Client Satisfaction!

“The customer’s perception is our reality.”

Client feedback is the soul of any business and we are glad that we did get an opportunity to receive some of that from one of our clients in the PR and Communication sector. Our partner, Clutch did catch up with Rose Kogi – HR Manager at Oxygene Marketing Communications Ltd and a Clutch analyst personally interviewed Rose over the phone. Below is an edited transcript

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the HR manager of Oxygène Marketing Communication. We operate in the PR and marketing space. Essentially, we’re an integrated agency that does end-to-end services. Besides the usual PR, we also do crisis management and advisement services to clients on whatever they may need, for example, financial help.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Crystal Recruitment Ltd?

My company hired them for recruitment services. We recruit a lot in our business in direct client management areas. Crystal Recruitment helped us in our search for individuals to fill our head of mobile services and account director positions. We use Crystal Recruitment specifically for their direct headhunting approach.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

First, we internally identify the needed position and ask ourselves if we can upscale someone within the organization. If we can’t, then we venture outside and have Crystal Recruitment search for candidates. When we approach them, we provide a description of the caliber of candidates we’d like to interview. We provide details about years of experience, preferred credentials, and so on.

After communicating our needs to them, they go to the market and find individuals who match the criteria. From there, they come back to us with five good candidates. That’s when we start the fast but thorough vetting process. Crystal Recruitment gives us the top three candidates. Then, we hold in-house interviews and select the best person.

For the head of mobile services position, we wanted to develop a mobile app and sell it in the market. We got an individual on board, and they came in and pushed the product into the market. The account director position was for very high-level work in PR. Crystal Recruitment helped us fill both of these positions.

What is the team composition?

I only work with Justine (Managing Director).

How did you come to work with Crystal Recruitment Ltd?

Justine and I belong to an HR network. She was referred to me by someone who worked with her before. This network contact was happy with Justine’s service so I asked to meet Justine in person. Before this engagement, I previously worked with Justine when she was at another firm.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve invested between $5,000–$10,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started the engagement in March 2018, and it’s ongoing. Recruitment is always ongoing. As a company, we’re constantly growing and looking to venture into new business. We work with Crystal Recruitment on a needs-basis, dependent upon when positions open up.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We have our own performance metrics within the organization that are based on targets. If the candidates meet our targets and can bring in new business as well as build on existing business, then we’re pleased. All our new hires should be able to sell the same high standard of service to our customers.

One thing that Crystal Recruitment does particularly well is that they approach our competition. They look at our competitors and see which individuals fill their positions and then select candidates from the market who emulate those characteristics.

How did Crystal Recruitment Ltd perform from a project management standpoint?

Crystal Recruitment was able to recruit individuals for the two positions within the allotted time. By nature, recruitment occurs on an urgent timeline. Most of the time, managers needed someone to fill the position and do the work yesterday.

Crystal Recruitment started on the process immediately. Within a week they had identified three candidates and by the second week, we were looking to interview. In terms of meeting timelines, I can really vouch for their good work.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Their two most impressive attributes are efficiency and time. I’ve worked in recruitment myself, so I have a lot to compare them to. Recruitment is all about speed, it’s vital to get someone who fits the criteria and will be a good resource for the company. Crystal Recruitment possesses that efficiency.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No, I can’t think of anything. In terms of communication, they were very open and receptive to feedback. For example, if they found someone who’s a good fit for skill but not culture, they’d go back to the drawing board and find someone who fits both. Crystal Recruitment handles feedback in a positive manner, so I’m content.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Go for it and work with them. They’re a good recruitment firm and will meet your needs.

So there you have it, do give Crystal Recruitment a try and expect stellar services from us. We will work with you and for you and will not stop till you get the right people for your business. Do reach out today via our office line 0202101466 or email address and we will get back to you for further discussion.

Crystal Recruitment Recognizes Small Businesses in Kenya

Thank you for your business and your trust. It is our pleasure to work with you.

In Kenya, small and medium-sized enterprises make up about 98% of all businesses in the country. Additionally, SMEs’ share of the economy is growing substantially. Even though each individual small business contributes a small amount to the economy, together, they make up the backbone of the society. In the current climate, it’s important to recognize these contributions and honor them. As a small business ourselves, we know it isn’t always easy, but seeing the impact our work makes on our clients’ livelihoods makes it worth it. 

We have a small, but mighty team that has worked to place candidates in temporary and permanent positions. Since 2015, we’ve worked with numerous clients from different industries including Manufacturing, Hospitality, Business Process Outsourcing, Law, Marketing, and Finance. Our services make it easier for our clients to focus on their core business while we provide full-scale recruiting services. This is because of our promise to deliver on below.

  • Scalability – Scalable access to Talent when and where You need it
  • Quality – Higher quality talent aligned to your business vision
  • Speed – Business critical roles filled faster to impact bottom line
  • Brand– Enhanced employer brand, diversity and competitive position

Over and above, we’re happy to have the support of platforms like Clutch and the Manifest where we can be listed for free among other B2B service providers. The Manifest helps clients connect with leading business experts in different service areas and geographic locations. Similarly, Clutch offers ratings and reviews from previous customers.

We recently received a 5-star review from a happy client who we worked with to fill two positions based on their requirements. You can read the full review here. We’re so appreciative of the hard work that our team put in to make this project happen. Our team adhered to timelines and delivered results on time. In fact, our team was able to present candidates that met the client’s needs within a week.

Here’s what our client has to say: 

“Recruitment is all about speed, it’s vital to get someone who fits the criteria and will be a good resource for the company. Crystal Recruitment possesses that efficiency.”

We’re thankful for the clients that chose to work with us, and we’d appreciate it if you supported us at this time by leaving a review on Clutch.

And if you need a little bit more convincing why you should work with us, see our proposition outlined.

  • Crystal Recruitment sources for highly skilled set of talents by use of a sophisticated screening / interviewing system i.e. a structured behavioral interviewing system (SBI) to accurately screen candidates, which is statistically far more predictive than any other system.
  • Our team is proactive in sourcing and have an ongoing candidate pipeline development.
  • We have an 85% fill ratio for every open position we partner for.
  • We have a region wide presence within East Africa
  • High caliber candidates as we are always sourcing for candidates with the below qualities;
  1. Consistently exceed expectations
  2. Get things done on time without making excuses
  3. Are great problem solvers
  4. Fit with the culture, the team and the Hiring Manager
  5. Are highly motivated to do the work that needs to be done.

If you have any questions or are interested in working with us, don’t hesitate to reach out and you can also follow this link to view our company profile. You can email us at selection@crystalrecruitment.co.ke or check out our website!

What you need to know before you start your new remote job!

“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”
~Stephen Covey

As the country continues to grapple with the effects of COVID 19, the economic effects are gradually being felt. Employees in the aviation industry, transport sector as well tourism sector have either been furloughed or laid off. Job loss in this particular environment can be difficult, if not complicated, given that jobs seem to be scarce and hard to find. This does not mean that there is no hope for you. Organizations are increasingly realigning their workforce as they seek to diversify and confront the challenges that have been presented by COVID-19.

Remote working is new for most organizations.

A survey carried out in Kenya in 2019 indicated that 63.3% of millennials in the country would prefer to have flexible working hours. For years, organizations have been slow to adopt flexible or remote working models. This crisis has been a crash program for most of organizations. Amidst challenges with infrastructure and cyber security, human resource managers have had to reconsider their talent management strategies.

An organization may have hired you remotely but that does not mean that processes such as onboarding have been integrated into the remote working model. Adapting the onboarding experience to remote working might not be a priority for the organization at the moment. As the new hire, it counts to have that in mind. It helps you keep your expectations in check and directs you towards asking questions that can ease your entry into the organization.

What do you need to do as the new hire?

Your attitude determines your altitude

Focus on the bright side of things even as you ease into your new role. Remote working is the future of work moved forward. It can be adapted to various roles with relative ease. You will not have to worry about going to an office most of the time hence it is safe.  Be enthusiastic about it. Learn every day. Embrace the opportunity to tackle a new challenge. 

You should have a proactive approach towards learning given that it may not be possible to be in the same space with your colleagues. Schedule time at the beginning and at the end of the day to draft questions you may have about your work. In the office, your team mates can easily pick up a quizzical look and clarify their points. Due to the limitations of virtual technologies, this may not be possible during a video conference call. Embrace a “think-on-your-feet” approach and seek clarification whenever you are uncertain on matters arising during a virtual meeting or phone call.

Every organization has its unspoken norms. It is easy to pick on these while working in a physical office. When working virtually, this may prove to be challenging. Schedule one-on-one meetings with at least two or three colleagues in order to get to know the company’s culture better. These interactions can be an opportunity to talk about the projects you are working on as well as learning about the projects that your colleagues are working on. This will provide you with insights that can help you address some of the challenges you could be facing.

In addition to this, it is easy to assume that virtual technologies are sufficient to remind you of what needs to be done. Keep a notebook and a pen on your desk as you work. It is easy to forget new aspects of your new “office.” Writing notes in a diary and reading them later can help you with that.

Etiquette

The fact that you are “technically” at work does not mean you are not at work. Observe the company’s dress code at all times. Be formal and polite in your verbal and written communication. Your managers may not be there to supervise your every move but this is not an excuse to binge watch television shows or chat incessantly during working hours.  A daily routine is essential in ensuring that you succeed as a remote employee. 

 IT considerations

Every organization has its own IT policies which are particularly important when working remotely. Learn these policies and observe them. Some organizations might require their employees to work via VPN’s in order to ease access to resources in the main servers. As a result of this, the speeds may be affected. Patience, they say, can cook a stone. Embrace the challenge that comes with it and learn to work around it. If the organization allocates resources such as data bundles and call resources, it is important to ensure that those resources are strictly utilized for carrying out work related functions. It may also be important to identify a room within your house with minimal distractions. This will enhance your productivity and ensure that you meet your objectives.

Performance considerations

It is important to understand the metrics that will be used to gauge your performance in order to focus your efforts. For instance, if you are in the sales and marketing department, you need to work towards ensuring you generate a specific number of leads per day in order to meet your monthly target. If you are working as an accountant, you need to have a daily flow of tasks that culminates into meeting the month’s objectives.

Planning ahead is the first step towards getting ahead.  

 Identify your mentors

*. There are two types of mentors. The first type of mentors is comprised of people who know how to get things done within the organization. The second group of mentors is comprised of people who are well connected within the organization and beyond and helps you navigate key spaces with ease. If you have just started working remotely, the first group of people is essential. Using emails and professional networks like LinkedIn, you can work towards building a network that will help you succeed in your career.

Announce that you are new

People tend to notice a new face in the office with relative ease. In such circumstances, they easily offer help. This is not possible when working remotely. Whenever there is a team meeting, make an effort to introduce yourself in the early stages of the meeting. You can also indicate that you are new to the team in your emails. This will enable your colleagues to bring you up to date on any details that you may not be aware of. It is not easy to be the new person in the office and the current situation does not make it any easier. By being proactive, asking for help and building relationships, you will eventually adopt to your new remote job.

Are you Grieving a Job Loss?

“What feels like the end can often be a time for a new beginning.”

Grief is a complicated emotion.

It’s important to grieve when you transition through a job loss stage in your career – it helps you understand more about yourself, and deal with the feelings of loss

For some people, a job is just a job but for most of us, it defines out identity and provides us with a way of making a living. Therefore, if someone has experienced a sudden job loss especially in the current pandemic, this can become a traumatic experience with no idea on how to move on.

The covid-19 has led to massive economic disruption with financial repercussions including industries that have been shut down completely and unimaginable lay-offs.

On the flipside, we have to remember that this is an opportunity to come out stronger on the other side, but we have to go through the whole stages. Some take weeks, others take months.

According to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book On Death and Dying, there are 5 stages of grief and they are:

1. Denial

2. Anger

3. Bargaining

4. Depression

5. Acceptance

1. Denial

If you lost your job because of the pandemic then you must have gone through this or are still in the denial stage. This is where there is an initial sense of anxiety and there could be an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. It is very normal to feel this way.

Denial is a way our mind prevents us from going into shock – it is when we want to believe everything will just be fine. This stage quickly turns to anger when you get to the boiling point realizing there is nothing you can do about your situation and start looking for someone, something to blame.

2. Anger

This is characterized by blaming, pointing fingers and complaining. During this phase, it is imperative to minimize contact especially with social media. Keep in mind people remember the negative more than the positive.

People work hard. They sacrifice and give much of themselves in their jobs, so when that job is lost it can feel as though your contributions haven’t been valued. Many people feel angry about losing their job and the circumstances of that job loss can further exacerbate the feeling of anger

Once the anger passes, fear kicks in which brings up to the bargaining stage.

3. Bargaining

The third stage involves the hope that you can avoid a cause of grief. This is where someone is willing to do anything, it is more of short cuts. They want to get out of pain.

Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. For instance: “I’d give anything to be back—work hard, take up the shift that I always avoided or even work under the manager that I hated.” Or: “If only he’d give back my job, I’d promise to stay focused and perform better.”

The bargaining stage makes us rush into things without having a strategy in place or thinking through our actions, in other words, it is a kne-jerk reaction.

And this kind of reaction will lead to depression when the quick reaction does not get the desired results.

4. Depression

This stage is characterized by an overwhelming sense of sadness and could be because an action was taken and no desired end results or plain inaction where heads are buried under the sand. It does affect self-esteem as most people will look at themselves as failures and they would tend to think there is no point in spending time in anything.

Usual thoughts at this time are: “There is no meaning in working hard for organizations like this. There is nothing to look forward to. It’ll be really tough to find anything; I feel like giving up. What’s the point in putting up a fight and, after all, what am I fighting for?” At this stage, you might realize the ultimate realities of life—an absolute lack of control over such events, helplessness, and uncertainty. In this state, people close to you find you being silent, refusing to meet people or not taking interest or pleasure in your usual activities.

5. Acceptance

If you have reached his stage, congratulations. You now know and understand that some things are beyond your control and it is okay. You are at peace with any mistakes you may have made in your past job that could have led to the job loss. You know you can’t change the past and hence are perfectly okay leaving it where it belongs. You own that it has happened and gone. You stop beating yourself up.

It is where you are clear that you are ready to get into the space of working to grab new opportunities.

The grief process takes time. You do not want to rush through any of these stages, as each is important to help you heal after a loss. Once you recognize the signs of the stage you are in, you will be more apt to acknowledge your feelings, accept your situation and move toward a more positive future!

Our next blog will feature some things you can do to cope with Job Loss.

In the meantime, here are some tips you can try during the career grief:  

1. Go on a negativity diet. (Avoid toxic people, negative information, negative social media content, online content etc.) If possible switch off updates on Covid-19 and stick to only trusted sources. E.g., Find online support groups that have a no covid-19 policy forwards, but their purpose is to support each other during this period.

2. Try Pomodoro technique – Use this technique to do things that you need to do e.g., LinkedIn profile set up, resume revamp, interview preparation, job search research etc. In essence it is intentionally doing the things you have wanted to do or thought of doing but not sure where to start from.  

3. Try making a streak – as a verb, means ‘move very fast in a specified direction’. Basically you want to get to the next stage of your life as soon as possible and this means taking daily steps towards the same; be it networking online, connecting with recruiters, researching how to re-skill and up-skill yourself, checking out the industries that are hiring. When committed to doing something about your career growth and new job search every day, you will realize you have made long strides in 30 days where you are more confident and better informed.

COVID-19 crisis: What is the present and the future for Organizations?

“Today be thankful and think how rich you are. Your family is priceless, your time is gold and your health is wealth.” – Zig Ziglar

As of 2nd April 2020, Kenya had 110 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3 casualties. There is palpable panic as the nation grapples with the new realities presented by the spread of COVID-19. As organizations attempt to deploy their responses to the crisis, there have been concerns about the effects on the workforce. For some firms, it has been easy to transition to a remote workforce. The use of remote working platforms such as Office 365 and Slack has made it possible for workers separated geographically to realize their targets. For some enterprises, this has not been possible due to travel restrictions, challenges with the supply chain and the nature of their work. The economic effect of the health crisis is slowly being appreciated by the government. Several economic measures have been put in place including the president and his deputy taking 80% cut on their salaries. 

For employees, there are concerns that the jobs that have been rendered redundant might never come back pushing more people into unemployment. In a country where the unemployment rate stands at 9.68%, the looming threat to the future of jobs is difficult to confront. For employees working remotely, there are concerns that even with the measures taken by the government to reduce some taxes, the financial stability of organizations hangs in the balance.

What do organizations need to do in the wake of this new reality?

What matters most for now is the safety and health of your employees.

Different employees face different health risks. For instance, an organization that deals with clients face to face has front office and back-office staff. The level of health risks that front office staff have to face may not be similar to back-office staff. An assessment will help determine which functions need to be on-site and which functions can be done remotely. For functions on-site, it is not just important to print out recommended guidelines, it is equally important to update internal occupational safety and health guidelines and ensure they are adhered to.

Working remotely is not as simple as stay-at-home.

Organizations need to consider eligibility, approved tools and protocols for security compliance. It is not clear how long and how far into the year the effects of COVID-19 will spread globally and locally. For this reason, it is important to develop a remote working plan that envisions this. The infrastructure gaps and cyber security risks need to assessed and addressed to ensure the remote working plan runs smoothly.

Fine, tactical details need to be addressed such as:

Does the organization have the adequate infrastructure to manage a remote working model?

What about employees who do not have laptops? What is the best way to ensure they are not left out?

What tools adequately match the specific tasks that need to be carried out?

What tasks need to be carried out and how frequently?

How will collaboration be ensured for activities that need documentation?

What are the business performance indicators in light of the new working model?

How will the organization document its lessons and implement them for posterity?

Anxiety is everywhere, someone has to deal with it.

It is not as simple as “keep calm, work from home.” There are concerns about the future of organizations in the country. The flower industry in Kenya has taken a significant nosedive as access to markets has been impossible due to the grounding of flights. As online delivery companies thrive, there are brick and mortar companies that are weighing their options. The leaders of each organization need to assure their team members. They need to communicate about the changes that are taking place at the organizational level. For organizations whose finances are in a precarious state, this would be the perfect time to demonstrate the organization cares about its employees.

 Recently, the Chief Executive Officer of Kenya Airways announced that he would be taking a pay cut of 80% to avoid laying off staff. Leadership at this time is less about what is said and more about what is being done. The economic crisis brought about by COVID-19 will last for months. If an organization can avoid laying off staff in the meantime, it would save many from sinking into abject despair. Kenya Airways is leading the pack. Even though 65% of the airline’s flights are currently grounded, the airline has decided to keep its staff on a paycheck for lesser pay.

Other organizations are offering their employees shopping vouchers to cushion them as the organization strategizes on how to keep afloat. Others are finding ways to keep their employees at work by exploring alternative business strategies. For instance, there are distilleries in America that have opted to use their raw material to make hand sanitizers in order to keep their workforce. In order to pay salaries, these organizations have sought donations from the public. Locally, there are a number of manufacturers who are offering to use their logistics department to transport medical supplies to far flung areas of the country.

These times call for innovation, creativity and compassion. We believe you are doing your best by your staff and as we appreciate this is business unusual, we are also optimistic that we will continue to figure things out as we learn to live with our new normal. In the meantime, if you are among those who are in the essential services and recruiting, our recruiting operations are ongoing and we would be glad to offer our support in getting you the talent at a discounted rate.

Beyond #IWD2020: Reflections on women, work and the way forward in Africa!

Africa has often been described as the rising phoenix thanks to the strides the continent has made and opportunities that have emerged as a result of innovation and technological advances in the continent. Women make up 50% of the continent’s population yet they still lag behind at the workplace. In 2018, women only contributed to 33% of the continent’s GDP. The Mckinsey Global Report indicates that $316 Billion could be added to the continent’s economy if all the countries in the continent matched the gender parity score of their best performing neighbour. If the current rate of progress towards gender parity is to be maintained, it would take about 142 years to attain it. Most of the women in the continent work in the informal sector and have limited access to high quality jobs due to factors such as lack of access to education, financial services and technological tools that would improve their lives. Africa has a high rate of labour force participation but representation of women in the formal sector remains low. The formal economy in Africa is ranked as the least gender equal in global rankings.  The global average female- male ratio is 0.86. The ratio in Africa is 0.68.

State of gender parity in the workplace in African countries

In an analysis that was done by the Mckinsey Global Institute, African countries have  varying performances in terms of their efforts to attain gender parity:

Leaders in gender parity: Lesotho, Rwanda, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia have made significant progress towards representation of women in the political sphere, the number of women in professional and technical fields as well as other societal indicators of gender equality.

Middle of the road: Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Cameroon, DRC, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Uganda, Togo, Madagascar, Burundi, Angola, Mauritius, Democratic Republic of Congo

These countries have average scores in terms of progress towards gender parity. For example, Ghana has attained significant gender parity in education while Madagascar has above average female participation in technical fields and high quality professional fields.

Countries with room for improvement: Algeria, Tunisia, Chad, Cote d’ivoire, Liberia, Mali, Malawi, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Burkina Faso

These countries need to make concerted efforts towards inclusion of women in the workplace. The number of women in leading roles in politics and business in these countries is relatively low as compared to other countries.

There is good news: Africa tops the world in terms of female representation in boards

The global average of female representation is 17%.  25% of board members in boards across the continent are female. A 2016 study by Mckinsey Global on impact of female representation on boards showed that pretax earnings by companies with at least 25% female representation were 20% higher than the industry average. Female representation at the board level has increased by 4% since 2015. Female representation in executive committees has only increased by 1%. South Africa tops the list of countries with a high number of women in boards at 29%.

But, women are still lagging behind in the workplace in Africa

Women who are formally employed are likely to have higher educational qualifications which gives them opportunities to leadership opportunities. In as much as there is a limited formal economy in the continent, employers need to encourage women’s participation since they shape the experiences of the majority who are participants in the sector.

Only a few countries have made concerted efforts towards inclusion of women in leadership roles therefore enhancing the continent’s gender parity score. These countries include Botswana, Kenya, South Africa and Rwanda. If the current rate of progress towards gender parity is maintained, it would take 20 years to attain equality on boards and 18 years to attain equality on executive committees.

60% of the women on boards across the continent have staff roles rather than line roles. This has implications on female board members’ likelihood to become CEO’s because CEO’s typically come from line roles. Line roles focus on core operations, finance, risk and strategy while staff roles focus on legal and human resources.

The progress that has been made towards increasing the women in middle management roles in Africa has been less than impressive. Research indicates that the representation of women in professional and technical fields is relatively low as compared to the global average. Africa’s gender parity score has remained at 0.68 since 2015 with the majority of countries in Central and West Africa having some of the lowest representation of women in the workplace.

What are the barriers to gender equality in the workplace?
What is the way forward?

Organizations need to make concerted efforts to ensure active participation of women in the workplace. The first step towards this is to combat bias. Bias is often subtle and most organizational leaders struggle to acknowledge that it exists. Bias keeps women from being promoted or hired in some extreme instances. Organizational leaders need to challenge it head on by discussing the types of bias towards women and their effect on the organization’s gender inclusion efforts. They also need to take research backed efforts towards confronting biases. Organizations need to work towards rooting out language and behaviour in the workplace that enhances a culture of bias towards women.

Research has shown that there are few women who become managers in their organizations. For every 100 men who are hired at entry level positions and promoted to managers, only 72 women are hired and promoted to managers. Most women remain in entry level positions in spite of their talent and professional qualifications. This has significant impacts on the talent pipeline. This remains one of the greatest challenges for talent managers hence the need to critically examine the processes and practices that keep women in entry level positions.

Balancing work and life can be difficult juggle. Considering most women bear a significant burden of care at home, having flexible working hours is vital in promoting work-life balance. It can play a role in ensuring women are not left behind. Workplace policies that support women make them more productive and happier at work.

Are you working on a diversity and inclusion strategy especially to have more women professionals in your organization? Talk to us today and we will connect you with amazing women that your organization will benefit having them around.

~Corazon Achieng – Storyteller and Content Creator

Is Your New Hire Struggling?

Once upon a time, Jayne *, the human resources manager at company X met Phyllis*, a potential candidate. Phyllis* was the ideal candidate in person and on paper. She aced all the interviews. She was brimming with ideas and energy. She was the perfect culture fit. There was no doubt in Jayne’s mind that her search had ended.

Within a week, Phyllis* got the job and was posted to her new work station. The first few weeks were spent learning the ropes. The company had a mentorship programme in place so Phyllis was assigned to a mentor. Within the next few months, Jayne began to doubt her decision. Phyllis was struggling. Some department heads found it difficult to work with her.

The situation above is more common that most human resources managers and CEOs would care to admit. Based on our work with hundreds of organizations, we have identified the following common pitfalls and measures to avoid them:

Mistake #1: Inefficient testing of the candidate’s standard skills

Human resource professionals have for years been pondering over factors that predict whether a candidate’s past performance will be replicated in the new role. It has been proposed by some organizational psychologists that unstructured sequential questions would be the best predictor of future performance. The limitation of this is that one cannot glean sufficient information from a candidate based on these questions regardless of how they are structured.

As experts continue to ponder on the best way forward, it is important to determine whether the candidate has standard skills. The 4C’s summarize the crucial standard skills a candidate must have: communication, creativity, collaboration and critical thinking. For instance, if you are looking for an administrative assistant, you need to determine whether the candidate has proper report writing skills, is organized and time conscious.

THE 4C’S THAT ARE CRUCIAL

Mistake #2: Failure to regularly review your interview questions

Research carried by Glassdoor indicates that the average interview duration has almost doubled since 2009. It may sound easy to interview a candidate but in reality, interviewing is one of the most technical aspects of hiring. Biases easily affect the process of getting a good hire. Most companies have a template in place but this template is rarely reviewed to eliminate questions that do not add value to the process. For most organizations, interviews are an opportunity to determine whether the candidate fits into the culture of the organization. In reality, most organizations have a poor understanding of what constitutes their culture and what sort of candidate would fit into it by extension. Have measures in place to review and improve your interview process.  

Mistake #3: Poor relationship building

It is possible that one of the reasons why Phyllis was struggling could be due to a poor relationship between her and her mentor. While most organizations have some form of mentor-ship program for new hires, few of these organizations work towards finding out whether these programs are working. Human beings naturally gravitate towards familiar faces. It is not always easy for one to build a relationship in the work place in spite of having common goals. This may be attributed to difference in personality types or learning styles. Organizations should frequently review their mentor-ship programs and improve them accordingly.

Mistake #4: Using performance improvement plan as a prelude to termination

Performance improvement plans (PIP) are an essential tool in determining what is not working. They should be developed in a way that clearly identifies the problem, outlines the steps that will be taken towards the improvement and timelines for improvement. Using examples, the plan should help the employee understand their deficiencies and why they need to work towards improvement. If a plan is structured properly, it may foster collaboration between an employee and their departmental head that will result in improvement of performance.

Mistake #5: Failure to pay attention to learning styles

People learn in different ways. Some people can watch someone perform a task once and have the confidence to perform the task by themselves after that. Some people need steps outlined for them so that they can refer to these steps later. Others prefer a video or a book. Your organization might not have the capacity to train all types of learners according to their learning styles but it can adjust accordingly to ensure that no one is left behind.  The organization can expose new hires to different types of learning material. Instructional material can be in the form of booklets, videos and infographics.

Image courtesy: Project-general.com

Mistake #6: Organizational culture that has never been challenged and changed

A few years ago, PwC in the USA noticed that most of its new hires were leaving the organization as soon as they got a chance to leave. This took the consulting firm by surprise because for years, the organization had employees who had accepted the long working hours.

As millenials increasingly became a part of the organization, the attrition rate soared. PwC also noticed that there was reluctance among younger college educated candidates to join the organization. The organization commissioned a study to determine why it was losing its top talent. The study revealed that the millenials were more willing to question assumptions about work that had long been held as truisms. In response to the crisis, the organization introduced flexible schedules and a wellness program.

Africa will boast of the largest population of young, working employees in the next decade. Using yesterday’s work approaches with today’s Gen Z employees will not work. Organizations need to be agile and adaptable in order to retain top talent particularly millennials and Gen Z who will make up a significant portion of the workforce in the next decade.

Do you have a vacancy that you need to fill? We are available to walk with you the talent search journey just as we have done with our clients. Crystal Recruitment puts clients and candidates at the heart of their operations and nothing is more rewarding than hearing that new hires have performed and they are not struggling to settle in.

What are you doing as a Company to prepare for tomorrow?

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Abraham Lincoln

The inevitable future of work is here with us. Automation and AI are set to result in the creation of new roles, redefine the existing roles and create new tasks.  As leaders of organizations gear up for it, there has been a mixture of anxiety and excitement. Employees are grappling with whether their jobs will still be there or not as they seek to remain relevant. Organizations know that they need to prepare for tomorrow but very few are taking active steps to prepare for tomorrow. This may be as a result of not having a clear understanding of what they need to do in order to prepare for the future of work.

Having worked with leading organizations regionally, we compiled a few tips on what organizations need to do in order to prepare for the future:

  • Create a more engaging people experience in order to maintain a competitive advantage

People experience encompasses all aspects of work including the workload assigned to each employee, the office design, training and support provided by the HR. As automation increases, organizations are increasingly adopting lean teams comprising of highly skilled individuals. Tech evangelists admit that the human element can never be entirely replaced hence they advocate for emphasis of core skills such as creativity, empathy and critical thinking.

Cushioning one’s organization against the effects of talent attrition calls for building social resilience which will ensure that new models of work such as flexi-time incorporate human interaction using collaborative technologies. In adopting this approach, organizations will ensure that they have “big ideas crowds” which can provide inspiration and validation of ideas. This will create and sustain a culture of innovation within the organization thus ensuring that the organization remains dynamic.

In addition to this, organization need to make agility and adaptability a part of their values. To make these values a reality entails creating a culture of lifelong learning in which employees are aware of the dynamic nature of work.

  • Support intrapreneurship

Established organizations can learn from startups by encouraging “intrapreneurship.” Leaders should be encouraged to take risks so that they nurture teams and create space for development of ideas. Encouraging intrapreneurship means providing space for autonomy within the organization.

As organizations prepare for tomorrow, they must constantly evaluate the measures that they have put in place. For instance, allowing flexi time for employees can have damaging consequences if the targets are not agreed upon. Having off site employees can put pressure on employees because they feel that they constantly have to be at work. There is a thin line between promoting autonomy and creating a fragmented work force that does not work as a team. Getting feedback from employees and tracking the progress while learning from the mistakes is vital in the success of any organization’s efforts to prepare for the future.

  • Use data analytics to make use of talent

In order to gain a critical edge in gauging the future talent needs of the organization, organizations ought to adopt data analytics in talent management. Data analytics can help in the creation of a compelling employee experience and eliminate biases during the talent recruitment process. A survey of over 2,000 HR and business leaders from different parts of the globe that was carried by PwC showed that only 38% of the respondents use data analytics to gauge their talents. This is an indication of the hesitance to use predictive analytics to plan for their workforce. In spite of the availability of more tools that are user friendly to help in the process, organizations still struggle to interpret the data they hold into actionable steps that will help them manage their talent.

To remedy this, organizations need to use more precise analytical tools. HR teams ought to use tools that not only provide data but also incorporate data visualization tools in order to encourage feedback from leaders and staff. As concerns about data privacy increase, organizations should go to great lengths to ensure that the data is protected and staff know what their data is being used for. People experience can be personalized through organizational network analysis (ONA), skills mapping tools and career mapping tools.

Embracing use of data analytics more in HR can help in the elimination of bias. Data analytics would help organizations track the rates of promotions and recruitment among marginalized groups. In doing this, it is important to ensure that algorithms are not wired to replicate human biases by ensuring that the data analysts understand how algorithms work and are capable of making adjustments in order to result in a diverse pool of talent.

  • Support vitality and tackle burnout

Research studies have demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that burnout is on the rise and it affects the bottom line. It is not enough for organizations to set the length of the working day and targets. Organizations that are seeking to retain and engage their talent also ensure that there are measures in place to promote employee well-being.  For instance, Google East Africa has an office that is designed to promote creativity through the incorporation of color and crafts. Organizations are increasingly challenging their employees to take health breaks and engage in physical activities. Organizations can also adopt the following measures to support vitality:

  1. Allow the workers to choose where they want to work from if possible
  2. Promote synchrony between the virtual and physical working environments
  3. Encourage employees to take time away from work
  • Mind the gap

It is often said that human beings are likely to underestimate the likelihood of a bad outcome and overstate a good outcome. This applies to preparing for the future because most leaders assume that they are on the right track yet the reality betrays them. Bridging the gap calls for the following:

  1. HR teams and business leaders must ensure that their employees are future proof by consistently communicating on the initiatives that they are implementing and ensuring they are understood and lived within the organization
  2. Coach team leaders on how to effectively lead the way without leaving their teams behind and encouraging them to have means to track their success
  3. Encourage HR to take a leading role in thinking and planning for the organization’s future.

Is your organization struggling with preparing its employees for the future? Talk to us today

Do you have Job Evaluation as part of your 2020 plan for your Organization?

Objective evaluations set the foundation that moves leaders to the tipping point…

As organizations streamline their operations in 2020, it is critical to align the talent needs of the organization with the business strategy of the organization. One of the ways of doing this is to carry out job evaluation. Job evaluation refers to a system that assesses a job in relation to other roles in the organization based on common criteria. It is often carried out using one of the following approaches:

  • Analytical job evaluation: This is based on method in which jobs are viewed as whole elements that can be broken down into smaller, defined elements namely: scope, knowledge, communication, level.  Using a matrix that assigns values to these elements, a score is derived for each job. The total points assigned to each job are used for determination of the overall grade
  • Non analytical job evaluation: Compares one job to another without considering the definite factors that make up each job

Job evaluation can be carried out by observation, questionnaire or survey.  The approach depends on the job environment. A production environment would best be evaluated through observation followed by a survey. An office based job would best be evaluated through a questionnaire or a survey. All the relevant stake holders need to be involved during job evaluation. Job evaluations help establish the natural relationships within the organization. As organizations grow, they become complex in terms of the structure. Discernible differences between the roles may not be as clear as the organization continues growing. For instance, is there a difference between an entry level clerk and an executive assistant?  The answer may seem obvious but it is not always obvious. A job evaluation provides data to help differentiate roles in terms of scope, knowledge and range of skills required for a role.

  Job evaluation is preferred and should be carried out regularly for the following reasons:

  • Promotes rational decisions about pay within the organization

Carrying out job evaluation enables the organization to minimize inconsistencies in key decisions such as the scope of a role. Evaluation of a job based on a consistent set of logical factors provides the leadership of an organization with a structure for rationale decision making on the roles that need to be filled within the organization. It also helps in the identification of replicated roles thus providing for an opportunity to redefine the roles in order to maximize the potential of the employees.

  • Promotes fair system of pay

There have been complains about poorly structured pay systems in most organizations. Job evaluation can help address some of the concerns about pay structures within an organization. The pay structures in organization fall into one of these structures

  1. Narrow- graded structures: Jobs that are considered of equivalent value are placed in one category. The pay for that category is determined
  2. Broad grade structures:  Fewer and wider grades are used as reference points. Progression is tied to the reference points
  3. Job family structure: This allows for the co-existence of different grade structures and is particularly useful when operating in different job markets
  4. Pay spine structures:  This type of structure is common in the public sector. There are a number of pay points to which job grades are aligned. The relevant pay points determine the pay ranges for the grades. Length of one’s service determines one’ s pay progression

Each of these models has its advantages and disadvantages. Fairness in the payment system can be promoted in spite of the model of pay that is adopted by the organization. It is important for HR to align the pay structure to the values, culture of the organization and the HR strategy of the organization.

It has often been argued that is difficult to determine whether manual or administrative roles deserve more pay. Job evaluation provides a mechanism for establishing whether roles are of equal values hence deserve the same pay. In addition to this, job evaluation would provide a framework for determining where different jobs involving similar skills are being carried out hence the need for harmonization of the pay.

As a golden rule, it is important for your organization to ask whether the HR team or external HR consultant has the most recent data on the pay structure from market surveys. Given that talent retention also entails offering a competitive package to your employees, a job evaluation would provide one with an opportunity to compare the pay offered for a particular job from one organization to another. Some of the rates in the market may not match the rates offered by your organization. Some positions may also not be matched by the positions in the market. For instance, organizations are increasingly phasing out some administrative roles while others prefer to maintain lean administrative units. Bearing these differences in mind as the job evaluation is being carried out will help the organization determine whether their employee retention strategy is future-proof.

  • Supports recruitment, succession planning and career development

In this era where talent is highly competitive, it is important for organizations to retain their talent by offering them competitive packages. The framework for carrying out job evaluation provides the most useful tool for comparing internal jobs to external market data on similar jobs.

For organizations that have a career family structure, the career development paths are often defined clearly. These are defined by level profiles that describe the skills, knowledge, experience and competencies that are required at each level of the structure. Carrying out a job evaluation can provide information for employees of an organization that will enable them to develop their skills for the next level as they seek to progress in their careers. Top management can identify gaps in the organization’s succession plan and put plans in place to address the gaps that have been identified.

Do you need help with carrying out job evaluation? Talk to us today and let us help you evaluate the jobs in your organization.