Tag: workers

What do Millennials want at work?

Analysing and interpreting Millennials is an industry in itself, but are they really as different as experts would have us believe – especially when it comes to the workplace?

Richard Andrews, MD of Inspiration Office, says, “While pointed descriptions of what makes Millennials unique are presented as self-evident, very few are supported with solid empirical research.

“On the contrary, a growing body of evidence suggests that employees of all ages are much more alike than different in their attitudes and values at work.

“If gaps do exist, they amount to small differences that have always existed between younger and older workers throughout history and have little to do with the Millennial generation.”

And there are plenty of examples as evidence.

“Even the most widely accepted stereotypes about Millennials appear to be questionable” Andrews noted, pointing to a recent study by IBM’s Institute for Business Value. The report entitled Myths, Exaggerations and Uncomfortable Truths – The real story behind Millennials in the workplace was based on a multigenerational study of 1 784 employees from companies across 12 countries and six industries. It found that about the same percentage of Millennials (25%) want to make a positive impact on their organisation as Gen Xers (21%) and Baby Boomers (23%). Differences were uniformly minimal across nine other variables as well.

A 2015 study commissioned by international business broadcaster CNBC showed similar results.

“Looking at the importance of six traits in a potential employer — ethics, environmental practices, work-life balance, profitability, diversity and reputation for hiring the best and brightest — the CNBC study found found that Millennial preferences are just about the same as the broader population on all six.

“In fact, contrary to the hard-to-please image, Millennials reported being more satisfied with the training and skills development they receive. And 76% were satisfied with their opportunities for promotion, 10 percentage points higher than the rest of the population.”

A KPMG study also showed Millennials also to also be virtually identical to their older colleagues on every measure of overall engagement such as pride in the organisation, optimism about the firm’s future and trust in leadership.

So why do so many people perceive Millennials as so different? An interesting study was carried out by researchers from George Washington University in which they reviewed 20 studies examining generational differences.

“The conclusion was that meaningful differences among generations probably do not exist in the workplace. The small differences that do appear are likely attributable to factors such as stage of life more than generational membership, “ Andrews notes.

“For example, one of the prevailing perceptions of Millennials is that they have much higher traits of narcissism. But interestingly, this study shows it’s a trait more associated with young people, and not linked to when you were born.”

Andrews added that the myth of the job-hopping Millennial is just that — a myth. The data consistently showed that today’s young people are actually less likely to job hop than previous generations.

In light of all this evidence, it’s likely that companies pursuing Millennial-specific employee engagement strategies are wasting time and money.

“They would be far better served to focus on factors that lead all employees to join, stay, and perform at their best,” Andrews added. “And those factors are the same for all workers – a winning organisation they can be proud of, an environment in which they can make the most of their skills, good pay and fair treatment and enjoyable, fulfilling work.”

Technology is making workspaces and work styles more flexible and collaborative by the day. Cutting-edge personal devices continue to infiltrate the workplace and with cloud computing and superior Internet connectivity, the idea of working from anywhere is the new norm. The physical workspace is evolving from static to dynamic to meet changing business and employee needs.

Bring your own device (BYOD) is a growing trend that permits employees to use personal devices such as laptops, tablets and smart phones in the workplace to access company information and applications. From increased productivity and reduced hardware, software and networking costs, to increased convenience, employee satisfaction and work-life balance, there is no reason not to foster a BYOD culture.

To BYOD or not to
Studies show that a BYOD policy can boost productivity by 34% and save workers well over an hour every day as employees work faster on devices they are comfortable with. New employees have a decreased learning curve associated with new devices. When tech hungry employees bring trailblazing technology into the workplace, it is bound to save time and boost productivity.

Roughly 75% of employees in high growth global markets and 45% in developed markets are currently using their own devices at work. In South Africa, BYOD is still in the early stages of adoption. Nevertheless, it is fast becoming an achievable must-have with the aid of security, device management and network scalability solutions to manage BYOD on business networks.

Overcoming the challenges
Data is the lifeblood of any business but giving employees access from anywhere on personal devices is enough to keep business owners up at night. Do their devices have the right security measures in place? Who else has access to their devices? What happens when devices are lost or stolen?

Start with the right cyber security. With Nashua’s Managed Document Solutions (MDS), businesses can harness the remote workforce by enabling secure access to documents from any device, provided employees have the appropriate access privileges. It considers whether documents can be saved onto personal devices and if so, what security measures need to be in place. MDS also takes into account the workforce’s need for secure and convenient access to business applications, bearing in mind that these are no longer protected by the business’ IT security.

BYOD is marred by grey areas, particularly regarding security, device monitoring and employee privacy and reimbursement. That said, best practices and policies are continually refined to strike a balance between business and employee needs. BYOD offers a win-win situation so instead of fretting about risks that may never materialise, invest in solutions that can bridge the gap.

Before stepping into the BYOD space, start preparing for device integration with a detailed digital strategy. Draw up a policy that stipulates usage terms at work and outside of the office. It must clearly communicate the implications of data breaches and should make employees aware of any device monitoring technologies used to track business-related activities.

Consider your network scalability and capability to accommodate the influx and simultaneous use of personal devices. Studies show that businesses need at least 20% more Wi-Fi capacity and sufficient wireless bandwidth to support mobile devices. As far possible, businesses should specify access rights and only authorise access to confidential information on a need-to-know basis. Businesses can also improve end-point security by enforcing the installation of the latest security programs and anti-malware and by linking devices to secure cloud-based network and data storage services.

To capitalise on the benefits of an increasingly flexible workspace, businesses must embrace BYOD as a powerful tool that can empower workforces and boost business productivity.

Plan for further load shedding, warns Eskom

Source: News24

While consumers were spared load shedding on Monday, the power utility has cautioned South Africans to remain on the alert for further power cuts.

In a statement on Monday evening, Eskom warned that the power system continues to be constrained.

“Customers are advised to keep checking their load shedding schedules on the Eskom and their municipal websites, and plan on the assumption that load shedding will take place,” it said.

“We thank all customers for using electricity sparingly during this period, assisting us to pull through the evening peak.”

The country has since last Thursday experienced routine blackouts, as Eskom battles to restore supply challenges created by workers’ demonstrations at power plants.

The power utility has reported a significant increase in plant outages and bottlenecks in routine maintenance, because of a lack of resources to operate plants optimally.

Eskom said that blackouts can be expected for the next 10 days.

Workers had left their work posts because of intimidation and violence by fellow employees, who are demanding salary increases.

Load shedding schedules are available on the Eskom website loadshedding.eskom.co.za. Customers can also contact the customer contact centre at 0860 037 566.

Meanwhile, Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe in a tweet reminded Johannesburg City Power consumers that planned maintenance will take place in certain areas “after the Tunisia vs England match”.

Source: Fin24; The Citizen

The National Minimum Wage Bill submitted before the National Assembly on Tuesday is a historic achievement – a direct response to the call made in the 1955 Freedom Charter, and a first since the dawn of South Africa’s, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant said on Tuesday.

The National Minimum Wage Bill, which sets minimum wages at R3 500 a month or R20 an hour, was passed with 202 votes from mostly ANC benches. The other two Bills, the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill and Labour Relations Amendment Bill also passed with the same number of votes.

All three Bills have been severely criticised by opposition parties, as well as Saftu.

All three bills were passed by the National Assembly and will be sent to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence.

“Every journey starts often with a small step. The journey to address the plight of the lowest paid workers reached a milestone,” she said. Oliphant added that even though the bills seemed “mild”, they are “groundbreaking” in character.

Referring to the “robust engagement” between social partners throughout the formulation of the bills, Oliphant said it is a reminder that democracy is alive and real in South Africa.

“We must recognise that we may not agree all the time, it is normal to disagree at times.”

The national minimum wage seeks to improve the lives of the lowest paid workers in the labour market and will address the inequality challenge in South Africa and by extension poverty, Oliphant explained.

A national minimum wage commission will also be established to take over the functions of the Employment Equity Commission. The commission will review the national minimum wage, currently at R20 per hour, annually.

Oliphant added that the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Billl has proposed amendments as a consequence of the National Minimum Wage Bill.

It is designed to reinforce and create an “enabling legal environment” for the national minimum wage. It also redefines the role of the Council for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration on matters which may arise as a result of the implementation of the minimum wage.

The Labour Relations Amendment Bill in turn will give effect to a code of good practice on strengthening collective bargaining, preventing violent and prolonged strikes.

The bulk purpose of the amendments is purely administrative – preventing employers from side-stepping new legislation without following due processes, she explained.

“For far too long millions of South Africans [have sat] on the margins of economic and social progress,” said Oliphant.

The disconnect between those at the top and those at the bottom must be addressed, and the wealth creators and disadvantaged in society should be brought together.

African National Congress MP and chairperson of the portfolio committee on labour Sharome Van Schalkwyk hit back at claims that the committee rushed the process of considering the amendments.

She added that the R20 per hour rate is a starting point, increasing the income of more than six million South Africans. The benefit of this move will have a wider reach as these workers often have to support their families.

She also criticised the call by the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) for a minimum wage of R12 500, calling it a “massive shock” to the economy.

“We must be realistic and not reckless in the process,” said Van Schalkwyk.

Democratic Alliance MP Michael Bagraim criticised the “undue and desperate haste” with which the bills ran through the portfolio committee.

He also raised concerns over the job losses that would follow. He noted that Saftu did not have a fair opportunity to make its submissions in the consultation processes.

Economic Freedom Fighters MP Thembinkosi Rawula also shared views that government should not exclude Saftu from making submissions.

Saftu is also against the national minimum wage of R20 per hour. It previously held marches across various cities in the country in a national strike in April, demanding a living wage.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Costau) meanwhile issued a statement on Tuesday welcoming the finalisation of the bills. It has called for Parliament to adopt them speedily so that the president can sign them into law.

Cosatu has said that even though a minimum wage is not a living wage, a living wage cannot be legislated. “In fact no country has legislated a living wage.

“That is something that unions and workers must campaign for. That is something that government must work towards. That is something that business must be compelled to do,” parliamentary coordinator Matthew Parks said.

Cosatu also hit out at Saftu for slamming the Labour Relations Amendment Bill. Saftu believes the bill will make it impossible for trade unions to organise protected strikes, even after attempts for a negotiated settlement reach deadlock, the federation claimed.

Cosatu said the bill does not collapse the right to strike.

Uniting labour

Saftu acting spokesperson Patrick Craven told Fin24 that it is unfortunate that Cosatu supports the labour bills, but the federation has requested to meet up with Cosatu to discuss issues of “common interest”.

These comprise poverty, inequality, unemployment, privatisation and the VAT hike. Saftu has not yet had a response from Cosatu on the matter.

Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said that the congress is aware of the request and plans to meet with Saftu within the next two weeks, once secretary general Bheki Ntshalintshali is back in the country.

“We want to explore a situation to unite workers when it comes to policy questions.” He said it is important to look at what unites workers, rather than the issues that divide them.

Source: Business Day

Nearly 12% of the South African workforce spent more than 60 hours a week on the job. This is despite SA’s labour laws prohibiting more than 45 hours a week.

Mining and retail are the two sectors in which you are likely to work the hardest in SA‚ according to a composite review of professions around the world.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation Development (OECD) says of the almost 50 countries sampled‚ SA was the fifth hardest working country with workers spending an average of 43.3 hours a week on the job. Looking only at jobs in the formal sectors‚ the OECD found the mining industry to be in the lead with workers putting in an average of 45.3 hours a week.

TimesLIVE spoke to Desire Mokoena‚ a mine production planner from Mpumalanga, who said mineworkers‚ particularly those in production‚ worked 12-hour shifts‚ mostly six days a week. Sharing her perspective from a woman in mining‚ Mokoena said that while the career could be rewarding‚ it was not always conducive for women.

She gave an example of sanitation for women working underground‚ concerns about personal safety‚ and the physicality of the work.

“As you advance forward [in the mine], you leave the toilets behind. As a woman‚ what are the chances of me having to go back to the [entrance] far away to walk to the bathrooms? It is not safe anymore. There are illegal miners underground so anything can happen. So normally the women would find a corner at the pillars and just relieve themselves … It is dark‚ no one can see you‚ but it is unhygienic‚” she said‚ adding there were no breaks in between the shifts.

Ten hours were spent on labour while the other two hours were spent travelling to and from the operations site underground.

“Underground‚ a lot of things need manpower. You pull cables‚ get onto a high machine, and remember‚ the ground is not level. They say it’s uncomfortable for women. Other women end up having back problems because of such things‚” said Mokoena.

According to the OECD‚ wholesale and retail came in second with workers clocking in an average of 44.7 hours‚ followed by finance and business services at 43.7, and transport and communication at 43.6 hours.

Lily Kok, who has years of retail experience, said, “Retail is one of the easiest industries to get into after matric. When you’re looking for a job‚ in most cases‚ retail would be the first to welcome you into the working field. So I think that’s the first option that people go for.”

With a six-day work week‚ averaging eight hours a day‚ Kok spends about 48 hours a week at work. Most of these hours are spent on her feet. “The only rewarding thing I would say is seeing your customers happy and pleased with the service you have given them‚” she said‚ suggesting there was not a lot of financial gain with the job.

60 hours a week

The OECD said nearly 12% of the South African workforce spent more than 60 hours a week on the job. This is despite SA’s labour laws prohibiting more than 45 hours a week and no more than 10 hours in overtime.

Quoting research from the Stellenbosch University’s Bureau for Economic Research‚ the OECD said men worked the hardest. “SA’s hardest workers are black men younger than 45 in a semi-skilled occupation and lucky enough to have a permanent job in a country with high unemployment.”

The study said women were more likely to work shorter hours‚ because they “tend to be more educated and work in the professional sector”.

But knocking off from work does not necessarily mean they are over for the day. For many women‚ leaving work means the beginning of another task — housekeeping.

“South African women without a housekeeper spend 183 minutes a day on housework‚ as opposed to 75 minutes for men. Women living with children also spent an average of 87 minutes a day taking care of them‚ compared to men‚ who spent seven minutes‚” the OECD said.

Working hours were shorter in more economically thriving provinces such as Gauteng and the Western Cape. These provinces had a high concentration of highly skilled workers.

According to the report: “The average working hours in these more affluent provinces is affected by migration from other provinces. The Eastern Cape also had some of the lowest working hours‚ but that was because so few people had permanent employment in the impoverished province.”

By Tehillah Niselow for Fin24 

Thousands of workers are expected to take to the streets on Wednesday for a one day strike as the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) plans to make the country “ungovernable”.

The federation marched to parliament on April 12 and handed over a memorandum of demands but they say that the response did not address their concerns and workers will embark on nationwide action to put pressure on members of parliament to reject several labour bills making their way through parliament.

Saftu, led by dynamic general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, was formed exactly one year ago.

Fin24 took a closer look at their plans for the general strike.

When: Wednesday 25 April 2018

How: Section 77 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) allows workers to undertake protected strike action to promote their social and economic interests. Saftu’s application to the Section 77 Sub-Committee of the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) was unsuccessful but three trade unions affiliated to Saftu; NUPSAW, ICTU and Salipswu made a similar Section 77 application to Nedlac and it was granted.

On Wednesday, all employees, regardless of whether they are Saftu members or non-unionised may join the strike under the ‘no work, no pay principle’.

Who: According to unaudited figures, Saftu has 800 000 members. The largest affiliate is the biggest trade union in SA, the National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) with approximately 300 000 members, mostly in the manufacturing sector.

“We want everyone to join, in particular appealing to rank and file members [of other unions], many of them will be disgusted that their leaders voted for the [labour law] changes, without a mandate”, Saftu spokesperson Patrick Craven told Fin24.

Where: Saftu is expected to announce the nationwide routes at a press conference on Monday.

Why Saftu is taking to the streets

1. Labour law amendments

Parliament is currently considering amendments to the Labour Relations Act‚ the Basic Conditions of Employment Act‚ and the new National Minimum Wage Bill.

“Various amendments to labour laws will make it incredibly difficult to strike, it’s already quite difficult,” Craven said.

He said that the new labour bill making its way through parliament will include more rigorous requirements for pre-strike balloting and that this will be difficult for smaller unions with limited funds.

Craven added that the proposed amendments to the LRA will also allow for the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to intervene in strikes deemed to be lengthy and/or violent.

2. Minimum wage

Saftu objects to the R20 an hour minimum wage agreement, which was set to be implemented on 1 May but has since been postponed due to lengthy parliamentary processes.

“We want a living wage, we haven’t set a specific figure [but] we were very impressed with Marikana Lonmin workers who wanted R12 500. R20 is an insult to their memory,” Craven said.

The Parliamentary portfolio committee on labour said on Friday it will refer the National Minimum Wage Bill back to the labour department to be redrafted so that it includes public input received by the committee.

3. Nedlac membership

Craven said that the nationwide marches on Wednesday “are linked to the campaign to be recognised by Nedlac”.

Saftu remains in the cold, outside of Nedlac, the forum which negotiated the minimum wage and the labour law amendments between the three other union federations, government, business and the community sector.

Requirements for Nedlac membership include audited membership figures and financial statements.

Saftu maintains it does not have these yet as the federation was only formed a year ago and the admissions procedures at Nedlac are too onerous.

Who will not be part of the general strike?

Cosatu – the Congress of South African Trade Unions spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said that while they agree with Saftu that the R20 per hour minimum wage is inadequate, it’s a starting point to improve workers’ lives and the figure is what the “South African economy could give us”.

Pamla added that the amendments to the LRA do not represent a dramatic change to the labour landscape as they were already provided for in the legislation, they just weren’t enforced.

At loggerheads since the formation of Saftu in April 2017, Pamla said that they have good working relations with the two other federations at Nedlac, Fedusa and Nactu and need to work with Saftu in the future.

Nactu – the National Council of Trade Unions general secretary Narius Moloto said that the federation believed that the minimum wage is “historic” as it will benefit 40% of workers, currently earning below R20 per hour.

With regard to amendments to the labour law, Moloto said they will not make embarking on strike action more difficult; “we don’t really understand what they’re protesting about”.

Fedusa (the Federation of Unions of South Africa) general secretary Dennis George said that the organisation won’t be joining the strike as the minimum wage was negotiated with government. He added that 4,5-million workers will be covered by the R20 per hour salary and this will be “a huge benefit to the country”.

The “humAIns” are coming

By Sudipto Ghosh for MarTechSeries

According to the latest Accenture report on the future of workplace collaborations, businesses that manage to balance human ingenuity with machine intelligence will be successful. Released just ahead of the World Economic Forum 2018 in Davos, Accenture’s AI report takes a positive stance on the need to grow investments into AI and Human-Machine collaboration over the next five years.

So, what can we expect at such a ‘modern’ workplace?

Let’s call the new professionals that you could be hiring and collaborating with, by 2022 “the humAIns”.

Who are humAIns?

HumAIns are machine-driven, human-centric workplace assistants that demonstrate the highest ability to deliver “Live” customer experiences. No biases, even with millions of insights to deal with from historical data, the HumAIns will boost three aspects of any business:

  • Increase revenues
  • Maximise profits
  • Guarantee human employment with respectable salaries

According to the Accenture report on AI-Human collaboration, the HumAIns could boost revenues by 38% and grow employment opportunities by 10 percent between 2018 and 2022.

The convergence of AI and the human race within economic circles
The HumAIns (no more a hypothesis), would propel the adoption of technology across industries. The economic fields of study for AI would expand further into these five categories:

  • Deep Learning: Synchronous group of machines running on powerful algorithms led by a human expert.
  • Robotization: Machines take over humans, freeing the creative minds to focus on refining business strategies.
  • Dematerialization: Voice search, intelligent assistants, automatic streaming tools, and contactless payment solutions.
  • In-app Workforce; Employees share their availability and managers delegate tasks via apps, also part of Gig economy and crowd-working.
  • Autonomous Operations: Driving tech, sensor technologies, IoT, and drones powered by AR/VR, turning into the norm.

Humanisation of technology

Almost all first-world countries are prepared for the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”. For example, the Netherlands became the first country to set up a nationwide internet of things network. With this move, The Netherlands has enabled the connection of more intelligent devices than it has inhabitants.

“Go digital. Use VR, AR and Al to accelerate the speed and scale of effective training.” – Accenture, Reworking The Revolution

While the cost of employment is a chief reason why developed countries are seeking smarter technologies to replace humans, growing economies like India, China, and Bangladesh still benefit from the availability of low-cost, medium-skilled workers in all industrial sectors.

As all countries grow in terms of industrial parity, employment standards would also incline majorly towards robotization, automation, and dematerialization. This opens up a new horizon for HumAIns to make their presence felt.

HumAIns would hire people for their skills and not for their personal choices. The intelligent assistants would manage the entire value chain of man, machine, material, money, and to an extent, mind too.

The Darker Side: HumAIns Crack the Whip on ‘Dark’ Data Science

Most businesses have a sense of what Big Data is. But analyzing ‘unstructured’ data is still a mystery (something with no label of what data-type it is, or what family it belongs to — not even the source)! HumAIns, taking a cue from the Apple-Lattice Data amalgamation, or from the newest in the market, Vyasa Analytics, could enable the machine’s “cortex” to ask pertinent questions on the ‘Who-What-Where-When-How’ in analyzing Dark Data.

For HumAIns, the power of collaborative analytics in Dark Data would open new fields of opportunities across the verticals and horizontals in business. A large part of that would benefit how CMOs zero in on their tech stack.

HumAIns in B2B Technology: A Cool Angle to Working with Machines

HumAIns would erase the need for having human supervision for the common marketing activities, that mostly deal with interactions and problem-solving at all stages of operations. The activities are:

  • Customer Targeting and Retargeting
  • Media Buying
  • Cross-channel Marketing Executions
  • Testing, Optimization, and Personalization
  • Analytics and Insights

For a CMO working with a HumAIn, the foreseeable benefits could include:

  • Savings in time, money, and human resources
  • Unbiased collaboration 24/7/365
  • More accurate, quicker, and justifiable investment decisions
  • Competitive intelligence with clear focus on revenue acceleration
  • Uncompromising and unending repository of intelligence and measurable emotion into marketing and advertising
  • Delightful customer experiences with the highest return on personalization
  • Higher-value in problem-solving with real-time historical references to common challenges in marketing

Will AI take away jobs? Certainly not, if you know how to collaborate with the HumAIns. Trusting what Accenture report suggests, “Foster a new leadership DNA. Cultivate leaders at all levels to help pivot the workforce to new growth models.” What part of that DNA would match up to HumAIns? Interesting thought, isn’t it?

Successful companies the world over are making the necessary shift of recognising the value of the workplace as a business tool to help hire and keep the best talent.

Linda Trim, director at workplace specialists Giant Leap, says that for South African companies, the overarching imperative must be to see workplace strategy as a business opportunity rather than a just a design challenge and a cost containment exercise.

With 80% of the average company’s costs tied to its talent, which is increasingly globally mobile, here are the top 5 workplace changes South African companies will need to adopt in the next 2 years to keep pace with international trends:

1. Build the ‘Internet of Workplace’
In larger companies, “Internet of Things” (IoT) integration has so far primarily been at the building level, using real-time dashboards to track workplace occupancy, building water consumption, elevator usage, temperatures and more.
“However, threads of the next stage of this are starting to emerge, “ Trim notes.

“Companies are starting to embrace everything from smartphone apps that control the window shades, to tablets in meeting rooms that enable employees to order a coffee through a virtual concierge or to adjust the temperature.”
Companies that build a workplace linked by internet connectivity – an “Internet of Workplace” – will leverage devices, furniture and environments that interact digitally to drive productivity.
For example, Dutch bank ABN Amro is using occupancy data to help employees find available workspaces, and analysing traffic patterns around lunchtime to manage lift rush hours.

2. Ingrain the co-working mentality in real estate strategy
By 2020, there will be 26 000 co-working locations worldwide. By comparison, there are 24 000 Starbucks globally. Initially, co-working was simply a term for the use of a shared workspace that businesses – many of them individual entrepreneurs or small startups.

“Today, top class co-working spaces like FutureSpace in Sandton, are used by a wide variety of businesses, including multinational companies,“ says Trim.
In the future, companies will also need to think more about accessing office space rather than owning or leasing it. This paradigm shift will require an evaluation of “core” and “ flexible” space needs so that businesses can execute a real estate strategy that minimises cost and maximises opportunities.

3. Make employee experience a core part of business strategy
While most business leaders already have an understanding of the importance of employee engagement, three-quarters of those surveyed in a Harvard Business Review study said that most of their employees are not highly engaged.

Says Trim: “Engagement and productivity can have a direct impact on the bottom line. One of the best ways that companies can ensure that their employees are engaged is to dedicate someone entirely to the employee experience. By creating a position of a chief experience officer, you can focus attention and resources to reduce work-day friction and create positive experiences for employees.”

4. Create a workplace that makes people healthier
Low productivity due to poor health damages companies profitability. In the U.S. for example, overweight workers and those with chronic health conditions account for more $153 billion in lost productivity annually.
“To combat these trends, wellness is and will remain one of the hottest topics in workplace design, “ said Trim.
“Employees will soon expect to be healthier when they leave the office than when they arrived. This will be thanks to access to high-quality air, natural light, water and healthy food choices, plus wellness programs with opportunities for exercise, health care services and social engagement.”

Technology can also play a role. Some European companies encourage employees to wear Fitbits and answer daily questions to assess exercise levels, stress levels, productivity and overall well-being. Employees then translate data-driven insights into decisions around how, where and when to work.
“By 2020, we expect that the importance of benchmarking built- environment performance to wellness standards will increase dramatically,” Trim adds.

5. Enable an agile organisation
Most organisations have dedicated teams with certain expertise that work on specific products or services for clients.
“Due to changing client demands, a quickly shifting environment and evolving technologies, organisations are starting to rethink these structures by prioritising collaboration between teams, breaking down silos.
The “agile organisation” is a term that’s getting a lot of attention right now,” said Trim.
To boost collaboration between people with different areas of expertise and backgrounds, agile organisations must be able to bring people physically together to work. Collaborations are key, which means that more people will come to the office and average occupancy rates will increase. Additionally, formal planned meetings are replaced by short, effective “meeting moments” and continuous informal collaboration within teams.
According to a study from McKinsey & Company, businesses that are deploying agile development at scale have accelerated their innovation by up to 80 percent.
“The year 2020 isn’t that far away. It is critical for South African companies to make space and location decisions that create engaging and productive experiences for employees,” Trim concludes.

Brave new world of retail bad for workers

South African grocery retailers are taking their cue from global players, and as a result the retail workforce may be under threat as technology continues to rattle the sector.

About three years ago the biggest retailer in the world, US-based Walmart, embraced smaller-format stores as its superstores began falling out of favour with customers, and signalled it would employ a more rationalised workforce.

This year, the group announced a further reduction in staff as it focused more on e-commerce business. About 18 000 people lost their jobs out of a workforce of 2.3 million employees globally.

Similarly, UK-based retailer Tesco cut 1200 staff jobs in its head office after cutting 1 100 jobs in its call centre.

Walmart competitor Amazon has only 34400 staff, although it said in January it expected to add 100 000 people to its workforce in the next 18 months.

Andre Roux, head of the future studies programme at Stellenbosch University, said technology had been a significant disruptor in recent times, but several other issues were influencing the way companies were seeing the labour force.

“Robots can work for up to 40 days in a row for 24 hours a day”.

Robots would gradually replace human labour, he said.

“No one owes anybody a job. There’s no entitlement. You are only going to be employed if you can make an efficient contribution,” said Roux.

The fastest-growing employment was self-employment, as opposed to working for one organisation for many years.

“The whole idea of cradle to grave or womb to tomb is becoming more and more outdated,” Roux said.

“In the future, people will probably work for 20 or more organisations during their careers – just a couple of years at a time.

“That has implications for how one builds up one’s pension fund. It becomes one’s own responsibility.”

But in a country such as South Africa, which was part of a developing region, there was a disjuncture between adopting first-world ways of doing business on the one hand, and dealing with issues such as an unskilled labour force on the other.

“Although we are a developing country, these days you’ve got to be as good as the best.

“We have to follow new trends but at the same time be aware of our own unique challenges.

“As it is we have a surplus of unskilled labour and a shortage of appropriately skilled labour.”

According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey, South Africa’s unemployment rate was 27.7% in the first quarter of 2017, the highest unemployment rate since September 2003.

In the current retail climate, Pick n Pay’s self-service checkout points may be the biggest threat of all to labour.

Bones Skulu, general secretary of the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (Saccawu), said the union was challenging the installation of self-service checkouts.

It would continue calling on workers to embark on industrial action in response to technology that had the potential to replace labour.

He added that Saccawu was expecting further job cuts by Pick n Pay across various divisions.

For those on the shop floor, the changes are telling. Perceptions among staff are that more work has to be done by fewer people.

By Palesa Vuyolwethu Tshandu for Business Live

Employees intend on taking advantage of their sick leave to stay away from work when in truth they really just can’t face a day in the office.

Almost 40% of South Africans are planning on “pulling a sickie” in June or July, according to a survey released by Pharma Dynamics on Monday.

The generic pharmaceutical company polled 1 500 workers across the country to find out how people were gearing up for the colds and flu season. However, respondents also let slip the time of year they are most likely to ring in sick, said Pharma Dynamics.

Bad weather coupled with colds and flu
A combination of miserable weather and the expected spate of colds and flu in winter makes June and July the most popular months of the year to take a duvet day, said Pharma Dynamics spokesperson Nicole Jennings.

“Nearly a third of those polled admitted that they’ve pulled a sickie before – 45% of whom said they do so two to three times a year, while a few chancers (15% in fact) do so even more often. The 40% whose conscience probably gets the better of them, can only bring themselves to do so once annually.”

Jennings said what makes matters even worse is that those who pretend to be sick don’t do so on their own.

“More than a whopping 51% rope in their partners and/or children to take a duvet day with them – 20% either didn’t have a partner or a child, which implied that if they did, they’d probably get them to bunk with them too. The remaining 29% preferred to do so solo.”

The result of sickness-related absenteeism on the economy has been enormous, according to the most recently available Adcorp Holdings’ employment index.

Cumulatively, since 2000 the economy lost R55.2bn in real terms due to sickness, the report dated 2013 shows.

The index found that between 2009 and 2011, one-quarter of all workers claimed the maximum statutory allowance for sick leave, which is 36 days in a three-year cycle. It showed that the average output per worker in 2012 was R145 233 per year – or R586.19 per working day. In 2011 this loss of output due to sickness totalled R4.29bn

At the time Adcorp said it was alarming that sick leave in South Africa had been rising continuously.

More recently, South Africa was ranked last among 19 nations in a global survey that measured healthcare system efficiency – the ability to deliver maximum results at the lowest possible cost.

The Future Health Index, commissioned by Dutch tech company Philips, showed that South Africa’s efficiency ratio was the lowest out of the 19 countries in the study, which included countries such as France, the US, Argentina, United Arab Emirates, China and Brazil.

South Africa scored 4.4 compared to the group average of 10.5.

Source: Fin24

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