05 September 2009
Talent Management v. Social Enterprise
Having been an employer of 100+ people, I have experienced most employment issues. With the fact the business was 106 years old, there inevitably comes some significant service. Indeed, the average service within the company was just over 12 years with the average age being 55.
Quite often I heard people link service to loyalty - I beg to differ. The union stewards negotiated for an extra day of holiday per year based on service and called it a "loyalty day" (the fact that this is now not a legal possiblility due to Age Discrimination is another issue completely!). How can this be? I know a few people that with every year served contibuted less and less.
I firmly believe that because someone serves 25 years for a company - or more - does not automatically mean that they are 'loyal' employees and doesn't automatically mean that they are even 'talented' employees. It simply means that they have been employed for a long time. I recall someone with service of over 40 years and each day he just moaned about the company and his employers... what utter madness?
One of my predecessors, who I have the utmost respect for, said to me a couple of months ago that during his leadership of the company he recognised he was simply running a social enterprise. Inflated wages, promotions, many perks and bonuses and yet not many were deserved. It seems that in over 20 years not much was learnt. Surely we should employ the people that will add strength to a company and as employers we must manage the talent.
I know I put up with what I'd inherited and sacrificed an awful lot for each and every one of them. Given a blank piece of paper, and using the knowledge and experience I gained it would be completely different now. Even with restuctures during my time as CEO, due to cost and historical issues, I never went far enough. Talent management is imperitive as is the need to think creatively about optimising workforces - whether in the private or public sector. Organisations are built on their people and if those people are weak then so is the foundation - no one ever built anything worthwhile on such a foundation. Recession should highlight your vital personnel and you must look after the real talent and set to work strengthening your foundation. I wouldn't compromise again.