Anyone who believes talent is an issue for the back burner of their business, or sole purview of HR, is already being outcompeted by organisations who know that talent is a whole-business responsibility, and that engagement directly correlates to bottom line performance.
I’m writing this from Johannesburg, where Global Career Company and African Business are hosting the Talent Agenda Series forum. At the conference, we’re capturing the views of business leaders shaping employee experience with an eye on the future of work. That interview features in Talent Matters this month.
Deloitte’s global survey of executives shows 88% of leaders agree employee experience can improve their business, but just 59% feel in a position to fully act on that. I’ve heard executives say things like,
“We know the people piece is very important, and we need to get it right… once we have sorted out the initial priorities.”
Talent Matters is here to underscore the fact that people and the business move forward together or they don’t move forward at all. Shining a light on talent in Africa is half of the issue. We’re also addressing how the talent narrative in Africa needs to be owned by Africans and those practicing on the continent. I’ve just quoted two global statistics in this introduction, deliberately, to highlight here the need for research pieces, opinion pieces and case studies by African and African-focused practitioners, academics and thought leaders. Sure, there is the odd quality report by a professional services firm, but it’s time to bring African talent content to the fore in business dialogue, to ensure that when we talk about new, niche or challenging areas, we are discussing challenges as they really happen and solutions as they really work.
Africa and African Business are diverse and unique, and Talent Matters is going to showcase how businesses of any size on the continent can do better by delivering talent excellence in their diverse, unique situations.
This first issue focuses on the theme ‘The Future of Work’ and it’s an interesting place to start considering the need to Africanise the narrative. Digital disruption of work is a reality around the world and across Africa, yet we’ll hear from Africa 50 that swathes of the continent, somewhere between 75% and 60% depending on who you read, remains disconnected from the internet. How do we view the job automation and alteration which is happening in some industries, countries and companies, when most of the continent isn’t digital? For those who predict that Africa will skip the manufacturing-led growth job growth of say, India, in favour of digitally-led work, that’s a pretty big stumbling block.
Africa 50 is exploring how that can be crossed via infrastructure, but it points to a mixed picture too for employers. It’s why we need to hear African perspectives on how organisations are really operating in scenarios spanning the connected and disconnected across their organisations, customer bases and supply chains.
As well as connectivity, this Future of Work issue also features a look at the realignment of jobs for the digital age, from Willis Towers Watson, as well as how you can navigate the legal implications of changing work practices by Hogan Lovells. We’re also spotlighting individual leaders and practitioners. I want to take the opportunity now to call others forward. If you’re doing something interesting in encountering or overcoming a talent challenge, this is your platform, and we need to know how you are doing. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org with your news, views and suggestions for content.
However your business in Africa is facing up to the future of work, we wish you luck and resilience against the challenge, and hope that Talent Matters can provoke some thought or provide some insight. Doing talent better will make your organisation more successful, in every way that matters.
PS. Look out for our next issue in August, where we take a look at Africa’s most attractive employer brands and what they are doing to engage talent.