Employment Equity 103 - Skills development crucial to EE


In episode three of our series on Employment Equity we look at the link to skills development. Skills development is integral to the redress of past discrimination and the implementation of Workplace Skills Plans should be integrated with the employment equity activities.



Skills development is integral to the redress of past discrimination and the implementation of Workplace Skills Plans, with training that is aimed to develop employees? skills and competence, and the implementation reports prepared annually should be integrated with the employment equity activities.

What are the skills and knowledge which will assist your company to achieve compliance with the Employment Equity act?

Appropriate training will cover the details of the legislation, and the implementation of these requirements will be greatly enhanced if the employees and management develop skills such as listening, conflict resolution, and presentation. The negotiation and argument skills which trained shop stewards and those involved in industrial relations have developed are also relevant.

Workplaces who have trained employees in these skills and those who have Literacy and Numeracy programs will also benefit by increasing understanding and reducing conflict.

Companies of more than 50 and less than 150 employees must submit a report on progress every 2 years and companies of more than 150 employees every year - always on the 1 October.

What should a company do if for example union members refuse to sign the report? The company should attempt to reach consensus, but still go ahead and submit the report. The circumstances of the refusal to sign, the nature of the issue may be included with the documentation.

What will the DoL be looking for? They will be looking for evidence of implementation, the display of legislation, all the documents related to consultation with employees, the minutes of meetings, and other relevant correspondence which confirms consultation. They will look for the reports, whether they available to all employees, are they signed, and what efforts have been made to reach consensus.

Finally, the implementation of employment equity is a process - the first steps are practical and quite simple. Yes, the development of goals and plans may raise sensitive issues and uncover firmly held beliefs.

However, there are many knowledgeable and experienced consultants in the area and many training organisations providing relevant training programs and legal firms providing guidance on the finer legal points, the important point for business owners and directors is to commit to implementation and to start - either personally or via the appointment of an Employment Equity Responsible Manager.

The consultation process with employees has benefits in itself - apart from the information which if addressed, will improve motivation and performance of employees and the benefit of the identification and development of latent talent in an economy critically short of skills - is incalculable.

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