Big shift to achieve pay rises and bonuses in South Africa in coming months

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Like their global counterparts, South African businesses and workers are grappling with a deteriorating economic outlook as we enter the second half of 2022.

And as the season for salary and incentive negotiations approaches, both sides need to consider what constitutes fair compensation given the current climate, says Advaita Naidoo, Africa managing director at recruiting firm Jack Hammer Global.

While employers will want to keep pace with inflation, the pressures are many and varied and margins remain squeezed. Companies will likely want to play it safe and withhold substantial raises and bonuses to maintain balance sheet stability during these uncertain times, Naidoo said.

But that doesn’t mean employees don’t have any bargaining power, and companies can’t introduce other ways to invest in their people to ensure continued talent attraction and retention, she said. .

“There’s no doubt that there isn’t a lot of extra money on the table right now, and companies will need to consider creative ways to reward employees and adjust their compensation policies to ensure that ‘they keep their teams in good shape while keeping the bottom line resilient.

Naidoo said the key to making this seemingly impossible equation work is to introduce investments in career development and day-to-day working conditions that will have the dual effect of:

  • Alleviate financial pressures for both parties as well as
  • Ensuring better career prospects for employees and a stronger talent pool for companies.

“Both the main negotiating points at the moment are flexibility and career development. We would all like to make more money, and most good companies would like to offer their loyal employees increased financial incentives.

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“But if money is tight and the outlook less than ideal, companies need to think about how they can attract and retain talent, and employees need to know they have options available to them during negotiations that will benefit them financially and professionally,” Naidoo said.

“Knowing what to ask for and what to offer can be a win-win solution in these trying times, positioning employees for a better career future as well as an enhanced work life experience that will benefit everyone.”

Naidoo says some of the alternative solutions on the table for businesses and employees are:


Flexible working arrangements

Earlier in the year, many employers called for a full return to work for most employees.

However, given that the environment remains dynamic and unstable, and most of the infrastructure for successful work-from-home arrangements remains in place, providing greater flexibility can be a powerful incentive.

On the one hand, it will reduce costs for both the company and the employees, which will ease the financial burden on both. It will also reduce employee stress and help retain them.


Career progression charted

Companies can actively facilitate employee career progression, with a relatively inexpensive investment at the moment, but with the promise of dividends for the company and the employee down the line.

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A key driver of career growth is exposure and participation in areas outside of one’s current area of ​​expertise or job functions. Thus, employees can, for example, request to attend industry conferences and events in the coming year, as well as be assigned to different projects or teams, which will allow them to gain experience. experience in different parts of the business.

Another mutually beneficial “carrot” is the plethora of amazing online programs that have been developed over the past two years that are accessible worldwide and will support career growth. Yale and Harvard, for example, offer outstanding online leadership programs at a fraction of the cost of traditional MBAs.


Mentoring and coaching

Companies can offer dedicated mentorship to employees; Having access to senior executives within an organization can help emerging leaders navigate disparate issues such as company politics, career progression, conflict, and workplace culture, while also enabling a informal knowledge transfer, the development of problem-solving skills in the unique business environment, and exposure to diverse thoughts and ideas.

Coaching is also more affordable and productive than ever, thanks to organizations like Virtual Coaching Partners. Not only does a great coach improve performance by helping experienced and emerging leaders identify weaknesses or blind spots, but they can also show how to get the most out of individuals and teams, building trust in the process.


Additional holidays and sabbaticals

It goes without saying that a break from stress at work would be beneficial to the individual, especially if it is of sufficient duration to allow for personal activities that an employee might not otherwise have time for, for example volunteer work, travel or take a course.

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But the ulterior benefit to the business is that teams will come back refreshed, perhaps brimming with new ideas; the ripple effect is increased productivity and reduced employee attrition.


Mental health support

The provision of sustainable mental health benefits emphasizing easily accessible, anonymous and ongoing support by mental health professionals – rather than just an occasional ad hoc wellness intervention – is another win-win. for everyone, with a very positive impact for a modest investment.

“With relatively inexpensive career development solutions that will later pay off for both company and employee, combined with flexible working solutions and mental health support, it is possible to ensure a continuous working environment of support, collaboration and trust,” says Naidoo.

“The world is preparing for a rocky road, at least in the short to medium term, but making sure that employees can be sure they are going somewhere, the emphasis on building relationships, maintaining the distance and the wise use of the time ahead can ensure that companies and their teams emerge stronger on the other side once again.


Read: Businesses in South Africa are struggling to pay rent – ​​but some areas are doing better than others

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