Staff turnover in South Africa is up by 16%, according to Remchannel. Although that is not a huge number considering the pandemic, what is alarming is that 81.5% of skilled professionals in South Africa are considering resignation imminently, so says Outsized for Africa.
There are many reasons for skilled professionals to consider resignation, this article focuses on the impact of those resignations on business continuity and risk. Our question to you, is: What’s your game plan for business continuity and skills transfer?
How many times has your company had someone leave with inherent knowledge that wasn’t documented during their time there? Are your internal processes a risk to your business continuity? Are you investing in knowledge transfer?
One of the risks companies face is what they agree to in the contracts they sign. Whether you have a senior legal advisor or a junior legal advisor isn’t the only factor to consider, a bigger risk might be if they’re new to the organisation and are not familiar with your company’s risk appetite or the contract types that you typically deal with. What is important is whether that legal advisor understands what your company does and the risks inherent in your business. If they don’t, they could agree to something in a contract that might appear to be harmless but has the effect of increasing your scope of work without compensation or another equally damaging commercial impact. Do they know what your company’s position is in respect of that risk? Do they know what your company’s standard positions are generally, do you? But perhaps most importantly, if they do have that knowledge, has it been documented, and is it accessible to their successors? Documenting that knowledge will mean that your already overstretched internal resource won’t have to spend countless hours in the future with new resources getting them up to speed, or fixing the same mistakes in their contracts time and again, losing productivity and impacting on the company’s revenue because contracts aren’t being signed quickly enough.
Last year we worked with a client to implement LegalSifter Review, a contract review tool that not only has in-product jurisdiction-specific advice but is fully configurable to your company’s positions. We also rolled out LegalSifter Organise Concierge for the same client, this product scans through your signed contracts and extracts information we tell it to, providing clients with a live due diligence that gives a user crucial information at their fingertips e.g. which agreements are coming up for renewal, which agreements do not have a limitation of liability provision, which agreements do not allow a change of control. This company’s only legal advisor let me know after the implementation that she had resigned. Because we have already configured one of their standard documents with all their company positions and tailored advice the new legal advisor will have a base reference to start from and she’ll have an overview of all the important provisions in the company’s existing contracts. As a result, she will be able to add value to the company far quicker than without these tools.
On the flip side, we’re working with a legal advisor now who has stepped into a rather large international company that previously did not have a legal department in-country. Straight out of the gates, she enquired about LegalSifter Review and we’re working with her to configure the platform with the company’s positions. This will mean that as her team grows, there will be undiluted knowledge transfer to the team without adding to her already heavy workload, instead, she will be able to focus on anything outside of the norm that crops up, as well as strategic projects for the business.
Putting systems such as LegalSifter Review in place provide companies with a platform to 1) apply their positions consistently across the company even if their only legal advisor leaves (business continuity) and 2) provide for skills transfer to new or junior legal advisors without spending hundreds of hours teaching them why certain clauses are required or why your company has a particular position on a contracting issue.
If you find yourself in a situation where you’re without the appropriate team members or sufficient team members, Paige Law can review and negotiate your contracts. Our attorneys will review your business-as-usual contracts within 1 business day and redline them based on our best practices and your negotiating positions and either send you the edited contract or if you’d like, we’ll negotiate it with the counterparty.
What’s your game plan?