April 15, 2019 |
I have now written multiple pieces on the lack of talent in the F&B industry. But what do you think? Do you think the claim regarding the lack of talent in the F&B industry in the GCC is accurate? Have you had experiences that would support the claim or negate it?
Everything I wrote was from first-hand experience. In my first article, I said the top three tiers of leadership in the F&B industry happen to be made up of western expats. I also challenged those making the decisions to apply the western system of compensation instead, and base it on performance. I also wrote about information hoarding to prevent development of potential talent in the industry.
Is there a connection?
When I revisited my thoughts on these topics, I realised there was a connection. The western expats who disputed my claim after my first article that there is no bias regarding nationality when hiring, are the same people who are hoarding information and keeping others from being developed. That, in turn, means that the bias in hiring continues to take place, and lack of experience is just another item used to justify hiring the western expats.
It is a vicious circle: western expats are favoured when selecting talent, and the same western expats hoard the information and keep others from developing talent.
If you are a western expat leading a company in the GCC, I want you to ask yourself a question: “If I leave, whom will I trust to take over for me and continue to grow the company the way I did?”
I am sure that most of you will have the same answer: “No one.”
I wish to also ask all those who work under the leadership of a western expat, did your leader develop you, and will any of your colleagues be able to fill his/her spot in case he/she will leave? Most of you will have the same answer: “No.”
When writing the articles, I found myself going around in full circle. The problem started with bias in hiring and continues to be the reason behind the lack of talent.
The true test
Please bear in mind that I have no hidden agendas and do not wish to alienate any nationality. I just honestly think we must change the way we do things. My suggestion to all responsible for the hiring of the top three tiers of leadership is to apply the below approach:
• Make sure that you have someone on the interview panel that can really evaluate the applicant’s credentials regardless of nationality.
• When deciding on compensation, set a budget and do not change it because of nationality. Regardless of nationality, do not increase the pay and benefits to attract a certain nationality.
• Do not drop the compensation just because the applicant (while qualified) is from a certain nationality and the financial expectation is less.
• Make your compensation and associated benefits a take-it-or-leave-it option. Do not compromise the value of the role.
• Base your financial compensation on deliverables. Give all the hires for the same position a salary that is equal to 60 percent of the total compensation and base the other 40 percent on KPIs that are well defined in advance. No compromise when evaluating, and no ambiguity in expectations.
• Make succession planning a huge part of the KPIs. Do not take any excuses. I recommend that you base 40 percent of the total KPIs on developing the team and on having a solid succession plan for the three highest tiers of leadership.
If you apply the six points above, you will realise that you are either paying the western expats too much or you are paying the non-western expats less than you should.
Back to where we started
Writing about the talent in our industry is a difficult task unless we are to be more transparent and face the reality of what takes place in our own sector. When I started writing my articles dealing with the lack of talent, I never imagined that I would be focusing about bias when hiring. Based on responses to my thoughts, I ended up discovering that the cause of the lack of talent in our industry is our bias and discriminatory behaviour.
If we are to search and hire talent regardless of nationality, we will realise that there is great talent in the market. Yet, we are blinded by our poor judgment.
I guess I am part of the problem; maybe I should have written about the lack of non-western expat talent and not talent in general. When looking at talent in general with total disregard to nationality, I am sure there is plenty of it, and the western expat talent is part of that pool. The problem is that most of us – including me – look for talent under the nationality line first, and not under the qualification line.
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