Stay relevant to workplace changes or risk extinction

Why it’s important for reward professionals to stay on top of industry trends

The way an organisation rewards its employees is critical to overall productivity and the success of the business. Reward management must therefore link directly to the changing needs of organisations to ensure that employees are suitably aligned.

This is according to Peet Kruger, Executive Committee Member at the South African Reward Association (SARA). “The biggest assets of any business are its people and business needs to keep in mind that the way they reward people has a direct effect on how business goals are achieved.”

Total Reward management takes into account more than just base pay; it also looks at what people need to be productive and positive in a fast changing work environment, especially with technology significantly changing the way organisations do business.

It is thus critical that Total Reward professionals – those individuals responsible for creating effective Total Reward value propositions for employees – remain on top of industry trends and get advice and support on how to successfully navigate the minefield of challenges faced due to the changing landscape of business. One such way is by attending the annual conference of the South African Reward Association, taking place on 3 and 4 November 2016.

“Even though we have easy access to information these days, it is important that reward professionals attend this important industry conference,” say Kruger. “Attending the event and learning about the latest trends and how they are impacting the industry and are being exploited for maximum benefit expands your knowledge base and gives you something valuable to take back and apply to your own work environment”.

Delegates can expect to participate in discussions around future trends and changes affecting Total Reward practices from a variety of leading reward practitioners including those considering new ways of approaching performance management.

Performance Management – No middle ground
Once seen as a key driver of employee productivity, business leaders are now starting to consider conventional performance management systems as ineffective, too expensive, time-consuming and often demotivating. In recent times we’ve seen companies such as Telkom, ICASA, SAP, Adobe, Sears, Microsoft and others either drastically revamping their traditional processes and systems or moving towards cutting-edge and integrated performance management systems.

“There is a lot of talk around alternatives to key elements of the traditional approach to performance management and one of them is around reviewing the ratings-based system,” says Dr Bussin, Executive Committee Member at SARA and Chairman of 21st Century. “If you get rid of ratings, then the business becomes a rating-less environment. Of course, the line managers may be delighted by the notion of not having to rate their people, but HR is often baffled by the impact of this. There is therefore one very important question that needs answering before everyone jumps onto this ship – how do you create a solution which assesses performance without a ratings-based system and still enables a business to comply with legislation such as South Africa’s Employment Equity Act?”

“There still needs to be a way of managing the relationship between the employer and the employee, to direct their efforts towards what the organisation and the individual want to achieve,” agrees Lindiwe Sebesho, SARA president and a panellist at the 2016 SARA Conference. “Whilst various studies have proven that traditional approaches do not work for many businesses and employee profiles, Reward professionals need to ensure they adopt appropriate approaches from the best practice trends and clearly define the objectives of their performance management practices. Instead of a “one size fits all” approach, is it possible to consider hybrid models that enable flexibility and empower both managers and employees in different types of businesses to optimally contribute towards business success?”

Facilitated by Dr Bussin, the panel discussion is set to examine these questions using insight and active engagement to address the issues from every corner. Panellists include John Ludike, an Independent Strategic Talent & HR Consultant, Nhlamu Dlomo, Executive Director: HR and Advisory Partner, KPMG and SARA President Lindiwe Sebesho, who is Head of Performance Management and Recognition at Barclays Africa Group Limited.

Prof Robin Snelgar, HOD Industrial and Organisational Psychology, NMMU, will also touch on the question of whether excessive rewards lead to decreased performance.

Managing the talent of tomorrow
“New insights from neuroscience on what really drives people and how to create environments in which they can thrive along with the technological tsunami and changing social world are impacting on the role of Total Reward professionals.” explains Marie-Claire McLachlan, Executive Committee Member at SARA and Director of CultureCode.

“In this VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world, with its forever changing landscape, complexity and stress is on the rise. Total Reward professionals need to better understand how to create “brain-friendly” work environments in order to better engage people and enable a ‘toward’ state in which people can access the parts of the brain which are needed to collaborate, co-operate and tap into creative thinking and problem solving abilities. The question is how – the answers are at the event.”

McLachlan will be examining the topic of Rewire for Change and a New World and the impact of change on how people perform and engage with the organisation.

For more information on the 2016 South African Reward Association Conference taking place on 3 and 4 November 2016, visit