Why some companies in South Africa have a talent retention problem

CEOs in South Africa are challenged to offer better job opportunities than their competitors, says Zuko Mdwaba, vice president of Salesforce South Africa.

“With the rise of remote working, they are competing with organizations in all markets, to offer the best flexible working conditions and the best development opportunities,” Mdwaba said. “Today’s workforce expects business leaders to lead in an ethical and responsible manner.”

He said flexible work arrangements can meet employee retention needs. Options can include fully remote flexible working or a fully office-based approach.

Professional services firm PwC said talent retention is likely to remain a significant risk factor for businesses in 2022. It said recent events around the world have made many people think more about the “why” of their work.

“However, in South Africa where unemployment is higher than ever, this is nuanced. Certainly, there are notable challenges in finding skilled and executive talent in light of increased emigration and other pressures. Creative retention devices, which are more sophisticated than money alone, are becoming an increasingly important weapon in the war for talent. »

Capitec chief executive Gerrie Fourie recently described the local hiring market as a “talent war” with companies struggling to hire from a limited talent pool.

He added that in the context of computer scientists or data scientists, who are highly technical professionals, it is easy to work for a London company but live in South Africa.

According to PwC, some of the push factors that encourage more people to quit include: complaints about “desk drudgery”, long trips in traffic and returning to the office full time.

“In some cases, the inability to create employee buy-in and alignment with a company’s strategy and/or underlying purpose and values, and a reduction or absence of incentives to acquisition, particularly at the C-suite level, have made the company’s departure hurdles much weaker.

“That, coupled with the soul-searching mentioned above, has led to an acceleration of quits.”

Will the “big resignation” boost small businesses?

A global upsurge in voluntary quits amid the Covid-19 pandemic – otherwise known as the “great quit” – has seen nearly 50 million Americans leave their jobs in 2021 alone.

Another trend, however, has developed alongside these massive quits – a boom in the number of people setting up new small businesses, with new businesses created increasing by 53% in 2021, compared to the same period in 2019.

These emerging trends have led some experts to conclude that the flip side of the “big quit” is a small business boom, said Jeremy Lang, executive director of Business Partners Limited.

Whether South Africa will follow suit depends on a number of factors unique to the country’s socio-economic climate, Lang said, adding that to understand how South Africa differs as a case study, we need to take a closer look at the reasons for the massive resignation.

He said numerous workplace studies have indicated that South Africans are being forced to work longer hours during lockdown, which has made burnout an unfortunate reality for many. Additionally, remote work has opened the world’s borders to South Africans, who now have more options to work remotely for offshore companies.

“In South Africa, where the socio-economic climate is characterized by record unemployment, the status quo is very different from other regions like the United States. The “big quit” in America is arguably a white-collar phenomenon.

“In South Africa however, where the majority of the unemployed are blue-collar workers, South Africans simply don’t have the luxury of quitting their jobs and becoming dependent on the state,” Lang said.

These realities therefore beg the question: will South Africa experience a small business boom as a legacy of the pandemic? The answer is both yes and no, Lang said.

“It is, in the sense that the culture of remote work has spawned a new generation of digital nomads – individuals who choose to spend their time working remotely, from different geographies.”

This trend is most apparent among Gen Z and Millennials, who disapprove of confined office work environments and are doing a lot to resist the nine-to-five mentality, which may not be the most practical solution for achieve a work/life balance.

These digital nomads can work as freelancers, consultants, and workers in the emerging gig economy. As such, they could very well be the next generation of small business owners.

“The answer is also no,” Lang added, “in that there is still a lot of work to be done to refine the process that aspiring entrepreneurs must follow in order to start their own business. On a positive note, the creation by chairman of a red tape committee to reduce the bureaucracy that exists within the SME space, hope is on the horizon.

However, as the latest results from Business Partners Limited’s Q4 2021 SME Index indicate, cash flow issues and limited access to finance remain two of the biggest challenges facing small and medium-sized business owners. businesses (SMEs). Unless these challenges improve, there will be little or no impetus for increasing small business opportunities.

“However we choose to approach these difficult questions, it is clear that the workplace of the future, for businesses large and small, has changed beyond recognition. In the post-Covid-19 context, much will depend on aspiring entrepreneurs’ view of the SME environment and its potential for profitability,” Lang said.

“As the SME Index for the fourth quarter of 2021 reveals, confidence levels are returning to pre-Covid levels, which is indeed a good sign and could very well be a welcome precursor to an upsurge in small businesses. new and innovative.”

Reputation integrity

The Reptrak Company, a cloud-based reputation intelligence firm, said changes in the way of working over the past two years have changed what is important to employees and what they expect from the workforce. company they work for. Global trends in remote work opportunities, reassessments of work-life balance, and the search for more meaningful work have led many people to quit their jobs.

The recent Global Reptrak 100 2022 report showed that the biggest factor in a company’s reputation decline was whether it cared about the health and well-being of employees and its ability to provide fair and rewarding rewards. equal opportunity in the workplace.

“Companies around the world are under enormous pressure to find great talent. The pandemic has changed the workplace and the public mindset towards employers, perhaps forever,” said Kylie Wright-Ford, CEO of The RepTrak Company.

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