The SA Board for People Practices (SABPP), the quality assurance and professional body for human resource (HR) management launched its inaugural Employment Equity, Diversity and Transformation Awards last month at a public awareness session at Regenesys Business School in Sandton, Johannesburg.
The purpose of the awards is to encourage South African companies to accelerate effective employment equity, diversity and transformation in the workplace. Seven different awards with clear criteria for each one of them have been developed.
Jan Munnik, Managing Director of employment equity consulting firm, EES-Siyaka, an alliance partner for the awards, outlined the specific criteria for the awards, in addition to the overarching three dimensions to be applied consistently for all the awards, i.e. the quality of approach, the extent of application and the quality of the employment equity results achieved.
To guide companies with effective employment equity and diversity programmes, SABPP developed a Professional Practice Standard on Employment Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Management, including an audit framework to audit companies against the standard. The Standard provides a clear guideline for companies on how to implement effective transformation in practice.
Says Marius Meyer, CEO of SABPP: “The idea is to provide business and HR leaders with an audit framework that will make it clear to them what good employment equity practice is all about. The audit framework also gives them an opportunity to reflect on current challenges they are facing. It guides them in terms of being mature enough to look at those issues and then to improve on their employment equity practices. Successful employment equity is all about good HR practice.” Moyo added that SABPP would like to see significant progress and successes in employment equity from HR professionals as experts in change management.
The employment equity standard and awards are applicable to all types of organisations. “It does not matter whether you are a factory, bank, a private company, government department or municipality or a non-profit organisation. Ultimately, all institutions of society need to be effective in implementing employment equity. We all have the same goal, and that is to achieve an equal society. However, it is not only about the numbers. The SABPP awards focus on the optimum balance between quantity and quality.” Meyer contends.
Meyer asserts that there are pockets of excellence in different companies throughout South Africa: “Some companies are doing great work in employment equity, diversity and transformation. The challenge in South Africa is that while there are pockets of excellence and leaders who are brilliant in terms of employment equity achievements, they are exceptions and not the norm. Overall, the pace of transformation is too slow. But where there are good stories to tell, we want to know about it. And that is the purpose of the awards and the summit – to elevate good news and to set best practices in inspiring all of us to become better at employment equity so that we can accelerate transformation in the workplace.”
Xolani Mawande, COO of SABPP, who introduced the judges to the market, highlighted the fact that the panel of adjudicators consist of seasoned employment equity leaders. He says: “The judges have achieved significant successes in driving employment equity at their companies, such as Elizabeth Dhlamini-Kumalo and Mabore Sithole, and James Mphele is an author of a book on diversity management.”
Thandi Thankge, Vice-chairperson of SABPP emphasised the need to achieve employment equity targets in all three areas of transformation, i.e. race, gender and disability. Hence, the award categories cover these areas. Some companies perform in one or two of these areas, while the majority have not achieved successes in all three. “Sustainable employment equity can only be achieved if inclusive workplaces are created, enabled by progressive HR and diversity practices” Thankge concludes.
For more information about the awards, visit the awards website www.sabppawards.co.za or follow SABPP on Twitter @SABPP1 or on Instagram @sabpp_1