Home > Articles > Business & Management > Human Resources

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

What To Do?

  • It doesn't look as if the FMCG industry is going to stop hemorrhaging skilled executives any time soon, so the imperative must be to both cast the search net wider and be prepared to bring on more high potentials through a more intensive identification and development program.

  • Again, they are going to have to dig deeper for graduates, and make them realize that a career in an FMCG company can be rewarding, stimulating, and fun.

  • They may well have to consider the locations some of them operate from, and be prepared to move key functional areas or the headquarters of business units to places where top talent wants to live.

  • They will have to learn to promote people ("taking on the risk") faster than today; otherwise, high potentials will jump for better offers.

  • They will need to consider that—like big oil—hiring mid- to senior-level people from outside the industry can be a good thing if it is managed in the right way.

If these are some of the options that finance houses, oil companies, and FMCG firms can consider, what's on the agenda that they have to concern themselves with? What are the issues and initiatives that keep our three human capital gurus awake at night?

While some things are highly focused on a specific industry's requirements, the real concerns are remarkably similar. Below is the laundry list that—I imagine—any senior HR man or woman must have in their top pocket and look at every day.

The Human Capital Laundry List of Issues, Needs and Expectations (in no particular order of importance):

  • Diversity Programs: Organizations must get better—quickly—at being able to comfortably manage a wide range of personnel from different social, religious, and cultural backgrounds. The majority of major corporations are dominated—not just at the top—by white male managers. This needs to change. Diversity also includes women and minorities. If we don't begin to do this as a matter of course and just part of business as usual, we are, in effect, managing under a policy where we deliberately restrict access to vast pools of highly competent talent. The other factor is that we are, more and more, hiring people who don't really belong in our business. Or at least they didn't used to. We have people whose cultural touch points are very different from those of our industry. For example, insurers employ geologists, meteorologists, and physicists to counsel them on earthquakes and other natural disasters and weather patterns; banks have academics versed in chaos theory and the like. Managing these people opens up whole new challenges for our industries.

  • Work-Life Balance: Buzz phrase or major concern? There is little doubt that work-life balance is something that concerns employees. In most firms, it is all about how to live a life dominated by a long-hours culture, excessive business travel, long commutes, and juggling children and social life as well. Certainly, employees working in fast-paced firms, who have little time out of work, appreciate concierge systems (such as laundry, video rental, and supermarket services), a nanny-at-home service for sick kids, as well as at work gyms and massage opportunities. However, there seems little doubt that organizations must take a clear stand on this and develop policies that are meaningful and are clearly understood. Addressing work-life balance issues on an ad hoc, case-by-case basis seems to send the wrong messages, create petty jealousies, and is a recipe for eventual organizational chaos. In my view, organizations must set policy and stick to it—however tough or tender it might be—so employees know where they stand. If you are going to have sabbaticals, set a policy and say so. If you don't want them in your business, make that clear, too. If employees are pushing to exchange salary for days off, decide if you can afford to do this in terms of the disruption it will cause. All the same, you can have corporate guidelines, but remember—especially if you are an international organization—that local managers need to use their own discretion. What would be welcome in one country or region, won't be even understood or appreciated in another.

  • Telecommuting: This can be regarded as part of the work-life balance debate. However, it possibly needs to be viewed as a stand-alone issue. To begin, firms need to make a clear decision about just how much telecommuting should play in their business. This can range from equipping employees with home offices, to doling out a mobile phone and a laptop. Again, the failure to take into account everyone's needs can cause problems. Simple things, such as answering the phone of a part-time telecommuter when they are out of the office, can create all sorts of issues. Equally, some people are completely unsuited to this type of work, needing on-site supervision. And there are jobs like that, too. So, get a policy and fine-tune it as you develop it. That's if you want to have it at all.

  • Pensions and Other Benefits: These still seem to be concerns of employees—particularly those that are planning to stay. While most pensions are fully portable these days, there is also a major move for firms to limit funding or leave these kinds of provisions to individuals to work out. However, there is no doubt that pension-style benefits and major health coverage are on the agenda of most professional managers, who—if they are going to stay with you—expect them to cover the rest of their immediate family. Also, in some countries (the UK and U.S. come quickly to mind), many families opt for fee-paying schools, and are looking to their employers to assist. Again, unless you want an HR operation that is all over the place, policies need to be clear and unambiguous. Incidentally, most companies miss out on the opportunity to let them know just how much they do give them in addition to salary. Hoescht Celanese showed every employee just how much was invested in them in addition to salary—figuring rightly that few had a clue. They explained the value of pensions, health care, cars and other perks, and retention levels rose by over 40 percent. Try it; it's easy to do, and doesn't cost much, either.

  • Professional and Personal Development: This has to be a key part of human resource strategy. Today, everyone puts professional and personal development at the very top of the list of "needs" they expect employers to fulfill. But it's a lot more complex than that. Specific groups need very careful attention. High performers in all disciplines need their own process; so too do future general managers. Being known for offering the very best in training and development becomes a major attractor—don't stint on it, it can (when done right) save you a bundle of recruiting dollars and boost retention.

  • Tracking Ex-employees and Rehiring Strategies: Remember the days when you left a company and you went on their blacklist—never to be re-hired under any circumstances? Ah, how times have changed for us! Today, smart organizations are actively keeping in touch with ex-employees (it can be as simple as mailing them a Christmas card or a company diary every year). Ex-employees (well, the ones you didn't fire for some unspeakable act!) are really worth seeking out. They know the business, have usually learned a lot since they left you, and will quickly and seamlessly integrate. Some organizations are making this a major initiative; one even has an ex-employees newsletter that they mail out every month. Especially in any innovative company, getting an ex-employee's attention can be all it takes for them to pick up the phone. Why? Because they probably left to go and pursue some new idea, technology, or product. If they find out that you have some new challenges, they'll want to be a part of it.

  • Communications: No matter how much money organizations seem to spend on communication, they never spend enough. Always at the top of the "you could do better" section of employee attitude surveys, communication has never ever had much of an easy ride in any business. One of the first things to be axed in a downturn, it is also one of the organizational orphans (or poised chalices), never seeming to find a home. Communications are run by the CEO's office, marketing, HR, or finance, depending on the focus of the business. But, as everyone knows, but does little about, communication needs attention. As we employ more and more intelligent people, we have to keep them informed. If we don't, they find out anyway. I am not sure just how many alternative corporate websites there are these days, but if you want to know all the dirt on the business you work for—or are thinking of working for—a few key strokes will take you there. Somehow, top management doesn't seem to have understood that too well, but it is a fact of life. We owe it to the people who work for us to keep them aware about what our plans are, and we owe it to our employees to allow them to feedback to us what they think. The biggest problem with communication is that most employees don't believe what top management says half the time. And, if you can, don't give it to some fresh-faced kid to do; get a seasoned employee who knows the business. This will be a hard sell though—no one in my experience ever made vice-president or partner by having responsibility for internal communications on their job description !

  • Attracting the Next Generation: Making sure that the new hires of today are your high performers (Hipos) of tomorrow is paramount. As we have already seen, for many it is difficult. Firms are going to have to spend a lot more time and money on getting their case across to the next generations if they are to secure a plentiful supply of new talent. This means that they are going to have to change the perception they have in the marketplace. For some, this will be hard work, and will mean tearing down a lot of very sacred cultural icons that have served well for many years. However, it would seem that many of the dinosaurs of the past will have to reinvent themselves if they are to successfully compete for talent on the global market. Today, there are a lot of "cool" places for talent to work, whose talent magnet is far, far stronger. Neither do I think that this can be solved by a slick advertising campaign. This is a long-term battle that needs to be won. It isn't over in months or years; it will be an ongoing fight to be a better talent magnet than not only your direct competition, but other industries as well. The place to start? Try and understand what those Twinkies want in a job, a career, a life. If you aren't tuned into that, you can't begin to prepare yourself for the fight. My suggestion? If your top management can't accept the need to change—go work for someone who does !

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020