March is human rights month. However, the awareness on the month has been shadowed by the coronavirus which has been dominating the news front. Regardless of the pandemic we should take time to acknowledge this extremely important day on the South African calendar. Human Rights Day is observed annually on the 21st of March. It is to commemorate the 1960 Sharpeville massacre in which 69 people were killed while protesting apartheid pass laws. Today the Bill of rights has been enriched in our constitution protecting South Africans from Human rights infringements.
Human rights are essential in the world we live in. We are a democratic country and it is imperative that our human rights are not infringed upon.
Now while there are many companies in South Africa that reward employees there are still those that have blurred lines between unfair practises and human rights infringements.
At the top of the list is remuneration. Employees must be adequately paid for their skills sets. In the year 2020 however, it is still sad to note that females are still victims of the gender wage gap. This does not just cause tension in the work place but also ensures that no steps are taken to address gender equality in the work place.
Another common misdemeanour is the workplace is the employing of foreign nationals and classifying this as ‘cheap labour’. Some companies know that someone who is desperate will agree to a less than minimum wage and as a result we exploit their services. This is both unethical and unfair. We need to move away from this thinking. People should be paid in accordance to their skills sets and knowledge of a task.
Employers are also guilty of micro managing. This concept is one that reflects on the lack of trust in employees. as much as businesses are determined to make a profit there is often micro management that gets in the way of employee’s bringing their best to the work place.
There needs to be trust. If we trust our employees and make them feel valued, we will in turn see working environments that are conducive and less unenthusiastic.
Good working environments also have a lot to do with good leaders. If our leaders are good, we will see more productivity. We will also more employees wanting to stay and not leave when there is a sudden R500 more offer elsewhere.
So, this Human Rights month why not look at our workplaces. Identify ways in which we can make it better for those that bring home the sales. Create holistic working spaces, allow for ‘work from home’ and flexi hours. After all a happy employee will ensure better productivity.
Devan Moonsamy is the CEO of ICHAF Training Institute. ICHAF 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.