Ten Ways Companies Drive Away Talent

This article was first published on Forbes.

If there’s one word that’s almost certain to appear somewhere on every business’s website, that word is talent. Companies of every size love to talk about talent! They can talk about talent all day long.

It’s easy to talk about talent on a website or in a recruiting brochure. It’s easy to say “We value talent more than anything!”

Talk is cheap. Attracting talented people into an organization and hanging onto them — now that’s another story.

Most employers, sad to say, do a better job of driving talented people away than reeling them in, both during the selection process and after the talented person comes on board as a new employee. They don’t do it intentionally, of course. They can’t see how their systems, policies and attitudes frustrate and repel great people. It starts with the ugly and tedious, Black Hole processes by which new employees get hired.

Those Applicant Tracking Systems are horrible talent repellents, but most of their owners don’t know they serve the same function as massive, barking, teeth-bared attack dogs at the gate.

Fearful people who believe they don’t have any power in their job search will submit to those awful systems. Switched-on people with alternatives will quickly say “Yikes, I’m not sticking around here” and apply for a job somewhere else.

Once a newcomer starts the job, there are more talent repellents waiting. Some of them are cultural. Some of them are operational.

Here are our Top Ten favorite Talent Repellents — ten ways employers drive brilliant people away from their doors.


If your firm likes to talk about talent, first take a look at your company’s job ads. Most job ads do a better job of explaining what the candidate must have than of selling the job to a possible applicant! If your job ads don’t use a human voice and spend as much time selling the job as tossing around Essential Requirements, all the talent-talk is merely lip service. (Never seen a job ad with a human voice? Here’s one.)


BLACK HOLE RECRUITING PORTALS If it takes a job-seeker an hour to complete all the mind-numbing fields in your Applicant Tracking System, the best people have already fled for greener pastures. If you’re a Recruiting Director or a curious CEO, ask your ATS vendor what the abandonment rate is on your recruiting site. How many people, in other words, start the process and then drop out of it? There’s your talent on the hoof, off to a friendlier welcome mat than you were able to lay out.


Once you start to communicate with applicants in the selection pipeline, what kinds of messages do you use? The evil Passive Voice type (“Your application has been received”) is a surefire talent barrier. Why not say “Wow! Thanks for applying for a job with us. Give us a few days to look at our openings and your background. We’ll back in touch, either way!” Then, actually close the loop. None of this mealy-mouthed “If we want to call you, we will” stuff meets the Human Workplace test. You can do better than that.


INFLEXIBLE TIME OFF POLICIESOnce a new hire comes on board, he or she can only dive into the job whole-heartedly if the rest of his or life is attended to. A client of ours took a job and quit on the first day, during orientation, when she asked the orientation leader “How would it work if I have a court case three weeks from today, a half hour away in the city? I only need to leave an hour early.”

The orientation chickadee said “There’s no provision for that. You have to come in. You don’t get time off benefits for sixty days.”

The new employee, sensing danger, said “No problem, I’ll talk to my manager about it” and the orientation gal said “I’ve already noted your name and the date. You must change your personal schedule that day.”

The newbie bailed, her hiring manager called her to say “But I would have figured it out for you!” and the ex-employee said “Culture is everything. I’m not taking a job with a manager whose response to Godzilla process is to sneak around it.” If you don’t find your voice in a case like that, when will you ever do it?


My science friends tell me that entropy is a feature of closed systems. When no new information comes in, things break down. So it is in corporations where there’s no upward feedback, such that executive leaders are spared the inconvenience of reacting to messy reality and permitted to bask in the awesomeness of their delusional plans undisturbed. If your employer doesn’t have robust, active, constant feedback mechanisms in place and an appetite for hearing about life on the street, you’re pushing away talent as we speak.


I was a corporate HR leader for decades. If you want to gauge an organization’s ability to snag and keep talent, look at its pay policies. When you knock the ball out of the park and your manager says “I’m really sorry, but I can only give you a two percent raise, because, you know, it’s our policy,” you’ve learned all you need to know about the importance of talent in your shop.

HEY, YOU STOLE MY IDEAThey say information is power. If people use information like a club to beat one another with, nothing good will happen for your clients or shareholders. If your organization is the kind where people keep quiet about their ideas to prevent them from being stolen, the universe wants you to hightail it out of there. If you’re in charge of a joint like that, you’ve got some trust-building work to do.


Some processes are good, but lots of them are cumbersome, slow and stupid. Check out our Nine Signs of a Bad Process wheel below to see what I’m talking about. If people who come to work ready to rock it are prevented from doing their work because some fear-based process is gumming up the works, I guarantee you’re losing talent. People might be sitting at their desks when you walk by, but their hearts and brains are elsewhere.


CONSTRUCTIVE SNIPINGLeaders who can coach and inspire employees are one in a million, and thank God for them! Leaders who pick and quibble and snipe are people who fear that a Mojofied team might threaten their own petty power. If your environment is a snipe-fest, good people won’t stay. How can you get anything important done in a place like that?


TRIUMPH OF THE BEST AND BROWN-NOSIEST The last Talent Repellent on our list is a culture that rewards brown-nosing and punishes honest dissent. Most of us have seen organizations like this, where Yes Men and Women are exalted and passionate people asking tough questions are silenced. Life is too short to work in a place like that. The world is too big, there are too many meaty problems to solve, and too many brilliant people for you to collaborate with in trust-based, forward-looking organizations for you to waste another femtosecond among Godzilla’s handlers.

In your job search and on the job, only the people who get you deserve you. Your gut knows the difference. Can you listen to it?

Advertorial Mobile

The Long Trek

Taking my car to work the last few days have been kind of hectic. While the roads have become freer, getting a good parking space have been a bit of a problem.

My office is located within the grounds of a very expansive and very high traffic shopping complex. If you are early to work – which you should be – you have the privilege of parking in the company reserved spots.

The trouble, however, starts at the end of the day’s business. You are tired and hungry, in a hurry to go home, only to find your car blocked off by some late Christmas shopper who is no where in sight.

This week i decided to commute to work. The stress involved in going by public transportation is nothing compared to the pent up fury I work myself into every night. Looking at the brighter side, the stress might even be a good opportunity to part with some of the pounds of weight i have acquired over the years which i would not mind letting go of.

It was also an opportunity to try out the new android workout app that i just discovered in the Google Play store, Noom Walk. Called a “Pedometer“, the app counts the number of steps you make on a daily basis and tries to rank you with your friends on Facebook and Google+ that uses the same app.

By the time i got home yesterday, i had taken well over 5000+ steps, though most of it was within CMS – Marina axis (Lagos Island) where i got lost while trying to locate a branch office.

What the app does and does well is to encourage you to outdo your previous records, with you keeping fit in the process. It also throws you into competition with your online friends.

What it does not do well is that the app tends to go to sleep when your phone goes to sleep, with you losing valuable step counts in the process. Also, the counts does not seem very accurate, with the inefficiencies never in favour of the user.



Back To Life!

Cisco E1200I picked up a number of WiFi routers on Amazon last December for a very good discount, hoping to make a good profit selling them in Nigeria. The Linksys E1200 brand of WiFi routers was retailing for $19.99 (about N3,200) apiece, and my plan was to sell them for N10,000 each.

It was not until i had taken delivery of them that i realized that i just might have flushed my money down the drain because the router had a bouquet of issues bedeviling it.

Issues included;

– Dropping/Intermittent wireless connectivity
– Slow downloads and uploads speeds
– Seemed not to be able to handle more than 5 or 6 connected devices at once
– Power cycling does not always fix issues and sometimes hard reset is necessary

Apparently, there were issues with the firmware that was bundled with the device. Repeated updates to the firmware failed to fix the problems. Extensive search on the internet revealed a horde of very dissatisfied customers. The customer services of Cisco (the manufacturers of the device) also did nothing to help the situation.

It was a painful decision but i just could not sell devices that i knew were faulty, so i let them gather dust in the store, swearing never to be blinded with greed again when making business decisions.

That was until i decided to pay a visit again to DD-WRT.

DD-WRT is a site that develops and host Linux-based firmware for wireless routers and wireless access points. It is compatible with several models of routers and access points and is among the many third-party firmwares, which are designed to replace the firmware that ships pre-installed on many commercial routers. There are many advantages to running alternative firmwares as they unlock features that are not present ordinarily on all routers and can give your low budget routers features that are not available on even some professional grade routers, unlocking settings that are not accessible normally; static routing, VPN, repeating functions, boost your router range by increasing antenna power and overclocking.

It is a fact that your router is only as good as its firmware, the software that makes it tick.

My earlier check on the site in early December 2012 listed the Linksys E1200 as not being supported by this open source firmware. However, what i did not realize was that it became supported just a few days later.

I have upgraded the firmware of all the routers in my possession and now they are worth all the N10,000 ($62.50) that i am asking for them.

With the latest tested and stable builds of DD-WRT customized firmware, the true capabilities of the Linksys (Cisco) E1200 hardware are unleashed. Now you can create a personal VPN network, manage several wireless and guest networks, take advantage of advanced QoS bandwidth controls, and lots more. I have since parked up my Belkin Wireless N+ Router for this beauty and i am absolutely loving it!


Blogging With WordPress

WordPress is probably the most popular blogging platform in Nigeria and of course, the world. There are other popular and free blogging platforms out there like Joomla!, Blogger and Drupal, but WordPress has been able to carve a niche for itself because of its eztreme simplicity and ease of use. For those that don’t know, a blog site is a website that allow for readers’ interactions to articles published on such websites. Diary of A Geek is an example of a blog and is built on WordPress platforms.

Gone are the days when you need a little knowledge of “rocket science” to set up a blog. Nowadays, all it takes is to subscribe to a web host that offers “easy-to-install” wordpress and with just a few clicks, you are done.
You may notice some similarities among some of these sites, with some being exact replicas. What determines this similarities is the theme being used. The theme determines the website layout or colour schemes and it is about the only thing that effectively differentiates your blog from the next. Really, nobody wants his website to look like the one next door, and this is why the template or theme you use is very important.

Lately, wordpress themes are also being used extensively in full website designs and has become a platform of choice. A good example of a website design based on wordpress is

There are lots of free templates out there, with a sizeable number provided by wordpress itself. I must warn that most of them are quite plain and unattractive. For serious minded bloggers, you should preferrably go for the premium ones as they are better featured, with just a slightly less possibility of stumbling on the design on another blog. However, free template or not, they are still chances that a thousand other blogs out there would have the same theme or look as yours. To guide against this, you have a choice of tweaking your template to further enhance or differentiate your site or better still, commission a good wordpress theme developer to produce a “one -in-a million” design for you.

I have been actively involved in wordpress theme development and would, in a few days, be putting up some of these for Free via this link . Look out.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


What is Nokia Thinking?!

Really, i thought it was just me on my high horse but reading through Gizmodo, i realized it wasn’t just me! What exactly is Nokia thinking?!

The past few days has witnessed a lot of news on the internet about Nokia taking the wraps off its “new” LEGACY operating system, the “Belle” iteration of symbian phones, into the market. The newly introduced phones are the Nokia 700, 701 and 600. Expectedly, it is still the same solid Nokia quality phones, with the joker being the Near-Field communication (NFC) support incorporated into these devices. With the impending demise of the symbian platform, many are wondering why exactly Nokia is still churning out these phones, and worst still, they are far from being cheap! These factors make one wonder how well these phones would sell as the primary market of Nokia, Middle East and Africa, many do not have the purchasing power to buy these phones costing as much as $420! And with the Windows Phone 7 powered Nokia phones just around the corner, i seriously wonder why i would buy any of the “Belle” phones. Ummmh, it just might be that Nokia is trying to leverage on its recent increased popularity to make a last ditch effort to sell the symbian platform to the North American market. Well, only time can tell how successful they would be.


Let’s Go a-fishing

Something tells me the title of this post would probably draw in a few more clicks than it ordinary would. Power of sensational journalism you would say. Well, you are here already, why not just skim through the post, you just might find it informative.

The internet terminology called “Phishing” is derived from the word “Fishing”. Wikipaedia defines Phishing as a way of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Just like fishing with a fishing rod, a bait is set for a would be sucker to swallow usually by setting up fictitious web sites for use in collecting confidential login details to, usually, emails and internet banking sites.

And, surprisingly, such fake websites are usually very easy to setup, the reason why you find so many kids and scam artistes with little or no technological know-how delving into such acts. Most of us in Nigeria would have had the “opportunity” to have come across such mails several times. Guess what, it takes just a few minutes to set up a fake Gmail login page!

The world of hacking is extremely interesting and the few days i have spent studying for an Ethical Hacking certification has been a big eye opener. And contrary to what a lot of techies out there think, it is not always easy to detect such internet scams. Forget about all those scam emails being sent out by those academic half-literates and technological illiterates that you can easily spot a mile away, just pray to God (or whoever you pray to) that you do not meet up with the “whiz kids”.

Some may think it unnecesary and most may think that any free one will do, but I do strongly preach in favour of using, not just an Anti-virus, but an internet security software (Click Here) to protect yourself on the Internet. It is not foolproof, but it does help a lot. If there is just one single software you would be paying for, let it be an Internet Security software. And please, try not to get the bootleg ones from Computer Village, you just might be doing more harm to yourself than good.

PS: Check out our Facebook Page (


Cyberattacks May Constitute Acts of War

THE PENTAGON IS set to establish as official U.S. policy that it will consider cyberattacks to be “acts of war,” and will respond to them with real-world force, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The strategy, which should be public by the time you read this, will provide guidance to our country’s armed forces and put potential enemies on notice. Cyberterrorism is certainly a big issue for officials, as increasing portions of our country’s infrastructure are online.

The announcement comes just a few days after Lockheed Martin, a major U.S. defense contractor, was the subject of a “significant and tenacious [cyber]attack.” The company has stressed that no sensitive information was exposed during the attack.

According to the Journal, military officials disagree about how the nation should handle cyberattacks—specifically, when a military response is warranted and when one is not. The Journal says that officials seem to favor responding aggressively to cyberattacks that cause physical damage, injury, or death.

Few virtual attacks are capable of causing this kind of harm, however, so few cyberattacks would justify brute-force retaliation under such a standard. That’s not to say military-employed hackers won’t assert the right to respond to an attack by taking down an enemy’s computer system, though.

Regardless of official strategy, experts and officials have been debating how best to respond to cyberterrorism for years. Terrorism experts often warn that the next terrorist attacks could be virtual—though, so far, all actual cyberattacks have been minor in scope.


– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Gadgets Mobile

iOS 4.3.3. jailbroken

iOS 4.3.3 jailbrokenUsually when a new version of iOS is out, people have to wait weeks, or at the very least a few days for before they can update their jailbroken device. But it looks like that’s not the case with iOS 4.3.3. The recently released iOS 4.3.3, which fixes the location tracking bugs, has been confirmed to be jailbroken. Apparently the exploit that was used to jailbreak iOS 4.3.2 hasn’t been fixed yet, hence the quick release of this version’s jailbreak.

Take note that it is a tethered jailbreak – meaning you’ll need to reboot your phone by using your computer if you use this jailbreak. Head over to redsn0w’s website to grab the jailbreak or Redmond Pie for more information on how to jailbreak your phone. As usual, remember to back up your files just in case anything goes wrong.

iOS 4.3.3. jailbroken, By Ubergizmo. Top Stories : Galaxy Tab 8.9 Preview, Galaxy Tab Review,

Articles Reports

Weekly Review

From a promising height of 1495 unique visits in the maiden week, last week recorded a sharp drop of about  45% in the number of visitors to this blog site. Total number of visitors stood at 826.

Activities for last week was rather low, was out of town for a few days. Well, that’s what you get when only one man is running the show. Guest contributors and commentors are earnestly welcomed to keep the mast high.

In the spirit of freely sharing ideas and resources, this week we would introduce a new section called NOTICE BOARDS. Amongst other things, we would be sharing links to ONLY freewares, Open Source and bargain softwares. ILLEGAL SOFTWARES ARE NOT ALLOWED!

Have a fun-filled week.