Making employment equity a priority

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Transformation is about more than just changing the shareholding of a company, providing power to an elite few. This is the view of Steve Ratlou, Executive Chairman of Primedia Out of Home, which comprises Primedia Outdoor, Primedia Face 2 Face and Primedia In Store. "It?s about making a long-term investment in the company?s most valuable resource, its people.

One of the key drivers of Primedia Outdoor?s BEE Strategy is internal transformation and employment equity, consistent with the Balanced Scorecard approach set out by the Department of Trade and Industry. Our existing EE representivity at staff level currently stands at 60%, but the target we have set ourselves is 67%. We?ve put similar targets in place for the various management levels as well, to be reached within the next five years.

Changing the demographic profile of our company?s workforce to realistically reflect the South African community is a process that calls for clear, attainable equity goals and timeframes to be set. Primedia Outdoor?s internal Transformation Committee has been established to implement strategies, training and mentorship programmes, constantly assessing the progress of all these, so adjustments can be made.

Existing staff need to be evaluated, so they remain part of the equity process, transferring their skills to incoming employees at all levels of the organisation.
Performance criteria must also be set for senior management. This may mean assessing the leadership skills of executives and putting them through whatever training they need to effectively mentor those ascending the ranks.

Carrying out effective transformation is as much a learning curve for Primedia Outdoor, as it is for all other industries. It will take time, as mistakes are made, lessons learned, strategies revised and refined. It?s not something that will go away, because organisations are struggling to comply.

Our overall objective is to reach a stage where Primedia Outdoor is completely free of discrimination, viewed as an equal opportunity employer and is the employer of choice in the industry. This will produce a workforce that makes a meaningful contribution to the economy at large, which is after all, BEE?s ultimate goal.

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