From November 2016 the South African Reward Association (SARA) will be led by Nazlie Samodien, who takes the reins as president for the 2017/2018 term of office from Lindiwe Sebesho, who ends her term on a high note. Samodien has already played a significant role in the growth and development of SARA.
Samodien is tasked with leading the association at an exciting time where numerous business, industry and national challenges face reward professionals – those who design remuneration structures that take into account both financial and non-financial rewards for employees on all levels.
The current socio-economic environment is placing many organisations under pressure as inflation related increases are becoming less affordable, and there is a need to develop more creative ways in which to reward employees for the work they do.
“Poverty and high unemployment, coupled with massive pay inequities, makes the reward space both complex and challenging,” says Samodien, a Master Reward Specialist with an impressive professional repertoire. “Executive pay and the wage gap remains an emotive issue, and effectively attracting and retaining employees remains a challenge in this context.”
“Companies are also currently employing three to four generations at the same time and being flexible in their total rewards offering is important to keeping employees engaged,”adds Samodien. “The role of SARA is to promote and develop the reward profession and reward practices to equip business leaders and their reward professionals to pro-actively seek solutions to these complex matters affecting our business, society and nation as a whole.”
Taking from her years of experience at Ericsson, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Edcon, Samodien is deeply committed to making a difference in the industry.
Some of the changes Samodien would like to see in the South African reward space include higher levels of collaboration on reward issues between business, organised business, organised labour and other professional bodies.
“One of the ways to realise this imperative is to have business understand the value of encouraging their reward professionals to earn a professional designation,” says Samodien. “A professional designation carries with it the assurance to employers and industry of demonstrated levels of experience, competency and ethical standards.”
Samodien believes that well designed total reward programs and practices will result in increased investment in South African citizens, and increased opportunities for previously disadvantaged individuals.
Together with her impressive professional repertoire, Samodien has an equally impressive personal list of achievements, topped by finishing the New York marathon in a respected time, despite having an iliotibial band injury. Currently planning a trip to climb Kilimanjaro with her daughter, Samodien is also looking forward to a trip to Germany to run the Berlin Marathon, and achieving her “10 in 10 consecutive years” goal by running her eighth Two Oceans Marathon in 2017.