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Selecting People on Merit is key to economic development

Editorial Team
06/05/2019 8:29 AM

organisations could ensure that at least 90% of all roles in their
organisations are staffed on merit, very few organisations would be struggling
with performance. Listening to people and academic discussions in Zimbabwe, you
get a feeling that this could be one of the challenges facing our economy.
Selecting people on merit means you are getting the best person available for
the job through a transparent system.

are organisations reluctant to select people on merit?

of the reasons why most organisations are not willing to implement a merit
system in recruitment, selection and promotion is because they want to bring
people who are not going to challenge them as they do their job. Most leaders
are afraid to have people who challenge them in the organisation. They would
rather get an incompetent person as long as the person is not going to question
things. So if this trend continues in your organisation, perpetrated by
everyone with the power to hire or recommend who gets hired, the whole
organisation will be staffed with incompetent people.

reason why people do not want to implement merit systems is that they want to
bring relatives and friends. In most organisations, you will find clicks of
people who are connected in one way of the other through family ties or close
relations nurtured in school or church. Instead of looking for the best person
to do the job, they look for the person who needs a job regardless of their
capacity to do the job.

considerations that may compromise a merit system in recruitment, selection and
promotion is that we tend to put too much emphasis  on qualifications and experience despite
ample scientific evidence showing that years of education and experience(over
the minimum required for a job) in any job has a very weak though positive
relationship with performance. Due to this emphasis, we have excluded highly
capable people with a solid performance record.

corrupt recruitment, selection and promotion system results in people occupying
roles beyond their capacity. It
has been established through research that 35% of the people employed are in
roles that require more capacity than what current incumbents have. This alone
should get you worried if you are a CE or a Board member.  This implies that a lot of value is being
lost in a number of organisations. 

The biggest challenge for having people
operating beyond their current actual capability is that they tend to bring the
job down to a level they are comfortable with. As an example, a CE whose
assigned operating level maybe level 5, can bring down that job to level 3, if
their actual current potential is level 3. This is where you find a CE instead
of being strategic and focusing on the future of the business they become too
operational. They will be busy with operational decisions that are not at their
assigned level. Again, such a scenario would be disastrous for your business.

The assumption in the level of work is that
roles should always be supervised by people who are at least a level higher
than the work they are supervising. However, due to faulty organisational
structures, this is not always the case. The result is gross inefficiencies. In
some instances these incapable individuals create havoc in the organisation as
they will be trying to protect their role. They fire, transfer and promote
people without any sound business reason.

recruitment and selection processes lead to the hiring of incompetent people.
If organisations could start implementing recruitment, selection and promotion
system based on merit, we will start the journey to economic recovery. If every
Zimbabwean could promote meritocracy in all facets of life Zimbabwe will have
addressed one of the key challenges affecting our economic development.

Memory Nguwi is an Occupational Psychologist, Data Scientist, Speaker, & Managing Consultant- Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm. https://www.linkedin.com/in/memorynguwi/ Phone +263 4 481946-48/481950/2900276/2900966 or email: mnguwi@ipcconsultants.com  or visit our website at www.ipcconsultants.com

Editorial Team

This article was written by one of the consultants at IPC

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