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‘People drive business’

Written by Guest Author · 3 min read >

People drive business. What kind of people are behind the wheel of yours?

By: Birgit Thümecke

No matter where I worked (DE, IR, SA, CA, AU, CZ, TK), or for whom I worked, staff recruitment and staff retention have always been top priorities. But it was really only when I became CEO of a company with 1800 employees worldwide that people management became one of my strongest points – because it had to be. It also because something that I thoroughly enjoyed – well, most of the time…

While there are different market dynamics, labour laws, attitudes & aptitudes, cultures & values (such as ‘loyalty’ and ‘integrity’ etc.) there is one common denominator – the self-image that the HR folks have, particularly when it comes to recruitment. It seems that there is a kind of identity crisis with most HR specialists when it comes to what people management essentially is all about, because the role is inherently contradictory. The majority of them are overly IR (Industrial Relation) minded and less retention and succession orientated. It almost feels that they are afraid of employees: sort of hiding being their desks with a speed dial option to their trusted labour law expert without whom they often feel unable to (re)act. These HR folks seem to be more concerned about damage control than staff engagement.

From that perspective and mindset they employ and/or contract various recruitment, sourcing and talent acquisition specialists, human capital & hiring managers, executive recruiters, internal and internet recruiters and yet, almost without exception, it is still a battle to attract enough good people, and then keep them. Even in South Africa, with our official unemployment rate of 1/3.

That is why Employer Value Propositioning is of such monumental importance here at Eventerprise. It tells the true story behind the logo – and that’s what resonates with people. It makes sure that our company is well represented, and engaged with both passive and active candidates, then gets them excited and hooked onto Eventerprise so we can seal the deal.

So, what does that truth look like? We are extremely dynamic in what we do and how we do it. We take our people as seriously as they take themselves; we’ll educate, train and coach them. We impart the combined world-class working experience of the executive team, which possesses wide ranging, complementary skills. We afford our people numerous opportunities to excel in whatever they are good at or aspire to master in future.

But it’s a two way street… We are rather particular about the kinds of people we want to spend each day with – our Eventerpreneurs. They need to pull their weight, work hard, think in terms of solutions, go the extra mile (every single day), push and pull their peers and take ownership. Eventerpreneurs are continually leaving their conform zones. They call a spade a spade and are actively leading through conflictual and challenging situations, making unpopular decisions if need be. Eventerprenuers are also able to differentiate between their person and the function they perform.

We concentrate on the higher good for the greater team and our company rather than the individual. Performance management is essential and something we do not shy away from. Our family mission is: You are Eventerprise. So, show up, be bold and make a difference. And my personal mantra is firm & fair. (By the way, that compliment was given to me by former staff members. Nice, huh?)

And if you get the wrong people? You lower the bar and open the door for mediocrity while at the same time diminishing the trust and belief from all other staff members in the managements’ abilities. You’re also showing people what accepted behaviour looks like… This is known as a signaling effect: Once a certain wrong behaviour has been tolerated others will try their luck, too. One bad apple is all it takes…

So, now I think we all understand why talent acquisition is important, and why it’s so critical to get it right. But back to the basic & first things first:

We are looking for a shining star, a focal point and essential facet of Eventerprise accountable for driving the talent strategy in a way that adds value to our company. Someone who is eager to source talent in an advanced 2016+ style as we cannot afford to think too old-school when it comes to recruitment. Someone who is social media savvy, outgoing and engaging and actively meets people (online), uses keywords and methodology to find key professionals to fill open vacancies. Someone who’ll hit the streets, not just the keyboard, to find the right person.

We like to refer to those rare talents as “sourcing specialists”. In our mind, recruiters who aren’t out there in the worldwide web, literally on the street, at talent fairs, varsities, schools, conventions, industry associations, government initiatives conducting meaningful personal interactions with people about to actively recruit are not good enough. I personally recruit wherever I am. (I produced my all time ever highest hit rate by approaching parking guards once in my career. I needed a whole lot of fluent French speakers (BTW in SA) so I chatted to them, noticed their French accent, observed their demeanor, found out that they were highly qualified and so I invited them to a job interview. The rest is history.)

Recruitment is not just a profession (often misunderstood and subsumed under HR) it is also a philosophy. It may seems like a simple task, but, with all due respect, most don’t have a clue as to what recruitment truly is until they actively (have to) do it. It is a complex, and many legged beast. It requires heaps of insight and knowledge to get the best results but, when you get it right it’s worth it.