Human Resources, the Game Show

In a new quiz show, "Survivor" meets the breadline. Plus: Survey shows that CFOs still feeling charitable.
Lisa YoonOctober 17, 2002

It was only a matter of time before the worlds of reality television and business converged.

Apparently banking on the peculiar notion that unemployment is damn entertaining—provided it’s happening to somebody else—Sony Pictures Television International recently bought the international format rights to “Human Resources,” a reality show from Argentina. The show’s premise? Putting the jobless on stage and letting them duke it out for prizes, including—you guessed it—jobs and benefits.

In the show, prospective employers place ads with an employment agency regulated by the show’s producers. The agency evaluates the applicants for the two most qualified candidates. After receiving some job training and completing employment tests, the two contestants appear on the show. The candidates are then introduced to the audience through a discussion session, followed by a video sequence reminiscent of “This Is Your Life.” Viewers then call in or E-mail to determine which contestant gets the job.

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If “Human Resources” is a success, expect copycat shows such as “401(k) Bowl” and “Who Wants to Be an Administrator?”

Sweet Charity

In a survey conducted earlier this month by rent-a-CFO firm Robert Half Management Resources, CFOs said their companies still place a high priority on giving back to the community. Of the 1,400 finance chiefs who responded, almost one-third said social-responsibility programs are very important to their organizations, and 45 percent think these efforts are at least somewhat important.

Sixteen percent said such programs were not very important, and a scant 8 percent of finance chiefs said helping those less fortunate was not important at all at their companies.

“Philanthropic efforts help organizations give back to the communities they serve and reinforce their core values,” said RHMR executive director Paul McDonald. McDonald noted that such programs have an added benefit: they help attract top job prospects. “[M]any firms and individuals look for evidence of good corporate citizenship when choosing whether or not to do business or accept a position with a company,” he explained.

Moreover, McDonald pointed out that community-service programs can also influence employee retention: “People want to feel good about where they work, and social-responsibility programs can have a significant impact on this perception.”

Perhaps. Still, we’re guessing that CFOs—being detail-oriented professionals—probably read the survey question to the very end. If so, they probably noticed that the question asked: “For your corporation, how important are social responsibility programs, such as charitable giving or volunteer community service?”

These days, “volunteer community service” probably is a lot more appealing than actually shelling out cash—even for the noblest of causes.

CFOs on the Move

Hans Peter Ring was named CFO of Amsterdam-based defense giant EADS. Ring was previously SVP and controller at EADS. He replaces Axel Arendt, who resigned to head German operations of aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce Plc… Italian sneaker maker Fila Holding SpA named Bruno Tufari group CFO, replacing Enzio Bermani, who is going back to his former role of company CFO… Restaurant chain Roadhouse Grill named Michael C. Brant VP and CFO. Brant was previously CFO and treasurer at Aviation Sales Co. in Miramar, Fla….