DAV Professional Placment Group
DAV Professional Placment Group


Johannesburg +27 11 217 0000

Cape Town +27 21 468 7000

JOHANNESBURG +27 11 217 0000
CAPE TOWN +27 21 468 7000

May 27, 2015
9:55 am
by Anita Hoole

Use Your CV and Cover Letter to Get Noticed



I bet it’s not often you look beyond the first page of a Google search, am I right? Just like getting into Google’s top search results, there are ways of getting your CV and cover letter noticed by a blurry-eyed recruiter or hiring manager wading through a pile of CV’s. You may think that the CV and cover letter are old fashioned and unnecessary in the digital age, but don’t be fooled: these are absolutely essential on your path to getting hired.

The cover letter is what entices the recruiter or hiring manager to open your CV. Your CV is what gets you invited to interview; the interview is what will get you hired: each is a fundamentally important part of a 3-step process. And yet, you’d be amazed at how often both the cover letter and CV are sent out riddled with mistakes and inaccuracies.

Let’s start with the cover letter: your first (and sometimes only) chance to make an impression. Nowadays, you will more often than not be submitting your CV online or via email (although it’s sometimes a good idea to hand deliver a copy direct to the recruiter or hiring manager). Rather than attach your cover letter put it straight into the body of the email or submission form. After all, could there be anything more generic, boring and easy to discard than ‘please see attached my cover letter and CV?’ This also reduces the chance that your email ends up marked as spam. Then:

  • Check your email address. Partyanimal@gmail.com will not get your CV opened.
  • Pay attention to your subject line. Spend some time crafting an eye catching subject line. Make it relevant to the job opportunity but don’t be generic and predictable.
  • Get the greeting right. It’s very easy to find out who is taking applications for the position, so starting out with To Whom It May Concern or Dear Hiring Manager is unforgivable, (when was the last time you read further than Dear Valued Client before condemning an email to the delete folder?). At the same time use Mr or Ms as the formality shows respect.
  • It’s all about the job posting. Your goal is to get whoever reads your cover letter to say, “Yes, this is exactly the person we need for the position.” Accomplish this by relating your skills to the job requirements and qualifications listed in the job posting. Use bold or italic to draw the eye to that which you most want noticed. Make a case for why you’re the hire they’ve been looking for.
  • Don’t reiterate your whole CV. An employer will read it anyway, if he or she likes your letter, so stick to the key points.
  • Address any gaps in your CV. This is so a potential employer doesn’t misinterpret a break in your career history.
  • Do your research. A thorough exploration of a company’s website will reveal its mission, values and what it stands for. Showing your understanding of the company and its cause will get your cover letter noticed and indicate you are a good fit for the company culture.
  • Use humour with caution. It’s hard to translate in print.
  • Be specific. Change words like ‘the’ to ‘your’, mention the position by job title and include the company name. Nothing screams uninterested more than a one-size-fits-all letter obviously sent to 100’s of potential employers.
  • Link. Use links to relevant information such as your research lab website, your online portfolio, specific papers you’ve written or relevant extra-curricular projects you’ve been a part of.
  • Be clear and concise: No more than the equivalent of 1 A4 page please. Don’t use a long word when a short one will do. Cut any unnecessary words. Avoid cliché’s and jargon. Use action verbs.
  • Pay attention to formatting. Skip the weird and unusual fonts.
  • Say when you are available to start. Be flexible.
  • Include your contact information.
  • Check, check and check again to make sure your letter is typo-free. Once you’ve done this, get someone else to check it for you.
  • Always follow up. Give a specific date and time on your cover letter that you’ll call the hiring manager for follow up.

There are many examples of good cover letters available online, so if in doubt… Google! Now that you’ve aced the cover letter and enticed the recipient to open your CV, here are some tips for turning it into an invitation to interview:

turning it into an invitation to interview:

  • Make sure it suits the job and the industry. Creative positions may call for something out of the ordinary, an accounting position not so much.
  • How long should a CV be? It will depend on the scope of your experience but keep it as concise as possible.
  • Include:


      • Contact details: full name, address, cell number and email address.
      • Education: list and date all education, starting with the most recent. Include any professional qualifications.
      • Work experience: this can be internships, voluntary roles or previous jobs. Add the most recent/relevant positions and examples of tasks.
      • Skills: for example, the ability to work in a team, manage people, customer service skills, specific IT skills etc.
      • Referees: at least two people who can provide positive comments on your previous employment or experiences.
  • What do you list first? If you’re a recent graduate and don’t have much relevant work experience begin with your education. The opposite would apply if you have plenty of relevant experience.
  • Should I include hobbies in my CV? Not compulsory, but you may want to mention any that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. Generic examples such as reading, going to the cinema, or listening to music are not worth including.
  • To perfect your CV:


    • Grammar and Spelling: there should be no mistakes in your CV. Use a spell checker and enlist a second pair of eyes to check over the text.
    • Use active verbs to replace passive verbs and nouns wherever possible. For example, you could include targeted words like ‘created’, ‘analysed'; and ‘devised’ to present yourself as a person that shows initiative.
    • Layout: place your most attractive skills and talents towards the top of your CV to boost your chances of impressing an employer. The same rule applies to listing grades; always place your highest grade first.
    • Presentation: keep your CV neat and make sure it’s easy on the eye. Bullet points should be used to tidy up any lists. Your choice of font can have more impact than you might think.
  • Never lie. At best this demonstrates your dishonesty to a potential employer, at worst its fraud.

As always, if we can be of any assistance, please get in touch.


May 26, 2015
9:59 am
by Luisette Mullin

The Hottest Trends in Corporate Recruiting 2015 Part 4



Understanding how recruiting is evolving is crucial in defining the right strategy specific to your employment objectives. The onus is now on the employer to continually adapt in order to connect with the job seekers they want to attract.

So far in this series on corporate trends in recruiting, we have looked at the widening skills gap and an increased emphasis on planning and future-focus; generational shifts, the return of boomerangs as a primary source and the continued move of women into power positions as well as big data and metrics, the cloud and the mobile platform.

Today we’ll address:

  • Social / Digital Recruiting
  • Technology in recruitment
  • De-emphasising CVs and accepting online profiles

Social / Digital Recruiting

Hiring via social media is here to stay. Social professional networks have become a top source of quality hires in corporate recruiting. This mirrors the increasing candidate adoption of social professional networks together with recruiters becoming ever more effective at sourcing candidates through these channels.

LinkedIn has emerged as the strongest social media website for recruiting. However, others like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are quite effective too.

It pays to make sure that social networks are a strong factor in your recruiting strategy. Figure out where your potential candidates spend their time and establish a presence there with your employer brand. In order to stand out companies need to start posting more work culture related posts (instead of simply the standard press releases) and leveraging their employees to share them. 58% of people are more likely to want to work at a company if they are using social media and over 20% are more likely to stay at their companies if they are using social media. People want to work for interesting companies and when they see social media posts, it gives them a better sense of what they are about.

It’s also a good idea to quantify your return on investment from each hiring source, so you know where to invest to get the most quality hires for your company.

Technology in recruitment

Use of innovative recruitment strategies is a major trend for 2015. Of these, mobile recruiting is probably the most relevant and is increasingly being used by both recruiters and candidates. Another trend is the use of technology by companies to create a common platform across all their hiring solutions by integrating social platforms, job boards, applicant tracking systems, the company website and all internal databases. Technology is also being used in the interview process to conduct assessments and live simulations to better test the candidates.

De-emphasising CVs and accepting online profiles

Few employed candidates have the time required to update their CVs without delaying your time to hire. If they simply can’t become a candidate at your organisation until they update and submit their CV, there’s a weakness in your hiring process. Companies need to learn to eliminate the “CV update wait” by instead accepting LinkedIn profiles for referrals. LinkedIn profiles are generally more accurate than CVs because they are viewed by so many individuals, thus any inaccuracies tend to be timeously discovered.

In the next and last article in this series, I will be looking at the following trends:

  • Focus on candidate experience (the shift in power to the candidate)
  • A shift to compelling offers becomes essential
  • A shift in focus from headcount to total workforce costs
  • Doubling down on retention and recruiting

If we can be of assistance in the meantime, please get in touch.


  1. 2015 global recruiting trends – LinkedIn
  2. The top 10 ‘bleeding edge’ recruiting trends to watch in 2015 – ere.net
  3. Hottest Trends in Corporate Recruiting – Eazyhire


9:03 am
by Christina Ratte

How Do I Get Headhunted?









Are you open for opportunities but don’t have the time or patience for an active job search?

Here are a couple of tips to make yourself available for headhunters and recruiters to find you:

  • Have an updated Linkedin profile
    Linkedin has become the world’s largest professional networking site and it’s a perfect platform to be found if you want to keep your options open. Updated means you have spent some time entering the correct information and ensuring it reflects your experience and expertise well.
  • Join industry related groups
    This is a good networking tool and a way to link up with specialists in your industry. Here you can ask questions and get access to jobs companies may post in these forums.
  • It’s who you know
    Make an effort to join local business / specialist industry breakfasts or functions and get to know who the specialists are. Remember, it doesn’t need to be a headhunter that calls you: it could also be the CEO of that engineering company you met at the power generation mixer a week ago. Often it’s these interactions that get you referred to a headhunter.
  • Talk to your family, neighbours, friends
    No man is an island. Once again it comes down to networking and who you know. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and indicate interest. You’ll be astounded how helpful people can be if you stick up your hand and ask for it.

Good luck. Hopefully we’ll be speaking soon!


May 25, 2015
9:01 am
by Kelly Norton

Tracking Retention and Turnover


Most of us understand the necessity for getting to grips with talent retention, however many of us don’t track our staff turnover or the reasons behind why people leave. The truth is, if we don’t measure these things, they won’t improve.

A certain amount of turnover is a good thing and can help rejuvenate an organisation. New talent brings fresh ideas, different experience and new perspectives. It invites everyone to challenge common practices and assumptions, and look for ways to improve.


But, too much can be harmful. Besides the high financial cost, high turnover hurts a company through lost opportunity, uneven workloads, lower employee morale, loss of corporate knowledge/memory, lack of continuity ­(particularly in customer or supplier relationships) and problems with quality or productivity.

The trick is getting the balance right. Staff turnover rates vary across industry and economic climate, however most companies try to keep turnover below 15%. To determine your optimal rate, pay attention to turnover rates over a period of time.

Calculating your turnover and retention rates is, on the face of it, a simple exercise. During any given period (could be quarterly or annually, for example), turnover is expressed as:

The number of employees that left (resigned or fired) the company

(No. of employees at start of period + no. at end of period) / 2

To express this as a percentage multiply the final number by 100.

Although this number is fairly simple to calculate it doesn’t tell you anything really useful. The key with turnover is to look at who you are losing, from where and, if possible, why. Segment your staff turnover data by, for example:

  • Location
  • Department
  • Manager
  • Turnover of your top talent (or people identified as critical to the business for their skills or succession potential) compared to turnover for your solid and low performers

To make your tracking even more meaningful you could consider identifying how much of your turnover is:

  • Voluntary or involuntary
  • Due to retirement
  • Due to people leaving laterally to other jobs
  • Due to people leaving into promoted roles
  • At different tenure stages such as less than 1 year, 1-3 years, 3-5 years, etc.
  • From different levels within the organisation such as entry level, individual contributor, supervisor/manager, executive, senior executive etc.
  • From scarce skills roles
  • From new hires

Segmenting your data in this manner will help you identify areas that seem to have a problem retaining talent. Higher turnover rates for your top performers can signal serious organisational problems that need to be addressed. Or you may have a manager who requires coaching and training to improve their management skills, a department experiencing leadership challenges, or even a location proving unsatisfactory to staff because of accessibility. This approach also helps you identify areas with a stellar record for retention, so you can share best-practices across the organisation.

No matter which factors you choose to track, it is essential to conduct effective exit interviews as well as regular surveys amongst retained staff. This combination of quantitative and qualitative data will provide the information required to develop and track the effectiveness of your retention efforts.

As always, if we can assist in any way, please get in touch.


  1. Establishing an effective employee turnover and retention strategy – Halogen Software
  2. How to Measure Employee retention – HRVoice
  3. How To Calculate Employee Turnover And Why It Matters – Office Vibe
  4. 16 HR Metrics Smart HR Departments Track – Globoforce


May 18, 2015
9:34 am
by Joanne Meyer

Optimize Your Hire: Pre-Employment Assessment


Given the enormous cost of bad hiring decisions, it’s a small wonder corporates are spending time and care on making sure they source and hire the right people. From ensuring excellent talent selection systems to the compilation of complex and accurate job descriptions, it pays to finesse every step of the process. However, there’s always a chance that one of the candidates, who looks great on paper, may turn out to have misrepresented themselves in some way, or may not be a good personality fit for either the role or your corporate culture. Thus the importance of pre-selection screening, which moves beyond past credentials and experience, and brings a certain objectivity to the process.

In South Africa, these tests typically take place once the field has been narrowed down to only a few likely candidates. However, internationally they often take place earlier in the process: after only the initial telephonic interview or even as the first step in the process (generally via short, web-based psychometric tests. Such tests efficiently clear out the least-suitable applicants, leaving a smaller, better-qualified pool to undergo the more costly personalized aspects of the process).

Types of Employment Tests

  • Personality Tests. Assess the degree to which a person has certain traits or dispositions or predict the likelihood that a person will engage in certain conduct.
  • Cognitive Tests. Measure a candidate’s reasoning, memory, perceptual speed and accuracy, and skills in arithmetic and reading comprehension, as well as knowledge of a particular function or job.
  • Emotional Intelligence (EI) Testing. The ability of an individual to understand his or her own emotions and the emotions of others. Testing job applicants for their emotional intelligence is a growing employment trend.
  • Talent Assessment Tests. These are called pre-employment tests or career tests, and are used to help identify candidates that will be a good fit for the role and predict a new hire’s performance and retainability.
  • Sample Job Tasks. Sample job tasks, including performance tests, simulations, work samples, and realistic job previews, assess a candidate’s performance and aptitude on particular tasks.
  • Pre-Employment Physical Exams. These may be required to determine the suitability of an individual for a job or to measure the physical ability of an applicant to perform a particular task or the strength of specific muscle groups, as well as strength and stamina in general.
  • Drug Tests. These tests show the presence of drugs or alcohol in the applicants system and can include urine tests, hair analysis as well as saliva and sweat screening.
  • Language Proficiency Tests.


Ultimately, these tools are most effective in screening out non-appropriate candidates when used in conjunction with background screening to obtain hard facts about a candidate. Pre-employment background screening works in four critical ways:

  1. It can discourage applicants with something to hide. A person with a criminal record or false CV will simply apply to a company that does not pre-screen.
  2. It limits uncertainty in the hiring process. Although using instinct in the hiring process can be important, basing a decision on hard information is even better.
  3. Demonstrates an employer has exercised due diligence, providing legal protection in the event of a lawsuit.
  4. Encourages applicants to be especially forthcoming in their interviews.


Other important tools include CV verification, financial background checks (when relevant to the job), ID verification and drivers license verification.

Common Concerns Even with all the advantages of a screening program, these are the four most commons concerns that employers express:

  • Is it legal? Tests need to be valid, reliable, properly implemented and conducted with the candidate’s written permission. Companies can legally use these tests, as long as they don’t use to them to discriminate based on race, gender, national origin, religion, disability, or age. Employment tests must be validated for the jobs they are being used to hire for and for the purposes for which they are being used.
  • Is it cost-effective? It is cost-effective when compared to the damage one bad hire can cause.
  • Does it discourage good applicants? A good candidate understands that background screening is sound business practice, which helps a company’s bottom line and is not an invasion of privacy.
  • Does it delay hiring? No. Background screening is normally done in just 48 to 72 hours.

Administered correctly, pre-employment testing can help companies save time and money in the selection process, decrease turnover, increase productivity, and even improve morale.

If I can assist in any way, please get in touch.


  1. When Hiring, First Test, and Then Interview – Forbes Magazine
  2. Handling Pre-employment Screenings and Assessments – Quintessential Careers
  3. Pre-employment Testing: A Helpful Way for Companies to Screen Applicants – Forbes Magazine
  4. Employment Tests – About Careers
  5. Pre-employment Screening is Critical – HR Future


May 14, 2015
7:37 am
by Christina Ratte

How To Stay Positive During A Job Search



I frequently have conversations with candidates that have been on the job search for a while, often through no fault of their own, and it’s sometimes (understandably) difficult to stay positive.

  • It’s a marathon
    Any runner knows that a marathon and a sprint are two different things. As with a marathon a job search can take time. It has highs and lows (the most positive person can feel down in the dumps at times) and it can feel like an eternity before you reach the finish line.


  • Take one day at a time
    Do a little bit each day. Every day there might be a new opportunity, or a new job advert you can apply for. Some days there’ll be no response at all, some days you might get only regret emails. Focus on doing something small every day; this prevents you from falling into a negative rut.
  • Continuously improve
    Get some feedback from a recruiter, family friend or the internet. Then implement it. Continuously improve yourself, improve your CV and practice your interview skills with family and friends. Listen to motivational CD’s and read motivational / self-improvement books. If you are unemployed use your time constructively!
  • Never give up!
    Remember the cartoon where the frog fights against being eaten by a bird? This is you: don’t ever give up on a job search; you don’t know what’s around the corner. Your dream job might just be waiting for you. If you really want it you will get it.
  • Do something, anything
    The worst evil is sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring! Get busy and get yourself off the couch! Who wants to know what’s on during the midday TV slot in any case? Here are a couple of ideas I’ve come across:

    • Volunteer work
    • Contract work
    • Helping out in family / friend’s businesses
    • Au-Pair for your nieces and nephew
      There are many more, the key is to keep busy.
  • Prepare and research
    The key to success is preparation and planning: before your interviews, make sure you’ve done your research on the company and have prepared questions. Before sending out your CV make sure it speaks to the requirements of the role.

It’s a numbers game, and although an opportunity might be the perfect job with the perfect company, there’s always some competition. Until you’ve signed the contract there’s no guarantee. Use the above tips to stay positive while you search and you will get your day in the sun!


May 13, 2015
11:22 am
by Hillary Myburgh

Employee Value Proposition: the Backbone of Your Employer Brand


A strong employer brand that helps you create competitive advantage in the talent market begins with a well defined Employee Value Proposition (EVP). The two terms are often confused so let’s begin with a simple explanation for each:

  • Employer brand is the impression candidates have of a company and what it would be like to work for that company.
  • The employee value proposition defines the full array of elements a company delivers to employees in return for the contribution they make to the organisation. It’s a deliberate construct of the underlying “offer” on which the organisation’s employer brand is based.

According to research by the Corporate Leadership Council, a well thought through and executed EVP can:

  • Improve the commitment of new hires by up to 29%.
  • Reduce new hire compensation premiums by up to 50%.
  • Increase the likelihood of employees acting as advocates from an average of 24% to 47%.

However, the value of an EVP goes way beyond cost and time savings, it also:

  • Helps you attract and retain talent you might otherwise lose to organisations with more attractive EVPs;
  • Helps you appeal to people in different markets and tough-to-hire talent groups;
  • Helps you re-engage a disenchanted workforce;
  • Helps you understand what your HR priorities should be; and
  • Helps you gain a reputation as a great place to work.

The EVP encompasses both reward elements and intangible benefits, such as:

  • Various forms of pay and benefits;
  • Learning and development programmes;
  • Flexible work arrangements;
  • Wellness programmes;
  • The offer of challenging and meaningful work;
  • The opportunity for personal achievement;
  • An appealing organisational culture;
  • A sense of purpose; and
  • A pride-inducing set of workplace values.

Whether formally defined or not, all companies have an EVP, albeit often unconsciously. Organisations typically fall into one of four stages on a value proposition evolutionary scale:

Stage 1 – Tactical: Roughly one third of organisations have made little progress in defining the coherent set of factors that make up the value proposition to employees and candidates. They certainly provide rewards and have cultures, but employees are on their own to understand and interpret them.

Stage 2 – Integrated: These organisations have established a formal EVP and typically have stated objectives for each reward and talent management programmme with key connections amongst them (e.g., clear links between competencies, hiring processes, learning programmes, career paths and compensation bands).

Stage 3 – Communicating and Delivering: Third-stage organisations have gone further by cogently communicating the EVP to employees and delivering consistently on their EVP promises. In effect, they’ve established an internal brand.

Stage 4 – Segmenting and Differentiating: Stage 4 organisations have differentiated their EVPs from those of their talent market competitors and are more likely to measure the effectiveness of their rewards programmes. They view their employee brands as strong and, in some important way, uniquely attractive. This advantage comes from the way they respect the order of the phrase employee value proposition. They start by understanding the employee, then define and deliver rewards that have true value, and then convey a clear and compelling why-you-should-care proposition to the target audiences.

There are many ways an organisation can approach developing an EVP, but most fall into these four key steps:

Step 1. Review and dissect your data. This might include employee engagement, onboarding or exit surveys and recruitment and retention metrics. Analyse all data by key employee populations to identify trends and key themes. Remember to look beyond the top line numbers; the real insights come from the verbatim comments of employees that provide context to the numbers.

Step 2. Discover and dive deeper. This step should include interviews with key stakeholders including senior management, HR, marketing and most importantly existing and target employees. External customer value propositions are often based on a “tell” approach, where a brand will define what it wants to stand for and then use marketing channels to deliver this brand promise. However, an EVP is an employee-centric approach informed by existing employees.

Step 3. Develop your EVP. Based on the research and insights from steps one and two; craft your value proposition as a simple overarching statement. This will become the essence of your employee experience and employer brand commitment. Clarify key areas of focus to support your EVP, such as career development, work-life balance or CSR. Remember to keep these areas focused and don’t try to be all things to all people. Test your EVP against your HR strategy. If your EVP does not support your HR strategy you need to revise it.

Step 4. Deliver your message. Implement your EVP across the employee experience from your recruitment processes, through to onboarding, career development and even through the exit stage. Build in methods to measure the EVP, this will help you demonstrate the value of the EVP, return on investment and financial benefits to the organisation.

As always, if we can assist in any way, please get in touch.


  1. What’s the difference between the Employee Value Proposition and the Employment Brand? – Kennedy Communications Global
  2. Employee Value Proposition – Talent Smoothie
  3. Employer Branding – ICMA Group
  4. The 4 Stages of the Employee Value Proposition – TLNT


May 11, 2015
10:16 am
by Judy Hofer

Challenges Facing Today’s Leaders


The life of modern-day leaders is more demanding than ever. Internally, they need to motivate diverse groups of people, work across organisational boundaries, improve efficiency and achieve growth. Externally, they face a complex and globalised environment in which they have to keep ahead of competitors and exceed the expectations of other stakeholders.

According to a survey conducted at the Center for Creative Leadership, involving 763 leaders across seven counties, there are six primary leadership challenges facing all leaders no matter where they are in the world:

  • Developing managerial effectiveness: The challenge of developing relevant skills; such as time management, prioritization, strategic thinking, decision-making, and getting up to speed with the job; to be more effective at work.
  • Inspiring others: The challenge of inspiring or motivating others to ensure they are satisfied with their jobs and motivated to work smarter.
  • Developing employees: The challenge of developing others, especially through mentoring and coaching.
  • Leading a team: The challenge of team-building, team development, and team management.
  • Guiding change: The challenge of managing, mobilizing, understanding, and leading change.
  • Managing internal stakeholders and politics: The challenge of managing relationships, politics, and image, such as gaining managerial support and getting buy-in from other departments, groups, or individuals.

These are difficult challenges, and many leaders feel ill-prepared to tackle them. The most frequently mentioned challenge is developing managerial effectiveness. Here are some recommendations:

  • Goal-setting is important. Be proactive in setting goals, as well as timelines and deadlines which are required to meet those goals.
  • Delegate more. Delegating can, in fact, make you more productive. The act of delegation can also empower the people to whom you have given work.
  • Work on tasks that maximise your unique value-add. There will always be important tasks that only you can do. These are the tasks on which you should focus as you will maximise your specific value to the organisation. Everything else, try to delegate.
  • Gain some role clarity. Understand what your work does and does not entail. With that, you may have to practice and be comfortable saying “no.”

The division between task- and relationship-oriented leadership has long been a challenge. Three of the challenges namely inspiring others, developing employees and leading a team; are all related to the relationship-oriented part of leadership. Here are some considerations:

  • Take an active role in mentoring, coaching, and developing others. Provide challenging opportunities, broadcast successes to upper management and empower others to increase their area of competence. Support your employees by providing guidance and feedback.
  • Meet the needs of your employees. It’s not just about making sure your employees have the right software or enough office supplies. You also have to meet their psychological and social needs.
  • Manage team effectiveness. Make sure your team has a clear purpose, strong support, and effectively shares information among the group and with important stakeholders outside the group.

Guiding change is a key challenge for leaders. Organisations exist in a VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) and leaders need to be adept at managing, mobilising, leading, and dealing with change. Some suggestions include:

  • Try it, you might like it. It’s natural that people don’t like change. Leaders should try to transform their own thinking, and be more open to fresh ideas. People may witness that shift in attitude and embrace change.
  • Embrace emotional reactions to change. It’s not enough to use rational arguments. Leaders also need to be sensitive to employees’ emotions and show empathy.
  • Since you cannot be clairvoyant, be clear. Nobody can tell others what the future holds, but you can definitely tell others about the present and what you’re doing to reach the desired future stage.

Another frequent challenge is managing internal stakeholders and politics. To more effectively accomplish this, leaders need to develop and enhance their political savvy, defined as “the ability to effectively understand others at work and to use such knowledge to influence others to act in ways that enhance one’s personal and/or organisational objectives.” There are several ways to do this:

  • Mingle strategically and build strong networks and relationships.
  • Manage up. Proactively keep your boss informed: the struggles you and your team are having, and what is going well.
  • Read the situation. Observe and gather information from others and the environment.
  • Leave people with a good impression. Being politically savvy is not being manipulative. Having integrity and being authentic are of the utmost importance. Get feedback on how your message and behaviour really come across to others. Avoid gossiping. Keep confidences. Deliver on the promises you make.

If you have any questions, please get in touch.


May 5, 2015
1:16 pm
by Christina Ratte

Why I Love Being A South African



With the news lately being largely negative and the feelings of panic starting to bubble in the hearts of most South Africans, I thought I would revisit why I am here, why have I chosen to make South Africa my home. It is after all, a choice.

There’s real diversity

I’m a German South African. This means, like most South Africans, my family has an immigrant background. This gives me unique insight into what happens around the world as I have many friends and family members overseas. Diversity in Europe means employing women versus men. Here diversity means my colleagues have different cultural backgrounds, may be a different colour and may speak more languages than I do.

There is opportunity

In South Africa you find the most creative people! The most creative and innovative business ideas: from spaza shops, gardening services and handymen to the guy down the street that creates exquisite art in beads or wood. Where else can you, with sheer determination and hard work­, have your own business? The entrepreneurial spirit in this country is amazing.

We’re a friendly bunch

A South African can’t resist smiling back when someone smiles at them. Trust me; in Europe you get really funny looks when you smile at someone.

It’s warm and sunny most days of the year

That’s it. It’s warm and sunny most of the time.

We braai and BBQ is a chip flavour

At our essence we are great human beings, all from different cultures and backgrounds. That alone can make this country a wonderful place for anyone! There’s a reason people come here and fall in love with us – we are, after all, irresistible!

Let’s remind ourselves of Mandela’s legacy of true freedom, forgiveness and strength. Something we all have in our hearts. Let’s forget the fear we have of our light and let it shine.

Africa is, after all, our home.


May 4, 2015
10:16 am
by Anita Hoole

Success Factors: Strategic Staffing


So, you’ve fully understood the reasons you should care about strategic staffing as well as the key issues driving the need for it. You’ve also evolved an effective process for implementing this strategic initiative. However, if this process happens in a vacuum your chances of success are minimized. Strategic staffing is an ongoing process that influences, and is influenced by, all aspects of a company. These inter-relationships must be identified, managed, and leveraged for best results. Here are some essential success factors to consider (with thanks to Christina Morfeld and Affinity Business Communications, LLC):


  • Draw a direct link between the staffing plan and your company´s strategic mission. Being able to communicate a causal relationship; preferably in terms of a quantifiable return-on-investment; will assist you in gaining top management support.
  • Find an executive-level champion. This will typically generate the buy-in you need.
  • Assign a dedicated staff member to manage the process. For large-scale projects, additional resources may be necessary.
  • Involve a variety of key stakeholders in the strategic staffing initiative. The team, which should include those with executive responsibility for strategic planning, can be from HR, Finance, IT, line management, and any relevant unions. This ensures that multiple perspectives are considered and gives the plan legitimacy.
  • Integrate the strategic staffing plan with other HR programmes such as organisational development, succession planning, and career pathing.
  • Determine the scope of the project up front. Will you run a pilot in one or more specified departments, or will you immediately launch the program company-wide? Will you target a few key occupations or your entire staff? (In general, starting small allows you to continually improve the process by building ‘lessons learnt’ into each subsequent phase of the rollout).
  • Avoid being overly prescriptive in your workforce plan. Rather develop a simple model that can be adapted to particular needs.
  • Don’t only consider competencies as an indicator for on-the-job success. Evaluate a wide range of personal attributes (e.g. motivation, work style, attitude and professional goals, to name just a few) along with skills and competencies during the strategic staffing planning process.
  • Communicate the initiative to all levels of the organization, highlighting the benefits it will bring to employees as well as the organization as a whole. Tailor your communication to the audience in question.
  • Hold managers accountable for adhering to and achieving desired results from the strategic staffing plan.
  • People and process must be put before technology. Technology is an enabler for quicker and more accurate plans, but true workforce planning is a business process not a technology solution.
  • Most importantly, do not view workplace planning as a one-time endeavour. It should be a continuous loop that includes ongoing evaluation of both the inputs and outputs of the process. Specifically:
    • Have the internal and/or external environments changed? If the assumptions underlying your solution analysis are no longer valid, it will probably be necessary to adjust your competency profiles and intervention strategies accordingly.
    • Does the workforce plan serve the company´s needs? If the desired business outcomes were not achieved, examine and reconstruct your methodology and implementation procedures as appropriate.

A workforce plan that is carefully designed and executed transforms the staffing function from a “vacancy-filling” role to one that continually ensures alignment between a company’s human capital and its strategic goals. This not only improves employee utilization, but also the company´s overall effectiveness and competitive positioning.

In the last article in this series, I’ll be looking at the best ways to get started with strategic staffing. In the meantime, if we can be of any assistance, please get in touch.


  1. http://www.employersoverload.com/employers/resources-clients/the-strategy-behind-strategic-staffing