Attract, Engage & Reward Talent

In my last column (HRF, August), I revisited the world cup experience, going through five unanswered show-me-the-money questions: local manufacturers missing out on the production of memorabilia, small business benefits, job creation, botched arrangements between Match and local providers, and the future of our stadiums (cash cows or white elephants). This month I want to explore the lessons from the game, for HR professionals to attract, engage and reward talent.  

1  The Strikes

During the world cup, Stallion, Airports Company South Africa and Eskom played a very different game outside the stadiums. Workers shared the same pain: more pay. Within days of the opening ceremony, several stadiums were rocked by wildcat security guard strikes. While the strike was quickly extinguished by bringing in the SAPS, the damage to the country was already done. When ACSA staff went on strike at OR Tambo International airport, the company claimed that it was due to a new union (not recognised) and disgruntled former employees spreading false information.For a few days, the haggling between Eskom and the National Union of Mineworkers, threatened to bring the business and the game to a standstill.

Take away lessons:

(1) Prepare for strike action during major events

(2) Don’t wait until your business is a corner to engage unions and disgruntled staff

2 The Coaches

I can’t imagine the stress of coaching a national team and carrying the expectations of a nation on your shoulders. But how much should you be paid for it? Well if you looked at the remuneration packages of the 32 coaches that brought their side to the world cup, you may want to reconsider your career. Some coaches make more money in one week than the rest of us will earn in a lifetime. At the top of the table, the English and Italians paid their coaches around R74 and R 30.75 million respectively. Further down the table, our coach pocketed R13.5 million and Brazilian coach got less at R9.37 million. At the bottom, the Uruguay and Nigerian coaches came away with R2.25 and R1.35 million.

Take away lessons

(1) Remuneration is a lot of art, little science

(2) High pay does not automatically mean high performance. England was knocked out in the last 16 and Italy crashed out in the first round.

3 The Referees

Throughout the game, the referees stole the limelight from the players for their controversial decisions. According to Canadian assistant referee, Hector Vergara,“In all of our games, 97% of our calls are right. The players aren’t perfect 100 percent of the time. Why should the referees be?”

The referee mistakes in the England/Germany and Argentinean/Mexico matches could have been avoided through the use of goalline technology.

I’m sure that a lot of work has to be done in the training and technology department. A red card happy-trigger referee, that is not held accountable for erroneous decisions, should stay off the pitch.

Take away lessons

(1) When your gatekeepers get in the way of good business, send them packing or train them.

(2) Embrace technology to bring out the best in your workforce

4 The Fans  

 According to Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein*, social media is, “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content”.

If your organisation is resisting Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin in the war for talent or assumes that it can control the conversation, learn from FIFA’s blunder. When FIFA went on Twitter, inviting questions, I doubt they expected over 20000 followers asking candid questions, about corruption and scandals. By not paying attention to the emotional temperature of their audience, FIFA lost credibility in twitterverse.

Take away lessons

(1) Use social media to authentically attract and engage talent

(2) You can’t control the medium or the conversation. Get used to it. 

(HR Future, September 2010)

  * Kaplan Andreas M., Haenlein Michael, (2010)., Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media, Business Horizons, Vol. 53, Issue 1, p. 59-68.





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