What are the financial risks of job hopping?

There used to be a stigma attached to those who hop from job to job, raising their salaries and expectations along with their restless move from organisation to organisation.

Considered flighty and a risk to the company, job hoppers were perceived as less reliable than those who set down roots and reputation.

However, the millennial generation sees job hopping as leaping towards new opportunities, and research is showing that they aren’t “flaky escapees”, but stronger recruits because of this trend. Still, whether flaky and fanciable or building a serious career trajectory, job hoppers of any age should keep their financial future and security top of mind.

Job hopping can be a double-edged sword and it is important to consider factors such as UIF, savings and pension as you move.

UIF stands for the Unemployment Insurance Fund and it is an emergency savings account designed to support individuals when they are between jobs and battling to find work. If job hoppers tap into these funds while they look for the next big thing, then they are running the risk of not having a safety net in times of real hardship.

UIF works on a credit basis. The more you contribute, the more credits you build. If you are unemployed you can claim those credits, but ideally you should save them for a real emergency.

A professional stance

It is also worth remembering that many organisations still work on a ‘last in, first out’ policy when times are tough and retrenchments are in the pipeline. Job hoppers are more likely to be in the firing line and their short time at the company will mean a small severance pay and financial risk.

Another consideration is your pension. If you take out one third of your pension every time you leave a job, that’s money you are lopping off your retirement package. Many of the younger generation of job hoppers don’t think about this and it is important. Keep that that money sitting there and growing until you hit retirement age rather than spending it on a new car when you change jobs.

To ensure your pension remains stable, never take the funds out when moving company unless you absolutely must. Then open a preservation fund that can move with you – transfer your pension from one company policy to the next, but use the interest gained in the preservation fund to bolster it.

It is advised that you should have at least six months of salary put aside before job hopping. If you are retrenched with one week’s salary, you will then have something substantial to support you. Its also recommended to put a percentage of your salary into a savings fund each month.

It doesn’t have to be a massive amount, around 7-10% of your gross income. You then have a nest egg to keep you going when times get tough. Rather follow this strategy than tap into your pension or UIF as those funds are vital for your long-term financial security.

Arlene Leggat is the Director of South African Payroll Association.

What is the role of Artificial Intelligence in the Future of Work?

As the Fourth Industrial Revolution disrupts every facet of our lives, business leaders and HR practitioners face a challenging but exciting time.

Technologies such as machine learning and predictive analytics will become core to how the working world attracts, retains, and rewards top talent. As an estimated 15-20 million young people enter the African workforce every year over the next three decades, employers face an arduous task of finding, attracting, and retaining the best and most highly-skilled workers. The continent’s escalating use of digital tools only serve to compound the problem: according to the World Economic Forum, the average ICT intensity of jobs in South Africa increased by 26% over the past decade. In Ghana and Kenya, high ICT intensity occupations account for 6.7% and 18.4% of all formal-sector jobs respectively.

At the same time, the worlds of HR and marketing are merging in significant ways. Today’s best candidates have diverse and individualised expectations of their jobs, the companies they work for, and the ways their employers interact with them. The same disruptive shift evident in the consumer market – where marketers have battled for relevance in an increasingly fragmented and demanding customer base – is now being felt within the business world. This is not surprising considering today’s top talent is also today’s hyper-connected, informed and tech-savvy consumer.

In response, HR leaders must increasingly look toward marketing tactics as a means of developing and maintaining an attractive employer brand, which includes talent sourcing, talent retention, employee engagement, productivity, and more. At this intersection, where marketing, talent, HR, and technology meet, exciting new opportunities have emerged to bring lasting, positive change to the way we approach work.

The hunt for talent treasure

Social sourcing and other digital channels have expanded the pool of potential candidates that employers can choose from. However, this creates a new challenge: in the time it takes a recruiter to research and narrow down the top applications, those talented candidates may have already moved on to another company that was able to provide feedback quicker. Losing out on the talent needed to power a company’s digital and innovation agenda puts companies on a one-way road to obsolescence.

The answer? Streamlining the selection process by using data and analytics. Through algorithmic assessments, recruiters can also leverage statistics and historical data to predict whether a candidate will perform well. This allows recruiters to gain intelligent insights from active and passive candidates alike, speeding up the decision-making process and allowing for more accurate candidate-job matching.

Better models of employee engagement

According to Deloitte, the cost of losing an employee can be as much as twice the value of their annual salary. In a recent Gallup study, 90% of companies that helped employees identify and develop their natural strengths achieved 10% to 19% increased sales, 14% to 29% increased profit, 9% to 15% increase in employee engagement, and 22% to 59% fewer safety incidents.

The challenge for business leaders is that the average workforce is becoming increasingly diverse, at a time when employee expectations point strongly toward individualised work benefits and models of engagement. To achieve this, HR leaders will adopt a marketing-oriented mindset, with a strong reliance on technology such as machine learning and AI to automate some of the more time-intensive aspects of their jobs.

Companies are also developing accurate individual employee profiles that, when combined with predictive analytics and machine learning, can provide accurate forecasts of which employees are likely flight risks, enabling HR to intervene proactively and stem a potential exodus of scarce skills.

The role of HR will be transformed in the coming years. Smart companies are investing in technology tools that can equip them with the speed, insight, and accuracy they need to find, recruit, and manage tomorrow’s workforce.

Are you equipped for this brave new world of work?

Cameron Beveridge is the Director: Cloud at SAP Africa.

How multinationals can get their regional offices to work well together

The conversations at WEF in Davos last week were varied and wide-ranging, but all centred on a key question – How can we work towards a common, mutually beneficial future in an extremely diverse world fragmented by difference?

Multinational companies are well acquainted with this problem, as they confront it daily through the communication conundrums between their regional offices.

Although every organisation strives for strong teamwork and optimal performance from all of its regional offices, achieving this is much more difficult. Teams dispersed across regions do not share traditional face time in a space called “office”, where rituals, artefacts, and observation set the parameters for inclusion, acceptance and belonging. Tsedal Neeley, an associate professor from Harvard Business School who has studied team dynamics for more than 15 years, has noted one basic difference between global teams that work and those that don’t – the degree of emotional connection among team members. She calls this social distance. Co-workers who are geographically separated cannot easily connect and align, often lack trust and do not feel close and congenial.

So how do you get employees from different countries to all sing from the same hymn sheet? And how do you create an organisational culture that gets everyone’s buy-in, especially when you are dealing with dozens of different nationalities, languages, and belief systems? Neuroscience, which focuses on how our brains work, may well have the answer.

So much technology, so little connection

The ‘fractured world’ Davos focused on last week does not just apply to the divisions created by groups, but within the individual too. From a neuroscience perspective, each person needs to feel a sense of belonging, both personally and professionally. Social needs are actually a key aspect of human survival, and are as important as our physiological needs and need for safety.

This is especially true as we head towards the third decade of the new millennium, where the only constant is change. As the pace of life accelerates, and the noise around us reaches a fever pitch, we become more and more uncertain of where we fit in society, and our need for belonging increases.

In a multinational company, this translates to employees feeling unsure of their place in the organisation they work for. They feel threatened by the constant change, and so are even more inclined to reject what they are unfamiliar with, and congregate around what they know. Research shows us that our brain scans the environment for potential threats five times a second. There is safety in numbers, which is why we are social beings who thrive as part of teams. We are wired to avoid what we intuitively experience as foreign and uncertain – in this case our company offices in different countries – and to intuitively select what we know, i.e. our own office.

In addition, neuroscience tells us that feelings of isolation and exclusion can actually trigger the same part of our brain that registers physical pain. This social pain is just as intense as physical pain and the brain cannot distinguish between them. People will, of course, do everything they can to avoid this pain, and so, as employees, they can often disengage and no longer feel motivated.

Management may try to remedy this lack of human connection between regions by introducing better technology to their offices around the globe – but enabling clear communication and meaningful connections between different regions entails much more than simply providing superior video conferencing facilities.

Creating a common organisational culture

Neuroscience tells us that, as well as needing to feel a sense of belonging in their company, employees also want to be part of something bigger that can give their lives purpose. This is a difficult ask for a diverse, globally scattered organisation.

Considering these realities, can multiregional offices succeed at all? The good news is that, yes, they can. Because the brain is able to grow infinitely and develop new habits – what we call neuroplasticity – interregional offices can indeed work well together. To create a unified culture, management needs to enable employees to move away from feeling isolated and distinctly separate and move towards a feeling of emotional belonging and connection with the individuals they work with across the globe. There are, however, three critical success factors to maximise cooperation and connection:

• Respecting people’s real needs, with consideration for their current context;
• Understanding how people learn and grow;
• Practising simplicity, clarity and transparency to foster trust, relatedness and growth.

Three ways to help bridge the distance in multinational organisations

1. Build capacity to interpret disruption and incorporate change into existing frameworks. Achieve this by creating a shared vision using simple, clear, consistent messaging. Keep the vision alive by living it in how people talk, write, act, respect and are included. The idea behind this is not new, but hard science has actually proven that this is non-negotiable for leaders who want to work with committed high performers. Limit the number of key messages to four, and consistently link to existing themes.

2. Motivate, energise and inspire people through an inclusive sense of purpose they relate to, consider ethical and meaningful, and want to be part of. Your organisation needs to stand for something beyond just making money, and to be seen to practise purpose.

3. Accept that all humans are biased. Then mitigate bias to take better decisions, manage complexity and build a change-accepting cultures. When change is aligned to purpose and core values, the threat is decreased. You can begin to mitigate bias by making it public and naming it. Then involve others – diversity combined with collaboration allows for multiple perspectives. Finally, build new habits by applying specific practices regularly. Neuroplasticity is not about changing habits, but about building new habits that encourage relevant behaviours.

Rob Jardine is the Head of Research and Solutions at the NeuroLeadership Institute South Africa and Mary-Joe Emde is the Neuroscience Subject Matter Expert and Global Facilitator for the NeuroLeadership Institute, New York.

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