International arbitration: Mischief in the fiery pacific

International arbitration is the most widely accepted method for resolving international disputes. But what happens when one of the disputants refuses to acknowledge and respect an international arbitral tribunal’s award?
Mischief Reef, Fiery Cross Reef, Second Thomas Shoal, Subi Reef, Gaven Reef and McKennan Reef are but a few of the inconspicuous and (previously) uninhabitable natural reefs located in the South China Sea, currently at the centre of an international “tug-of-war”, the result of which may very well change the political landscape of the region.

The South China Sea is one of the world’s most strategically vital maritime regions conveying more than US$5 trillion in trade, constituting one third of all global maritime commerce. It is therefore understandable why no fewer than five governments have laid claim to portions of this sea which claims, as has recently been demonstrated, often overlap. The nations tussling for dominance are China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.

China can be described as the catalyst for the current disagreement, as it is seeking to control almost the entire South China Sea. China’s claim is based upon a highly contentious U-shaped “nine–dash line” appearing on certain historical Chinese maps, dating back to 1947. The origin of and the reason for the “nine–dash line” are anything but clear.

The current dispute has arisen out of the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). UNCLOS is binding upon, at least, China, Malaysia and the Philippines. In accordance with the provisions of UNCLOS, only a natural formed island that can support human or economic life can justify a claim to an “exclusive economic zone” (EEZ). Such an EEZ can extend up to 200 nautical miles off the coast of such an island, making an EEZ in the South China Sea a prized asset.

The large majority of “islands” constituting the Spratly Islands, of which the contentious reefs form part, are in fact not islands at all. Insofar as these qualify as either “low-tide elevations” or “rocks” under UNCLOS, no EEZ rights follow. A low-tide elevation is simply a piece of land that is exposed at low-tide but submerged by the sea at high-tide. The Philippines have argued that Mischief Reef, Second Thomas Shoal, Subi Reef, Gaven Reef and McKennan Reef are such “low-tide elevations”. They similarly argue that Scarborough Shoal, Johnson Reef, Cuarteron Reef and Fiery Cross Reef are to be classified as rocks. The definition of “rocks” under UNCLOS is an island “which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own”. Under UNCLOS, rocks only entitle a party to a 12 nautical mile territorial sea around it (as opposed to the 200 nautical mile EEZ surrounding islands).

Over the last few years, China has asserted its influence and control over the region and has implemented rather drastic land reclamation efforts in relation to certain of these “islands”. For example, in 2014 the Fiery Cross Reef (over which four governments currently claim control), comprised one small weather station. Now, in 2016, China has transformed it into a habitable man-made “island” containing a running track, basketball courts and most importantly, a runway capable of entertaining military jets. China has made its intentions for the region clear and, with its resources heavily overshadowing those of nations competing for the region, it has no reason to back down.

On 22 January 2013, the Philippines served a notification and statement of claim on China, through the Permanent Court of Arbitration (seated in The Hague), “with respect to the dispute with China over the maritime jurisdiction of the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea”. The arbitration was initiated in accordance with the provisions of s2 of Part XV of UNCLOS. China responded by means of a diplomatic note and refused to engage in the arbitration proceedings. China firstly disputed the tribunal’s jurisdiction to entertain the dispute and secondly disputed the merits of the claims made by the Philippines. The Permanent Court of Arbitration has already ruled that it has jurisdiction to entertain the dispute and is expected to hand down its ruling on the merits of the dispute imminently.

But what happens if the tribunal rules in favour of the Philippines? China has already indicated that it will not acknowledge or abide by any ruling of the arbitral tribunal. China has argued that the issues in dispute relate to the “sovereignty of nations” and as such fall outside of the jurisdiction of any tribunal constituted in accordance with UNCLOS.

None of the other parties involved in the current dispute possess the necessary resources to challenge the might of China. One nation with the power to challenge China’s tactics in the region is the US. In 2010, Hillary Clinton, the then US Secretary of State stated that the US “has a national interest in freedom of navigation… and respect for international law in the South China Sea”. In the words of Rear Admiral Marcus Hitchcock, current commander of the Stennis strike group, the US is “very invested in the economic development and building of commerce in the region”. The USS John C. Stennis, a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, duly escorted by a trio of guided-missile destroyers and an Aegis Cruiser, together with more than 3000 military personnel, have been deployed by the US to the region.

Colonel Liu Mingfu, a Chinese military commentator has expressed a view that “by using the South China Sea to contain China, America has turned a regional issue into a global issue…too many countries are now involved, and that’s dangerous”.On 24 May 2016 (with reference to the SouthChina Sea), President Obama stated that “nations are sovereign, and no matter how large or small a nation may be, its territory should be respected…big nations should not bully smaller ones”. The US have also expressed an interest in the outcome of the arbitration proceedings and previously requested permission to send an observer to the proceedings. The request was, however, declined and as a result, the US did not play any part in the arbitration proceeding. The request was declined for a simple reason: the US had not ratified and was not a party to UNCLOS. Awkward.

The US may very well find itself in a rather uncomfortable position by trying to assist with the enforcement of an arbitral award issued against China arising out of an international convention it took a deliberate decision not to be a party of. Matters will become even more difficult if China follows through with its threat to leave UNCLOS if the award is granted in favour of the Philippines. A “bully brawl” may very well be brewing in the South China Sea …

Jonathan Ripley-Evans, Dispute Resolution practice and services, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr.

Should you receive a subpoena to attend an insolvency enquiry?

In Roering & Another NNO v Mahlangu (581/2015) [2016] ZASCA 79 heard recently, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) considered the circumstances that might justify a witness under subpoena applying for enquiry proceedings to be set aside or for the witness to be excused from attending those proceedings.
The general rule is that a subpoenaed witness is compelled to attend, subject to procedural requirements being met, and the evidence sought being relevant to the insolvent company or entity.

In the Roering matter a subpoena was issued to a witness to attend an insolvency enquiry convened in terms of s417, read with s418 of the Companies Act, No 61 of 1973 (Act). The liquidators were of the view that the witness would be able to provide important information about a possible claim against another entity by the company in liquidation.

The witness contended that the enquiry was an abuse of process as she was a potential witness in current or future litigation proceedings and her examination may result in the liquidators possibly acquiring unfair insight into what the witness might say when giving evidence at the later trial. (This is commonly referred to as improper or unfair litigation advantage.)

The subpoena was set aside by the High Court but that decision was overturned by the SCA. The SCA rejected the witness’ argument which in essence was that whenever civil litigation may involve an insolvent entity, a potential witness in that litigation could never be subpoenaed to appear at an insolvency enquiry in respect of that insolvent entity.

Reference was made to the well-known Bernstein and others v Bester and others NNO [1996] ZACC 2; 1996 (2) SA 751 (CC) case where the Constitutional Court held that the liquidator is entitled to obtain information – not only to ascertain whether the company has a cause of action but also in order to assess whether the case is sufficiently strong to spend the creditors’ money in pursuing it, and conversely to ascertain whether there is an adequate defence to a claim against the company. The SCA held that the process involved in making such an assessment could not, in the normal course, constitute an abuse. However, in certain circumstances enquiry proceedings could indeed constitute an abuse.

Courts have the power, and indeed the obligation to restrain the use of power of an enquiry where it would “constitute an abuse”. It is, however, difficult to legislate exactly what constitutes an abuse.

Courts will generally not permit liquidators or commissioners to abuse its process by using an examination solely for the purposes of obtaining “a forensic advantage”. What constitutes an improper forensic advantage will depend on the facts of each case.

An examination may be an abuse where:

    the advantage is solely for the benefit of a third party, such as a creditor and not for the liquidators and the general body of creditors;
    the subpoena is directed at obtaining pre-trial discovery when a discovery order had been refused in proceedings that were already ongoing;
    an enquiry is engineered shortly before a trial in which the liquidators are the plaintiff – in order to obtain ammunition to attack the defendant in the trial; and
    evidential material is available to the liquidators from alternative sources or can be obtained by simple alternative means, without resort to an enquiry, this may show that the liquidators have ulterior motives. Ulterior motive and harassment are also well recognised grounds to challenge enquiry proceedings generally.

The SCA concluded its findings by stating that the fundamental issue in determining where an abuse had occurred was “whether the enquiry was being used for a purpose not contemplated by the Act”.

Put differently in the case of Excel Finance Corporation Ltd John Frederick Worthley v Richard Anthony Fountayne England [1994] FCA 1251 the use of the process or abuse of it will “depend on purpose rather than result”.

In the Roering matter the appeal was upheld with costs and the application to set aside the insolvency enquiry proceedings, as far as the witness was concerned, was reversed.

There are three other fairly common instances, besides the one discussed in the Roering case, where a recipient of a subpoena may object to attending or testifying. These are where:

    the evidence presented may be incriminating in nature – no person interrogated is entitled to refuse to answer a question on the ground that the answer may incriminate them. However if they do refuse, they are obliged to answer the question provided that the Master or Officer presiding has consulted with the Director of Public Prosecutions in that area. This obligation is subject to the rider that any incriminating answer or information obtained and derived from the interrogation is not admissible as evidence in subsequent criminal proceedings subject to certain limited exceptions. It is, however, admissible in subsequent civil proceedings;
    the notice is unreasonable (it is generally accepted that three weeks’ notice is sufficient) or the reasonable attendance costs and witness fees have not been tendered; and
    the person’s evidence cannot be relevant with reference to whether that person is capable of giving information concerning “the trade, dealings, affairs and property of the company in liquidation”, or not.

A person subpoenaed to appear at an insolvency enquiry is always entitled to legal representation at the enquiry. If you receive a subpoena or summons to attend any form of insolvency enquiry you should immediately approach an attorney to obtain advice as to your legal rights. It may be that you are not obliged to attend and it may be that you will prejudice yourself if you do not attend without being represented.

Grant Ford and Michail le Roux, Dispute Resolution practice and services, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr.

How to effectively manage your highest priorities

It is how you use your time that determines the degree of meaning or fulfilment you have and the money you make. Your time management system can be judged by the service it provides, the fulfilment it brings and the economic rewards it produces.
But, there is no such thing as true time management. You have the same exact amount of time as anyone else. Getting more done is not about managing your time; it is about how you chose to focus your attention and intention during the time you have. When you focus on scheduling your day to do certain higher priority actions they are more likely to get done.
 
If you fill your day with high priority actions that inspire you your day won’t fill up with low priority distractions that don’t.
 
Since you can have more than one kind of high priority action, it is wise to define them accordingly by further prioritising your high priorities. High priority items or actions can fall under one or more of the following categories:
         
Those needing to be strategically planned (working on the business);
Those needing to be done in relation to yourself;
Those needing to be done in relation to your employees;
Those needing to be done in relation to your clients, customers, patients;
Those needing to be done that are creative (new divisions, services, products, markets…);
Those needing to be delegated outside your company (outsourced); and
Those needing to be delegated inside your company (in-sourced).
 
In order to fill your day with your highest priorities it is essential to master the art of saying no to anything less important.
 
When you are unclear about what your true highest priority or business mission is, distractions can take you ‘off track’ and consume your time, attention, energy, focus, power of concentration and productive capacity. All of this can become a distraction to you and prevent you from achieving your goals.
                                   
Knowing what your highest priority business mission and primary objectives are prevents you from being as easily distracted by every so-called ‘opportunity’ that comes along. It allows you to be more discerning about the activities you choose to take on board and those you discard. Clarity of mission gives you the ability to ignore distractions, and that can be incredibly inspiring and empowering.
 
It is wise to say NO! to your low priority distractions and say YES! to your highest priority actions. You cannot please everyone so don’t waste your time trying. Continually saying yes because you can’t bear the short-term pain of saying no will cost you greater opportunities and lead you to bite off more than you can chew. Your time is finite. If you don’t make your life about what you would love to say yes to, it will keep becoming filled with what you probably intended to say no to.
 
Block out all less important distractions. Give them up. Embrace your trade-off. If your answer to whether to do something is not a clearly a definite yes, then it is wise to make it a no.
 
Try eliminating, or scaling back some of your activities to determine if reducing or eliminating them makes any real difference in your results. This also helps you determine which actions are truly the most productive priorities. Deliberately eliminate or at least reduce your trivial, unimportant, unnecessary and irrelevant actions. Your intentional limits can help you become more limitless.
 
Sticking to your own higher priorities each day raises your self-worth, while other’s distractions can lower it. Take command of your time before others do and tell them the truth, or they may possibly keep demanding from you. Your integrity and at times tactful bluntness will allow you to get your most important job done. Your true friends or colleagues will respect your time and your priorities.
 
Since your work will expand or contract to fill the time allotted (Parkinson’s law), if you don’t fill your space and time with high priorities they can become filled with low priorities. And, if you don’t consume your energy and material resources with high priorities uses they can become consumed by low priority ones. If you don’t intensify your day with inspired actions things can slow down. Your time x your intensity will determine your results.
 
Many distractions that are being initiated by others are often opportunistic in nature. Many are simply others trying to sell you something – an idea, a viewpoint, an opinion, a friendship – in exchange for your valuable life and time. Simply being aware of what is being sold allows you to be more deliberate in deciding whether you want to buy or spend time on it.
 
Gracefully, respectfully and reasonably saying no, may temporarily disappoint the opportunist, but eventually it will lead them to respecting and appreciating you even more. It shows that you are a professional more than just an amateur and that you value yourself and your time more than their distractions. It is wiser to have a long-term gain in respect than a short-term popularity. You cannot be popular with everyone all the time anyway.

Dr John Demartini is a human behaviourist.

Professional driver permits must be verified by employers

An alarming 763 fatalities were the result of 130 major road accidents in South Africa in 2015, as per statistics from the annual Road Traffic Report Calendar published by the Road Traffic Management Corporation earlier this year.
t was further revealed that of these major accidents – those involving more than four vehicles and causing more than five deaths – 129 commercial trucks and delivery vehicles were involved. Over 80 per cent of accidents were caused by human factors, which range from speeding, driving in the wrong lanes, overtaking when unsafe to do so and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Of the total number of background checks conducted against driver’s licences last year, findings revealed that nine per cent of all professional drivers’ permit verifications returned unconfirmed.

These results are concerning considering that many of these drivers operate heavy duty vehicles on busy roads. It poses a serious and life-threatening risk to other road users, as evident by the statistics, when a non-permitted driver, who lacks the required skill and training, sits behind the wheel of a large vehicle.

Furthermore, goods transported in commercial vehicles can be worth thousands of rands. With the current drought and rising cost of living, the loss of precious commodities like food and petroleum through accidents can be devastating. It is therefore imperative that those at the helm of these vehicles are fully qualified and permitted to take on these positions, which will contribute toward safeguarding both the passengers, other road-users and protecting valuable cargo.

Rudi Kruger is the General Manager at LexisNexis GRC.

Predictive analytics: The new Crystal Ball

Data has taken over the world. It is in every device, business and action. The amount of data produced in the past two years has already exceeded what was created in the entire history of the human race; according to the IDC 1.7MB of new information will be created every second for every human by the year 2020.
Aside from these staggering statistics, there is that all-important business angle. A Baseline report found that a 10% increase in data accessibility can result in around $US65.7 million in net income for the average Fortune 100 company. Data done well redefines the meaning of opportunity.

The insurance industry is situated on top of a data gold mine. The nature of the business means that these organisations have access to significant quantities of personal and historic data. Globally, insurers are capitalising on technology to sharpen their market segmentation strategies, reduce claims fraud and strengthen underwriting and risk management.

We are seeing significant shifts in analytics trends in the insurance industry. Advanced analytics and general analytics are increasingly integrating with one another as insurance companies become more sophisticated and ask more complex questions. In the past, predictive analytics were something that people would say they ‘should’ get round to doing. Now it has become an urgent trend. The significant competitive advantage of leveraging data has been realised and the race is on as insurance companies understand how best to use available technology.

Now vast amounts of data can be mined to uncover insight, transform best practice, increase market footprint and change the way an organisation invests into the future. It also needs careful handling and an awareness of its potential. Tapping into predictive analytics isn’t something just any corporate can do, to harness its potential and capability the business must be ready and capable.

You can’t just dive into predictive analytics and implement it in an organisation. There is a need to understand the maturity of the business and to gain insight into its overall strategy and processes before embarking on any predictive analytics strategy and solution. In order to truly benefit, the organisation has to be able to get hold of the data and understand what needs to be done with it. Otherwise it ends up implementing a solution with no idea on how to use it or what to do with the information it generates.

That said, if the business is ready, then the opportunities presented by predictive analytics are impossibly endless and the potential extraordinary. Using data science as its tool, the business can take calculated risks using data-driven insights. It can use this information to catch more than just a glimpse into the future.  It hands the organisation an invaluable tool which can be used to minimise potential risks and capture unexpected trends.

Done well, analytics can give the business a feeling for what is going to happen, allowing them to recognise trends and make plans around them. Knowledge makes such a difference, especially of future shifts in market and landscape, and is far more powerful than historical data. The latter is a lagging indicator, not a leading indicator and is a picture of what is done and dusted, not what trends and influences could happen tomorrow.

Predictive analytics gives an insurance organisation a significant edge. The ability to see what’s coming and use this data to correct a course of action or take advantage of an unexpected situation. Traditionally, organisations have had to rely on historical data to make decisions and this has often meant that changes have come too slowly or have not been in line with market or customer.

When we look at historical data, we realise that any actions taken based on old trends should have been done a month ago, not today. With this level of predictive technology, the business can look forward at what is going to happen, forecasting trends and finding out who to sell to, and the results can be astonishing.

As an example, companies can use classification analysis to create a predictive model to identify customer contacts that are most likely to respond positively to a marketing campaign. By using classification, we can predict which customers are most likely to respond to a phone call from a telesales agent for a specific product. Profiling customers for specific products will decrease marketing costs and increase sales effectiveness and efficiency.

Predictive analytics has the ability to fundamentally change the business, but it has to be mature enough, have the right internal capabilities and understand exactly how data can be used to drive growth and development from today and into tomorrow. Once those boxes are ticked, however, the potential business insight that can be released is limitless.

Rousseau Kluever is the Engagement Manager at Decision Inc.

Reinventing the employee experience

South African organisations are being compelled to relook organisational design, the employee experience and existing leadership paradigms to successfully compete and innovate in an increasingly complex business ecosystem.
The report shows that many of them are not well prepared for the challenges they face.

Globally, the Deloitte survey garnered feedback from over 7 000 business and HR leaders in 130 countries, with 213 of the responses from South African respondents across all industry groups.

The top five trends identified by South African participants related to organisational design, shape culture, engagement, leadership awakened and learning. This differs slightly from the global report where organisational design was also the number one trend, with leadership awakened second, shape culture third, engagement fourth and learning fifth.

An overwhelming 92% of the global survey participants rated organisational design as very important. The “new organisation”, as it has been termed, is built around empowered teams that are driven by a new model of management and led by a breed of younger, more globally diverse leaders.

This result was mirrored by South African respondents, with 91% of participants rating organisational design as very important or important. However, 54% say that they are not ready for the trend, which has two main drivers, namely the need to get products to market quickly and the digital technologies that help teams to stay connected.

Globally, for the first time, nearly half of respondent companies (45%) are either in the middle of restructuring (39%) or are planning to restructure (6%). In South Africa, 41% are busy restructuring, while the same number do not have any plans to do so in the next 18 months.

Organisational design is an important focus for organisations to become more agile and customer-focused, but he is concerned that few know how to achieve this goal. Most South African respondents feel that they are weakest at creating cross-functional teams and only 15% believe that the company they work for is ready to effectively redesign itself.

Notably, 82% of executives globally believe culture is a potential competitive advantage, while only 69% of South African leaders feel the same way. That said, 90% of South Africans rate culture as very important or important, but only 47% are ready to deal with this issue.

Culture “The way things work around here” and engagement “how people feel about the way things work around here” are rated as more important than leadership in South Africa as they form the glue that holds organisations together. If the culture is not well-developed in an organisation, then the network of teams cannot operate well together.

The concept of creating unified organisational cultures in South African organisations becomes even more complex when we consider that South Africa has a diverse population and 11 official languages. These may result in cultural and employee engagement differences across provinces, which would ultimately also impact on organisational design.

Leadership is the second most important issue facing organisations worldwide and the fourth most important issue for South African survey respondents. The 2016 Global Human Capital Trends report shows that leadership models are changing, with companies dismantling the classic management pyramid.

The South African responses regarding leadership indicate that only 13% of organisations are making substantial investments in female leaders and 28% in top corporate leaders. In addition, 29% of respondents say they have no employee engagement programmes for Millennials where only 31% globally do not have such programmes in place.

The world of learning is another rapidly changing area for organisations. While employees are keen to learn, grow and increase their income, the way in which they learn is changing, as is the amount of time they spend on learning. Traditional training is the least desirable way they want to learn. Employees are now looking for learning materials on demand, which they can consult when they need the information. Only 8% of South African companies are excellent at the use of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), where globally the 13% of companies are excellent at this.

Nearly one-quarter (22%) of South African respondents see learning as the primary driver of employee development. The majority (87%) rate learning as very important or important, while 59% report that they are not ready for it.

Importantly, a new trend in 2016 – design thinking – is shifting HR’s focus from programmes and processes to designing solutions that drive employee satisfaction, productivity and enjoyment. Companies are now putting employees in charge of their own learning experience.

As HR departments work to upgrade their skills, they should incorporate key design thinking concepts such as digital, mobile app, user experience design and behavioural economics. Our research indicates that companies that deliver the highest levels of value from HR are three times more likely to be using design thinking in their programmes.

Werner Nieuwoudt is the Human Capital Leader for Deloitte South Africa.

Eight effective ways to create a positive candidate experience

Looking for ways to enrich your talent pipeline? Want to reach more qualified candidates? Attracting top industry talent starts with creating a good candidate experience that guides the candidate throughout the recruitment lifecycle with ease.
According to a recent survey conducted by a staffing agency, the candidate experience plays an influential role in the candidate’s decision to apply.

Here’s why:

•    93% job seekers stated that unclear instructions are the primary cause of a negative experience;
•    More than 90% job seekers cited that clear communication during the recruitment lifecycle would have significantly improved their experience with the employer; and
•    74% applicants said that a clearly defined hiring timeline is essential for improving the candidate experience.

Other reasons that negatively influence the applicant experience are the inability of the recruiter to inform the candidate about the interview schedule, failure to send confirmation emails, not informing candidates regarding filled positions and lack of coordination. Using an applicant tracking system can help recruiters avoid all the causes of negative candidate experiences while ensuring that they set a positive tone. This works to keep every candidate informed and engaged till you bring them onboard. Here are eight things that make a great hiring experience for job seekers:

1.    Making the application process simpler

A lengthy application form with vague instructions is sure to drive your candidates away. An applicant tracking system comes with the flexibility to create a customised application form for every job category so you can get the exact information you need – neither too much, nor too little. ATS enables you to make the application process quick and easy by eliminating redundancy and capturing just the data you need to filter the right fit. Using ATS, you can create extra fields, change their length and also add a questionnaire to your standard format to make it more relevant and easy to fill.

2.    Conducting background verifications with sensitivity

Background checks are the most challenging aspect of the recruitment lifecycle when you have to keep up with the latest industry legislations and stay compliant. A safe way is to sign up for the services of a screening partner and integrate the process with your ATS. The speed and ease of use that accompanies an ATS makes background screenings fair and accurate. This facilitates informed placement decisions while avoiding litigation that results from data breaches. When the screening firm and ATS are integrated and protected with multi-layered data security, the entire process is optimised.  

3.    Being prompt and proactive during the hiring process

Keeping in constant touch with candidates will keep them interested and away from your competition. With an ATS, it is easy to inform candidates about interview schedules and their status in the recruitment cycle. With an ATS it is possible to schedule bulk interviews and notify candidates in an instant. It eliminates the need to inform candidates through emails and phone calls while eliminating the possibility of miscommunication and missing out on top talent.

4.    Keeping the candidate updated at every step

The speed of communication offered by an ATS is an obvious advantage for hiring managers. It automatically notifies the candidate when he/she is moved from one stage to another during the recruitment process. From interview schedules to status updates, every move is conveyed in real-time to keep prospects involved and informed at every step.  

5.    Automating emails for a smoother placement

ATS sends out automatic emails at every stage in the recruitment process. This consistent communication provides a predefined timeline to job seekers where their progress and the hiring decisions that are taken at every stage. This improves coordination and gives the applicant a clear idea of the hiring procedures and increases the chances of successful placements.  

6.    Staying accessible and responsive from beginning to end

From sending a personalised email to every candidate and acknowledging their application to communicating a clear timeline, an ATS ensures that the recruiter is consistently communicating at every stage. When candidates are aware of where they stand in the recruitment lifecycle and are given instant feedback, it ensures that every candidate whether selected or rejected has a positive experience.

7.    Making it easy for your A players to find you with an easy-to-navigate careers site

Careers site is the most popular and preferred mode of application for job seekers. Using ATS, recruiters can custom-design a careers site that complements the look and feel of the company’s website. This conveys a professional image and the user-friendly features of the careers site make it easy for prospective candidates to find you online and apply with ease. The careers site can be wisely used to reflect your company culture, the pros of working with you and things that make you a go-to employer for job seekers.

8.    Turning your Facebook page into a fully-loaded talent sourcing platform

ATS lets you connect with a massive user-base on Facebook. All you need to do is share your employment opportunities using the careers tab. This makes it convenient for your prospective candidates to apply for openings in your organisation and helps you leverage your social profile to target quality candidates. Using social media platforms for recruiting will not only expand your reach but also bring in more referrals.

The way your candidates are treated during the recruitment process plays a decisive role in their final decision. Candidates only seek timely communication and clear feedback which can be easily provided with a feature-rich ATS. It automates the hiring process, saves time and keeps your candidates updated throughout. With an applicant tracking system, recruiters never miss out on opportunities to attract, engage and hire top talent. The ease of use and end-to-end visibility of an applicant tracking system increases the efficiency of recruiters and improves the candidate experience by allowing an attentive approach that fully engages with every aspect of an applicant’s profile. Streamline your workflow with an ATS today and keep your prospects from going elsewhere.  

Kelly Barcelos is a digital marketing manager specialising in HR at Jobsoid.

Investing in quality drug and alcohol testing equipment

As was once brilliantly stated by Benjamin Franklin, the bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of a low price.
This rings true for all South Africans, especially when a low price is so tempting during the economic decline that we are currently faced with. Often we go for price over quality, and this is no different when it comes to the procurement of health and safety products within a company such as breathalysers and drug testing equipment.

Factors to consider when buying equipment

It is strategic to think of the purchase of business equipment as an investment and the company’s substance abuse testing equipment is no different. The business owner should take into consideration the repercussions and expense that he would face, should the equipment not deliver accurate readings or worse yet, fail when being used.

The total cost of ownership should also be factored into the purchase decision as a cheaper product may not last as long and require regular repairs and calibration. Owners and management should also to invest time in educating the procurement departments as to the total cost of ownership.

Long term benefits of investing in a quality system

A quality alcohol and drug testing system can help a company lower its accident rates and reduce its financial losses associated with accidents. It also lowers absenteeism rates and reduces alcohol abuse in the workplace, with the result that employees also perform better.

The test results are also trusted and employees that test positive have no room to question the results or the equipment.

Why cheap instruments cost more

In many instances, the initial cost of a breathalyser may be cheaper, but the cost of the product over its life span can easily be triple that of the initial cost outlay should you purchase inferior equipment.

A cheap instrument is likely to break very quickly and will require frequent repairs. It will certainly need to be replaced much faster than a quality instrument, which can last from seven to ten years.

It also needs to be recalibrated more often, with some of them requiring recalibration after every five hundred tests. A failure to recalibrate the machine affects the reliability of the readings.

A cheap breathalyser may also cost the company a fortune in legal fees. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1993, employers may not allow any person who is, or appears to be, under the influence of alcohol or drugs to enter into the workplace. The Act also recommends that employers use reasonably practical means to make sure that they enforce the Act.  

While this provides employers with the legal basis to implement alcohol and drug testing on their employees, there is no room for faulty results, as the consequences are very stringent for employees who test positive. Should the company falsely accuse an employee of being under the influence having used an inaccurate instrument, then the company might incur legal costs which include attorney fees and back-pay for an employee who was not contributing to the organisation since their initial dismissal. It is therefore important that testing equipment must be accredited and have a reputation of strong reliability, ensuring that the results can withstand a challenge in the courts.

Empowering the procurer

For many companies, the most effective purchasing method is for the department using the testing equipment (the end-user) to first provide the procurement department with clear specifications of what they require. The procurement department is then tasked with finding the cheapest supplier that meets those requirements.

Unfortunately, this is not always the best approach as inferior products may feature the same specifications, however, they are manufactured to a lower standard of quality and won’t last as long as a better quality product.

In some instances, the end-user does not provide their input into the purchasing of testing equipment. In such cases, the procurement department may choose equipment that is the most financially viable and because of their lack of experience on the qualities to look for, they may end up choosing the cheapest model or one that that looks fancy but lacks substance.

Rhys Evans is the Managing Director of ALCO Safe.

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