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Stuart White
THE WORLD IN BLACK-N-WHITE

The other day a prospective employee gave me a link to their resumé web page. It was pretty impressive, certainly more so than your standard CV. Resplendent in colour with photographs, logos, reference quotes etc. Now, those that know me will know that I hate gimmicky CVs. Strange fonts and other weird and wonderful bells and whistles that people attach to their profiles but this was something else-this was/is the future. It was the epitome of something I read the other day along the lines that twenty years ago, a CV was merely a piece of paper but now it is a collection of all the data that can be found about a candidate online. So with pre-interview or pre face-to-face contact, recruiters can not just learn if a candidate has the right skills for a job but begin to assess whether or not a person is the right fit.  And this got me wondering about what is likely to trend in recruitment in the future.

So looking into my crystal ball here is what I think is a safe bet if we were to predict where recruitment is going. It is inevitable that it will be even more high-tech.   Technology will increasingly influence and drive how we recruit candidates and deal with them up to selection.  At its core will be Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), software applications that enable the electronic handling of recruitment needs. Now as tedious as they once were, ATS’ are quickly becoming easier to use and more valuable to both recruiters and candidates. What a really good ATS does is manage the entire recruitment process. They also make excellent data platforms for all of recruiting and analysis needs. Through ATS’, recruiters can now do more, from conducting pre-employment testing to filtering candidates, as well as combining biometric data and proprietary algorithms to better match candidates to jobs. It may feel high tech and low touch-it is-and in future the soonest you are likely to connect with a real person is if you get called for first round live interviews.  I also believe there will be more reliance on testing of abilities. Everyone writes a great CV and too many people talk a great story so there will be more effort to look beneath the surface at the stuff we can’t easily see or measure and the ATS access offers a solid pre-testing personality and ability data bank.

The other pathway to the future is through job boards and what is delivered to your mobile phone. Let’s face it; it’s definitely easier to search for a job online than to sit scouring the newspapers’ employment opportunity sections to see if there might be something for you.  It’s easier still if you register on a job board to get alerted when a job comes along that you might be interested in and having this information on your mobile phone is clearly the way to go, especially for young people. ‘Simply Hired’, a large US job board, they reported that their mobile-based job search traffic jumped from 2.3 million in 2012 to 9.3 million in 2013 and that mobile traffic now represents about 30% of the site’s total job search interaction.  It’s in the here and now and Botswana’s own niche job board, Careerpool, is experiencing massive growth and traffic is phenomenal.  This can only increase as people switch their behaviours on how they look for career opportunities.

Looking at this from the other side, remember that job seekers have to jump through a lot of hoops these days to land a job so if candidates find it nearly impossible to apply for a job on your career website, or if they never hear back from a recruitment manager or are treated poorly during their interview process, it reflects badly on your company. Hands-on management that improves the candidate experience has become paramount to candidates who expect a fast, easy application process. Today's job seekers are more likely to know their worth and are aware of the competitive landscape. They see opportunities everywhere, and if one employer takes too long to respond or makes it difficult to apply, they'll quickly pass it up for another job offering acquiring top talent. So I anticipate that HR departments will start to come under pressure to make the recruitment experience quicker, easier, techier and generally more pleasant.

By far the biggest impact on the changing recruitment scene has come from social media, as in LinkedIn, Facebook and other social talent networks.  With the expansion of social media, companies are using these platforms to promote their brands and create a talent network where they can engage with potential candidates, as well as fans, employees, and even customers. These viral service communities connect many people to your brand and can effectively attract job-seekers.  Many employers maintain that referrals are their best source for talent and with increased social and business networking that scope has hugely widened. Employees’ online and personal networks of friends, past co-workers, and family allow organisations to tap into thousands of potential recruits. While incentives and bonuses can help motivate referrals, successful referral programmes often have a strong cultural basis in which employees are expected and want to help build the organisation’s talent base. I think we will see a greater appreciation in this method of finding good talent through fishing in a much bigger pool.

Even interviewing is likely to also have a different face in the future, with increased reliability on inter-connective tools like Skype. Five years ago it was hardly possible to do video-phone interviews locally because of poor connectivity but now interviewees are asking whether it is really necessary to drive across town, leaving more carbon footprint for a 30 minute preliminary interview which ends up being a 2 hour investment once you have negotiated your way through traffic anyhow.   And what better way to interface with an out-of-town or overseas candidate than a one-on-one via a phone or laptop to determine initial fit?

So to sum up, it may seem like the stuff of Futurama mixed in with a touch of 1984 but I predict that very soon the hard copy CV,  just like a verbal contract, simply won’t be worth the paper it’s printed on.

STUART WHITE is the Managing Director of HRMC and they can be reached on 395 1640 or at  HYPERLINK "http://www.hrmc.co.bw/" www.hrmc.co.bw

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Is COVID-19 Flogging an Already Dead Economic Horse?

9th September 2020

The Central Bank has by way of its Monetary Policy Statement informed us that the Botswana economy is likely to contract by 8.9 percent over the course of the year 2020.

The IMF paints an even gloomier picture – a shrinkage of the order of 9.6 percent.  That translates to just under $2 billion hived off from the overall economic yield given our average GDP of roughly $18 billion a year. In Pula terms, this is about P23 billion less goods and services produced in the country and you and I have a good guess as to what such a sum can do in terms of job creation and sustainability, boosting tax revenue, succouring both recurrent and development expenditure, and on the whole keeping our teeny-weeny economy in relatively good nick.

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Union of Blue Bloods

9th September 2020

Joseph’s and Judah’s family lines conjoin to produce lineal seed

Just to recap, General Atiku, the Israelites were not headed for uncharted territory. The Promised Land teemed with Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. These nations were not simply going to cut and run when they saw columns of battle-ready Israelites approach: they were going to fight to the death.

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Security Sector Private Bills: What are they about?

9th September 2020

Parliament has begun debates on three related Private Members Bills on the conditions of service of members of the Security Sector.

The Bills are Prisons (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Police (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and Botswana Defence Force (Amendment) Bill, 2019. The Bills seek to amend the three statutes so that officers are placed on full salaries when on interdictions or suspensions whilst facing disciplinary boards or courts of law.

In terms of the Public Service Act, 2008 which took effect in 2010, civil servants who are indicted are paid full salary and not a portion of their emolument. Section 35(3) of the Act specifically provides that “An employee’s salary shall not be withheld during the period of his or her suspension”.

However, when parliament reformed the public service law to allow civil servants to unionize, among other things, and extended the said protection of their salaries, the process was not completed. When the House conferred the benefit on civil servants, members of the disciplined forces were left out by not accordingly amending the laws regulating their employment.

The Bills stated above seeks to ask Parliament to also include members of the forces on the said benefit. It is unfair not to include soldiers or military officers, police officers and prison waders in the benefit. Paying an officer who is facing either external or internal charges full pay is in line with the notion of ei incumbit probation qui dicit, non qui negat or the presumption of innocence; that the burden of proof is on the one who declares, not on one who denies.

The officers facing charges, either internal disciplinary or criminal charges before the courts, must be presumed innocent until proven otherwise. Paying them a portion of their salary is penalty and therefore arbitrary. Punishment by way of loss of income or anything should come as a result of a finding on the guilt by a competent court of law, tribunal or disciplinary board.

What was the rationale behind this reform in 2008 when the Public Service Act was adopted? First it was the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise.

The presumption of innocence is the legal principle that one is considered “innocent until proven guilty”. In terms of the constitution and other laws of Botswana, the presumption of innocence is a legal right of the accused in a criminal trial, and it is an international human right under the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 11.

Withholding a civil servant’s salary because they are accused of an internal disciplinary offense or a criminal offense in the courts of law, was seen as punishment before a decision by a tribunal, disciplinary board or a court of law actually finds someone culpable. Parliament in its wisdom decided that no one deserves this premature punishment.

Secondly, it was considered that people’s lives got destroyed by withholding of financial benefits during internal or judicial trials. Protection of wages is very important for any worker. Workers commit their salaries, they pay mortgages, car loans, insurances, schools fees for children and other things. When public servants were experiencing salary cuts because of interdictions, they lost their homes, cars and their children’s future.

They plummeted into instant destitution. People lost their livelihoods. Families crumbled. What was disheartening was that in many cases, these workers are ultimately exonerated by the courts or disciplinary tribunals. When they are cleared, the harm suffered is usually irreparable. Even if one is reimbursed all their dues, it is difficult to almost impossible to get one’s life back to normal.

There is a reasoning that members of the security sector should be held to very high standards of discipline and moral compass. This is true. However, other more senior public servants such as judges, permanent secretary to the President and ministers have faced suspensions, interdictions and or criminal charges in the courts but were placed on full salaries.

The yardstick against which security sector officers are held cannot be higher than the aforementioned public officials. It just wouldn’t make sense. They are in charge of the security and operate in a very sensitive area, but cannot in anyway be held to higher standards that prosecutors, magistrates, judges, ministers and even senior officials such as permanent secretaries.

Moreover, jail guards, police officers and soldiers, have unique harsh punishments which deter many of them from committing misdemeanors and serious crimes. So, the argument that if the suspension or interdiction with full pay is introduced it would open floodgates of lawlessness is illogical.

Security Sector members work in very difficult conditions. Sometimes this drives them into depression and other emotional conditions. The truth is that many seldom receive proper and adequate counseling or such related therapies. They see horrifying scenes whilst on duty. Jail guards double as hangmen/women.

Detectives attend to autopsies on cases they are dealing with. Traffic police officers are usually the first at accident scenes. Soldiers fight and kill poachers. In all these cases, their minds are troubled. They are human. These conditions also play a part in their behaviors. They are actually more deserving to be paid full salaries when they’re facing allegations of misconduct.

To withhold up to 50 percent of the police, prison workers and the military officers’ salaries during their interdiction or suspensions from work is punitive, insensitive and prejudicial as we do not do the same for other employees employed by the government.

The rest enjoy their full salaries when they are at home and it is for a good reason as no one should be made to suffer before being found blameworthy. The ruling party seems to have taken a position to negate the Bills and the collective opposition argue in the affirmative. The debate have just began and will continue next week Thursday, a day designated for Private Bills.

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