Talent, Emigration and E-mails

Magazine Numbers

The magazine publishing industry has been rocked with the scandal at Media 24, probably the worst in decades. Employees at some of their top magazine titles, committed the cardinal sin of inflating circulation figures. To date, the CEO, MD and executives have retained their jobs, will any of them be sent packing as the investigation unfolds? Lots of HR questions have been raised about the impact of acquisitions, organisational culture, performance at whatever price and the motives of staff (apparently there was no financial gain). If passing discussions with some HR staff are a guide, a major shake up is needed in the company. 

Packing their Bags

According to Executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles, in partnership with the Economist Intelligence Unit, releasing their Global Talent Index, “Talent is the new oil, and demand far outstrips supply”  The loss of this oil is reflected in the rampant skills shortage – a simple example, is that of ISA Holdings who achieved modest revenue growth in the their latest reporting period. Their operational review indicates “management distraction” due to scarcity of IT skills, higher staff turnover and remuneration levels.

Meanwhile thousands of people pack their bags for the UK, Australia and Dubai. Their expertise, usually accumulated over decades cannot be replaced in the short term. While there are laudable initiatives to bring South Africans back home, what if we could keep talent before they left?  Rather lose talent to a local company than see them depart for another country. The new battleground: emigration seminars. After several invitations to a New Zealand seminar, inquisitiveness prevailed and I settled for a seat near the door. I was shocked – a room packed with professionals and entrepreneurs, from twenty somethings to baby boomers that attentively listened about the low crime levels, excellent healthcare, attractive compensation and stories of other South African families. There was a long line for the paid consultations after the presentation. I suggest that you deploy a talent squad of passionate HR and management into this market with red hot employment opportunities. The talent message is that we will help you to stay in SA!

E-mail Hoax

If you did not get the e-mail about a tornado heading for Jozi, something is missing in your social network. Over the years, the e-mail hoax machine has brought us rape, Madiba’s death, Trojan horses, closure of child protection units and now, a tornado. I wonder if invasions, aliens and dinosaurs are coming soon to my inbox. After receiving the e-mail I did a few checks and found some HR staff were lobbying to leave early that afternoon. In one retailer that shall remain anonymous, the HR Director was going to have none of it. He told staff that HR had to lead by example (even if other departments left early), it was safer to be in the corporate building than home with co-workers (team values) and they would miss the traffic gridlock, by leaving after the tornado.

Until next month. take it easy on those year functions and award rituals.  From 1 November until 31 December 2007, I am officially running my “potential customer” promotion. As a potential customer of your products and services, my future spending decision will be influenced by the corporate gifts that I receive today. Cash is king but gifts in kind, are thoughtful. All gifts will be acknowledged with a,  “I hope to be your customer one day” card. I promise not to write about it unless the gift is too cheap, poor quality or toxic.

(HR Future, November 2007)

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