The Standard was developed after a very extensive consultation process with leaders in government, business, the public sector, non-profit organisations and academic institutions.
“The South African Leadership Standard is the world’s first National Leadership Standard. It is the first time that stakeholders have agreed what good leadership practice is across the different sectors, whether you are a school principal, head of a municipality, branch manager at a bank,” SABPP CEO, Marius Meyer, CEO of SABPP explains.
The Standard provides a clear guideline for leaders on how to be effective leaders in practice: “The idea is to provide leaders with a framework that will make it clear to them what good leadership behaviour is all about. It also gives them an opportunity to reflect on the mistakes they are making and the challenges they are facing. It guides them in terms of being mature enough to look at those issues and then to improve on their leadership practice.”
SABPP’s Leadership Standard captures the five elements of good leadership: “Leaders need to instil a vision, deliver results which create value, live the values, influence people and reflect for improvement. Any good leader must be able to apply these.”
Meyer says the Standard will make a positive difference in South Africa: “Leaders in South Africa do not have clear guidelines. You are either appointed or elected into a leadership position and it’s a case of sink or swim. The guideline provides a huge opportunity. It tells you where you need to start with your leadership practice, how you need to improve your leadership practice and how to take your team with you. The challenge in South Africa is that while there are pockets of excellence and leaders who are brilliant in terms of vision, they are often unable to get their staff to execute the vision.”
He would like to encourage all leaders in South Africa and also in the Free State province, irrespective of position or role to embrace the Standard, and to apply it. “It is a tool in your hand that will help you to be a more effective leader. Surely, there cannot be a single leader in the country who wants to fail? The opportunity for you as a leader is to be reflective and to say I have a guideline, and to apply the guideline to the best of your ability. I am absolutely convinced that if you are in private business you can double your profits. If you are in service delivery you will have more effective service delivery, irrespective of whether you are in government or a non-profit organisation. The standard will ensure that leaders are successful in their leadership role,” Meyer concludes.
SABPP also launched its inaugural Employment Equity, Diversity and Transformation Awards for the HR community of the Free State.
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. The awards for 2018 are as follows:
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: “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. Mawande invited HR Managers in the Free State to participate in the employment equity competition by submitting their entries for the awards by 5 April.
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