August 2004

We are into the last quarter of the year, and believe it or not are already planning all those Christmas Parties. It has been a very busy year for most of us and we are feeling very optimistic for the future.

 

AIDS AWARENESS

Aids and HIV appears to be having a real impact on the workplace with increasing absenteeism being experienced in many workplaces. Despite documented effects on the economy, businesses still greatly underestimate the impact of HIV/AIDS. Through research, the South African Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS (SABCOHA) has established that many businesses have no policy or programme in place. Within the context of limited capacity and tight financial conditions, many businesses feel overwhelmed and are unsure of where to start.

To over come this problem, SABCOHA has produced a comprehensive Toolkit as a step-by-step guide designed especially for small and medium sized businesses to assist in formulating and implementing a workplace HIV/AIDS programme. The basic framework of the Toolkit is taken from best practice programmes of Unilever and Standard Bank who are members of SABCOHA.

The Ttoolkit is very easy to implement, and we would like to offer you the opportunity to have a look at the Toolkit with a view to either purchasing the kit and setting up the structures in-house to implement an HIV/AIDS programme, or to introduce an awareness campaign within your Company.

We are generally not aware of the impact HIV/AIDS will have on our businesses because we have not encouraged our employees to investigate or disclose their status. The kit is aimed at promoting an environment in the workplace where employees can feel free to disclose their status with the knowledge that they will not be discriminated against and that the Company will provide them with assistance.

If you are interested in seeing the Toolkit or having it presented to your staff, please contact Debbie or Sue.

 

FRAUD AND WHISTLEBLOWERS

White-collar crime is a major problem for business in South Africa. The true cost of this type of crime is not known as in most companies where fraud is detected, the employee is dismissed, but not prosecuted. The decision not to prosecute is generally made because of the difficulty and expense involved in first of all getting the police to take action and secondly in actually obtaining a conviction.

In order to ensure that this situation does not continue, the Prevention & Combating of Corrupt Activities Act has now been implemented in full. This act requires that all instances of corruption must be reported to the police, while fraud or theft exceeding R100 000 in value must also be reported. Failure to report is a criminal offence.

Section 34 refers to the duty to report corrupt transactions re prevention and combating corrupt Activities Act 12 of 2004.

The Act provides for very severe penalties, including life imprisonment for certain transgressions of the Act.

In view of this act it is important that the definition of what constitutes corruption is defined in the Policies of the Company and that any employees who give or receive services are aware of the definition and are aware of the consequences of this legislation.

Recently there have been several references to the Whistleblowers Act and the retribution that Company’s have taken towards them. The Labour Relations Act and the Basic Conditions of Employment Act have clauses protecting whistleblowers and companies must be very cautious when implementing disciplinary action against such employees.

Equally we are seeing more and more employees raising grievances against their employers. Again, the temptation to take disciplinary action or suspend and employee who raises a grievance must be avoided.

 

RECRUITMENT TOOLS AND ASSESSMENT TOOLS

All complex behaviour is learned. Individual differences in the way we learn makes this a complex process to analyse, especially as learning occurs all the time.

Learning can be defined as “any relatively permanent change in behaviour that occurs as a result of experience”. Some form of experience is necessary for learning. Experience may be acquired directly through observation or practice, or it may be required indirectly, as through reading.

Intellectual abilities are those for carrying out mental activities. The 7 most frequently cited dimensions making up intellectual abilities are number aptitude, verbal comprehension, perceptual speed, inductive reasoning, deductive reasoning, spatial visualization, and memory.

Jobs differ in the intellectual demands they place on incumbents. The more information processing required, the more general intelligence and verbal abilities will be necessary to perform the job successfully.

Tests that assess verbal, numerical, spatial and perceptual abilities are valid predictors of job proficiency at all levels of jobs. Tests that measure specific dimensions of intelligence have been found to be strong predictors of future job performance. We now, together with several South African organisations are able to make use of ability testing to determine employees’ learning potential and performance motivation.

 

DIMENSION DESCRIPTION JOB EXAMPLE

Number Aptitude Ability to do speedy and accurate arithmetic Accountant:, Bookkeeper
Verbal Comprehension Ability to understand what is read or heard and the relationship of words to each other Lawyer, Senior Manager:
Perceptual Speed Ability to identify visual similarities and differences quickly and accurately Claims Assessor, Detective
Inductive reasoning Ability to identify a logical sequence in a problem and then solve the problem Market Researcher, Manager
Deductive reasoning Ability to use logic and assess the implications of an argument Lawyer, Consultant
Spatial visualization Ability to imagine how an object would look if its position were changed Architect, Engineer
Memory Ability to retain and recall past experiences Sales Consultants, Human Resource Professionals.

The Thomas International Tests for Selection and Training (TST) measures Feature Detection (perceptual speed), Verbal Reasoning (inductive and deductive reasoning), Number Speed and Accuracy (number aptitude), Working Memory (memory) and Spatial Orientation (spatial visualization). Combinations of the tests are used to test for specific positions. The test can also be used for career guidance.

For more information on the test contact Pleia

 

NEW LEGISLATION

In line with the Receiver’s intention of ensuring that we all pay our tax, government general directive requires the employers of subcontractors who supply labour, but not materials to be taxed at an amount of 10% of gross pay and to pay this amount over to the Receiver of Revenue as PAYE. The main contractor must then issue an IRP5. This instruction is aimed a the building industry.

 

WEB SITE

Our web site is now up and running. Our Web address is www.connold.co.za. All the previous updates are listed as well as details of the services we offer and the people who work in our organization.

 

LEADERSHIP TRAINING AND LIFESKILLS TRAINING

We are currently setting dates for our first “public course” in this programme. Details of the course are available on the web and anyone who would still like to take part in the programme should contact Wendy. We wish everyone who is attending the programme success.

In view of the high levels of debt being experienced by employees and the general lack of understanding of banking, investments and preparation for retirement, we have developed a programme which tackles these issues, but also looks at goal setting and the world of work. The programme is designed to allow employees to take control of their lives and have greater understanding of their role in the workplace.

 

EMPLOYMENT EQUITY

All employment equity plans must be delivered by 30 September 2004.

As a reminder, companies have to comply with the act if they employ more than 50 people or if they have a turnover more than that reflected in the table below:

Sector Or Subsections In Accordance With The Standard Industrial Classification Total Annual Turnover

  • Agriculture R2 million
  • Mining and Quarrying R7.5 million
  • Manufacturing R10 million
  • Electricity Gas and Water R10 million
  • Construction R5 million
  • Retail and Motor Trade and RepairServices R15 million
  • Wholesale Trade, Commercial Agentsand Allied Services R25 Million
  • Catering Accommodation and otherTrade R5 million
  • Transport, Storage and Communications R10 million
  • Finance and Business Services R10 million
  • Community, Social and PersonalServices R5 million

If your company has exceeded these targets since our last analysis and you have not submitted a plan, please contact our offices. Companies are encouraged to voluntarily comply with the act, particularly if they wish to obtain government contracts.

We are intending to ensure that all our plans are completed by 15th September 2004 so that we can ensure an early delivery of the plans.

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