Talent Management in Africa and the Challenges Involved

Some African countries have the wildest growing economies in the world owing to improved infrastructure, enhanced economic management, increased production of goods and services and the expansion of the middle class. Despite these positive aspects, talent management, a very instrumental element in sustainable economic growth, is still a concern in most of the industries in Africa. This calls for executive managers and human resources officers in different sectors of the economy to urgently enhance talent management by creating and retaining African talent to bridge this gap.

Talent Management in Africa

At the rate at which the African economy is growing, both African public and private sectors need to align their economic agendas with good leadership and entrepreneurial capabilities, especially those of the young generation. This will lead to a generation of young and energetic people with the ability to consolidate economic gains. This is a potential weapon that can be used by businesses and government institutions in Africa to transform the continent from being marginalized to a significant power in the global economy. Though in a slow pace, businesses in Africa have turned their focus on recruitment, development and retention of skilled and talented local employees to match their business culture and drive success. With the understanding of the benefits of skills retention and talent development, some companies have managed to make some big steps towards fully realizing improved returns as a result of proper talent management. For some companies, talent management strategies have failed while others have no concrete talent management strategies in place. In the near future, quality talent management will be critical towards succeeding in any business in Africa – whether it be a start-up, or a well-established multi-national business.

The Way Forward

Talent management has never been a need in the African market until now. There are many approaches to a successful talent management strategies ideal for the African business environment but whichever route one business will take, the end result will bring high performance and return on investment (ROI). The following tips can be used to develop a workable talent management program:

·   Understanding Your Business Needs – Different organisations or businesses require different sets of skills and talents to achieve their objectives. The first step of talent management is identifying what talent and skills your business requires so as to achieve the main business strategy. Identify the human capital gaps in the business and clearly decide on which talents or skills are missing to fill in the gaps.

·   Talent Attraction –With a shortage of highly skilled people in the African job market, it is important to impress your desired talent and make them admire joining your team. Create a good and lasting perception of your organisation through strong employer branding, culture and existing employees. This can be well achieved through the use of available digital channels like the social media.

·    Developing Talent – Encourage employees’ participation and engagement through on job training, formal courses, workshops, e-learning and bench-marking initiatives among others. Analyse your employees’ competencies and skills and create opportunities for employees to improve their individual training needs.

·  Other Elements – Includes managing talent to align it with your business goals and enhance retention rates through leadership development and succession plans. Talent management also involves communication, team work skills, conflict and change management as well as emotional intelligence.

Talent Management Challenges in Africa

·   Shallow Talent Pool – There is an alarming shortage of highly skilled employees in the African market. This mainly is a result of problems in the learning institutions in many African countries. Most schools in Africa have poor learning facilities and some universities are faced with perennial riots and strikes which results in “semi-baked graduates”. Even with a large portion of unemployed graduates, companies are still unable to find the right skills and talents to hire. The learning institutions also fail to develop different set of skills tailor-made for the African market.

·   Poor Remuneration Packages – Most African companies are unable or unwilling to offer competitive remuneration packages and benefits, as a result high skilled and talented employees prefer to work in developed countries in Europe, Asia and America. 30 % of the highly skilled Africans work in foreign countries where they feel they can get a value of their services.

·   Global Entrepreneurial Revolution – Most talented candidates prefer starting their own venture instead of being employed. A recent statistic shows that over 40% of African graduates in Africa seek to be their own bosses leading to a more demand for talents while the reducing the supply.

·   Political Unrest And Civil Crisis – Most African countries experience political instability and other civil crisis from time to time. This leads to poor economic growth and closure of business. Talented employees also are tempted to shift to safe and peaceful working environment.