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What Is It Like to Work at CEB South Africa?

16 August, 2016

CEB South Africa 1

By: Brandon Pleaner
Manager, Talent Solutions

We’re a curious bunch, us South Africans. Why have one official language when you can have 11? What, one capital city? So boring, we’ve got three!

We’ve got gold, diamonds, platinum, and chrome. Cool. What’s our biggest export? Mohair! Jip, mohair.

We also have a curious way of seeing time. More often than not, when requested to provide information, as an example, our response is “Sure, now-now.”


“Now-now” is a unit of time equating to soon, just not sure when, though sooner than “just now.” It could be a few minutes from now, or tomorrow, or – who knows – maybe never. I think though that with a little sneaky use of punctuation, “Now-now” really defines the South African CEB office. Just read it as: Now! Now!

Delivering Member Impact

Our diversity of culture, language, and ethnicity allows us to leverage different ways of thinking about the world and our clients. As Lunel, our Marketing lead says, “Being part of the CEB Africa team gives me an opportunity to contribute to the development of our local employees while making a global impact as well.”

This diversity helps deliver Member Impact in ways that are often as unique as the clients we serve. Boy, do we serve unique clients across the industry spectre, from global mining houses to recruiting for a “junior fertilizer tester” (no more complaining about my role anymore). Hey, after all, we are the number one exporter of Mohair. Importantly, we deliver now!

CEB South Africa 2

Embodying CEB Firm Values

The unique challenges give us an additional edge though. They push us to work closely with our clients and to teach them how their businesses – unique as they may be – can benefit from our global insights, research, and best practices. Every day we find ourselves tailoring how we work with our clients, truly living our value of Force of Ideas. What, you want us to workshop a profile for a Chief Information and Technology Officer that needs to be a combination of Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Elon Musk, while being as pragmatic as…Einstein? Sure, we’ll deliver now! (This was an actual request from a local multinational telecommunications player).

We deliver, not only because of the people we have, but because of how we work together. Spirit of Generosity is at the heart of all we do within the office. Not a day goes by where there are not examples of the individuals helping one another and, importantly, helping meaningful causes whether it be the St Laurence Children’s Home or Wet Nose Animal Rescue.

Each day I have the pleasure of seeing how individuals in the office grow. I sit back and wonder at the amazing work that the team produces, from selling one of the first functional talent audits, to using our solutions to turn around a dysfunctional executive team in a major processing organisation, to identifying and improving the capabilities of an organisation that prints our country’s currency, and the currencies of many African countries. We truly are, each of us, Stewards of Exceptional Talent! Don’t take my word for it though. Marike in our business support team summed it up perfectly: “We are exciting, unique and we always have something new to share. We have exceptional Talent and I’m so proud to be part of this team.”

At the end of the day, the diversity of our team, clients, office, and country makes for some interesting times, conversations, ideas, and perspectives. We’re a fun loving, hard-working, focused bunch of curious CEBers who love to share our stories…now-now.

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