HR: Get the Balance Right to Lure (and Keep) Top Talent
Recent Gauteng Business News
Debbie Goodman-Bhyat, CEO of Jack Hammer Executive Headhunters, says the time spent on hiring a new executive is most unlikely to be less than 3 months, and more often than not, it will take much longer if one considers the relatively lengthy notice periods at this level.
“Once an executive commences with an organisation, there is likely a 6 to 9 month period before he or she is firing on all cylinders and making a significant contribution,” she says.
“So that's approximately 1 year of downtime, plus substantial financial loss, and expenditure that is almost inevitable from the time that a key executive departs, to the time a new one is has settled. All of which can be avoided if organisations sharpen their focus on 3 key issues: keeping the career challenges coming; making sure the money is right and being careful about ensuring the right fit before making an appointment.”
According to findings contained in the latest Jack Hammer Executive Report*, the reasons why executives accept offers mirror the findings regarding why they decide to seek greener pastures in the first place.
“Our latest executive survey showed that almost all respondents would leave their current position for another if the status quo no longer stimulated and excited them. Interestingly, this was also the top reason why respondents would accept an offer elsewhere – even where a candidate wasn’t actively looking for a new position,” she says.
“Imagine this scenario,” Goodman-Bhyat says: “A career-minded executive is the CEO of a division of a large corporation. For the past two to three years, the business has been achieving 15 – 18% growth, and has required him to focus both on the top line of revenue generating activities as well as the bottom line of cost containment, process streamlining, and internal business change.
“The level of challenge has been high, and he’s not only been very stimulated, but has also received kudos from the powers that be at group exco due to his achievements. However, many of the challenges that drew him to the role have been accomplished, and his track record of achievement is unlikely to progress much further.
“For this leader, now would be a good time to consider a change, while he’s still seen to be at the top of his game. His company would do well to identify this situation, and make him an internal offer to take on a new role in the organisation, which will once again leverage all of his skills.”
But it is important that companies keep a handle on where their top talent is at in terms of career, expectations and challenges, she says.
“It would make little sense to let this accomplished leader leave the organisation, and again waste precious time and money to go through a new round of sourcing a replacement, which may or may not work out in the end.
“And it is important to keep a close eye on the balance of the top 3 influencers. Where the role stops being a challenge, the financial package will start taking precedence. Without the lure of a really impactful and substantial career and role vision, the money will have to rise to the fore in order to retain the candidate, although this can only ever be a short-to-medium term solution.
“It truly is worth spending time and money fine-tuning both the offer, appointment and retention process, as this will limit expensive and potentially destructive decisions”, Goodman-Bhyat says.
*Executive Talent: Get them, Keep them, investigated the challenges faced by South African businesses in attracting and retaining top executives while ensuring continued transformation. The survey was conducted for Jack Hammer by independent research consultancy EIGHTY20, and questioned hundreds of mid-to-high level executives across several categories, including remuneration, role, expectations and company culture.
Business News Sector Tags: HR|