The SABPP HR Professional Practice Standard on Employment Equity, Diversity (Inclusion) Management: An assessment tool for practical application and audits by Sakkie van Greunen, Marius Meyer and Annetjie Moore

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Building on the development of the National HR Standards in 2013, since 2014 SABPP developed a new set of HR Professional Practice Standards dealing with specific HR professional practices, ranging from absenteeism management, to career management to succession planning.  These standards focus on improving the practice of HR in the workplace, over and above the 13 National HR System Standards.  In 2017, the SABPP team developed a set of audit tools to assist companies in conducting HR audits against the HR Professional Practice Standards.  One of these standards is in the area of employment equity and diversity management. SABPP developed this standard to encourage employers in accelerating employment equity by creating more inclusive workplaces.   Today I want to share this standard tool with you and I invite HR teams to apply this self-assessment audit tool in driving effective employment equity in the workplace. Using this tool in conjunction with the statutory requirements of the Employment Equity Act and the Code of Good Practice issued by the Department of Labour, provides a solid framework for HR and Employment Equity Practitioners in driving professional approaches to employment equity and diversity management.

Below you will find the definition of the standard, as well as the elements, type of evidence and sources of the evidence.





2.1.1         To develop and implement an Employment Equity Management policy and procedures. Within this policy and procedures where the following expected aspects will be included:

·       Employment Equity Management and Diversity Management permeate throughout the HRM processes and systems,

·       The achievement of employment equity goals that informs and guide the organisation and HR strategies;

·       Talent Management, Workforce Planning, HR Risk Management and HR Value Chain;

·       Actions to develop a engaged competent workforce, equitably represented by  all previously disadvantaged groups in all occupational categories and levels;

·       The achievement of  social justice and organisational objectives;

·       The Code of Good Practice;

·       Specific diagnoses and interventions to decrease perceptions of dominance by one group’s culture and an organisational culture which is not comfortable for others.

·       Discipline and grievance procedures referring to issues such as prevalence of sexual harassment and verbal intimidation through the unnecessary use of gender, culture, religion and race references indicate a lack of inclusion in the organisation’s culture, either generally or within certain sections of the organisation.

·       Top management evidence indicating lead, direction, visibility, support and being a role model within the organisational strategy

·       Administration system to manage evidence

·       Documents, including evidence of EE application within professional and management levels and conducting of perception climate surveys

·       Discussions

·       EE related business plans & models

·       EE progress reports

·       Communication strategy within the organisation

·       Inclusion of accountability and support clauses within employment contracts

·       Inclusion of EE within performance management and remuneration practices.

·       Implementation approach which builds appropriate pipelines.

·       Organisation awareness strategy

·       Strategies to address aspects which may lead to unethical conduct and create unfairness and inequities within the organisation.

·       Approved organisational structure

·       Approved risk management strategy

·       Sensitizing evidence

·       Evidence of available funding to ensure implementation

·       Impact studies


·       CEO/ Head of Organisation

·       Head of HR

·       Key stakeholder

·       Focused groups

·       Line managers

·       OD specialists such as IOP


2.1.2         The development and implementation of a step-by-step approach to address EE and Diversity / Inclusion Management strategy. Evidence to prove actual steps with regard to:

·       Analysis reports indicating internal as well as external findings and actions to address identified gaps

·       Planning to develop a responsive workforce at all levels. This includes the provision of Talent Management reports, organisational climate strategies, resources and capacity plans

·       Implementation, monitoring and evaluation reports to indicate EE strategy achieved in partnership with all key stakeholders

·       Diversity awareness workshops and training

·       Diversity management, on-boarding/ induction training initiatives, employee engagement platforms, team building and workshops

·       Inclusion evidence to ensure prove of inclusive and empowering work environment.

·       CEO/ Head of Organisation

·       Head of HR

·       Key stakeholder

·       Focused groups

·       Line managers

·       OD specialists such as IOP


[1]Definition: The systematic application of HR Management processes towards attaining and retaining a state of employment equity whilst developing a competent workforce to achieve social justice and organisational objectives in an organisation where diverse employees are highly engaged because they feel valued, respected, supported and treated as insiders within the organisation. A state of employment equity has been reached when all previously disadvantaged groups are equitably represented in all occupational categories and levels in the workforce sustainably over time.


In the light of the above table it is evident that HR professionals and employment equity committees should be able to use a consistent and systematic approach to ensuring that employment equity is applied in the workplace.  The standard highlights the key elements, the types of evidence and the sources of such evidence. Applying employment equity and diversity management in an inclusive and systematic way against the HR professional practice standard will assist HR Managers in ensuring that they accelerate employment equity in a professional manner.  Should they get stuck in any of the areas, they are most welcome to contact the SABPP office for support and guidance.  I am also convinced that some leading employers will meet and exceed the standard, and these employers are invited to enter the SABPP Awards on Employment Equity, Diversity and Transformation (EEDT) Awards.

Sakkie van Greunen is a lecturer in HR Management at the University of Pretoria. Marius Meyer is CEO of SABPP and Annetjie Moore is Head of the SABPP Audit Unit.  More information about the SABPP #EEDTAwards is available on