Employment Equity (EE) is key to people strategy and transformation, and a core competence for employing organizations. It is without doubt one of the many strategic competences for the employing organizations in South Africa. Compliance with Employment Equity by the designated employing organizations is a mandatory condition for doing business in the country. It is crucial that the company understands the historical perspective of Employment Equity, and the prior initiatives like Black Advancement Programmes, even though they were not legislated. This historical perspective anchors Employment Equity in the centre of the economic struggles of the South African blue collar and white collar workers. We cannot forget and wish away the inequalities of the past that led to the introduction of a stream of interventions like Employment Equity Act, Skills Development Act, Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment, Diversity Management & Inclusion, etc.
We coordinate and facilitate induction and orientation workshops on the Employment Equity Act for the company’s management and leadership teams. The objective is to obtain their buy-in and support for the company’s Employment Equity Programme. We will facilitate a conversation with key stakeholders to create broader understanding of how Employment Equity relates to Affirmative Action, Skills Development Act, Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment, Diversity Management & Inclusion, Disability Programmes, and now the National Development Plan (NDP).
Annual completion and submission of the EEA2 forms to the Employment Equity Registry of the Department of Labour is not full compliance in a sense. It is only part of it. A company that wants to fully comply with Employment Equity will have to do more than mastering the completion and submission of the EEA2 forms. It must have a well designed and structured Employment Equity Programme that is transformational, strategic, and operationally effective. The Employment Equity Programme should entail empowerment, education and training of the employees; consultation with the employees; producing five year plans, and reporting annually to the Department of Labour by the CEO of the company.
Employment Equity is an organizational intervention that cannot be implemented by only a few company officers. It affects multiple stakeholders, and it is expected that they will all contribute. However, the company must possess the ability to formulate the roles that each stakeholder (internal and external) will play. Some stakeholders are at the strategic level, others are at administrative, operational, management, leadership levels. The roles formulation must take these differences in levels of practice into consideration.
The implementation and integration of the Employment Equity into other business processes cannot happen without the process owners in the organization. Employment Equity must not be viewed as intruder into the conventional business processes. It must be viewed as an add on that brings in competitive advantage and facilitates transformation of the organization.
The process owners must be assisted in understanding how Employment Equity is enriching their processes and work. After all they are the champions of their own processes. If they are not brought into the Employment Equity Programme, they will ignore and undermine it. This is especially the case if they personalise Employment Equity and view themselves as the non-beneficiaries thereof.
Employment Equity is one of those interventions that cannot be forced onto the employees and other stakeholders (internal and external) of the company. One of the sub-programmes of the company’s Employment Equity Programme is the company’s Employment Equity Internal Advocacy Programme. The employees and all the other stakeholders must be convinced that Employment Equity is implemented for the right reasons, and it is meant to benefit them too.
It is the best practice for the company to establish the stakeholder representative structure, commonly known as Employment Equity Forum. It is a forum that is made up of the employees at all levels, in all categories, in the company. The members of the Forum must be inducted, oriented, empowered, and trained to be able to deliver on those best practice roles of the Forum.
Once the company approves the formation of the Employment Equity Forum, it becomes the governance structure of the Employment Equity Programme. The process of nominating and electing the members of the Employment Equity Forum must follow approved standard operating procedures. The process must be all inclusive, clearly defined, transparent and incorporated into the company Employment Equity Policy and Forum Charter.
The Company is not expected to run parallel policy drafting processes just for the Employment Equity. The same process that the company follows in drafting and approving any other policies must be followed for the Employment Equity Policy.
It is advisable that the company delegate the implementation of the Employment Equity Programme to the divisions and departments of the company. This is more so for companies that are big with diversified Business Units and Divisions. The identification, training and development of Divisional Employment Equity Champions are the best practices. These champions will make sure that the management of the divisions of the company do not ignore the Employment Equity Programme. They localise the ownership of the company’s Employment Equity Programme and contribute to the delivery of the company’s Employment Equity strategy.
We pride ourselves with the ability to go beyond the conventional consulting in Employment Equity. We bring in Coaching, Mentoring, and Advisory Services in supporting the company’s Employment Equity Officers, Champions, Process Owners, Forum Members, Management, and Leadership. In other words we become the company’s partners on a long-term basis to ensure that the company succeeds in making the implementation of Employment Equity Programme its core strategic competence.