Why it is important for African nations to tackle the migration of healthcare professionals from Africa to Europe and North America.

The global pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of a robust and resilient health system in every country. In Africa, the healthcare sector has long been struggling with challenges such as inadequate funding, poor infrastructure, and an acute shortage of medical professionals. In recent times, the situation has been compounded by the Covid-19 outbreak, which has put a tremendous strain on already overburdened healthcare facilities.

In this context, the decision by the French government to introduce a “medical talent visa” has sparked concerns about the potential negative impact on the African health system. The visa program is aimed at attracting medical professionals from other countries to work in France, thereby addressing the shortage of doctors and nurses in the country. However, many experts argue that the program could have unintended consequences for African countries, which are already struggling with a severe shortage of healthcare workers.

The fear is that the visa program could incentivize doctors and nurses from African countries to migrate to France, exacerbating the brain drain that has been plaguing the continent for decades. African countries have been losing their skilled professionals to developed countries for many years, causing a significant drain on their economies and leaving their health systems in shambles. According to the World Health Organization, there are only 2.3 doctors per 1,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa, compared to an average of 15 doctors per 1,000 people in the European Union.

The concern is not unfounded. Many African doctors and nurses are attracted to developed countries like France because of the better working conditions and higher salaries offered there. The exodus of medical professionals from Africa to Europe and North America has been a major challenge for the continent, and the “medical talent visa” program could make the situation worse.

Côte d’Ivoire, a West African country, has been taking significant steps towards improving its healthcare system for several years now. The government’s proactive measures to enhance the healthcare infrastructure and services have gained more significance with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The country has been striving to improve its healthcare infrastructure, and the efforts have been commendable.

In 2017, the Ivorian government launched a massive program to construct 22 health infrastructures and repair 20 others across the country. The government allocated a substantial amount of 887 billion CFA francs (1.35 billion euros) to finance this initiative. The program aimed to provide better healthcare services and facilities to the population and increase access to quality medical care.

The construction of these health facilities is a significant step towards improving the overall healthcare infrastructure in the country. The government’s investment in the healthcare sector will not only help in mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic but also address the long-standing healthcare challenges faced by the Ivorian population.

Furthermore, in 2019, the Ivorian government initiated the construction of the University of Bondoukou, equipped with a faculty of medicine and a university hospital center (CHU). The infrastructure is expected to begin operating in 2023, providing the necessary infrastructure to train future healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers.

The establishment of the University of Bondoukou and the CHU is a significant achievement towards enhancing the healthcare infrastructure in Côte d’Ivoire. It is expected to provide advanced medical care, develop medical research, and help in addressing the chronic shortage of medical professionals in the country.

It is essential to note that the Ivorian government’s proactive steps to enhance the healthcare infrastructure have come at a time when the world is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities in healthcare infrastructure worldwide, making it clear that countries need to prioritize healthcare investments.

Brain drain, a phenomenon in which highly skilled professionals, including doctors, leave their home countries to work abroad, has been a persistent problem in many West African countries. The exodus of healthcare professionals from these countries has had a severe impact on their healthcare systems, leading to a shortage of medical personnel, inadequate medical facilities, and poor health outcomes. Several West African countries are facing this problem, but what are they waiting for to stop this brain drain?

One of the significant reasons for the brain drain of medical professionals is the lack of adequate incentives and support for healthcare professionals. In many West African countries, doctors are not paid well, and they work in poor conditions, often without basic equipment and supplies. Moreover, the lack of opportunities for professional growth and development, including access to training and research, also pushes healthcare professionals to seek better opportunities elsewhere.

Another reason for the brain drain is the political instability and insecurity prevalent in many West African countries. Many healthcare professionals fear for their safety and that of their families, leading them to seek opportunities elsewhere. The absence of a stable political and economic environment, coupled with inadequate healthcare infrastructure, also discourages healthcare professionals from staying in their home countries.

To address the brain drain of healthcare professionals, West African countries must prioritize the healthcare sector and invest in better working conditions and incentives for healthcare professionals. Providing better salaries and benefits, improving working conditions, and ensuring access to training and research opportunities can help retain healthcare professionals in their home countries.

Additionally, addressing the political instability and insecurity in these countries is critical. This includes improving governance, addressing corruption, and creating a more stable and secure environment that encourages healthcare professionals to remain in their home countries.

In conclusion, the brain drain of healthcare professionals is a significant challenge for many West African countries. To address this challenge, these countries must prioritize the healthcare sector and invest in better working conditions and incentives for healthcare professionals. Addressing political instability and insecurity is also crucial. By taking these steps, West African countries can stem the tide of brain drain and retain their highly skilled healthcare professionals.


5 strategies you can use to get noticed by senior leadership without going over your boss’s head

As a driven and ambitious professional, it can be frustrating when you feel like your ideas and contributions are not being recognized by those in senior leadership positions. You know you have what it takes to succeed and make a difference, but you feel like you’re being held back by a manager who is not supportive or who is not advocating for you.

It’s easy to feel stuck in this situation, but it’s important to remember that you have options. You don’t have to wait for your boss to notice your potential or give you the opportunities you deserve. Here are some strategies you can use to get noticed by senior leadership without going over your boss’s head.

  1. Network strategically: Build relationships with people in other departments or areas of the company. Attend company events, join employee resource groups, and seek out opportunities to connect with senior leaders. Use these relationships to showcase your skills and get your ideas in front of people who can help you advance your career.
  2. Take on high-visibility projects: Look for opportunities to take on projects that are important to the company or that are highly visible. These projects can help you demonstrate your skills and show senior leadership what you’re capable of.
  3. Be proactive: Don’t wait for your manager to give you opportunities. Look for ways to add value to the company and take initiative on projects or tasks that are outside of your normal responsibilities. This can help you stand out and show senior leadership that you’re a proactive and valuable member of the team.
  4. Seek feedback: Ask for feedback from colleagues, mentors, and senior leaders. Use this feedback to improve your skills and demonstrate your commitment to growth and development.
  5. Build your personal brand: Use social media and other platforms to build your personal brand and showcase your expertise. Share your insights, ideas, and successes with a wider audience, and position yourself as a thought leader in your industry.

Remember, getting noticed by senior leadership takes time and effort. It’s important to be patient and persistent, and to continue to build your skills and expertise. With the right strategies and a commitment to your own growth and development, you can achieve your career goals and make a difference in your organization.


Finding Top Talent in Africa: Why a Global Search is Key

One of the main reasons why a global search is necessary is that the most talented executives in Africa may not be actively looking for a job. They may already be employed and happy in their current roles, making them difficult to reach through local channels. By conducting a global search, companies can tap into a much larger talent pool and increase their chances of finding the right fit for the job.

Moreover, a global search allows companies to identify executives with the right skill set, experience, and cultural fit. It’s essential to remember that Africa is a diverse continent, with many different cultures, languages, and business practices. A global search can help companies find executives who understand the local market and have experience working in similar environments.

Another benefit of a global search is that it allows companies to identify executives who are willing to go back home. These executives have the best of both worlds, as they can return home to work in Africa while still maintaining connections and opportunities on a global level. This can be particularly attractive to top talent who may have spent time working abroad and want to bring their expertise back to their home country/continent.

The Benefits of Hiring Talent from the Diaspora for African Growth Markets

As African economies continue to grow, the demand for skilled professionals has skyrocketed. However, finding the right talent can be a challenge, especially for foreign companies that may be hesitant to send expatriates due to high costs and potential cultural barriers. Fortunately, there is a cost-effective alternative: hiring talent from the diaspora.

Diaspora talent refers to individuals of African descent who were born or raised outside of the continent. These individuals have a unique advantage over foreign expatriates because they have a deeper understanding of the local professional, social, cultural, political, and economic circumstances. This means that they are better equipped to navigate the complexities of doing business in Africa and can hit the ground running from day one.

But it’s not just about having a local perspective. Hiring talent from the diaspora can also be a cost-effective solution. Diaspora talents have reasonable demands such as relocation packages, housing allowance, tuition support and health insurance, etc.

They are already familiar with the culture and language, which reduces the need for expensive onboarding and cultural training.

Moreover, the benefits of hiring diaspora talent go beyond the financial. By tapping into the diaspora, companies can also access a highly educated, diverse pool of professionals with valuable global experience. These individuals bring unique perspectives, skill sets, and networks that can help companies thrive in African growth markets.

So, how can companies tap into this valuable resource? Here are a few key considerations:

  1. Develop a targeted recruitment strategy that focuses on engaging with diaspora communities through online platforms, events, and professional associations.
  2. Employ partnerships with other organizations such as regional universities, corporations or other stakeholders
  3. Provide support and resources to help diaspora talent navigate the local job market, such as mentoring programs, job shadowing, and training opportunities.
  4. Create a welcoming and inclusive work environment that values diversity and encourages employees to share their perspectives and experiences.

In conclusion, a global search is essential for companies looking to fill executive positions in Africa. By conducting a global search, companies can tap into a larger talent pool, identify executives with the right skill set and cultural fit, and find individuals who are willing to return.

By prioritizing the recruitment of diaspora talent, companies can gain a competitive edge in African growth markets while also supporting the local economy and promoting diversity and inclusion.

With the right talent in place, companies can succeed in the African market and achieve long-term success.


Why employers need to look beyond big names on a CV

The truth about big companies: Why employers need to look beyond names on a CV to find the best talent

The prestige of a company is often associated with the quality and competency of its employees. However, this assumption is often false. Working for a renowned company does not guarantee that you have acquired solid skills in your field. It is also possible that employees working for lesser-known companies have acquired more varied and in-depth skills.

Let’s take the example of an employee of a large technology company. Although the company is reputed for its technological innovations, this does not guarantee that the employee has acquired practical skills in all aspects of technology. It is possible that they are specialized in a very specific area, but lack practical experience in other aspects of technology.

On the other hand, a candidate who has worked for a small advertising agency may have created very successful advertising campaigns for medium-sized clients, while a candidate who has worked for a large agency may have only worked on minor projects. The skills of an employee are not guaranteed by the reputation of the company they work for.

It is important to understand that the skills and experience of an employee are determined by their responsibilities and projects, not just by the name of the company they work for. Employees who work for lesser-known companies may have more responsibilities and work on a greater variety of projects, which can give them more varied and in-depth experience.

It is also important to note that employees can acquire skills outside of work. Employees can acquire skills through personal projects, training, mentoring, or volunteer work. These skills can be just as valuable, if not more so, than those acquired through professional experience.

Ultimately, it is important for employers to look beyond the name of the company to evaluate the skills and experience of an employee. Candidates should be judged based on their achievements and relevant experience for the position being offered. Employers should also encourage employees to pursue their professional development outside of work, which can give them more varied and in-depth experience.

In summary, the reputation of a company does not guarantee the skills and experience of an employee. Skills are determined by an employee’s responsibilities and projects, as well as the skills acquired outside of work. Employers should look beyond the name of the company to evaluate a candidate’s skills, and encourage employees to pursue their professional development outside of work.


African Diaspora Investment as a Catalyst for Massive Progress in Africa

In recent years, the exodus of young people from Africa has been growing, driven by factors such as unemployment, limited opportunities, and an idealized view of Western countries. This mass migration represents a pressing challenge for the region, as it leads to a significant loss of human capital and potential. Economic Factors driving African youth to seek opportunities abroad like high unemployment and limited access to quality education, are key factors propelling young people to seek better prospects elsewhere. However, amidst this crisis lies an opportunity for change. Drawing inspiration from countries like Morocco and Ethiopia, which have successfully harnessed the power of their diasporas, the African diaspora can play a pivotal role in supporting youth empowerment and sustainable development in their home countries. This article highlights the best practices of diaspora engagement from Morocco and Ethiopia.

The Power of Diaspora Investment

Drawing insights from successful examples, this segment will highlight the strategies employed by Morocco and Ethiopia to leverage their diasporas for development.

The Moroccan model

Morocco, through many initiatives, with its Diaspora have been able to mobilize them effectively.

Mobilization strategies

One example of a successful strategy is the programme for the mobilization of highly skilled MLAs (Moroccans Living Abroad) called ‘Mobilization Program Skills’. This programme calls upon Moroccan professionals who are ready to contribute with their expertise, experience, and know-how to the development of Morocco. It aims to provide a framework for these professionals that will inform them of opportunities in Morocco and allow them to develop partnerships with Moroccan public and private actors and support professionals abroad who establish projects in Morocco. This strategy is based on the compilation of networks of MLA competencies, the organization of preparatory meetings to inform MLAs about the needs for competencies in sectors that attract them in Morocco, the encouragement of proposals for entrepreneurship and partnership projects by the network that meet the needs of Morocco, the organization of a forum with Moroccan counterparts interested in these projects, and the establishment of partnerships for their implementation.

A second example is a programme called ‘MDM invest’. This provides a mechanism to encourage investors in Moroccan enterprises. It is built around providing three basic possibilities for funding. MDM invest can provide:

• equity (in foreign currency) of at least 25% of the projected amount of the project,

• a state subsidy of 10% of the start-up costs (with a ceiling of 5 million dirhams), and/or

• a bank loan (if necessary) that can reach 65% of the start-up costs.

A third example is the United Nations programme entitled TOKTEN (Transfer of Knowledge through Expatriate Nationals).

Since 1993, Morocco has organized several meetings of the Moroccan Diaspora as part of the TOKTEN programme. TOKTEN aims primarily at mobilizing national professionals living abroad to contribute, through missions and scientific support, for the development of Morocco. These TOKTEN meetings brought together Moroccan professionals from all backgrounds to discuss the possibilities of mobilization without, however, leading to real programmes and without choosing to move to the institutionalization of a sustainable mechanism in the framework of a national strategy of mobilization of Moroccan professionals living abroad.

Innovation strategy

In June 2009, Morocco created a national innovation strategy entitled ‘Innovation Morocco’ to build a favourable ecosystem for the development of innovation within Moroccan companies and research organizations. Innovation Morocco was made operational in March 2011. This strategy consists of four strategic areas:

• Governance and Regulatory Framework,

• Infrastructure and Clusters,

• Funding and Support, and

• Mobilizing Talents which includes members of the worldwide Moroccan community of innovation. In this context, the Moroccan Office for Industrial and Commercial Property, in partnership with the Ministry of Industry, established the Moroccan Innovation club—a virtual platform dedicated to innovation—to network Moroccan innovation actors both in Morocco and abroad.

The Moroccan Association for Scientific Innovation and Research (MAScIR)

The Ministry of Industry, Trade, Investment and the Digital Economy established the Moroccan Association for Scientific Innovation and Research (MAScIR) Foundation in 2007. The foundation’s mission is to promote and develop a centre of innovation and competitiveness based on the needs of the market. MAScIR leads projects that are positioned on technological and application niches with a high added value in the areas of advanced technology such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, and microelectronics.

The Ethiopian model

The Government of Ethiopia recognizes that a partnership needs to be built with the diaspora to benefit both parties and has worked to grant significant rights and privileges to the diaspora since the establishment of the Ethiopian Expatriate Affairs (EEA) in 2002, and the Ethiopian Diaspora Agency later. The Ethiopian government has encouraged the diaspora to invest in the country both financially and through knowledge exchange to assist in developing the country and improving its fiscal situation

With an ever increasing remittance flows over the last couple of decades, the diaspora’s role in the development efforts of the country has gained broader interest from both researchers and receiving countries. Besides financial remittances, flows of skills, knowledge, and social remittances have also gained more attention, particularly the relevance of diaspora associations as drivers of development processes.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) reservoir is a source of national pride for many Ethiopians – the dam is being built for Ethiopians, by Ethiopians. Most of the funds for the dam have been raised from Ethiopians through the purchase of bonds. The Dam will provide electricity to Ethiopia and to neighbouring countries.

Over the past 10 years, the Ethiopian Diaspora has been supporting the construction of GERD both financially and diplomatically irrespective of the apparent political differences one may expect from the diaspora. However, the support has never seen such a massive growth until the first filling of the dam was materialized. The first filling of the GERD has not only accelerated the rate of support the Ethiopian diaspora has been making but also increased its motivation to the highest level.

This contribution was made either by buying bonds or giving large sums of money as a gift for the completion of the dam. In total, over the last ten years,The diaspora has contributed close to 50 million dollars.

Considering the impact of the financial contribution the diaspora has been making over the years, the government is devising different approaches that can harness the diaspora’s potential to the fullest. When these mechanisms become operational, they are supposed to boost the financial support.

The diaspora has also intensified its fight for Ethiopia’s equitable share of the Nile waters. In the quest for Ethiopia’s legitimate rights over the Nile waters, many in the diaspora have held rallies in support of Ethiopia’s stride towards providing light to its people in the dark. Major cities across the world be it in the US, Europe and Australia have witnessed avalanches of Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia in their streets requesting Ethiopia’s fair share on the Nile, among others.

Members of the Ethiopian diaspora have not only filled streets of western capitals for the request of equitable share of the Nile waters, they have also been making different public relations campaigns and advocating Ethiopia’s cause to the whole world by using media outlets. Ethiopians’ residing in the Arab countries or those who are eloquent in Arabic language have become common faces in Arabic channels challenging the status quo.

In conclusion, the African diaspora holds immense potential to drive massive progress for the continent. Through effective mobilization strategies, innovative initiatives, and increased advocacy, African nations can unlock the full power of their diaspora and create a transformative path towards sustainable development and prosperity for their people. Embracing the strength and dedication of the diaspora, Africa can build a brighter future, where its young people find hope and opportunity on their own soil.


How to Succeed in Talent Management in Africa in 2024?

Navigating the Unavoidable Labor Shortage

According to forecasts from the Quebec Ministry of Labor, Employment, and Social Solidarity, over 1.4 million positions are expected to remain vacant in the province by 2026. A similar reality is unfolding across the African continent, posing a significant challenge for employers: meeting human resource needs despite limited availability. This long-term perspective demands a thoughtful approach, uniquely tailored to African realities.

A promising strategy involves optimizing operational efficiency. Automating repetitive tasks, developing employee skills, and recognizing underutilized skills within the team are measures to consider. Technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics can be leveraged to enhance efficiency, while accounting for local specificities. This approach not only helps achieve more with fewer resources but also enhances employee engagement by offering more autonomy, recognition, and growth opportunities.

Combatting Talent Attrition

While recruitment efforts continue, talent retention is of paramount importance in the African context. In an environment where resources are scarce, losing team members is a luxury few companies can afford.

To retain employees, it’s crucial to rethink offered benefits and working conditions. By aligning salaries with the market, offering improved retirement plans and flexible leave options, you can encourage loyalty. A strong corporate culture also plays a vital role in employee satisfaction. Transparent management, professional development opportunities, work-life balance, and an inclusive and collaborative culture are essential elements for maintaining an engaged team.

Overcoming Disengagement and Resistance to Change

In an environment where engagement is a valuable asset, addressing disengagement and resistance to change is crucial. The pandemic has exacerbated these challenges, requiring a response tailored to the African context.

To boost engagement, focus on a motivating corporate culture that highlights employees’ skills. Encourage their participation in company decisions through collaborative platforms or cross-functional committees. Listen to their concerns, value their suggestions, and maintain strong bonds to strengthen team unity.

Maximizing “Boomerang” Talent Opportunities

In Africa, the concept of “boomerang employees” is gaining traction. In a competitive market, it’s time to reconsider these opportunities. Rehiring former employees can expedite the recruitment process and bring new skills to the team.

Before welcoming a former employee, understand their motivations and openly share developments that occurred during their absence. Also, anticipate future departures and encourage the preservation of professional connections, which may potentially lead to new talent.

Strengthening Employer Brand Beyond Appearances

In the African context, employer branding plays a pivotal role. A positive reputation attracts quality talent and fosters employee loyalty. Investing in a high-performing, well-being-focused corporate culture is a powerful way to attract and retain talent.

Focus on the values that define your organization and create a healthy and fulfilling work environment. Your company’s reputation plays a decisive role in recruitment and retention, as candidates are drawn to employers who share their values.

Fully Integrating Digital Transformation in Talent Management

Digital transformation is a major lever for addressing African talent challenges. Digital tools, such as artificial intelligence and applicant tracking systems, can streamline the recruitment process and provide valuable real-time data. However, a successful transition requires meticulous planning, accounting for local needs and African market specifics.

Redefining the Role of Managers

The role of managers in Africa is evolving toward a more humane and collaborative approach. They must act as coaches, attuned to their team members’ needs. Developing human management and communication skills is essential. Free managers from administrative tasks and encourage them to be inspiring leaders within the team.

Emphasizing Skills Development in the Employee Journey

In Africa, skills development is crucial for enhancing employee experience and organizational efficiency. Invest in diverse and adaptable training methods. Foster internal mobility and transfer knowledge to ensure continuity.

Promoting Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

By promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion, African companies create positive and high-performing work environments. This requires a strategy aligned with the organization’s values and involvement at all hierarchical levels. Strengthening these initiatives contributes to attracting, retaining, and advancing diverse talents.

In summary, the talent management challenges in Africa in 2024 demand approaches tailored to the region’s specifics. By investing in operational efficiency, retention, digital transformation, skills development, and equity, companies can build strong and high-performing teams for the future.


Talent2Africa’s Entrepreneurial Pivot

First Steps

Amidst the bustling economic landscape of Africa, an ambitious team rose with an unwavering belief in the potential of African talent. Talent2Africa was born, a daring recruitment agency that dreamt of connecting the hidden gems of the continent and the diaspora with companies hungry for exceptional skills.

The Awakening of Flexibility

As Talent2Africa gained momentum, an intriguing opportunity emerged from the challenges posed by the pandemic. The need for flexibility became imperative for companies seeking resilience. The team seized this opportunity with determination, observing businesses search not only for full-time employees but also temporary experts. They understood that the delicate balance between flexibility and the security of Employer of Record (EOR) services was a necessity.

Embracing EOR Services

In the midst of crisis, during a virtual meeting fueled by audacity, the Talent2Africa team glimpsed a powerful innovation. What if we expanded our offering by introducing the concept of Employer of Record (EOR) services in Africa? This was the perfect opportunity to bridge the gap between independent talents seeking temporary missions and companies in need of customized expertise. Thus, Talent2Africa’s clients could access qualified experts for specific projects, enjoy flexibility without full-time commitment, and execute their endeavors with the finest talents.

The Challenge and Expertise

The path to this new perspective was intricate yet invigorating. EOR services, a relatively unexplored field in Africa compared to Northern countries, demanded precise expertise to excel. The team immersed themselves in research, forged strategic partnerships, and gained a profound understanding of local regulations. In doing so, they became the audacious pioneers of this emerging era.

The Blossoming of the New Model

With unwavering determination, Talent2Africa successfully launched its EOR services model. Independent professionals swiftly grasped its potential. They enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to work on captivating projects while enjoying the security provided by EOR services. Companies eagerly welcomed this innovative approach, a perfect solution to promptly access qualified talents without traditional hassles.

Impact and Expansion

Over time, audacity reshaped the African work landscape. Failure (event if we believe strongly in what Nelson Mandela once said, “I never lose. I either win or I learn.”) and mostly Success stories with diverse clients across Africa accumulated, collaborations multiplied, and the EOR services model became a revolution tailored to African realities. Talents embraced new opportunities, while companies embraced this newfound agility.

The Future in Perspective

At the threshold of a new phase, even though the road ahead is long, Talent2Africa humbly continues to make its mark in the field of EOR services in Africa. Empowered by expertise gained over the years, an extensive network, and a humble passion for innovation, the team diligently works to create a future where work flexibility naturally aligns with employment security. The tale of Talent2Africa is one of transformation, of a realized vision, and of a team that has proven that even in the face of challenges, modest dreams can evolve into significant and inspiring successes.


One thing successful entrepreneurs do when it comes to hiring

In the fast-paced world of entrepreneurship and business, where strategies evolve, technologies advance, and markets shift, one timeless truth remains constant: people are at the heart of any successful enterprise. The journey of building a great company begins with assembling the right culture, and it’s the mix of people that determines whether this culture thrives or falters.

In the annals of corporate history, there exists a remarkable story of a CEO who took this belief to an unprecedented level, redefining the role of leadership in shaping a company’s culture. Dan Serfaty, the former CEO and Co-founder of Viadeo, emerged not only as a visionary entrepreneur but also as a leader deeply committed to the cultivation of an extraordinary company culture.

The first wave of employees is often considered pivotal in a startup’s trajectory, and it’s not uncommon for founders or CEOs to personally interview a select few to ensure alignment with the company’s vision. However, Dan Serfaty broke all norms by personally conducting interviews with every single one of Viadeo’s first 300+ employees. This astounding number of job interviews is a testament to his unwavering dedication to nurturing a culture that would set Viadeo apart in the competitive landscape at that time.

Why did Dan go to such extraordinary lengths? He recognized that the initial group of hires are not just employees; they are the “cultural co-founders” of the company. These individuals play a pivotal role in setting the tone, imprinting behavior, and instilling values that will define the organization’s identity. Their influence extends far beyond their job descriptions, as they become the architects of the culture that can either propel the business to success or impede its growth.

Dan’s search went beyond traditional qualifications and skills. While skills and experience were essential in the earlier stages of candidate screening, he sought something deeper, more intangible—the elusive concept of “cultural fit.” Cultural fit varies from one company to another, as each organization has its own unique ideals and values. What may be a “Perfect 10” fit for one company could be a “0” for another. Some companies prize free thinkers who challenge the status quo, while others seek employees who diligently follow prescribed paths. Some value directness and transparency, while others favor diplomacy and tact.

The key takeaway from Dan Serfaty’s extraordinary journey at Viadeo is that the responsibility for defining and fostering the right culture lies with the company’s leadership. It’s a profound reminder that regardless of the specific attributes or qualities sought in potential hires, the ultimate decision rests with those at the helm. Building a great company is not solely about the product or service it offers; it’s about the people who shape its culture and drive its success.

In an era where business strategies may evolve rapidly, the enduring lesson from Dan Serfaty’s exceptional approach is clear: the pursuit of the right mix of people and the cultivation of a cohesive culture are central to building a great company. The legacy of a CEO who interviewed hundreds of employees goes beyond Viadeo; it serves as an inspiration for all leaders who understand that, in the grand tapestry of business, culture is the thread that holds it all together.

As we navigate the complexities of the modern business environment, let us not forget that embracing the past can often illuminate the path to a brighter future. Nostalgia, in this context, is a valuable lens through which we can appreciate the enduring importance of people, culture, and values in our organizations.


The 10 Major LinkedIn Mistakes and How to Stand Out

In the ever-changing African job market, it’s crucial to adapt to the evolving landscape, especially in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. As someone deeply involved in talent acquisition across the continent, I, Chams DIAGNE, understand the significance of preparing for the post-pandemic era. Let’s explore ten key aspects of optimizing your LinkedIn profile in the African context and avoiding common pitfalls:

1. No profile photo, personal connections matter greatly. The absence of a LinkedIn profile photo can signal a lack of commitment. Choose a recent, professional-looking photo that exudes confidence and approachability. Whether taken by a professional photographer or a friend with a smartphone, your photo is a valuable asset. Additionally, don’t overlook the background image; it can capture recruiters’ attention and pique their interest.

2. A lackluster introductory ‘Headline’ Your LinkedIn headline is your digital introduction. Think of it as your answer to the question, “What do you do?” If your job title and company are impressive, highlight them. However, if a concise description can convey not just your role but also your approach, go for it. In Africa, emphasizing your impact and unique qualities can set you apart in a competitive job market.

3. Not selling yourself enough in the ‘About’ summary Your LinkedIn summary is your elevator pitch. In Africa, where personal connections are vital, use first-person language to engage with your audience directly. Avoid clichés and delve into what makes you exceptional. Share not just what you do but why you’re passionate about it. Tailor your summary to demonstrate how your skills and experiences can benefit potential employers on the continent.

4. A bare and basic ‘Experience’ section Your LinkedIn experience section shouldn’t be a mere list of past jobs. It should narrate your accomplishments. Similar to your resume, prioritize achievements and quantify results when possible. Acknowledge collaborative efforts by crediting team members. Incorporate industry-specific keywords to boost your profile’s visibility, and regularly update it as you achieve more in your African career.

5. Not being proactive with ‘Recommendations’ Endorsements are valuable, but personalized recommendations carry even more weight. Seek recommendations from colleagues who can testify to your skills and work ethic. In Africa, where word-of-mouth and referrals are influential, authentic, detailed endorsements from peers can significantly enhance your profile’s credibility.

6. Too much—or too little—‘Activity’ Maintaining an appropriate online presence is essential in Africa’s job market. While staying active on LinkedIn is crucial, excessive online activity can be seen as a distraction. Find a balance that reflects your genuine interest in your work and your desire to connect with others. Engage in meaningful online discussions and interactions to demonstrate your commitment without overwhelming your profile.

7. Leveraging African Networks In Africa, networks are crucial for career growth. Connect with professionals, organizations, and alumni from your region and industry. Engage with local groups and forums to tap into the extensive African professional network on LinkedIn.

8. Showcasing Cultural Sensitivity Africa is diverse in cultures and languages. Highlight your cultural sensitivity and language skills on your profile. Mention any experience working across different African countries or with diverse teams, demonstrating your adaptability.

9. Highlighting Impactful CSR and Sustainability Initiatives African companies increasingly prioritize corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability. If you’ve been involved in such initiatives, emphasize them in your profile. Showcase your commitment to positive change and community engagement.

10. Skills in Demand for the African Market Stay updated on the skills in demand within your specific African job market. Highlight these skills on your profile, and consider taking relevant courses or certifications to bolster your credentials in areas such as technology, digital marketing, or sustainability, depending on your industry.

In a rapidly evolving job market in Africa, your LinkedIn profile can be a powerful tool. By addressing these common mistakes and tailoring your profile to reflect your unique talents and experiences, you can position yourself for success in the post-pandemic world. Remember, your online presence is your digital calling card, and in Africa, where networking and personal connections matter greatly, it can make all the difference in your career journey.

Note: If you found this article helpful, please don’t hesitate to share it and leave comments on the points that resonate with you the most.


Always wait for a firm job offer before leaving your current position

In the African professional context, career choices are of paramount importance. At some point, you may find yourself considering leaving your current job due to a challenging work environment, disagreements, or simply to advance your career. However, a golden rule should guide your steps: never quit your job before securing a solid job offer. This article explores why this rule is essential, particularly in an African context where the absence of unemployment benefits makes financial security even more critical.

Financial security: Your Lifesaver

In Africa, losing your job can mean an immediate loss of income without a financial safety net. Resigning without already having a new job lined up puts you in a precarious situation. This can lead to months of financial difficulties, stress, and hardship, with limited prospects for improvement. You risk depleting your savings, accumulating debt, or even compromising your standard of living.

The common mistake of Senior professionals

The quest for a new job or a career transition is not limited to young professionals starting their careers. Even experienced professionals, often referred to as “seniors” in the professional world, may desire to explore new horizons or change their career path.

Some senior professionals, confident in their experience and skills, may feel more assured in their job search. However, this confidence can sometimes lead to hasty decisions. They may underestimate the challenges of the job market, assume that their experience will speak for itself, or be impatient to leave an unsatisfying professional situation. This mistake can have dramatic consequences for their financial stability and long-term career.

The Power of Negotiation

Keep in mind that in a competitive African job market, already having a job gives you significant negotiation power. Your current employer, fearing to lose you, might be willing to improve your working conditions, offer a salary increase, or provide additional benefits. By resigning prematurely, you lose this negotiation leverage, potentially making prospective employers less inclined to meet your demands.

Preparation is key

Searching for a new job in Africa can be time-consuming. Between seeking opportunities, attending interviews, navigating recruitment timelines, and negotiating, several weeks or even months may pass. During this period, your current job provides essential financial security and stability. It also gives you time to carefully select the opportunity that aligns best with your professional aspirations. Moreover, you might change your mind along the way or discover internal opportunities that better suit your career goals.

In conclusion, in the African professional context, the golden rule remains indispensable: never resign from your job without a firm job offer in hand. This prudent decision can help you avoid financial difficulties, strengthen your negotiation power, preserve your reputation, and allow you to better prepare for your career transition. So, before taking that decisive step, ensure you have a concrete offer. Your professional future in Africa will be better for it.