helpful and inspiring to hear from an expert like Naledi Gallant. We asked, “What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs looking to make an impact in industries like HR, technology, real estate, and energy? What key lessons have you learned on your journey?”
Naledi Gallant shared, “Creating a product or service is not about you or what you want. It’s about your target market and what they want and need. It is about creating a solution for an existing problem. Market research is an essential aspect of starting a new business, and sadly, most of us as entrepreneurs tend to skip this crucial step because we are too excited about getting our product into the market.
Providing a niche product or service to a particular clientele is good. However, make sure to add one or two ancillary services as part of your service offering or provide your services to more than one sector or industry, given the uncertainties of our global business environment.
We live in unprecedented times of uncertainty and complexity, don’t be married to your product; instead, be agile, flexible, and adaptable to the changes in your environment and be ready to pivot quickly enough to take advantage of the opportunities presented by any adversities.
“There is no perfect moment or opportunity to start your business; start now with whatever you have. It’s called Effectuation.” – Naledi Gallant.”