5 Reasons why your Employment Equity Strategy might not be working

It’s Employment Equity reporting time again, and many companies are getting a little panicked because the Dept of Labour is upping the number of inspections and penalties for non-compliant companies. Yet you might be one of the many companies who is falling behind in properly implementing EE, because of the seemingly insurmountable challenges EE Managers face. What makes executing an Employment Equity Process so difficult? There are actually easy solutions to all these challenges – read on to find out more…

1. Mistake:

Companies can’t see beyond the numerical goals requirement – and the fact that there aren’t enough suitably qualified equity candidates to fill available posts. And those that are employed get lured away to your competitors by better packages.

Solution: This is a reality in SA business, because of the skills deficit. Your EE strategies need to focus on internal development and other skills programmes to widen the available pool. Also, Affirmative Action measures should be measures to reduce indirect and direct discrimination in the workplace, and measures for making reasonable accommodations for people from designated groups – it’s not only about the numbers.

2. Mistake:

It’s the sole responsibility of an assigned person from the HR Dept, who doesn’t have the time or capacity to put it all together

Solution: While companies have to assign a responsible EE Manager, the law requires a consultative committee who work together practically to make the process and the plan work. You have to elect an EE Committee and train them in their roles, in a very interactive and practical training programme, for proper consultation in terms of the law, to take place. This also takes a great deal of pressure off the EE Manager/HR dept., since the Committee members can take on some of the tasks identified in the AA measures you identify to address EE Barriers. For example, you might assign specific EEC members to research disability awareness training providers, or do a statistical analysis for planning recruitment, or identify alternative mediums for advertising positions.

3. Mistake:

EE Committee meetings don’t go anywhere; action steps don’t go further than meetings, or participants argue because of their own agendas, and no real agreements are reached and action isn’t executed, resulting in a Committee feeling they have no “teeth”.

Solution: Committee structures such as the Constitution and office bearing roles need to be well established, otherwise meetings go awry. If all the Committee members have been properly elected, for the right reasons, and have been trained in their roles, they know to leave their personal agendas out of meetings, and they understand how to work together in a strategic Equity role. You may need Copperline’s assistance in facilitating an EEC meeting, to ensure everyone is working together towards the same goal and helps the group iron out typical problems.

4. Mistake:

The EE Committee is complacent, ineffective or keeps needing re-election because members don’t see the value in participating.

Solution: This will happen if your EE Committee is not clear on their mandates and roles. There is usually much confusion over where the EEC’s responsibilities begin and end, resulting in committee members thinking they should be taking on problems that should be handled by line management or HR departments. When there are divergent opinions and agendas on the Committee, people become disillusioned and frustrated. And if you don’t have regular meetings with minutes that tie in with your Employment Equity plans, you face possible prosecution. If you train your EE Committee properly – with Practical Tools for EE Committees you will have an EE Committee who is positive, engaged and effective in the roles that they play.

5. Mistake:

The EEC and HR Department are the only staff in the organisation who understand Employment Equity; the majority of the workforce has no idea what it means or what the EE Committee does. This puts the company at risk of failing a Labour Inspection and incurring a huge fine.

Solution: Copperline will help your committee develop a company-wide EE Communication strategy and set up workable, time-efficient structures within the company. Our “Employment Equity for everyone” DVD is a perfect tool for imparting an organisation-wide understanding. Also, strategies for communicating as the plan progresses, must be discussed in every EE meeting.

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