It has been 62 years since the devastating day in South Africa, that saw 69 people shot dead and 180 people injured as they marched against the oppressive by laws at the time. As much as the days focus is on human rights, it has been set as a day to highlight an event in South African history that shocked its people.
Over the years, the incident drew attention to the events that lead us to start highlighting the importance of upholding and adhering to human rights. We see this during protest action and demonstrations outside establishments, there is a cry from protestors and demonstrators on the need to uphold human rights.
Whether it is the rights that we have in a free South Africa or the rights as a working South African, there is a need for us to familiarise ourselves on those human rights.
As a business it is important to stay focused on employee wellness. Being a healthy work environment is not only about making sure salary negotiation is done properly. We should be adhering to the regulations set out by the labour relations to ensure all employees receive fairness and justness in the work place.
Above and beyond this, aspects of racism, access to religious freedom and any other indifferences in the office must be addressed as soon as possible.
Here are a few ways to advance employee rights in the office:
- Policies and procedures are not put in place just for the benefit of the employer but for the employee too. It is crucial that staff familiarise themselves with these policies to prevent any discrimination of their rights in the workplace. Things like uniform policies and communication policies are in place not only for the benefit of the employer but for staff as well. In the event the company did not have these policies staff would not be aware of what they are required to do in the office and as a result this would lead to miscommunication and a lack of clarity with what is expected from the employee. It is for this reason that HR needs to be ensuring that policies are updates regularly and staff made aware of these changes.
- On the point of policy, the latest regulation around the Covid-19 vaccine has received mixed sentiments from individuals in the organisation. Despite these reservations, companies are making vaccinations mandatory and following the necessary guidelines to get staff on board with the heard immunisation intention government has outlined. However, many might find this to be a violation of their freedom of chose as companies are making it compulsory. This means as a business the proper channels must be followed to educate staff on the roll out and highlight the steps that will be taken to have the vaccines rolled out. It is part of policy implementation and must be done with the best interest of staff and clients in mind.
- Implement an open-door policy to handling issues brought up by staff. Have your managers and supervisors be more people focused and better equipped with dealing with the issues staff might face. A leader would be able to deal with issues as it occurs and not wait for it to escalate and blow out our proportion. If it is racial tension or issues around different beliefs it must be addressed to make the work place safe for all staff.
- Enhance the workplace environment to one that is not toxic and unhealthy for employee growth. Your staff need to be aware of the consequences of violating the rights of their colleagues as well as the responsibility they have as an employee of the business. Address bullies who would cause the tension and toxicity in the office before it demoralises staff in the workplace.
Devan Moonsamy is the CEO of ICHAF Training Institute, a South African TVET College. He is the author of Racism, Classism, Sexism, And The Other ISMs That Divide Us, AND My Leadership Legacy Journal available from the ICHAF Training Institute.
The ICHAF Training Institute offers SETA-approved training in business skills, computer use, and soft skills. Devan specialises in conflict and diversity management, and regularly conducts seminars on these issues for corporates. To book a seminar with Devan or for other training courses, please use the contact details below.
Tel: 011 262 2461 | 083 303 9159 |