The prosperity and equality of the nation’s workforce alluded to in the recent State of the Nation address by President Ramaphosa – is in large part determined by reward practitioners:
professionals that advise companies on how to structure financial and non-financial pay elements to compensate employees for their work.
Inequality was mentioned at least ten times during the address. Reward practitioners must take this seriously in their practices and policies by reporting the wage gap in annual financial statements, and finding ways to close the wage gap in companies.
Tough calls for private sector reward practitioners
Reward and HR practitioners also need to step up their focus on training and education. Tough calls are necessary on employing more people through internships, and creating entrepreneurs within companies.
Tougher yet will be the decision to release these successful candidates to industry in order to let the larger economy benefit from the initial training and development investment.
Tough calls for public sector reward practitioners
HR and reward practitioners in government will be tasked with cutting costs, cutting pay increases, and managing fruitless and wasteful expenditure across the public sector workforce.
Reward practitioners need to be steady, well informed and consistent in their approach. They also need to stand up to those that resist changes for the greater good, as well as new leaders who want sweeping changes just for the sake of it.
Tough calls for individual practitioners
HR and reward practitioners furthermore need to be the custodians of women representation as well as youth development in organisations. Reward practitioners are advised to follow national policy in all areas including benefits, working conditions and employment practices.
Reward practitioners will also have the added challenge of supporting government and business in creating increased remuneration for six million people. The implication of this is that practitioners focus on getting their remuneration governance right and working without any further delay.
As per our President’s closing words, all reward practitioners have a chance to make a difference right where they are by moving beyond historic practices and being willing to say “send me” to do the tough work where it is necessary.
Dr Mark Bussin is an Exco member of the South African Reward Association (SARA).