I admire entrepreneurs in this rainbow nation. You must have steel nerves, thick skin and a hardnosed disposition to start and build a business from the ground up. The odds are piled against you.If you survive the hardships of business in SA (according to the World Bank Doing Business Report, SA’s ranking has worsened from 29th to 35th) – bloated government bureaucracy, under the table corruption, the funding maze of financial instiutions, disruptions to fuel/electricity supply, ripped off banking/communication charges, unending tide of regulations, hit and run crime, fierce competition from big business and peckish customers, you deserve an award for sheer courage.
So it is rather depressing to find after surviving the Titanic; that the future of your business is on Titanic II. Sure, you are getting the tenders, closing those seven figure deals and coining the area of your market. Your business may not be around long enough to complete them. The Talent Wars are slowly blasting SME’s out of the water.
Here is a familiar example:
A small, fast growing IT company has built up a reputable brand, world class service suite, portfolio of impressive clients, BEE credentials and a full 2008 order book. Each year the company attracts about two hundred graduates straight out of university and hires ten for a fast track programme. The owners and managers invest their time and resources to train these graduates. A year later, 60% of these graduates have left to join their competitors, usually a heavyweight IT organisation. So it is back to the drawing board. Even worse, the company is losing other qualified IT staff, up to 30% per annum. The water is gushing in. Service levels are dropping and clients are beginning to complain. Existing staff are overworked, underpaid – a downward spiral is emerging.
It is crunch time for SME’s to aggressively attract and retain talent. Turn your conventional notions about work and employees upside down. Be daring and different. Explore unconventional offerings across the talent chain, from recruitment and remuneration to performance and career development. The future of your business depends on it.