Why will team composition be your biggest headache?

Tolerance for others is vital in the work place and this is never clearer than when creating a successful team.

Humans are humans and finding the right fit is often problematic – however, establishing what is more important can be the deciding factor. For example, if someone is brilliant at what they do and yet doesn’t buy into the firm culture or is not a team player, what do you do?

Having diverse personalities does not have to be a negative, in fact, quite the opposite. Find people that individually offer a different strength but that also fit into the overall goal of the team. This means that when hiring, don’t only consider people as stand-alone but rather as cogs in a wheel, each with their own personality and strengths, each bringing something different but with the understanding of what success for the team looks like and working towards that.

How to hire an exceptional team

Diverse teams usually perform the best – however, this, of course, does not negate the point that different personalities will come into play. To really create the best possible team, certain things need to be addressed initially and a clear strategy needs to be in place.

To begin with, know exactly what you are looking for. What does this team need to accomplish? Why are they being hired? Don’t look at the overview of your goals but rather specifics – what skills are needed to ensure success? Identify each skill required before finding team members to employ.

Once you have identified the members you would like to employ or include in the team, consider their individual strengths and weaknesses and assess whether as a team, these will work. Of course, budget is important and you might not be able to hire a team of highly qualified superstars – however, this isn’t necessarily a negative. Perhaps success will mean one superstar and the rest entry level people who need direction and will be well led by the star of the team. Alternatively, being able to hire a team of highly experienced members to get the job done would also work if budget allows and most importantly, if their strengths differ and can gel to result in success. But even more than skills and experience, finding the right personality fit is what makes a team work well together and excel. Because if your highly qualified team member is unable to work in a team and understand what is required to be a team member, your team will fail despite their levels of qualification.

Finding those able to work with tolerance for others is also key. Firm culture has never been more important than it is today and tolerance needs to be a requirement of any employee in today’s world. Team members need to understand the culture they are expected to fit into and be able to comply. With International Day for Tolerance around the corner (16 November), it is a good reminder that it is a vital part of any working environment and no more so than when working in a team.

Natasha Hampton is the Head of Operations at GRM Search.

Raise agile children

Helping your children too much and for too long is not good for them.

It’s therefore important that you do what you can to build agility, resourcefulness and resilience into your children as they’re growing up. If you don’t, you’re setting them up for a long, hard struggle through life.

I recall very clearly, many years ago, the first project my eldest daughter was ever required to do in primary school. My wife and I explained to her that we expected her to do the work herself. She duly did. At the first parents’ evening that year, all the pupils’ assignments were put on display and we made a point of looking at everyone’s efforts.

As we examined all the other projects on display, the truth quickly dawned. All the other projects were beautifully presented with typed out text and colour images printed using computers. There was my daughter’s project, in her childlike handwriting, with stencilled headings and hand drawn pictures.

To place this in context, this was in the 90s when children didn’t have access to technology that they have today. I looked at my wife and said, “These projects were done by the parents, not the children.” Our daughter was, in effect, competing with other mothers and fathers. So, the gloves came off and that was the start of many years (we had another two daughters) of primary school projects for us. I have never agreed with this but, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. And so we became part of what my wife calls the “Secret Parents Club” – parents who secretly do their children’s projects so that they get good marks, but who never want to admit it.

The big question, though, becomes: When do you stop doing your children’s projects so they learn to do things for themselves?

If you want to raise agile, resourceful, resilient children, you’re going to HAVE to wean them off their dependency on you and help the little birdies to fly on their own – otherwise they will never be able to fly off and find food for themselves when they should.

You will have adult children who have children of their own but who still look to you for financial support.

The main point here? You have got to find the sweet spot in your children’s school career when you let them start taking full responsibility for their own school work, otherwise you will set them up to live in the shadows of other people, possibly for the rest of their lives.

Teach your children, therefore, how to figure things out for themselves, how to do things for themselves. You’re really not helping them if you’re still doing their projects in their last few years of school. If you want them to get a tertiary education, are you going to sit in the lectures with them, do their assignments for them and coach them for their exams?

The role of a good parent is to raise their children to do without them. If you’ve got adult children still dependent on you for things, you haven’t got it right. That’s a burden you don’t want to have to carry. And many parents are carrying this burden – simply because they thought they were helping their children. But they weren’t. You may be very sincere in what you’re doing for your children, but you can be sincerely wrong.

So help your children – that’s why you’re there for them – but look for the right time to start expecting them to do things for themselves. That’s the way you’ll raise agile children!

Alan Hosking is the Publisher of HR Future magazine. He helps leaders acquire new leadership skills to lead into the future, and is an age management and self-mastery coach to senior executives. Alan is the author of best seller What nobody tells a new father, available at amazon.com.

This article appeared in the August 2017 issue of HR Future magazine.

Delve into mindfulness for a better night’s sleep

High performers can benefit from mindfulness.

By now most of you will have heard of mindfulness. The word has been buzzing around inside our social consciousness for years now. Unfortunately, this ‘trendiness’ has resulted in the rise of charlatans and ‘snake oil’ sellers who make outlandish claims about what mindfulness can do for you.

No, mindfulness will not keep you young forever, or cure cancer. No, it doesn’t make nicotine cravings disappear, and it isn’t going to create world peace any time soon. Besides which, people with psychotic disorders may even find that mindfulness makes their problems worse, not better.

But mindfulness can reduce the stress and anxiety that can cause people to seem to ‘age’ prematurely. It can help people to be more consistent with their cancer treatments, and manage some of the sideeffects more easily. It can’t make nicotine cravings disappear but it can help to make them more manageable. And while there isn’t any evidence of it creating world peace there is a lot of evidence of helping individuals and groups feel more peaceful, and communicate more effectively.

It reduces the symptoms of depression, boosts productivity both at the individual and team level, and enhances resilience against burnout and other work-related stresses. It improves relationships both at home and at work. Mindfulness has even been shown to help people to get to sleep more easily, instead of being kept awake by worries.

Explaining how to use mindfulness to get better sleep is tricky. So first we need to talk about what mindfulness is:

Mindfulness means paying active attention to what is happening with you, right now. This is a fairly good definition but it often leads people to assume that mindfulness means that you shouldn’t make plans for the future, or reflect on past failures and just ‘live in the now’, but this is completely the wrong approach.

You see, if you’re planning for the future you should do so mindfully, because it’s what you’re doing right now.

You can probably see why this can be so confusing, but it will become more clear. Let me ask you: have you ever found yourself unable to sleep because you were consumed by thoughts of past failures, or worries about future problems? Almost everyone on Earth answers, ‘Yes,’ to this question. And that, dear reader, is a serious problem.

Being able to learn from the past or plan for the future is a great skill. But not being able to turn it off can be an absolute nightmare.

Mindfulness shows us that there are ways of dealing with those thoughts. We don’t need to let those torturous ideas carry us away. But if those thoughts can be torturous then who is doing the torturing? Are we torturing ourselves?

Actually no, not exactly. Our conscious mind constantly yaps at us and we constantly listen to it. But that must mean, logically, that there are two of ‘us’ in the example: there are the thoughts, and then there is us listening to them. Your conscious mind is part of you, an extremely important part in fact! But it is not all of you.

And you don’t have to do what it says.

At this point in the explanation, people often get the wrong idea again and become concerned that I’m implying that we shouldn’t think at all (something that religious cults take great pains to instill in their drone-like subjects).

But that is not what I’m suggesting at all. I am in fact suggesting the opposite: getting greater control over your mind, and how you use it.

When you can’t sleep because your mind is keeping you awake, you are essentially trapped in a pattern of thoughts that keeps cycling over and over like a song on repeat. But it is possible to break out of these thought patterns, by redirecting your attention to something else.

It is a cliché that when you ask someone not to think about pink elephants you have almost guaranteed that they will think of pink elephants. But the way that you avoid that trap is to think of something else instead. Think of bluebirds, or Winnie the Pooh, or anything else, and focus on that. You can’t stop a certain thought from arising in your head, but you can choose whether or not to give it a home.

So here at last is a description of how to use mindfulness to quiet your mind, and get a good night’s sleep:

1. Notice that you are trapped in a pattern of thinking that is keeping you awake.

Yes, that thing you did five years ago was terribly embarrassing, and yes your child is starting school tomorrow and you’re worried about them. But if you’re trying to sleep then none of that matters now. What matters now is sleep.

2. Don’t judge or label the thoughts, just notice them.

Judging and labelling are both thoughts, so they’re more mental events that will keep you awake. Don’t judge the thoughts. Just notice them.

3. Say to yourself, “I don’t have to think about that right now.”

Getting a good night’s sleep is your only job and your only responsibility. If thoughts are keeping you awake then you need to break out of them. It’s as simple as that.

4. Redirect your attention to something neutral.

I like to use the image of myself walking through a grassy field but almost anything can work, as long as it’s calming and neutral.

5. Let your thoughts tumble over each other.

Over-focusing will just keep you awake, so once you’ve redirected your attention release your focus and let your mind wander.

6. Repeat.

It’s quite possible that you’ll find yourself trapped in another negative thought pattern later on. That’s OK. It happens to all of us. Just go through those steps once more, and keep doing so until you drift off.

Mindfulness is a massive topic and it has hundreds of possible applications; I have barely scratched the surface. But this is what basic mindfulness looks like, and how to use it to get yourself to sleep.

Good luck.

Andrew Verrijdt is the Chief Science Officer of Mindful Revolution.

This article appeared in the August 2017 issue of HR Future magazine.

Choose your immigration practitioner wisely

Globalisation is having a profound effect on visa applications.

In this global village we call earth, an interesting phenomenon has been developing in recent times. “Push” and “pull” factors influence the movement of foreigners from one country to another and one continent to another.

Ease of travel and portability of skills have created an environment where people can up and leave their countries and move on to ostensibly greener pastures, literally carrying their skills with them. Global skills shortages are not a new phenomenon but, with this portability, it has become infinitely easier to transport one’s skills.

In addition investors, with much more ease than in previous times, have been able to “transport” businesses and investments from one country to another and one continent to another with greater ease.

However, over the last two or three years there has been a perceived tightening up of visa regimes in many countries worldwide.

South Africa is no exception to this phenomenon, and it certainly has become more administratively onerous and sometimes even literally impossible for persons in middle to lower skills sets to import their skills into South Africa due to red tape and bureaucratic blocks. Higher skilled individuals and to this end the Critical Skills visa category of skills are technically the major, if not only, effective way of transporting one’s skills into South Africa. The Critical Skills visa list is proclaimed by the Minister from time to time and lists trades, professions and occupations that are in extremely short supply in South Africa and then facilitates qualifying Critical Skills visa applicants with an attractive Critical Skills visa.

Prominent requirements are SAQA evaluation of qualifications, relative post qualification experience and registration with an appropriate professional body or government authority, for that profession. Many other countries have similar provisions and indeed it is one of the founding principles of International Immigration Law that skilled migrants should not be prevented from successful entry on appropriate work visas to any country.

The next phenomenon which does present itself and which impacts indirectly and sometimes directly on the scenario sketched out above has been caused by economic rationale where poverty rules in a region or country, thereby creating “economic” refugees who are leaving their countries, often with very little or no skills and migrating in this fashion to countries that are perceived to have relevant wealth or would provide an economic haven or refuge.

Many people that are caught up in this do not have relevant qualifications nor financial resources.

A further phenomenon stems from conflict which regrettably and unfortunately has become a relevant factor in people fleeing their home countries because of conflict and persecution, giving rise to legitimate refugee applications in most instances.

One of the pillars of international refugee protocols is that a person fleeing their country in the circumstances should seek “first country “refuge. However this is not what happens in reality and in many instances such refugees will cross numerous borders and even an ocean to get to what they perceive to be a safe haven.

The factors mentioned in the paragraphs above have precipitated social and economic problems for many countries and with terrorism proliferating in disgruntled and deprived communities based not only on the economic but very often idealistic grounds, the next development has been a further tightening up of entry requirements into many
countries and in some instances even restrictions preventing such movement. The purpose of this article is not to support nor to speak out against such moves but rather to highlight that, in the Immigration Law sphere, there are numerous other factors influencing the situation.

The White Paper on International Migration will ostensibly shortly be finalised and approved by cabinet in South Africa.

Ensuing from this will be an amended or revised Immigration Act and new regulations. Based on the gist of the Green and draft White Papers, it appears that South Africa too will be tightening up quite considerably in the forthcoming legislative and regularity changes which may see the light of day still in this current year.

What has not changed is the need for certain skills and the need to facilitate the movement of highly skilled and qualified and experienced foreigners into the borders of South Africa.

In recent times, the importance of transportable skills has become paramount.

With the global tightening up on visas and placing restrictions, this factor may very well be inhibited somewhat by the tightening up of requirements. This could be to the detriment of many developing economies and expansion of developed countries. To put it succinctly, our Universities, Technikon’s and Colleges are simply not producing enough qualifications in technical spheres that are relevant.

With the mobility and transportability of skills and with the often restrictive conditions attaching to visas to certain countries, it has become more important now than ever to consult the services of an Immigration Specialist Attorney with the relevant experience and track record in their specialty area of expertise.

It is therefore of paramount importance to conduct a check with the relevant law society governing that attorney’s geographical jurisdiction or the regulatory authority in the foreign country of destination. By way of example, these are the OISC in the UK (Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner), MARA (Migration Agents Registration Authority) in Australia and similar bodies in New Zealand, United States and various other countries.

The reason for the before-mentioned caveat is that an incompetent representative can cause irreparable financial and emotional prejudice to any intended emigrant or immigrant through inadequate or improper handling of an application.

Julian Pokroy is one of South Africa’s leading immigration specialist attorneys, and currently heads the Law Society of South Africa’s Immigration and Refugee Law Specialist Committee and the Immigration, Nationality and Refugee Law Committee of the Law Society of the Northern Provinces. He is a member of the South African Law Reform Commission Committee.

This article appeared in the August 2017 issue of HR Future magazine.

s359 of the Companies Act, 61 of 1973

Notification of the continuance of civil proceedings in a liquidation scenario.

The Labour Court, in Visagie v Nylsvlei Game Dealers CC and Others (2016) 27 SALLR 107 (LC), had the opportunity of considering the following important issues:

(a) In terms of the Companies Act, 61 of 1973, what is the effect when the court makes an order for the winding up of a company, in respect of all civil proceedings against such company?

(b) In terms of s359(2)(a) and s359(2)(b) of the Companies Act, 61 of 1973, what is the procedure to be followed by a person in the scenario where such a person has instituted legal proceedings against a company, which were suspended by a winding up, intends to continue with such legal proceedings?’


The applicant sought to join the second to fourth respondents (the respondents) to the principal matter pending between the applicant and the first respondent. The matter was opposed.

Pertinent facts of the case

The brief history of this matter is as follows. The first respondent, Nylsvlei Game Dealers CC, had employed the applicant on 1 September 2011. She was dismissed on 14 January 2013 and the primary reason for her dismissal was an incident that took place at the then recent New Year’s Eve party. The incident and the reason for the applicant’s dismissal was that she had kissed her girlfriend at the New Year’s Eve party.

The applicant filed a statement of case on 11 June 2013 in terms of the provisions of s187(1)(f) of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 (‘the Act’).

Applicant’s case: dismissal automatically unfair on the basis of her sexual orientation

The applicant’s case was that the reason for her dismissal amounted to discrimination based upon her sexual orientation and that her dismissal was automatically unfair.

Employer was subsequently liquidated

On 27 March 2013, the first respondent was provisionally liquidated and, on 20 June 2013, the first respondent was finally liquidated.

Applicant filed an application for joinder almost 15 months after final liquidation

On 16 September 2014, the applicant had filed an application for joinder. This was filed almost 15 months after the final liquidation of the first respondent. The applicant sought the joinder of the respondents to the principal matter.

Other respondents were in effect a continuation of the business of the employer: second and third respondents

The application for joinder was premised on the submission that the first respondent was liquidated but the second and third respondents were effectively no more than a continuation of the business of the first respondent.

Fourth respondent to be joined: sole member or shareholder of first respondent and director of second and third respondents

The fourth respondent was the sole member or shareholder of the first respondent and he is the director of the second and third respondents. The applicant’s case is that the first, second and third respondents were run from the same premises, they had essentially the same customers, same suppliers and performed the same services.

In support of and to substantiate these averments, the applicant appended various bank statements of the respondents and referred to a number of transactions reflected on those statements to show that the businesses were interrelated and that there was little regard for the distinct legal personalities of the various corporate entities.

The applicant alleged that there was an abuse of corporate identity. She stated that the second and third respondents were created for the purpose of confusing creditors and to provide an escape from liability. The application was opposed by the respondents.

Findings of the Labour Court

Rule 22 of the rules of the Labour Court provides for joinder as follows:

‘(1) The court may join any number of persons, whether jointly, jointly and severally, separately, or in the alternative, as parties in proceedings, if the right to relief depends on the determination of substantially the same question of law or facts.

(2) (a) The court may, of its own motion or on application and on notice to every other party, make an order joining any person as a party in the proceedings if the party to be joined has a substantial interest in the subject matter of the proceedings.

(b) When making an order in terms of paragraph (a), the court may give such directions as to the further procedure in the proceedings as it deems fit, and may make an order as to costs.’

It is trite and in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 that, in order for parties to be joined to particular proceedings, they must have a direct and substantial legal interest in the matter such as to make them necessary parties to the proceedings. Only parties that would be directly affected by the court’s order, or where the order could not be sustained or carried into effect without prejudicing such a party, are necessary parties to the proceedings.

The Labour Court was not convinced that the respondents were necessary parties before court. It was common cause that the first respondent was finally liquidated on 20 June 2013.

The fourth respondent might have had an interest in the principal matter insofar as he was a director of the first respondent that had been liquidated. In view of the fact that the first respondent had been liquidated, it was possible that an order of court could not be sustained or carried into effect. That was per se not a reason to join the second and third respondents. More was required.

Companies Act: when a court makes an order for the winding up of a company, all civil proceedings against the company are suspended until the appointment of a liquidator.

The Companies Act 61 of 1973 provides that, when the court has made an order for the windingup of a company, all civil proceedings against the company concerned shall be suspended until the appointment of the liquidator.

The respondents pleaded that Tshwane Trust Co (Pty) Ltd had been appointed as the first respondent’s liquidator and the applicant had failed to inform the liquidator about these proceedings.

s359(2)(a) and s359(2)(b) of the Companies Act: notice required of continuation

Section 359(2)(a) and (b) of the Companies Act provides that:

‘(2) (a) Every person who, having instituted legal proceedings against a company which were suspended by a winding-up, intends to continue the same, and every person who intends to institute legal proceedings for the purpose of enforcing any claim against the company which arose before the commencement of the winding-up, shall within four weeks after the appointment of the liquidator give the liquidator not less than three weeks’ notice in writing before continuing or commencing the proceedings.

(b) If notice is not so given the proceedings shall be considered to be abandoned unless the Court otherwise directs.’

The applicant had not notified the liquidator as per the prescripts of the Companies Act, nor had she filed an application to join the liquidator in the proceedings. In terms of the provisions of the Companies Act, the proceedings should be considered to be abandoned. The applicant simply sought to proceed with the matter by joining the respondents in the absence of the liquidator. In the Labour Court’s view, the failure to notify and join the liquidator was sufficient reason to dismiss the application for joinder. The Labour Court thus did not make an order for joinder and dismissed the application with costs.

Dr Brian van Zyl is a Director of labour law firm Van Zyl Rudd and Associates.

This article appeared in the August 2017 issue of HR Future magazine.

What happens when leaders are no longer accountable?

Ever since human beings started gathering together in couples, families, tribes, clans or nations, there have been leaders – someone whom everybody looked to for direction in terms of what the group should do.

Over the centuries, there have been good and bad leaders. Good leaders have allowed themselves to be held accountable for their actions as they have led their people to a more secure, better reality, and bad leaders have refused to be held accountable as they have led themselves to a more secure and better reality at the expense of the people they led. It’s that simple.

Right now, the world is experiencing the biggest leadership crisis it has ever had. That doesn’t mean today’s leaders are necessarily worse than their predecessors but, because the world is now more connected than it ever was, the impact they have beyond their own borders is significant. For example, previous leaders never had access to the tools that today’s leaders have which give them the capacity to influence views and events around the globe. Such tools give today’s leaders a bigger voice than they possibly deserve. Imagine if Donald Trump never had Twitter …

It is hugely ironic that, as the world has evolved to a collective consciousness that has set the stage for collaborative leadership and leadership with a higher purpose, some of the leaders that currently dominate the headlines – Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un and our own Jacob Zuma – display none of the characteristics or qualities of this new generation of leader that the world so desperately needs right now.

These leaders share one thing in common – regardless of what they say, they’re in it for themselves first and they avoid holding themselves accountable to the people they are supposed to be leading. Some of them may say they do, but they don’t. They do what suits them and not what’s in the interests of the greater good of their people.

Now what happens when the person at the head of a country, community or company doesn’t hold him or herself accountable?

It will take a little while, but soon those they’re leading also start refusing to be held accountable for their actions.

Now that presents a problem. You can’t expect accountability from anyone else until you’re prepared to hold yourself accountable for your own actions and statements. This applies to our work and our family life. If you’re not prepared to be accountable at work, you’re not going to be able to hold your staff accountable. If you’re not prepared to be accountable for your actions in your home, you’re not going to be able to hold your children accountable for their actions. You may be able to pull rank simply because of your position, but you have no moral authority and will get grudging respect to your face while you are despised behind your back. And your children will grow up with damaged values …

Leaders, managers and parents have failed to understand this most basic principle of accountability. Accountability all starts with you. You can’t think it should apply to others but not you – that you’re somehow exempt from being held accountable. Sure, it’s frustrating to see political leaders get away with theft, but they do so because the people they lead don’t hold them accountable.

Circumstances currently playing themselves out in South Africa right now will provide a case study of how not to do things. It will probably take a lot more time than most good, upstanding citizens would like it to take, but we need to hold our leaders accountable when they refuse to do so of their own accord. Things would be much different then.

Instead of allowing the behaviour of current bad leaders in the world or in your company to cause you to become discouraged, rather allow them to inspire you to not be anything like them. Use their examples as an example of how NOT to do things and make sure you bring about change for the better for all around you.

I urge you not to sink to the levels of small minded leaders in it for themselves but to join me in demonstrating greatness as you lead others.

Alan Hosking is the publisher of HR Future magazine, www.hrfuture.net, @HRFuturemag, and assists executives to prevent, reverse and delay ageing, and achieve self-mastery.

Cloud-based solutions are helping HR

Are those never ending HRIS Implementations something of the past?

One of the more daunting tasks that faces the HR team when looking at changing or upgrading their HRIS is the long period of time it takes to get the new system fully operational. And this usually comes at a great cost, not only in financial terms but also all the additional hours of manpower required, especially as most teams need to double up on their current workload.

Over the past few months, I have written quite a bit about Cloud-based HR solutions, but never really touched on the concept of Rapid Deployment options that Cloud-based solutions are able to offer. In essence, the benefits of using a software solution that comes with prebuilt and pre-packaged rapid deployment options can be summed up as follows:

Incorporating best practices and standardisation

• With the advancements in technology today, it is now possible to build best practice and standardisation directly into a solution. In the past it was all around what data I could store, but in today’s world, it’s more around what value I can extract from this data.

• A good example of this can be found in the Recruitment and onboarding processes. The standard functions and associated steps and approvals are now provided with rapid deployment solutions, to provide the organisation with a set of best practice steps, based on industry norms and standards. Most organisations follow the same set of steps from the creation of a new vacancy until the new hire is ready for onboarding. No longer does the HR team need to reinvent the wheel, but they can rather just tweak what is already provided.

Working in a global village

• Through technology, multinational organisations now work in a borderless environment, where physical location no longer determines accessibility or availability to perform specific tasks. When working in this type of borderless environment it is, of course, of the utmost importance that the software being utilised is sensitive to regional statutory and other requirements. Long gone are the days that, when using a system developed in another country, users in the local territory were forced to live with foreign terminology, processes or practices.

• One of the benefits of having a solution that caters for multinational organisations is that the various HR teams spread across the globe are now empowered to be able to all utilise the same solution, but are each able to operate within their own specific regional environment, with a solution capable of applying regional specific labour legislation and statutory requirements while still using global best practices.

• No longer does the generic “one size fits all”, approach need to be taken which, more often than not, was really just hoping for a 60-70 percent fit at best. The approach now available enables each HR team to have their specific business needs met, irrespective of their specific regional requirements.

• HR practitioners can now all use the same unified and integrated solution, with the solution being able to provide localised content to assist them. This content is researched and built into the product on a regional basis, thus ensuring that the software is kept compliant and up-to-date across the globe. In many instances, long and laborious meetings were needed between the business and the vendor’s business analysts to first document the organisation’s blue print, before even a finger was laid on a keyboard. Most of these steps are now eliminated as the delivered solution already has this standardised functionality preloaded and ready for use.

Achieving quick wins

• As technology and HR best practices are evermoving targets, the time taken to implement traditional systems normally results in the HR system always being a couple of steps behind. The biggest advantage of implementing a Cloud-based solution is that, through shortened implementation time frames and always having access to the latest technology and content, an organisation can easily keep abreast with the latest enhancements.

• Quick wins are achievable as the solution is installed with a standard set of industry best practice processes already prebuilt into, and integrated to, the solution’s functionality, thus eliminating the need for each new client having to go through the laborious process of defining a set of requirements and then waiting the bespoke development to be completed.

• A good example of this can be seen in data analytics. Cloud-based solution providers are now starting to include complete libraries of metrics that are seen to be standard throughout the HR function. This enables analytics and dashboarding to be available as soon as the relevant base data is loaded into the system. It seems that finally solution providers are spending more time understanding HR’s needs from a business perspective, and are now incorporating these into their standard “boxed” solutions.

• In addition, by having standard data migration utilities for industry standard products, Cloud-based HR solutions can plug directly into your current payroll solution. This facilitates the necessity of needing only a very short time frame for your payroll data to be loaded, viewed and analysed through a unified HR system user interface. This allows HR to now talk in terms of weeks as opposed to months or even years in some cases, before they start seeing actual business benefits of their new Cloud-based HR solution.

Being part of a global community

• A big and often hidden benefit of using Cloud-based solutions is that organisations can benefit from each other without even knowing it, more often than not at no additional cost. For example, should a leading multinational request the software author to incorporate an enhanced or new way of running Talent Management, once these enhancements are developed and released as part of the product’s upgrade, this new functionality would then be available for all other organisations currently utilising the solution.

In summary, vendors who provide a fast-tracked preconfigured solution are now able to ensure that the HR solution’s implementation timeframe is radically reduced, resulting in huge cost savings. In addition, the organisation can de-risk their implementation as the processes, procedures and prebuilt functionality is already all tried and tested through the current user base.

Rob Bothma is an HR Systems Industry Specialist at NGA HR, a Fellow of the Institute of People Management and past non-executive director and Vice President of the IPM, co-author of the 4th Edition of Contemporary Issues in HRM and member of the Executive Board for HR Pulse.

This article appeared in the August 2017 issue of HR Future magazine.

What would Organisational Design look like in Uber times?

OD can help the organisation become more agile.

We are currently staring the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the eye. We are at the brink of a technological revolution. This will fundamentally alter how human-beings interact, relate, exist and live. The complexity of this transformation is yet to be measured and quantified of its effects. It will eventually unfold itself and the magnitude will then be seen. The response to this transformation will see how people will integrate this new way of life in a global context.

How will Organisational Design then be transformed to accommodate the new world?

Organisational Development

To remain intact and combat the effects of the new world, organisations need to gear up. At the heart of a functioning, well-equipped and progressing organisation, is Organisational Development.

Organisational Development is the systematic, comprehensive, planned process with the goal of advancing an organisation’s overall effectiveness. The system involves process, structure and culture intervention with strong emphasis on human resource development, organisational development and organisational change.

In an attempt to summarise some of the key points of the debate, we can say that Organisational Development was established in the early decades of the previous century (1930s onwards) based on the ‘soft sciences’ of sociology, psychology and industrial psychology. Although the original focus was on the ‘softer’ organisational elements including behaviour, culture, climate, leadership and values, some of the later pioneers (during the 1970s – 90s) attempted to migrate the original narrower view of ‘soft’ models to also include the ‘hard’ elements. This advance has led us to a point where the organisation is regarded as a holistic system which includes both the ‘soft’ and the ‘hard’ elements of strategy, structure, systems, staff, style, skills and shared values.

Organisational Development, from this perspective, implies bringing about design change to an organisation in an integrated fashion. It is a total transformation of the business. Changing one part, that is, strategy, impacts on other parts such as leadership, values, process and structure. Thus, Organisational Development implies a planned and systematic approach to bringing about change and improving effectiveness of the organisation as a whole.

Organisation Design then becomes a subset of Organisational Development and as such, also has its unique methodologies, tools and techniques. There is no silver bullet for designing organisational structures and there is also no one-size-fits-all approach. Ultimately, one must choose the best approach to suit the purpose, taking time and budget into account.

Organisational Design

A mismatch between an organisation’s objectives and purpose can lead to failure for the organisation. The ultimate target of Organisational Design is to align the structure of the organisation with its objectives. Work tasks performed can be directed according to the various needs of the organisation.

What is the process of Organisational Design?

The activities below frame and outline the more detailed design steps required.

Key activities and deliverables

Detailed Activities

Ideally, the detailed design steps should be iterative and be developed with both external and internal stakeholders in mind. Once the detailed design plan and steps are complete, the important work begins in designing the new organisation.

Case study

Our first experience with organisational redesign was in the FMCG sector – a cereal manufacturer and a brewing company. Both had a similar set up with operators who only knew their piece of machinery and little understanding of what happened up and down the value chain. This led to quality issues, many small menial job descriptions and many levels in the job grading system. The new job design focused more on roles, for example, corn line operator, rice line operator, bran line operator – where the operator needs to know how every machine on the whole line works. Similarly, in the brewing company, menial jobs were transformed into process operator roles where operators needed to know the entire value chain.

This led to meaningful and better quality work and, of course, higher pay – which was worth it for the organisation. In some cases where operators retired or left, there was no need to replace them because of the surplus of skills available to operate the machines. In one case, skill-based pay was introduced along the lines of the following:

In this model, all tasks or skills that need doing are assigned points. These points often differ depending on how easy or difficult the tasks are, for example:

Easy = 1 point, Difficult = 5 points. As one acquires points, one earns more money, sometimes to a maximum of around 50 – 100% of starting salary:

Starting salary = 10 000
1 – 10 points = plus 20%
11 – 20 points = plus 20%
21 – 30 points = plus 20%
31 – 40 points = plus 20%

A process operator can earn up to 100% more than an entry level operator.

Both of these initiatives were done in consultation with the trade union. The objective was not retrenchment, but better quality output and higher skilled workers. In both instances, the worker, the company and the trade union came out on top.

There is a move to agile organisations

Seeing that an agile organisation is ultimately an ecosystem comprised of various sub-systems, agility must be incorporated into each of the systems such as the processes, technology systems and human resources. When each component is geared towards agility and each of these components interact to integrate change, only then will the organisation have successfully become agile.

Thus, the capacity for an organisation to become agile depends on the following areas:

1. Information Technology: Automation, discussed previously, ultimately reduces production time whilst increasing product quality and consistency, providing a better product that reaches the market more quickly. An agile information system thus has the ability to offer the best possible response when the organisation faces changes;

2. Processes: Controlling the processes of an organisation allows resources to be utilised where they can be most beneficial. When the process is closely followed and adapted according to changes consistently, the organisation can benefit from a strong competitive advantage;

3. Human Resources: Skills and a positive mind-set are two factors that contribute to the success of agility. Involving human resources ultimately capitalises on human potential and results in systematic improvement.

4. Leadership: Current leaders need to be able to embrace the concept of matrix design and that they are managing a river, not a dam. The leaders need to set a culture of agile thinking at every level of the organisation and have the ability to tolerate input and debate from all levels of employee.

In essence, agile management eliminates processes that are redundant and places its focus on constantly improving areas with a larger contribution potential to maximising efficiency (the above-mentioned, in fact). However, agility can only be ensured when all of these areas are combined. Thereafter, several criteria of management should be met.

The next article will cover some examples of how leading organisations have moved to becoming more agile.

Dr Mark Bussin is the Executive Chairperson at 21st Century Pay Solutions Group, a Professor at University of Johannesburg, Professor Extraordinaire at North West University, Chairperson and member of various boards and remuneration committees, immediate past President and EXCO member of SARA, and a former Commissioner in the Office of the Presidency. Daniela Christos is a Candidate Human Resources Practitioner at 21st Century Pay Solutions Group. Victor Bergh is the Director at MAC Consulting.

This article appeared in the August 2017 issue of HR Future magazine.

Get the right person in the right seat

You need to find your way through the CV PC BS.

Anyone hiring people will tell you that it takes a lot of resources to get the right person in the right seat. An investment of time and money, both of which are valuable commodities in business. So, when we get a hiring decision wrong it doesn’t give us a return, but rather sets us back and can be an all-round business loss.

We base a potential three to five year working relationship on a two to three hour interview, if we are lucky. This is not something we can afford to get wrong. Then, it’s often a marketing exercise for the interviewee who is fishing the market for better financial opportunities but not really looking to build the business. Let’s not forget that beautiful CV with just enough “PC” to camouflage the “BS”. However, it’s not all doom and gloom, if you look through the PC BS you will find the right person, one who matches the business competence, fits culture and isn’t just in it for the compensation.

Latest studies show that, on average, each corporate job offer attracts 250 CVs. Of those candidates, four to six will get called for an interview, only one will get the job (Glassdoor). Forty-eight per cent of recruiters said they conduct three interviews per candidate (MRI Network). One in two Millennials plans to be with their company one year from now, 50% of Millennials say they’d consider taking a job with a different company for a raise of 20% or less (Gallup). They also make up 45% of the workforce (Dante). We know this is no easy task, particularly when we see that it can cost a company six to nine months of an employee’s salary to find and train a new employee (SHRM).

Too often we look straight at the bottom line.

What is the candidate worth? What do we need to compensate them for doing their job? But there’s more. There are a few things outside the scope of the CV to have a look at. The more you quantify and qualify them, the better you will be at putting the right person in the right seat. These will require your IQ and EQ, but that’s why you do what you do in the first place!

The 4 Cs of Recruitment: Character, Chemistry, Collaboration and Credibility

1. Character is defined as the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. It forms part of their personality, mentality and temperament. Start the interview before you start the interview – if possible, speak to the security guard who let the candidate in, how were they treated? Speak to the receptionist and host staff. How were they treated when the candidate walked in and was offered and brought their coffee?

For the most part, you will get three kinds of candidates, the nervous ones whose palms are sweaty and their mouths are dry. These people tend to shy away from greeting others and can be seen as aloof or distant. They need to put themselves forward! The second candidate is the person who is a “professional interviewee”. They have all the right signs, looks good – smell good, but perhaps just show a bit too much. It’s all about the act! They need to be real. The third candidate is there because they have “arrived” they tend to be arrogant and can treat people with no respect. It is not confidence but rather a degree of insecurity. They need life skills. You see, character is demonstrated by how you treat those who can do nothing for you …

2. Chemistry is the complex emotional or psychological interaction between people. Remember that not everyone is going to like you and you won’t like everyone. You will, however, soon see if this person is a people’s person or not … Take into account both nerves and “fronting” during the interview. Can the two of you get on? They’re not there to make friends but they should deliver a sure sign of being friendly at least. This is where your relationship with your clients kicks in, you need to understand their “people culture”. Will this candidate get in and get on with the people who they will be required to work with and for? Remember that you are in the people business, it’s no longer business to business but rather people to people. When it comes to people, we don’t leave companies – we leave people!

3. Collaboration this is the action of working with someone to produce something. This is going to take some creative questioning from your side. It refers to team and how the candidate works, are they a team player, and if so do they seek all the glory or do they give equal effort and credit where its due. People who have something exciting to tell you about a project or job that produced a great result, will not be short of stories – let them speak. This is where you need to be more interested than interesting.

Leadership is closely linked to collaboration in this regard, so play close attention to responses that they give. Do they have leadership qualities or potential based on how they work together to achieve a target or outcome. What is their style?

4. Credibility is the quality of being trusted and believed in, as the saying goes “If it’s too good to be true – it probably is!” Now your instinct takes over, don’t set the candidate up for failure but ask qualifying questions that will either settle the truth and increase the validity of a situation or decrease it’s worth and credibility.

This can often get the candidate into a bit of a sweat, because they have to tell the truth without embellishment. This is serious but at the same time it’s not an interrogation … no need for good cop bad cop, just be real with them and get them to be real with you – the truth is always out there.

Practise the 4 Cs and watch your hit rate increase!

Wes Boshoff is the Thought Leader at Fivestar Business Rehab.

This article appeared in the August 2017 issue of HR Future magazine.

Spotlight shining on corruption

The pool of light shining on corruption is growing bigger and brighter by the day, reducing opportunities for the unethical and corrupt to act without detection.

In this fourth article in the series, Global Anti-Corruption Insights for HR, we highlight media and technology trends that are combining to turn the tide against corruption. They signal a need for HR to shepherd their organisations to higher ground, rather than risk their drowning in a deluge of reputational and legal jeopardy.

It has been a game-changer. The wide reach of international television news has been surpassed in its information-sharing impact. It is the power of the Internet coupled with smartphone technology, making it possible for people everywhere to share information on public platforms without requiring the traditional media to act as an intermediary. It is citizen activism, shining lights in dark corners and providing two of the key conditions to counter corruption: exposure and evidence.

When a smart phone + video + social media = incontrovertible evidence

We have previously discussed the link between corruption and climate change, for example the depletion of natural resources through illegal deforestation. It’s the reason that environmentalists and anti-corruption experts welcomed a June 2016 announcement that Cambodia’s military police would launch a wide-ranging internal investigation into allegations of official involvement in illegal luxury timber smuggling on its border with Vietnam. According to a report in the Phnom Pen Post, the announced investigation was considered longoverdue by activists, but unnecessary by officials, whose hands were forced when videos were posted online of military police officers taking cash bribes from timber transporters. The original expose article¹ makes a fascinating read and includes a link to the filmed bribe.

When hacktivism + whistleblowing + digital access = damning evidence

It may be a country unfamiliar with corruption, but the people of Iceland were quick to take to the streets in protest against Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson after revelations that he held offshore accounts and an undisclosed conflicting interest in failed Icelandic banks that his government had bailed out. How do we know? A leak of over 11 million documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, known as the Panama Papers, revealed the tax-avoidance arrangements of the powerful and wealthy around the world and led, amongst many other actions, to the resignation of Gunnlaugsson.

The fact that information today is in the main created and stored in electronic format makes organisations vulnerable to exposure by those with access, or with the (illegal) ‘hacking’ skills to breach data security measures and obtain otherwise confidential documents.

Social media is making the age-old practice of blowing the whistle easier for everybody. With some 160 million active users in India at the time of writing, WhatsApp is a service that is becoming more than a free chat application. Thanks to an initiative by the Mahrashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau, citizens in the Indian state of Kerala can now lodge text complaints against corrupt government officials, attaching photographs and videos to their reports, via WhatsApp.

When television + public education programmes = raised national awareness

We turn now to Egypt and China for examples of governments taking awareness-creation messages into family living rooms across their lands using the wide reach of television.

These countries’ presidents, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Xi Jinping, have committed to making the combating of corruption a hallmark of their time in office.

As the holy month of Ramadan commenced in June 2016, the Egyptian government launched its first series of four television advertisements, flighted at times when families were most likely to be gathered for the evening meal, aimed at raising citizens’ awareness of the negative impact of corrupt behaviour. Each advertisement featured an enacted scenario of the different types of behaviour involved in corruption, such as cronyism in the awarding of jobs, and the negative impact on service delivery. With the tagline, ‘Whether it’s deliberate or with good intentions, it’s still your loss and ours’, the series showed that what many accept as normal behaviour can have unintended negative consequences for everyone.

Both reality and high-quality drama series make for compelling viewing, a fact that Chinese authorities have recognised as powerful tools in their fight against official corruption. A high-budget and edgy drama series, In the Name of the People, had the highest viewer ratings in 12 years and has been watched over 300 million times across online video platforms. Its compelling storylines have the input of the state prosecuting authority, bringing a gritty realism to depictions of the complexity and dedication involved in apprehending the corrupt. In a novel reality programme, real-life taped confessions by 77 government officials investigated for corruption were the subject of the eight-part Always on the Road. When the series ended on 27 October 2016, the state owned news agency ran a poll via We Chat, the Chinese equivalent of WhatsApp, encouraging voting for the most genuine confession, stirring public attention and debate.

When ‘bot’ technology + social media = transparency + accountability

If there were an award for anti-corruption citizenship in 2016 it would surely have gone to Swiss investigative journalist François Pilet and his cousin, a former Google engineer. They are the originators of a programme that scans antenna signals around Geneva airport and then automatically tweets from the Twitter account, GVA Dictator Alert, when an aircraft linked to ‘authoritarian regimes’ that may be transporting the proceeds of corruption for safe deposit in Swiss banks is detected.

This automatic tweeting is achieved by a ‘Twitterbot’, or bot programme that produces automatic posts on the microblogging site. The result? Citizens can monitor the comings and goings of their leaders and call for new levels of accountability. See for yourself at @GVA_Watcher.

When Facebook = increased public awareness (regardless of press freedom)

A last word on the role of technology in the fight against corruption must go to a study just published in the Journal of Information Economics and Policy. Researchers from Madden School of Business and Virginia Tech Department of Economics undertook a cross-country analysis of data from over 150 countries that shows that the more Facebook penetrates public usage, the higher the likelihood of government corruption meeting protest².

Significantly, they found that the presence of social media was negatively correlated with corruption regardless of the status of press freedom in a country.

In the next article in this series we turn our attention to the pivotal role that international organisations are playing by requiring that countries enact legislation and implement regulations that prohibit bribery and oblige organisations to implement comprehensive anti-corruption policies.

Penny Milner-Smyth is the HR Director at the South African Sugar Association. She is registered as a Master HR Practitioner with the SABPP, and a member of The Ethics Institute and Business Ethics Network (BEN) Africa. With over 25 years’ experience and an MA in Research Psychology, Penny has a particular interest in the role that business can play in promoting individual and collective ethical capacity. linkedin.com/in/pennymilnersmyth

1 Mech Dara and Igor Kossov, Phnom Pen Post, ‘Despite government bravado, no slowdown in timber smuggling’, 3 June 2016: http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/despite-government-bravado-no-slowdown-timbersmuggling
2 Chandan Kumar Jha and Sudipta Sarangi, ‘Does social media reduce corruption?, Information Economics and Policy (2017), Volume 39, June 2017, pp 60 71: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infoecopol.2017.04.0

This article appeared in the August 2017 issue of HR Future magazine.

To meet or not to meet … That is the question

Meetings are an essential part of the business environment that all employees are required to navigate no matter what the size of the organisation. Meetings, as a task, seem to have no standard practices that govern the proper etiquette. After some investigation it has been found that this lack is a hindrance across many organisations. The question is, how to break out of this mould and start to be more effective in the way business meetings are conducted.

The starting point would be why meeting participants disengage, and here are a few of these reasons:
• The meeting does not really apply to them;
• Participants did not properly prepare for the meeting;
• They do not understand the reason for attending;
• They feel their time is being wasted as nothing has been decided;
• Only one person is doing all the talking in the meeting; and
• The meeting is a griping session rather than having productive outcomes.

Meetings should be or have …

The following are some simple meeting etiquette guidelines that have been identified on how meetings could rather be approached.

An agenda: Understanding the purpose of the meeting and the required outcomes. There is nothing worse than stepping out of a meeting that had no point, no decisions being made or that was inappropriately pitched. Know your goal and clarify expectations upfront. This is such a basic point but crucial for a meeting to be effective.

A designated meeting chairman/facilitator: Ensure that the meeting is focused and the identified agenda points are covered as a minimum. The chairman needs to set a positive tone, celebrate success, interrupt flow to keep focus and act as the guide to meet desired outcomes.

Allocation on the correct amount of time and venue: Ensure you determine the amount of time it would require to engage with participants and to cover the content. It can be very frustrating running out of time and not having met the meeting objectives. It is important to end a meeting when it is supposed to end. If you have not allocated the correct amount of time, starting late or digressing from the topic has a knock-on effect on other meetings. Always aim to have the meeting completed in a portion of the time allocated. Please respect others’ time and arrive on time for scheduled meetings.

Meeting preparation: This includes pre-reading, reports, presentations and so forth. Meetings could be run more efficiently if attendees had prior sight on the contents of the meeting that supports the agenda.

Follow up email to be distributed to nondecision makers: Meetings should be followed up with action points and confirmation of decisions as well as additional inclusion of employees that require the information to ensure transparency. They should not be included in a meeting where it is purely information sharing for them.

Collaboration: Embrace collaboration and make it a team effort when brainstorming. Never say, “No”, as many times, the great ideas come from average ideas that were built on and built on and built on. Give the average ideas a chance. Make it user friendly and don’t leave out the fun.

Meetings should not …

Include seat warmers: Ensure you have only the people that are essential to making the decision or those that will be directly impacted. If you are a seat warmer in a meeting, it is a frustrating position to be in.

Exclude subject matter experts: A key component to make sure that decisions are made is to include the business subject matter experts should questions arise in a meeting. Due to a lack of information or expertise further consultation will be required after the meeting. Additional meetings will have to be scheduled to make the decision that was previously undecided.

Allow mobile phones or non-presenter laptops: The meeting organiser has booked the time because they require your input or expertise. To have effective meetings, mobile phones and laptops should not be allowed to be accessed during the meeting. The decent thing would be to provide the full attention to the person that has arranged the meeting or excuse yourself in case of an emergency.

Be a social or relationship trust builder: If a meeting is used to build relationships, schedule the appropriate time for it after the meeting officially concluded, allowing other members in the meeting to leave to attend to other pressing matters. Rather use cross functional socials and networking opportunities to interact on this level.

Creative ways to address the issue

Have standing meetings: Remove all the chairs. Sitting results in meetings taking longer than required. Employees sit the whole day and this provides a good break between the normal routine. It is great for getting out-of-the-box thinking going as you’re out of the normal comfort zone.

Use creative meeting spaces: This is easy to do and produces some stimulus for ideas and innovation – think of innovative seating arrangements. Ensure that people can’t get too comfortable and break certain boardroom power games that occur.

Eliminate drinks orders: Waiting for coffee and tea orders takes up valuable time and distracts from the purpose of the meeting. Internal meetings should include a “cater for yourself beforehand” scenario to eliminate any time wastage. Sometimes the simplest changes could change the way we conduct ourselves.

Declare “No Meeting Days”: Meetings have a way of breaking your speed when working on projects, deadlines or presentations. If you have an organisation decree on “No Meetings” on a specific day, employees can focus and ensure an increase in productivity.

Deon Smit is the Reward and Systems Manager at Capfin.

This article appeared in the August 2017 issue of HR Future magazine.

People plus planet equals talent magnet

Research reveals that CSR and sustainability programmes form a crucial link with profitability, and they are also emerging as a key differentiator in the recruitment process.

Corporate social responsibility programmes are a key mechanism to boost engagement and attract top talent, research among Top Employers across South Africa shows.
Effective CSR programmes grow the three Ps: profit, people and planet, says increasing this ‘triple bottom line’ is a consistent pattern among Top Employers – and research shows 97% of Top Employers in the country have defined an organisation-wide CSR programme.

Why you should be leveraging CSR

The Top Employers Institute, which certifies and recognises excellence in the conditions employers create for their people globally, helps organisations stay on top of current HR Best Practices. One of the areas that the Top Employers Institute researches is how to ensure an effective CSR programme.

The majority of Top Employers across South Africa implement all these practices in their CSR programmes. Taking CSR seriously as a differentiator is as essential in the competition for talent as it is for reputation-building among stakeholders.

CSR and sustainability programmes are the primary way that organisations demonstrate their willingness to improve society and give back in a meaningful way. As such, these initiatives are emerging as a key mechanism not only to make employees feel proud and involved with the organisation, enhancing organisational culture, but also to attract new talent.

How you should be leveraging CSR

Forbes contributor James Epstein-Reeves agrees that an effectively implemented CSR programme can have a major impact on employee engagement and stakeholder relationships and therefore, ultimately, profitability. Epstein-Reeves cites a link between CSR and innovation, brand differentiation, employee engagement and even long-term cost saving. Effectiveness requires buy-in. Across South Africa, 94% of Top Employers consistently make information about their CSR programme freely accessible to employees, and 87% consistently evaluate their impact and effectiveness. In order to encourage employees to participate, over 75% grant special leave for participation in CSR activities.

South African Top Employer Thermo Fisher Scientific, for example, supports Stop Hunger Now, an international body that coordinates the distribution of food and other life-saving aid. Kirstie Bean, HR Leader Africa for the company, says via Thermo Fisher’s CSR programme, Get Involved, employees from various divisions work together to pack food hampers, sometimes up to 20,000 in one drive.

Leveraging CSR for the longterm

Portia Bangerezako, Head of Sustainability at Top Employer South Africa, Sanlam, says that, as a financial institution, Sanlam aims to help build economic resilience, and their progress is reported annually in the sustainability report. The report links CSR to the company strategy overall, and employees are encouraged to volunteer ideas. Some targets set by Sanlam include reducing their own electricity and water consumption; a transformative partnership with WWF SA, identifying strategic water sources (an open source project which is accessible to all); and a high resolution water risk filter tool to help individuals and companies determine their water risks. Sanlam also piloted a project that allowed for self-sustaining active ownership for organised labour, intended to capacitate union members and enable them to query issues pertaining to Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) targets. Sanlam spent a total of R207 million on skills development for its employees and R116,7 million on enterprise and supplier development in 2016.

Most of these goals are long term. CSR is a marathon, not a sprint, but done right, it benefits all, Bangerezako points out. “We continue to look at a way to improve our business, clients we serve, employees and wider society, and have committed to a way we can have a material impact on the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Billy Elliott is the Country Manager of the Top Employers Institute in South Africa.

This article appeared in the August 2017 issue of HR Future magazine.

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