Global Wobblies sink Talent

The unthinkable happened in the US as financial skyscrapers crashed into the ground, threatening (for the first time since 1929), to take down financial systems across continents. The view from Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Lehman Brothers and AGI Insurance will never be the same again. There is no view for those without jobs and worthless share options. While bail out packages are the order of the day across the US, UK and Europe, it is debateable whether those trillions will be enough to stabilise the system. Who would have imagined socialism style measures to rein in capitalism excess?  As the V shaped dip stretches into a U shaped recession, the worst is yet to come. I wouldn’t be surprised to see reinforced boxes of legislation to control corporate recklessness in future. Maybe I should look at careers in corporate governance again.

A quick lesson for local companies that suck up the latest management fads from overseas, based upon research of high performing US/UK companies. Go back and study that research. You will find some of the fallen financial institutions in those research lists.

While SA was not immune to fallout, the world should have looked better from our shores for a change. Even with the slowdown in economic growth and employment prospects, SA should come out in better shape than other emerging countries.

Unfortunately, the country was reeling from the biggest leadership crisis in recent history – judiciary under attack, the President shockingly recalled from office, cabinet resignations and political outbursts. Hopefully, sanity has triumphed by the time you read this column and we are steaming ahead.

Given the grubby fingerprints of baby boomers in these international and local events, I recommend compulsory early retirement without golden parachutes.  Generation X and Y already have enough of their problems to fix at big numbers.

Talent Focus

Talent is at the top of your agenda, right?  HR is doing the best it can, under the circumstances, right? Try analysing the activities of stakeholders in your business for the real picture:

CEO

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So the CEO is concerned about talent, up from 2% in 2000 to say 10% in 2008. But is it going to make a dent in the war for talent?  HR needs to engage the CEO beyond staff road shows and quarterly talent updates. Talent management is more than keeping the CEO’s PA at an absurd remuneration package.

Line Manager

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Many line managers are dissatisfied with their “HR” related responsibilities for talent, from recruitment and performance management to mentoring and retention. With talent stuff taking half or more of their working day, it can disrupt their attention to the business.  Does HR provide line managers with on-demand info and support to perform effectively?

HR

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Before launching the umpteenth talent project, perhaps HR should get a firm handle on the business. Understand the business strategy, follow the share price, dissect ROI, meet customers and experience the day to day operational problems. Then deliver meaningful talent solutions based upon the needs in your business.

Until the next issue, enjoy those year end functions, hide those credit cards and find the secret life of your staff on Twitter.

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