Magazine article Management Today

The End: Smoke & Mirrors

Magazine article Management Today

The End: Smoke & Mirrors

Article excerpt

Will some nifty footwork by the comms chief see off Smokehouse's unwanted HR boss?


Apparently there is a War for Talent among top businesses, which continually escalate their benefits to attract and retain the best and brightest. In that war for talent we are Switzerland, in that we don't really get involved. I once mentioned employee engagement to Lynton Spivey, our bewigged CEO, and he asked who the lucky person was and suggested we send them a bottle of champagne. Once I'd explained the concept he suddenly decided that we had to have total employee engagement by the end of the week and that I should send an email round demanding it. I think we probably lost the War for Talent when we appointed him.


Another reason we don't have any talent is our HR director, a litigious troll called Clothilde Liversedge. She's known as M in the company not because of James Bond but because everyone says 'erm' before attempting to pronounce her name. M has amassed an incredible amount of legal and professional expertise, all designed to prevent her being dismissed. She spends her days hiding in her office wearing a suicide vest marked employment tribunal and daring anyone even to mention the world 'competence'. Naturally, she's the shop steward for all the major unions and can get a bloc vote in seconds to call a strike at the drop of a hat, the threatened drop of a hat or anything deemed to be disadvantageous to any form of headwear.


Spivey reminded me that we've got to have talented, engaged employees by the end of the week. I went to see M but she seems to have barricaded herself in her office with heavy pot plants wedged against the door Instead, I spent some quality time on the internet and discovered that all the talent in our industry works for the competition, which may have some bearing on our market share. One particular company, Prosthetica, seems to be stuffed with young thrusting talent. I pointed this out to Spivey and he cleverly noticed that its share price was temporarily depressed by some minor health and safety infringement. He decided we should buy the whole company, steal all its talent in one go and hopefully they would bring their engagement with them. …

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