HomeBusiness DigestLetter to the CE and board chair

Letter to the CE and board chair

Have you ever wondered why some organisations are perennial underachievers? Regardless of the amount of money poured into these organisations they still fail to perform. Without doubt, the political and economic environment are contributory factors to these failures but the reality is that these are issues out of the executives’ control. The truth about these organisations is that they just do not have the right people to take the organisation to the desired destination or vision.

Memory Nguwi

Look at these organisations and you will discover the following facts; they do not put enough effort in getting the right people. In some instances, the organisation has created such a bad employer brand that no sober minded person would want to work for them. The root cause of all this is that these companies do not really care about the quality of the individuals joining the organisation. There are no transparent recruitment processes to support the organisation’s vision. As a result of this distortion, incompetent relatives and friends get jobs and promotions ahead of very talented individuals. Look at any successful organisation right now here in Zimbabwe; you will discover that they make every effort to get the right people in. It is a case of garbage in, garbage out. Do not expect your organisation to perform wonders if it does not have the right people. You may have all the material resources but as long as you do not have the right talent, success will be a pipe dream.

nguwi memory

The two key aspects to any successful organisation are to get the right talent and manage that talent well. Look at the teams that progressed to the Brazil World Cup in 2014. Most of these teams took their time to identify talent and create the environment for the talent to shine.

Organisations will not succeed with third rate talent. Until and unless sober-minded senior executives and the board start indentifying the right talent and creating the right environment for this talent to shine, success will not come. Equated to football, most organisations have players who deserve to be on the substitute bench instead of being on the field. Some of the employees do not even deserve to be on the bench.

Successful organisations need to have effective systems for getting talent in and making sure that this talent finds opportunities to shine. The other sad development in the corporate world in Zimbabwe is the length of tenure of CEs. Some of the worst performing companies have CEs with over 10 years at the helm. The truth is that these executives have passed their sell-by date and are blocking exciting talent both within and without the organisation. This problem starts with board members who have also overstayed. Shareholders must be more vigilant and get rid of the deadwood especially at the executive level.

The major source of all the problems outlined above is how organisations select the employees who join them. A number of organisations waste a lot of time trying to manage wrong employees. If only organisations could take their time to select the right employees, half their employee related challenges would be solved.

Talent is the key to success, without it nothing can happen within the company. It is a critical element in creating competitive advantage because it is difficult for other firms to imitate and it is the critical determinant of performance. Success of any organisation depends on the quality of staff. Peter Drucker suggests that: “Companies will regret 60% of their hiring decisions within 12 months.” This is because organisations do not want to invest money in the right and best selection methods. Despite the low reliability and validity of the interview method of employee selection, it remains very popular.

Managers love this system because it can be easily manipulated to suit personal preferences which may damage the organisation’s performance in the long term. Managers need to understand that not every employee is talented and it takes a great deal of specialised methods to be able to identify talent. Most of the attributes (90%) that are needed for employees to be successful are not visible in an interview. The interview can only assist you to identify 10% of the attributes needed for successful job performance.

The interview methods need to be supported by such selection methods as psychometric assessments. A quick look at some of the companies that have performed consistently during the hyperinflation and the multicurrency period revealed that 85% of these companies use psychometric tests for employee selection. Some of the worst performing companies do not even want to hear about psychometric assessment because it will put a stop to the hiring of incompetent friends and relatives.

Shareholders must make a choice between staffing their organisations with dead wood and getting the right talent that will make a huge impact the moment they join the organisation. Taking employees into your organisation without going through psychometric assessment is like buying shoes with a “no returns” label without trying them on. Should there be a problem later you have to live with the consequences.

It takes a great deal of effort and resources to manage out non-performing employees in Zimbabwe. Organisations can save a lot of money by paying attention to the people who join the organisation in the first place.

Memory Nguwi is the Managing Consultant of Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm. Phone 481946-48/481950 or cell number 077 2356 361 or email: mnguwi@ipcconsultants.com or visit our website at www.ipcconsultants.com

Recent Posts

Stories you will enjoy

Recommended reading