Tag: workers

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

Vehicle tracking company Ctrack has released it hijacking and crime statistics, detailing the hijacking hotspots across South Africa’s biggest cities, and the time of day you’re most vulnerable.

The report is based on data and analytics collected by Ctrack from January through December 2016.

Ctrack found that car and truck hijacking is most common in South Africa’s most populated province, Gauteng, followed by other built up provinces such as KwaZulu Natal and the Western Cape.

The majority of hijackings were likely to occur between 18:00 and 23:59 in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, and between 00:00 and 05:59 in the Western Cape. You are also more likely to be hijacked on a Tuesday.

According to the latest crime statistics report released by the SAPS in September 2016, cases of hijacking have increased significantly across the country.

The most recent crime stats revealed that there were over 14,600 reported car hijackings between 2015 and 2016, up 14.3% from 12,770 cases in the prior period.

Statistically, this shows that 40 cars are hijacked every day in South Africa (versus 35 in 2015), or roughly one car every 36 minutes.

Source: BusinessTech

South Africa’s highest salaries

Jobs portal CareerJunction has updated its salary trends data for 2016, showing how salaries vary across 10 sectors in South Africa – and what employees can expect to earn at intermediate and senior level, including management.

The data is an update on a report published in April 2016 – showing that there have been some significant changes in what has been an economically turbulent year.

The report differs from the April review in that it focuses on intermediate and senior staff salaries, and includes the salary ranges for management and senior management.

The review is compiled exclusively for the South African workforce and HR/recruitment professionals, and is based on over 30,000 job listings on the CareerJunction website.

Salaries listed below are split into sectors (listed alphabetically), and include the highest and lowest-paying jobs in each industry, excluding management. Management salaries are included at the bottom of each list, where applicable.

It must be noted that the salaries are listed as a range, and will differ depending on where you live, your experience and skill level.

Source: www.businesstech.co.za

** indicates where salary information was not available due to low market demand for those skill sets.

Admin, Office, and Support

  • Highest paid: Health, safety and environment – R30,143
  • Lowest paid: Tellers and cashiers – R6,295


Building and Construction

  • Highest paid: Civil engineers – R64,321
  • Lowest paid: Construction/Demolition equipment operator – R13,815


Design, Media and Arts

  • Highest paid: Web design/Multimedia/3D design – R34,056
  • Lowest paid: Photographers – R9,917


Engineering and Architecture

  • Highest paid: Civil/Structural Engineers – R62,637
  • Lowest paid: Drafting Engineers – R19,070



  • Highest paid: Corporate lending – R73,650
  • Lowest paid: Financial services consulting – R11,090



  • Highest paid: Technical and business architecture – R62,337
  • Lowest paid: Telecommunication technical product specialist – R16,917


Manufacturing and Assembly

  • Highest paid: Process control – R30,125
  • Lowest paid: Abattoir worker – R10,750




  • Highest paid: Communications and public relations – R40,982
  • Lowest paid: Shop decorations and visual display – R11,818



  • Highest paid: Account management – R32,708
  • Lowest paid: Retail employee – R9,855


Warehousing and Logistics

  • Highest paid: Logistics managers – R35,325
  • Lowest paid: Packing and packaging– R3,450


Inhibiting your employees’ sense of purpose – in a static, go nowhere environment – is a sure-fire way to obliterate any sense of team morale or job satisfaction. It’s the death knell for productivity and overall profitability for any business. You feel compelled to grow your business; why shouldn’t your employees feel compelled to grow as individuals? That’s why we can think of no better way to improve your business’s bottom line than to improve the skills of your employees.

Upskilling your employees not only boosts productivity by instilling confidence, making employees less reliable on external resources and generally allowing for more work to be done, but promotes business growth and employee satisfaction. These are all indicators of a successful business. But what so many employers and entrepreneurs so often get wrong is the types of skill enhancement they focus on, ultimately achieving a poor ROI (return on investment).

With a business to worry about, frivolously spending resources on skills transference will only put you in the red. You need to be strategic about how you provision training and focus on achieving tangible results from your investments. That’s why skills enhancement should always begin with a good induction for new employees, not just because it requires very little in the way of expenditure but goes a long way to establishing the right attitude and work ethic in employees from the get-go.

A formalised, structured induction will let employees know what is expected of them and establishes the short-term skills necessary to start working immediately. Crucially, it should assist in preparing new employees for the culture of their new workplace – acclimatising them and assisting their integration into new teams.

Another fairly cost effective but potentially very beneficial consideration is to focus skills enhancement initiatives on an employee’s weaknesses, as opposed to concentrating on what they’re interested in or already good at. Employees will naturally educate themselves in the fields that interest them. But supplement that by encouraging them to subscribe to relevant content like webinars or seminars, read more about their interests, and spend free time researching those topics.

Working on their weaknesses and ironing out the pain points that inhibit optimal productivity means generating a potentially huge ROI. Solving problems by eliminating their cause rather than attending to the symptoms is a far more productive, efficient way to go about your day. Compliment this practice by identifying future supervisors and leaders and give them the tools necessary to fill those positions within their teams. If they’re effectively able to communicate and lead a team, they will be able to put out fires – should they occur – without you needing to step in.

Modern businesses are increasingly flexible, innovative and adjustable to meet new customer demands, or alternatively, disrupt the market with entirely new products or services. Rather than outsourcing those skills, incentivise employees who take on those new responsibilities with soft skills that might benefit their new position, then ultimately promote them to a permanent role. As skills investments go, it’s going to directly affect your bottom line, improving productivity and preventing reliance on external, often far costlier, skills.

There are other relatively inexpensive methods of skills transference worth considering. One-on-one mentoring, for example, lets new and junior level employees have close working relationships with more experienced staff members. It doesn’t even have to be a formal program. All that is required is a commitment to set aside some time each week or month to provide feedback, assist with decision-making and direction, and offer general support and encouragement. Think of it as an extension of onboarding.

Perhaps the most effective solution to permanent skills enhancement is creating a workplace culture that encourages learning. Because it requires relatively little monetary investment, it affords an optimal ROI.

A continuous program of ongoing skills development is a popular choice because it means catering your spend to adjust to what’s required from employees on the fly – a flexibility that should match your business. Remember that skills quickly become obsolete in the modern digital era, and front loading your employees with an impressive list of skills, while certainly beneficial, is costly and may eventually prove pointless if they aren’t always put to use.

In the end, it’s all about effective communication – that you communicate with your staff as much as they want to communicate with you. That way you get a sense of what is required while they’re updated on what is expected and, together, you can fill in the holes with appropriate skills. It means building the right attitudes, encouraging leaders to step forward and boosts team morale by encouraging collaboration – something that mentorship will echo.

By Pieter Scholtz – leading business and executive coach and South Africa’s Co-Master Licensee for global franchise company, ActionCOACH

What is a millennial? Commonly defined as a person who was born between 1980 and 2000, the term “millennial” is at its heart a generational marker. There is another side to it, though, one where the phrase broadly encompasses a mark of behaviour. At least it has become common place to identify certain behavioural traits when referring to millennials.

Unfortunately, not all characteristics associated with this generation are perceived in a positive light. Described aptly by Chelsea Krost, 24, co-founder of MPulse a Millennial-focused marketing agency from Forbes article “Is Millennial a dirty word?” written by Samantha Sharf, the word millennial has previously perceived connotations:

“To set the record straight the word Millennial is NOT a dirty word. Unfortunately, the Millennial Generation has been labelled with stereotypes like lazy, entitled, and narcissistic, which has created confusion and frustration amongst many Millennials and generations prior. This generation is often misunderstood and the ‘Millennial Hustlers’ of today don’t always get the recognition or credibility they deserve because we tend to fixate more on the negative than the positive about this demographic of people. Millennials are a generation unlike any before and we are pioneering new methods in the workplace, technology and ways of communicating that will have a great impact on our near future. It is crazy to me to think that we can define 80 million people with three negative stereotypes. Instead, I believe many Millennials are entrepreneurial, innovative, liberal and charitable.”

However, there is a common thread that is definitely associated with this generation and that is that they are redefining the workspace. Millennials are no longer happy with the typical nine-to-five day. To many it is regarded as an outdated notion, and that the best delivery of services no longer come from working in your typical office space environment. Instead, flexibility, the room to grow and engage with others in the workspace and the use of technology slowly become the prime factors when deciding where to work and who to work for.

Responding to a US survey by Steelcase, when asked to select two words to describe their ideal workplace, millennials chose “Active” (62%) and “Flexible” (54%), while Gen-Xers chose: “Fun” (56%) and “Creative”, and baby boomers selected: “Spacious/Inspiring (57%) and “Active” (53%). Peter Townshend, Managing Director of workspace researchers, Know More, says that the situation is very much the same in South Africa: “The call for flexible, active workspaces is high,” he explains. “Yes, this call comes mostly from millennials, though we are seeing all age sectors desiring, especially, more flexible workspaces that provide them with specific areas to do specific tasks. Millennial are tech-savvy, innovative and motivated and their way of working is person-centred, not place specific and because of this, we need to rethink how we see workspaces that enhance productivity. Giving a millennial a desk is the worst thing you can do – they want to sit with their entire team in highly collaborative areas, and be able to come and go as they please … especially when they need to concentrate and focus. From all the observations that we have made on South African millennials when it comes to designing workspaces to enhance their work styles, one word comes to mind: choice. Give them choices and watch them grow – Peter Townshend, Managing Director, Know More.

It is worth keeping in mind that you aren’t only building a workspace that represents the brand, but also a space for the people who work there. Companies, such as Giant Leap, know that when it comes to the office, not everyone prefers the typical desk and chair set-up, but rather open workspaces which allow for collaboration and retreat rooms for quiet time.

Integrating technology into the workspace is important. With the millennial generation being constantly online, and using technology both as a medium to increase productivity and enhance one’s skill set, it’s no longer a surprise that the working environment should be technological friendly.

This means creating integrated technological workspaces. Rooms where one can comfortably have a skype call. Office spaces that make sure connectivity is possible and that you don’t necessarily have to be at one specific station or desk to achieve this connectivity.

Giant Leap takes all of this into consideration when planning and creating a workspace. It’s no longer just about the architecture, the colour schemes, the beautifully crafted furniture or the eco-friendly materials but it’s also about the people. The roles they take on, the preferred environment, the way they engage with the space and ultimately how all of this can be used to enhance productivity.

The best places to work in 2016

At a gala event on 16 March 2016, Universum, global leaders in employer branding, announced the results of their largest research sample to date at the Universum Most Attractive Employer Awards 2016.

With the global importance of attracting and retaining top talent of crucial importance to business, the results of Universum’s annual national survey are mandatory reading for business and HR executives and leaders.

Every year Universum Global conducts research across the world and specifically within South Africa in 2015, Universum interviewed over 45,000 tertiary institution students as well as over 21,000 professionals in the following sectors:

  • Business/commerce
  • Engineering/technology
  • Health care / health sciences / sciences
  • Humanities / liberal arts /law

This year’s winners reflect the trends In the research that show that even with fears around economic instability still a concern, (67% of the students are concerned about their prospects of finding a job after graduating), most students are looking for opportunities that include leadership opportunities and professional training and development, with these traits being the most preferred attributes that drive employer attractiveness.

More than simpling announcing a list of top employers, every year Universum also shares critical insights into the wants and needs of South Africa’s top talent – the qualitative insights that drive the rankings.

Universum South Africa Marketing and Activation Manager, David Rachidi explains further, “Universum’s Most Attractive Employer Awards are an important opportunity for business leaders, HR executives and others in related fields to deepen their understanding of the importance of employer branding in recruiting and retaining top talent. At Universum we believe that companies which will further flourish in future are, companies able to understand their talent and retain the best in their fields. The awards play a key role in recognising those companies that have been successful in this regard. The Universum Awards serve as a platform to recognise and award companies across various industries.We want companies to know that they are ranked within the Top 50, with the Top 3 companies in each sector announced at the event on the evening of March 16th 2016″

Top-ranked company: KPMG

Why do you think KPMG has achieved such a high position in the rankings?
Our achievement is owed to KPMG’s continual proactive engagement with Universities and students across the country. We remain committed to our students’ academic success and seamless transition to their personal life because they are an important KPMG stakeholder and the future leaders of our country. We are, therefore, tremendously excited for this recognition as it is encouraging to know that they feel a connection with the KPMG brand.

How has KPMG’s employer brand contributed to this?
Recruiting the best is not a new phenomenon to KPMG as the Firm is always looking to engage with extraordinary individuals. We strongly believe that every student has talent, and it is our commitment to affirm that everyone lives to their full potential. Our purpose at KPMG is to inspire confidence and empower change, similarly, we apply this approach when engaging with students as we continue to instil this philosophy into their lives. As a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services, our brand has a solid foundation. It is against this backdrop that students want to associate themselves with a brand that helps them achieve their career aspirations. We seek to engage with students in a meaningful way and continue to have a presence on their campuses, with a focus on building and maintaining relationships with them, as opposed to once-off interventions. Furthermore, KPMG offers vacation work, where we expose them to the real life experience of working in our environment. Through this, they have engaged with KPMG on a personal level.

What does this achievement mean for KPMG?
This ranking reflects our excellence and achievements in promoting higher education. It truly acknowledges the global nature of KPMG as a brand and celebrates the holistic value we bring to Universities through deep academia knowledge, Undoubtedly, future generations are dependent on us being market leaders, collaborators, innovators and influencers, addressing the challenges and needs facing students with courage, agility and integrity. Indeed, young people are the future leaders of our country and KPMG. It is important to attract them because they have energy and innovative ideas. We live in a fast paced world and we need to offer our clients innovative solutions to their ever changing challenges. Having new blood allows us to have this resource to deliver the best results to our clients.

Top three rankings by main field of study


South African Breweries (SAB)



Legal Aid





Webber Wentzel Attorneys
Legal Aid

Source: www.skillsportal.co.za

Follow us on social media: 


View our magazine archives: 


My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective