Bonitas – Why its not another Loyalty programme?

Members of Bonitas Medical Fund will now have access to free lifestyle vouchers as well as discounted offers on gap cover and financial services products through the Fund’s new multi-insurer platform.

Read moreBonitas – Why its not another Loyalty programme?

Is anybody actually guarding the guards?

The question, “Who will guard the guards themselves?” was first posed by first century Roman satirist and poet Juvenalis.In light of the massive corporate corruption now being exposed, it is a question that needs to be asked and answered once again of our country’s auditing profession.

According to the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants’ (SAICA) web site, one of the functions of their members – chartered accountants – is listed as follows:

“Auditing/assurance: Auditors review company systems, financial statements and accounting principles while checking the accuracy of the company’s financial records. The auditor is responsible for issuing an opinion on whether or not annual financial statements fairly present a company’s results and financial position.”

That statement contains three very clear and specific functions. If auditing firms have been doing their jobs properly, don’t you think there would have been no room for the corruption that has allegedly taken place? But, judging by the alleged corruption that has been recently exposed at Bosasa, in plain South African English: Who are Bosasa’s auditors and what the flipping heck have they been doing for the past decade or more?

Again, in plain English:

1. Did they actually review Bosasa’s company systems, financial statements and accounting principles?
2. Did they actually check the accuracy of the company’s financial records?
3. Did they actually issue an opinion on whether or not the annual financial statements fairly represent Bosasa’s results and financial position?

Whoever they are, they need to be held to account along with Bosasa – and all the other auditing firms that appear to have made little (read “big”) oopsies in the way they’ve been auditing corporate South Africa.

Here’s the thing … The corruption that is being exposed is either making fools of our auditing firms or showing them up to be in bed with their clients. Either they’re laughably so incompetent that their clients are fooling them big time, or they’re horrifyingly unethical and corrupt themselves and quite prepared to overlook the dirty tricks of their clients in the name of “business is business”.

If they are found to have turned a blind eye to unethical and/or illegal financial activities on the part of their clients in the interests of continuing to collect their not insignificant fees, they should also be charged with corruption, and/or aiding and abetting corrupt activities.

Another, more uncomfortable question that needs to be asked is: As the foremost accountancy body in South Africa and one of the leading Institutes in the world (so says their web site), what is SAICA itself doing about those of its members who are the auditors who have failed to uncover corrupt accounting practices of their clients? Are they quite happy to be associated with either incompetent or corrupt members?

Another question to be asked is: Are they, as the professional body tasked with overseeing their profession, investigating allegedly unethical members and holding them to account, if need be?

While I have no personal axe to grind, it would be interesting to know if Bosasa’s auditors are members of SAICA and whether SAICA has taken any steps to investigate their role in the alleged corruption that is being revealed at the Zondo Commission.

That begs another uncomfortable question: If no action is being taken against such members, why not?

Ethical South Africans, I urge you to stand up and start making your voices heard! For too long the unethical among us have shouted down the voices of honest people and brought shame upon our country. That will only stop when ethical and honest men and women do something to put a stop to it.

Alan Hosking is the Publisher of HR Future magazine, www.hrfuture.net, @HRFuturemag. He is a recognised authority on leadership skills for the future and teaches experienced business leaders and Millennial managers how to lead with integrity, purpose and agility. In 2018, he was named by US-based web site Disruptordaily.com as one of the “Top 25 Future of Work Influencers to Follow on Twitter“.

Tackle leadership development and succession planning

DeRetta Rhodes shares her insights on leadership development and succession planning with Alan Hosking.

Why is leadership development so important?

When leaders get into a new role, we expect them to already know all that is required in that position, but often times they need augmentation around leading and developing. We need to be much more thoughtful of this, to provide leaders the opportunity to reach their optimal performance. We can provide leaders with different hats, coaching and assessment to understand their leadership style and what they must strengthen. That would allow them to become more rounded in their role, function and capabilities. HR has to be much more prescriptive in how this is done for leaders.

What do HR Directors need to know about succession and workforce planning?

Most organisations have been comfortable with us just doing replacement charts but, with succession planning, there are two components to look at – performance and potential. If you have a high performing individual, you need to consider their potential and ability to do the next two jobs. That forces HR practitioners to work with their leadership and think around what components to focus on.

As HR practitioners, we need to become much more prescriptive of our leaders, and put in place succession planning tools to support that process. This also requires a rigorous performance management process that also works in conjunction with the succession planning tool, for them to both assess and put plans in place for those leaders they are looking to build.

What mistakes do even the best HR Managers make in this area?

HR practitioners do not use this as a fluid tool. Once there is a succession plan in place, it is not the end of the story. We need to be nimble and flexible, always assessing, understanding and helping our leaders make those assessments as well. Changes occur that impact just succession planning, and they need to ensure the process is as agile as the organisation is.

Workforce planning is taking a view of the whole organisation, the entire employee lifecycle from recruiting, training, promotions to forecasting roles and so on. Workforce planning is not just succession planning. You can embed on top of it the organisational lifecycle. When forecasting new positions, how are you aligning that with job descriptions? How are you matching people, either externally or internally, with the strategic direction of the organisation? And once you have the right people, how do you make sure they are relevant and equipped to fulfil their roles?

HR needs to constantly scan the environment, not only externally, which is critical, but also internally. What are the demographics? What does your aging workforce look like? How are you building strength?

What tools does HR often underutilise?

Data analytics. There are systems to track promotions, turnover, forecasting, positions and so forth, but not many HR professionals use data analytics effectively or holistically. It can drive all human capital initiatives and will be a game changer for all of us in the HR profession.

What trends should HR prepare the organisation for?

Many trends are related to the changing profile of our employees. Five or ten years ago, mobile devices were not used like they are today. If you think of how many generations are sitting in your workforce, from Baby Boomers to Millennials, that makes a difference in how people work. We never had this span of generations before.

Any final words of advice?

Always, always, develop yourself. HR practitioners give so much to their organisations, providing great opportunities for staff and leaders to develop, but they do not do the same for themselves. We need to pour into ourselves, to be able to pour back into our organisations. The HR Strategy & Innovation Summit 2019 offered HR executives from across North America an intimate environment for a focused discussion of key new drivers shaping the future of HR. Hosted at the Château Élan Winery and Resort, Braselton, Georgia, on January 27 – 29, the Summit included presentations on agility in HR, predictive workforce analytics, winning approaches for engaging employees, workforce planning, and the art and science of building and transforming culture.

Profile

DeRetta Rhodes was recently appointed Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Atlanta Braves. Previously she was the Chief Human Resources Officer of YMCA of Metro Atlanta in the US, and prior to that the VP Human Resources, Financial Services, at First Data Corporation and VP, Human Resources at Turner Broadcasting. Rhodes was the Chairperson at the marcus evans HR Strategy and Innovation Summit 2019, which took place in Braselton, Georgia, from January 27 – 29.

Are your ethics up for sale?

Angelo Agrizzi’s bombshell revelations at the Zondo Commission have revealed the lengths and depths humans will go to for money.

We must however not blame money for the things people do to get it.

Many people have at some or other time light-heartedly said, “Oh, I’ll do anything for money!” It now appears that more and more business people, politicians and public service employees really will do anything for money. The question is: Why?

There are a few myths about money that need to be highlighted which will help us answer this question.

Money Myth 1: Money is evil

It’s common knowledge that some people regard money as evil. There are also others who regard money as good. But both views are actually incorrect. Money is in fact neither good nor evil but is completely amoral – it merely takes on the morality of the people in whose hands it rests.

Good people will therefore automatically use money to do good things, like help the poor, build hospitals to help the sick and invest in other such philanthropic projects. Evil people will however use money to achieve different goals, like purchase arms and ammunition to kill and maim in the name of their particular cause or use it in other ways to help them achieve their selfish goals.

If you’re a good person, don’t shy away from money. Make a conscious effort to see that the money to which you have access, both in your personal or professional capacities is put to good use.

Money Myth 2: Money corrupts people

As stories of bribery and corruption have emerged, we could be tempted to think the people who gave the bribes and the people who received the bribes were corrupted by money.

That’s not true. Money does not corrupt people. Money simply reveals character. An ethical person who is offered a bribe will not be tempted by money, no matter how much is waved around – or stuffed into a Gucci handbag. They would simply politely decline or return the gift.

I have first-hand experience of such ethical people who simply have no price at which they can be bought. They have never, even for one minute, considered accepting large amounts of money offered to them for dubious reasons. I believe it’s important to make this point because, while corruption needs to be exposed wherever it occurs, we seldom, if ever, get to hear about the good guys who refuse to be bribed. No-one goes around saying, “I was offered a bribe but I didn’t accept it!”

Should you ever be confronted with a person who seeks to bribe you, bear in mind that, should you accept the bribe, you have revealed to yourself the nature of your character as an unethical person. You have declared to yourself and others that your ethics are for sale. You then have to be prepared to live with the consequences that come with having sold your soul.

Money Myth 3: Poor people are fair game for bribes

This myth is based on another myth – that all poor people (who are short of money) are dishonest, while wealthy people (who aren’t short of money) are not. Wealth and poverty have absolutely nothing to do with honesty, integrity and ethics. There are thousands of poor people who are as honest as the day is long and there are thousands of wealthy people who are unethical and greedy. And when you’re greedy you never have enough. No matter how much you get, you always want more.

In the same way that money is amoral, so we need to understand that wealth and poverty cannot and should not be linked to honesty or dishonesty. You will find honest and dishonest people at every level of society.

The important question, though, is: Do you have a price on your head? If you do, your ethics are up for sale.

Alan Hosking is the Publisher of HR Future magazine, www.hrfuture.net, @HRFuturemag. He is a recognised authority on leadership skills for the future and teaches experienced business leaders and Millennial managers how to lead with integrity, purpose and agility. In 2018, he was named by US-based web site Disruptordaily.com as one of the “Top 25 Future of Work Influencers to Follow on Twitter“.

What is agile working and why is it taking off in South Africa?

Agile working, where employers offer fewer constraints and plenty of flexibility to an employee, is increasingly popular in South Africa.

Read moreWhat is agile working and why is it taking off in South Africa?

How to establish an engaged organisation

During these uncertain economic times with competitors lurking around every corner, no business can afford to lose momentum in the market.

Unfortunately, disengaged employees can negatively impact the growth and long-term success of an organisation.

Disengaged employees are emotionally and intellectually disconnected from the goals of the organisation and disinterested in making discretionary investments in achieving it. Because they are less focused on the success of the business, they produce and innovate less.

Often, this results in absenteeism, staff churn, quality defects, stock shrinkages, and harmful attitudes around customer acquisition and retention. There is also the emotional impact on co-workers who want to be engaged to consider as well.

Driving engagement
Research shows that each actively disengaged employee (someone who undermines the business and negatively impacts other employees) costs an average organisation approximately 34 per cent of their annual salary. For large businesses, this can quickly escalate to a significant impact on the financial bottom-line.

To counter this, companies must measure disengagement correctly to understand the symptoms and read the signs. Once done, the business can diagnose some of the triggers causing the disengagement and develop plans to counteract them. Finally, when implemented, it is essential to track and measure progress.

Decision-makers should avoid the temptation of simply establishing a wellness programme and hope that it will be enough to boost engagement.

A wellbeing programme is an important component of an engagement programme as it demonstrates that the employee belongs, is sufficiently valued, that the environment is fair, and that the employer cares. But because there are several other important workplace factors that impact on motivation, wellbeing must be integrated into a bigger plan.

Strategic approach
This holistic workplace strategy must revolve around three core principles – the head, heart and hands.

The head is focused on intellectually aligning each employee. Questions that need to be addressed include whether every employee understands what the business is about, its long-term plans, and its values. Furthermore, can every employee link their role and value to the organisation to the goals and see the impact it will make?

Secondly, the heart revolves around the emotional commitment employees will make to the business. Tactics should consider whether all employees are equally respected, are all employees included in information sharing such as performance feedback, are employees recognised for their achievements, and do all employees have the skills needed to do their best work.

The final component is the hands. This deals with whether employees will engage usefully with the organisation if they are practically enabled. Plans to improve this can revolve around skills development, having access to the right leadership guidance and support, and access to the necessary tools, workspace, resources, and equipment to function at their best.

Engaged businesses outperform disengaged ones by considerable margins. This extends to customer acquisition and retention, brand and experience differentiation, quality of production, talent acquisition and retention, and safety standards. Research shows that increasing engagement by as little as 10 per cent can increase profits by an average of R35 000 per employee annually. Considering the economic environment, this could mean the difference between business success and failure.

Ian McAlister is the General Manager of CRS Technologies.

Do you want to increase your influence as a leader?

If you do any Internet research on leadership and influence, you’re very soon going to come across the quote by John Maxwell that says, “Leadership is influence”.

Read moreDo you want to increase your influence as a leader?

Why companies need to incorporate new roles

The workplace of the future is here, changing rapidly, enabled by new tech and progressive thinking.

As a result, a number of new senior leadership roles are emerging that companies must start incorporating into their leadership teams to position themselves competitively in coming years.

Top teams no longer merely comprise the chief, the finance guru, the operations head and the IT boss. Companies now need excellent leaders who can understand, interpret, and respond to a host of new information metrics, many of which are changing exponentially.

A major global shift is currently taking place, with some leading multinationals increasingly announcing that the lack of a formal university degree will no longer necessarily be a deal-breaker for aspirant young leaders. For example, rigorous tech expertise and training, in some disciplines, are gaining greater credibility than a formal B Degree. While technical mastery of a field will certainly still remain of value, development of the four critical C-skills – Communication, Collaboration, Critical thinking and Creativity – should solidly share the focus for current and aspiring leaders, and companies serious about future growth.

The days are gone where bright and ambitious young people have only a handful of careers – think doctors, lawyers, chartered accountants – to pursue. In a world where even our current generation will start living into our 100s and where technology is changing the way almost everything was done in the past, the need to redefine our roles as humans in the workplace is obvious and urgent.

And, in South Africa, we shouldn’t make the mistake of assuming that this is a global phenomenon that still needs to take root locally. We heard in October that Singularity University – a global community with a mission to educate, inspire, and empower leaders to apply exponential technologies to help solve humanity’s grand challenges – joined hands with SingularityU South Africa, its first African Country Partner.

Although there will be countless new roles emerging in coming years, many of which one won’t even be able to predict right now, there are already a few previously unheard-of positions that companies have started sourcing in the past year.

New roles emerging in the past year include:

• Chief Digital Officer: The CDO is a cross-functional leadership role that interfaces with and influences every area of an organisation. Digital leaders need well-developed EQ and relationship skills in order to be successful in achieving the anticipated outcomes. The CDO definitely needs to be a technical whizz with brilliant ideas, but technical proficiency without the social and influencing skills to get things done is a non-starter.

• Data Science Executive: Companies must ensure they have a highly skilled technical expert who can work with millions of lines of data in order to draw meaningful insights for the business. A far cry from business analysis or business intelligence, which tends to look at the historical picture, data science is predictive in nature, and the executive in question needs to marry technical skills with the commercial acumen needed to translate data-driven insights into business strategy.

• Innovation Officer: This is an operational expert who knows how to see an idea through, or pull the plug when necessary. Rooted in technology-related improvements, this person needs to determine whether something is a good proposition, whether it fits with a company’s ultimate business goals, whether it is it worth the investment, and whether it will radically improve the company’s bottom line and image.

• Agility Coach: Agile ways of working is more than just a catchy phrase, it’s a fundamental shift in the way projects are executed, where roadblocks or problems are identified and controlled for iteratively, and processes improved as the project evolves. An agile coach is a management consultant/trainer/project manager/therapist who is there to help teams break bad habits to reach business goals much quicker.

• Customer Experience Executive (CXO): With customer-centricity now overtaking product-push as a means of growth, customer experience has evolved from a soft focus to a core strategic one, requiring analytical prowess underpinned by high-level business and process improvement skills. The role that CXOs now play, or should be playing, is to be able to understand the market based on the right metrics and analytics and, most importantly, to respond rapidly where action is required.

• Impact Investment Executives: Professionals who can successfully lead and grow companies with a dual mandate of economic and social returns are in high demand throughout Africa. Private equity, venture capital and debt funds who invest in Africa seek deal-makers and fund managers who can achieve more than just the financial bottom line, but also a positive social impact combined with sustainable growth.

So as a starting point, companies should consider right now whether appointing a leader in one or more of these roles will help them grow and remain competitive. At the very least, they should be contemplating the potential value of these kinds of resources. To stick your head in the sand and ignore the inevitable changes is just not an option.

Advaita Naidoo is the COO at Jack Hammer.

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