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

September 22, 2015
1:33 pm
by Kelly Norton

Employee Relationship Strategies: Happiness Breeds Productivity and Retention


Employee Relationship Strategies - Kim Meszaros

A happy employee is a productive one, more creative, less often absent or in conflict with others, and more likely to stay with your company in the long-term. While happiness may seem a lightweight business measure it’s one that has proven its weight in gold. “Business units with highly engaged workers (in the top quartile of all business units) achieve 22% higher profit in comparison to those with fewer engaged workers (in the bottom quartile),” says James Harter, chief scientist of workplace management and well-being for Gallup (source).

Human beings are creatures of relationship and workplace relationships are at the heart of employee happiness. How you treat your employees and how they treat each other merits careful examination and as much strategic consideration as the company’s management of its customer relations.

It’s common knowledge that the primary relationship impacting an employee is the one with their direct manager/supervisor. Exit interview research shows the no. 1 reason people leave their jobs is their manager. Here’s what you can do to support these critical relationships:

  • Offer relationship and emotional intelligence training to managers and supervisors. If they have the know-how and sensitivity on how to communicate well and work effectively with people, you’ll retain employees.
  • Encourage direct managers to have regular 1:1 meetings. These meetings should aim at both helping managers get insight on each individual’s career goals, and giving the employee a clearer picture of how their career path fits into the business trajectory. Consistent feedback and clarity of expectations are both hugely important to employee engagement.
  • Create an environment of appreciation and mutual respect. Encourage supervisors and managers to praise often, recognise accomplishments and actively listen to employee concerns.
  • Discourage micro-management. It lowers motivation, the mental health of the employee and the overall morale of the department.

Employees also often need support in creating and maintaining relationships within the workplace. According to the Society of Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) 2014 report on employee satisfaction and engagement, 90% of workers agreed that relationships with co-workers are important factors of overall satisfaction. Here are some strategies:

  • Use behavioural style assessment tools, such as Myers-Briggs or DISC, to help people better understand themselves and each other and communicate more effectively.
  • Like with managers, offer emotional intelligence and relationship building training.
  • Encourage workplace friendships. Supportive and trusting relationships help employees stay engaged and maintain a sense of belonging at a company. Globoforce discovered 73% of employees surveyed have laughed together and 61% have cried with a co-worker. Create an office space that encourages conversation. Create social events for employees – these activities can bring staff together and encourage employees to interact on a personal level.
  • Celebrate together. According to Globoforce, 74% of employees surveyed who hadn’t celebrated accomplishments with their co-workers said they are more likely to leave their jobs.

Additional employee relationship strategies include:

  • Build mentoring relationships with people to increase their emotional ties to the organisation.
  • Be firm and fair. Avoid second-guessing employees.
  • Encourage humour in the workplace.
  • Focus on building individual self-esteem.
  • Stick up for your people.
  • Give recognition strategically and deliberately.

In conclusion, many full-time employees spend more of their waking hours with co-workers than they do with their spouses and families. As such, it’s important to find ways to support the development of quality relationships.

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


  1. UK: 5 Top Employee Retention Strategies – TCii Strategic and Management Consultants, as seen on Mondaq.com
  2. 5 Ways HR Can Boost Recruiting By Improving Employee/Boss Relations –Trish McFarlane, Glassdoor
  3. Employee happiness as a business strategy – Happy Enterprise
  4. The Hidden Benefits of Happy Co-Workers (Infographic) – Heather R. Huhman, Contributor, Entrepreneur


September 18, 2015
3:24 pm
by Hillary Myburgh

Align Your Consumer and Employer Brands

Align Your Consumer and Employer Brands - Hillary Myburgh

It’s become increasingly clear in recent years that a company’s corporate/consumer brand and its employer brand are indivisible. We can no longer assume that just because potential candidates may identify with a particular brand’s product or service, they will automatically think it will be a great company to work for.

Historically a company’s consumer brand has been the domain of marketing and its employer brand the domain of HR. However, current thinking is that collaboration is key; the same brand messaging that goes out to consumers’ needs to reach both current employees and the company’s talent target market. Companies need to tell one cohesive story. LinkedIn’s Josh Graff puts it this way: “It’s impossible to maintain a worthwhile talent brand unless the experience of actually working for your business matches the promise you put forward. Yet it’s equally impossible to create one without applying the marketing skillset to communicating the essence of your organisation.”

Recent research by LinkedIn and Lippincott shows that getting this right pays off. Utilising LinkedIn’s Talent Brand Index and Lippincott’s BrandView score, the study’s findings clearly show the benefits to a company of building a brand that resonates with both consumers and talent. Companies with strong marks in each showed a five-year cumulative growth in shareholder value of 36%. Companies deficient in both areas showed a decrease of 6% over the same period.

The top four key actions recommended as a result of this study are:

  1. Answer Key Questions. Consistent, inspirational messaging to customers, employees and prospective talent is a critical element of a sustainable brand strategy. Companies must routinely deliver powerful messages against such questions as:
  • Who are we?
  • What do we believe?
  • Why do we come to work every day?
  1. Synchronise Talent Acquisition and Marketing. Align prospect experience with overall brand strategy to ensure the brand is reinforced throughout the talent attraction, hiring and onboarding process.
  • Start at the Top: Your CEO and their team must get behind this consumer and talent brand alignment, and commit to helping promote it.
  • Bring partners to the table: Your talent brand is part HR, part marketing, part communications and it needs everyone’s support.
  • Establish a Brand Task Force: Leverage cross-functional expertise by including them in a brand task force.
  1. Turn Marketing Inward. Address the forgotten audience, employees, through communications and on-brand experiences to create long-term understanding, belief and action in support of your brand.
  • Ensure your executives are on board: Get C-suite support to drive widespread participation.
  • Encourage social participation: Share authentic stories and pictures across a variety of media so your employees (and followers) can repost and drive viral discussion.
  • Educate employees on your brand: The more connected they are to the brand, the better ambassadors they’ll be. Inspire with stories and emotion.
  1. Measure Your Talent Brand. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Track over time as you change your tactics, approach and messaging.
  • Diagnose: Evaluate where you stand relative to competitors and establish targets and objectives for the organisation.
  • Respond: Change strategy, increase investment and take the necessary action to create the talent and employee brand you desire.
  • Measure over time and optimise: Build a tracking system and overall approach to identify what’s working and what’s not.

When your employer and your consumer brand are closely aligned your company develops a more consistent mind-set, resulting in increased engagement. It also attracts talent that is a better culture fit resulting in increased retention.

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


  1. The secret sauce of top companies: Aligning your consumer brand and your talent brand – John Marshall and Tim Cummingham, Lippincott; Elizabeth Rosenberg, LinkedIn Talent Solutions
  2. Consumer versus Employer Brand – Universum
  3. How to Tell if Your Employer Brand and Talent Brand Are One and the Same – Josh Tolan, ERE | Recruiting Intelligence
  4. Mission: Brand Alignment – Leif Kolfkat, HR Today


September 16, 2015
2:21 pm
by Joanne Meyer

Designing an Effective Onboarding Process

Designing an Effective Onboarding Process - Joanne Meyer


Both research and common sense tell us it makes business sense to invest in getting new employees engaged, motivated and successful in their roles as soon as possible. New hires who attend a structured onboarding programme are significantly more likely to stay with the company and tend to become productive months earlier than those who are not offered effective onboarding.

Each organisation has a unique personality, culture, and set of operational needs and challenges; therefore creating a customised approach will be more successful than adopting another company’s solution. We’ve gathered a selection of best practices to use as a stimulus when designing an effective programme for your company:

  • Plan Ahead. A successful onboarding programme begins during the attraction, recruitment and hiring process so consider all touchpoints from a prospective candidate’s viewpoint. Once you’ve hired, get a head-start: send them an employee handbook ahead of time, for example, so they are not overwhelmed on the first day.
  • Nail the Details On the First Day. Aim to present basic information in an easy-to-digest fashion. The way to do this is to consider the small, logistical details that add up to a sense of comfort and familiarity one has in a workplace.
  • Offload As Much Information As Possible To Your Intranet. Rather than overload people with information teach them how to access the information when they need it: you will free up more time for activities that will help your new hires hit the ground running. It will also help reduce their anxiety.
  • Make It Interesting and Interactive. This will dramatically increase the effectiveness of your programme in terms of learning and information retention and it starts new employees off on a high note.
  • Deliver an Orientation on Your Culture and Values. While you may assume new hires will learn company culture by interacting with your team, cultural norms can be elusive and ill-communicated. The communication of culture and values is not something you should leave to chance.
  • Offer Insight into Your Strategic Position, Intent and Direction as well as the ‘Big Picture.’ Understanding the big picture plays a major role in whether employees become engaged. Talking about the company’s mission and what makes it great is one component; explaining how the organisation works and how the various parts work together to make the organisation function well is another.
  • Individualise the Process. A more personal element to the process can engage new employees, giving them the ability to identify their personal goals with the overall success of the organisation. Map out clear milestones that allow them to see what their next steps are and how they fit with the corporate objectives. How vested an employee feels in a company also comes from the social relationships they make with co-workers. Facilitate these from the very beginning. In addition, design your programme from the point of view of the new hire which helps you include details you; as a seasoned employee; may consider a ‘little thing’ but which could make a new hire feel vulnerable or uncertain.
  • Help Your Supervisors and Managers Do their Part Well. Gallup’s ground-breaking research revealed that an employee’s supervisor plays the most significant role in performance, engagement and morale. Thus, make sure you provide your supervisors and managers with sufficient training, guidance, and logistical support for their part in the onboarding process.
  • Follow Through on Your Plan. The process should continue over several months. Experts suggest surveying at the end of the first week and after the first three months, asking different questions at each stage. Begin with questions about the recruiting process and whether they are struggling with any issues. Then, ask whether they have the necessary tools to do their job well and, finally, ask about an employee’s strategic goals.

No matter how you design your onboarding process, David Lee, of HumanNature@Work, recommends the following ‘mantras’:

  • Everything Matters. Every choice in how you design your process could have a consequence in terms of how quickly an employee gets up to speed together with how valued and supported they feel.
  • Think ‘Experience.’ When making decisions about how to structure the onboarding process, how to welcome your new hires, how to introduce them to their team members and the company as a whole, consider each choice through the lens of “What kind of experience does this choice create?” When ‘thinking experience,’ ask two questions:
  1. What Emotional Take-Away do we want to create?
  2. What Perceptual Take-Away do we want to create?
  • What Is the Emotional Take-Away? Unfortunately, at many organisations onboarding decisions evoke confusion, frustration, boredom, annoyance, anxiety, insecurity, disappointment, regret and a feeling of overwhelm. Examine your various processes and decisions and rework to consciously provoke feelings of comfort, welcome, security, being valued, importance, pride and confidence.
  • What Is the Perceptual Take-Away? When making decisions about design, content and resource investments, ask: “If we chose this option, what perception will it likely create… and is it the perception we want?” Consciously create a classy, professional experience. Think of each step of the process as an opportunity to send a desirable message.

In conclusion, continually fine-tune how you onboard employees to make sure you can maximise the benefits of the process.

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


  1. How to Build an Onboarding Plan for a New Hire – Peter Vanden Bos, Inc.
  2. Run an Effective New Hire Onboarding Program With These 4 Key Pillars – Lilith Christiansen, MindTickle
  3. Successful Onboarding: How to Get Your New Employees Started Off Right – David Lee, HumanNature@Work


September 14, 2015
12:30 pm
by Judy Hofer

Leadership Development: Career Planning and Skills Roadmaps

Leadership Development Career Planning and Skills Roadmaps - Judy Hofer

Alongside the ever-present challenge of identifying potential candidates to fill future leadership roles, companies face an equally pressing challenge: that of cultivating and developing their leaders of tomorrow. In addition, corporate development programmes need to cater for both managers and leaders as each requires a different set of skills. Managers are responsible for the smooth running of day-to-day operations while leaders influence, inspire and drive people towards common goals.

Since approximately 60% of employees leave jobs due to a lack of career advancement opportunities, career-planning services can make all the difference when it comes to developing leaders. If a company does not provide its talented team members with career-planning programmes or advancement opportunities, these employees will simply look elsewhere until they find a company that does.

Once your company has determined its most suitable leadership style, identified current and potential leaders and any leadership goals, it will have developed succession plans. The next step, according to Oracle, is to create career planning goals and skills roadmaps for future/potential leaders.

Once the singular responsibility of the individual, career planning is now a focus for high performing companies wishing to develop and retain future leaders. Career development should be considered from the perspectives of both the organisation and the employee:

  • Organisation: What skills and knowledge do we require to achieve our business goals?
  • Employee: What are the skills and knowledge I think are critical to my current and future career plans?

Combining employee development with career planning will empower and motivate your high potentials to explore different career paths as well as monitor and progress through the development activities necessary to attain them. Engagement increases as managers and employees work together to create development goals that balance the needs of the organisation with employees’ career aspirations. Tying competencies to relevant development activities will allow you to incorporate development plans into performance review processes.

Effective development conversations include a candid discussion of the staff member’s aspirations, career trajectory, and goals for the future, as well as an honest assessment of the skills and competencies he/she needs to develop to get there:

  • Current job: Does the employee have the skills to meet the responsibilities of their current job?
  • Gaps: Assess the person’s current levels of competency and their future requirements. This will reveal what gaps need to be addressed to develop their skills so they can meet future job requirements.
  • Future aspirations: Where does the employee see themselves in the future?  What business results do they hope to achieve?
  • Career plan: Develop a roadmap that enables the employee to acquire the skill set needed for their current job and for the future. Use a career plan template as part of the performance review process. The template should include:
    • Areas of development
    • Development goals:
      • Action steps
      • Expected completion date
      • Obstacles and solutions
      • Evaluation criteria 

Skills road maps are key to any employee development program because inside talent can be given a list of the necessary skills for advancement, and then opt to educate themselves via continuing education or on-the-job training. Once the required knowledge and skills are obtained, the employee is then rewarded for their hard work with a promotion. Incorporate both traditional learning as well as activities such as coaching, rotational assignments, job shadowing, mentor relationships, and project leadership.

Career development is a key component of a company’s attraction and retention strategy. Many candidates will not consider employment with an organisation unless it offers career development as a basic component of its culture.

If you have any questions or if we can help in any way, please get in touch.


  1. Seven Steps for Effective Leadership Development – An Oracle White Paper


September 7, 2015
12:10 pm
by Anita Hoole

Talent Pipelines: Focus on Diversity and Inclusion

Talent Chronicle 1


Study after study shows that companies committed to a racially, ethnically, age and gender diverse workforce reap business benefits: they are more innovative, creative, faster to market and more profitable. Diversity is also a critical component of being successful on a global scale and crucial for attracting and retaining top talent.

Globally there is a clear shift from pure focus on traditional diversity issues, namely categories of employees e.g. gender, ethnicity, disability, age, etc.; towards creating truly inclusive corporate cultures that leverage diverse backgrounds, values, knowledge and cross-cultural skills. A diverse and inclusive company (in which employees can contribute as their ‘authentic selves’) is better positioned to be responsive to diverse global customers and markets.

An analysis of leading South African businesses undertaken by Deloitte as part of their 2014  Global Human Capital Trends survey found that the move from diversity to inclusion is the third most important trend (after leadership, retention and engagement) with an importance index of 70% but a readiness index of only 45%.

The concepts of diversity and inclusion are closely related; however it is possible for an organisation to have a diverse workforce without inclusion, and vice versa. Concentrating on both will enable organisations to see employees as individuals rather than as representatives of a group and relies on adaptation, rather than simpy assimilation. According to Mandate Molefi, South African Human Resources Consultants: “By using the word ‘inclusion,’ one is shifting  the focus from viewing diversity as a problem that needs to be solved, to focusing on concrete actions that can result in a more creative, empowering and dynamic workplace… Inclusion as an action reminds us that it is not enough to state that the organisation is committed to diversity.”

As Forbes Insights, in their paper ‘Fostering Innovation through a Diverse Workforce’ puts it:  “Multiple voices lead to new ideas, new services, and new products, and encourage out-of-the box thinking. Companies no longer view diversity and inclusion efforts as separate from their other business practices, and recognise that a diverse workforce can differentiate them from their competitors and can help capture new clients.”

And it begins with creating a talent pipeline rich in diversity. Here are a few tips:

  • Conduct a diversity needs assessment to ensure your workforce, board, and leadership reflects the communities and customers it serves.
  • Obtain CEO support. In order for a diversity/inclusion plan to have real meaning, there needs to be accountability and oversight. Seven out of ten companies report that the buck stops at the C-level and their board of directors.
  • Develop a diverse leadership pipeline now. Review your organisation’s talent development and succession plans to include diversity. If there is a lack of diversity in these plans, consider adding mentorships, sponsorships, and other targeted programmes that simultaneously accelerate diversity and bench strength.
  • Review job descriptions. If they include unnecessary and restrictive qualifications; those that don’t truly matter to getting the job done; you’ve already limited your pool of candidates.
  • Think ahead to retention. Roll out diversity training and mentorship to staff, including leadership (we all might need a little help in learning how to accept differences).
  • Be in the Right Place. Ensure your company has a presence in:
    • Student organisations (university/college and high school);
    • Job fairs that attract diverse groups;
    • College campuses with a larger percentage of the groups you are targeting;
    • Professional, social and community organisations;
    • Online networking sites, especially LinkedIn and Twitter; and
    • Media that reaches a broad range of audiences.

To capitalise on the benefits of a diverse workforce develop a corporate culture that allows everyone to be who they are while working together to achieve organisational strategies. Foster an attitude of open thinking and encourage employees to express their ideas and opinions in their own cultural context.

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


  1. Global Diversity and Inclusion: Fostering Innovation Through a Diverse Workforce – Forbes Insights
  2. ideas@work, Volume 9, Accelerating Diversity for a Better Bottom Line – Horace McCormick, Jr., UNC Executive Development, Kenan-Flagler Business School
  3. Does Diversity + Inclusion = Improved Business Outcome? – ACCA South Africa
  4. South Africa Human Capital Trends 2014 – Deloitte
  5. Diversity and Inclusion in South Africa – Mandate Molefi, Human Resources Consultants