2020 brought some challenging projects to the fore. From transformation in retail to the new concept of White Allyship, we helped some interesting clients overcome challenges in the workplace. Let’s look at some of our recent projects in diversity management and transformation.
1. White Allyship: NAHANA Group
Client: The NAHANA Group
Project: Building White Allyship
As a company, NAHANA attested to having embraced transformation, but needed to get white employees on board. They felt a need to engage with white employees, who had been observed to be resistant to getting actively involved in transformation efforts. This resistance was perceived to emanate from feelings of uncertainty regarding the role they could play in transformation and was therefore something that needed to be unpacked and investigated.
The Business Solution:
Diversi-T developed and facilitated a novel programme around the concept of White Allyship. The programme included the following:
- The establishment and training of a steering committee.
- An online survey was conducted with all black staff to ascertain their views on prejudice, discrimination and the role of white employees in the organisation.
- Divers-T developed an online, virtual programme – one 3-hour session with a follow-up 2-hour session.
- We then facilitated large-group, three-hour, interactive programmes with slides, polls and video clips covering: Racism – personal interpersonal and organisational; Anti-racism strategies; and White and other privilege.
- Follow-ups were then conducted in small groups where the focus was on the company to develop strategies and commitments.
- We then established a programme of Allyship Champions to sustain the process internally and trained the champion group
- Diversi-T developed a wide-scale of novel resources including: articles, books, videos, podcasts and self-administered tests.
By administering the programme, NAHANA was able to develop a cohesive internal team in each of the Group’s companies in order to further promote and develop understanding and interaction across previously divisive lines. NAHANA has benefited from better cohesion, dealing with clients across racial barriers and the improvement of sales and marketing strategies.
2. Transformation in retail: SPAR Group
Client: The Spar Group
Project: Transformation in Retail
Spar is an extremely successful company. The company was, therefore, somewhat reluctant to change what was seen to be a winning formula. The idea that “if it aint broke why fix it.”, could only, however, sustain growth for so long.
- A first challenge at the Group was that senior personnel tend to have a lengthy tenure, which in turn has led to poor racial and gender representivity at senior levels.
- A second challenge came in the form of what seemed to be a poor understanding of the business benefits of driving transformation more effectively.
- It was therefore important to instil the recognition that transformation has a positive impact across the entire value chain.
The Business Solution:
Diversi-T developed and facilitated an introductory meeting with stakeholders from Social and Ethics Committee of the board and undertook a half day training for the Committee. In order to best communicate value, Diversi-T developed and distributed of support resources, facilitated an on-site workshop with Committee as well as an interactive and engaging session with key input on EE/B-BBEE transformation and business benefits. The final outcome was a follow-up report and planning session regarding the next steps for SPAR to take.
The project was successful in establishing enthusiasm and commitment within the Board Committee. This in turn resulted in a willingness to provide support and budget for the next steps and, moreover, an increased understanding of both SPAR’s employees, customers and client base.
3. Understanding DEI in a mining environment
Client:Northam Platinum Mine
Project: Understanding Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in a mining environment
Northam Platinum Mine consists of a diverse and international workforce. With many languages, religions and ethnicities represented, the mine was struggling to fully understand and implement Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Existing stumbling blocks included:
- Resistance to change and transformation among white employees due to fears such as: losing jobs and the future for white people in the industry.
- Black expectations and some misunderstandings regarding Diversity/Inclusion and employment equity in the workplace.
- Misunderstandings related to the business benefits of increased diversity inclusion.
- A poor understanding of the Employment Equity Act which in turn led to resistance to transformation.
The Business Solution:
It was vital from the get go to establish and train representative of an Employment Equity Committee. Leading from this an effective communication strategy was developed in three languages. The following training session were implementeD:
- One-day diversity/inclusion awareness training in multi-level groups
- Training around the Employment Equity Act.
- Two E-learning programmes were developed for virtual access.
- One programme covering key concepts was developed in the local language of the mine with communication back-up and video
- The second programme was developed as an English multi-module online programme which could be accessed virtually.
The client was happy with the materials developed, the communications strategy and the specific content developed especially for the mine. Unfortunately the programme was halted due to COVID-19. We hope to take it forward when things become more open again.
Take the next step with a helping hand
There are many benefits to addressing diversity and transformation in your organisation. Sometimes it is only from changing your perspective that problems come to the fore and possible solutions emerge. If you are ready to take on the task of addressing issues of diversity and transformation in your organisation, we are happy to be a partner in a valuable process – contact us