Towards Sustained Empowerment
Adherence to successful business principles and corporate governance
To have the courage to stay informed, challenge, innovate, change and make a difference!
Vuselela was conceptualised, designed and implemented to address the CEO’s stated desire to see the workplace become a place of personal fulfilment for employees. The intention is to transform the work environment into a place where our employees want to spend their working lives. This is based on the premise that over the last 100 years or so the mining industry with its very autocratic and transactional management style has to a large extent eroded the self worth and sense of meaningful contribution of many of the employees. This was founded on an unstated principle that employees bring only their physical effort to the workplace and leave their thinking at the gate! Vuselela is therefore a strategy to try and start a process of designing a values based management ethos whereby personal and corporate value systems can be aligned in the workplace. Fundamental to this process is the understanding and acceptance of the need for personal and organisational renewal.
To this end a process of engaging all stakeholders in the design and implementation of the strategy was implemented. In doing so the logo or mascot of a parrot was selected to portray the key message. The parrot was selected simply because it preens itself and plucks out old feathers and grows new ones annually.
The following steps were implemented:
- Concept discussions with key stakeholders.
- Finalisation and approval of concept design.
- Preparation of workshop material.
- Training of trainers, including members of organised labour.
- Implementation of workshops for all employees.
- Follow up focus group interviews with all employees at which the impact of the workshops were assessed and employees were given coffee mugs to help them visualise the need to maintain the momentum.
- A panel representing all significant stakeholder groups met and considered the input from employees during the workshops and then finalised a set of values for DRDGOLD.
- A process of bedding down and sustaining these values was then agreed upon by the panel and the accountability for this was then handed over to operational HR. This is currently being implemented.
The workshops themselves were structured to suit audiences with limited literacy levels. Consequently a lot of pictures and small group discussions were used. The content covered two main sections:
- Assessing and understanding the need for renewal at both a personal as well as at an organisational level.
- Discussing the role of values and identifying possible values that would be applicable to DRDGOLD and its employees.
Regarding the first of these sections, the delegates at the workshops were taken through three key concepts, and they were asked the question whether personal as well as organisational renewal was required in line with each concept.
This was represented by a picture of birds flying in formation. Points discussed under this section covered leadership, structure, understanding of roles and duties, rules and regulations that dictate alignment. So typically delegates were asked how aligned is your family? To what extent is there alignment and teamwork in the workplace? etc
Here we looked at three subsets of information as follows:
- The need to be informed and to stay informed in order to be able to take the right decisions.
- The need to have the right skills to act appropriately.
- The need to be accountable for your actions once you have acted.
- The same approach of questioning the employees was used in order to get them to awaken regarding the need to renew!
In this section we covered the following:
- The need to work on the right thing ie to be effective and to be goal directed in what you do.
- The need to work efficiently in achieving the goal.
About Best Life
One of the central themes running through Vuselela was the need to take ownership of your own renewal process and to be self reliant. Best Life is a strategy aimed at re-inforcing and supporting this concept. So whereas Vuselela aims to create an environment for people to be successful, Best Life aims at providing employees with the support structures to achieve this.
The logo or mascot we chose for Best Life was a peacock that boasts about its achievements and displays all his feathers as an act of pride!
In designing the concept we did not want to tie people up in further workshops. Rather we looked for a medium that would give us a fun, entertaining yet powerful way of getting the message across. To this end we commissioned the making of a DVD that focused on three parts as follows:
- Financial literacy and taking charge of your personal financial future
- Career, development and personal employability
- Personal health and wellness
The script for the DVD was written in the form of a simple soap opera that covers characters that are experiencing problems in each of the three areas listed above. On the other hand one character has achieved success in these areas and he is represented as the peacock! Each of the sections is interspersed with a commercial that features the parrot and the peacock in animated form.
The entire DVD is cast in the form of the Business News Network format with the CEO being interviewed at the beginning. A copy of the DVD is provided.
The DVD ends with viewers being invited to contact their HR department or the Best Life team for counselling and advisory support in a comprehensive range of needs. To this end we have contracted with ICAS to provide an onsite counselling and advisory service for all staff and their families.
Best Life was launched on the 23rd May. The launch was hosted by the CEO and various dignitaries were invited including all major stakeholders. A series of 2 hour introductory workshops are currently being rolled out throughout the organisation at which employees will be shown and given a copy of the DVD and at which they will also be introduced to the ICAS services on offer.