With unemployment in South Africa at 27,7% in Q1: 2017, it’s no surprise that people are looking for ways to make ends meet. South Africans are known for their entrepreneurial spirit and many employers are encouraging employees to create micro-enterprises. They’re looking for ways to support and assist staff in their endeavours.
Employee wellbeing isn’t just about team-building and wellness days. Ideas that help staff achieve their goals and follow their dreams have shown to create a culture in which employees feel valued. Helping employees find ways of making an additional income can add value to their lives and your bottom line.
Spier wine farm has been supporting micro-enterprises within the company as part of its commitment to create positive change. Says the sustainability director Heidi Newton-King: “With the help of employees with entrepreneurial aspirations, Spier identifies opportunities to start a small business.” These ideas have enabled the company “to create and support sustainable jobs, and develop a spirit of enterprise development that would, in turn, create wealth and jobs for the community.”
Programmes that offer skills development or education can help people find the means to make their dreams a reality. Support could include mentoring, offering capital, facilities or guaranteeing contracts enabling entrepreneurs to create a portfolio of successful clients.
A great example is the Debinisa Transport Company. Spier driver and messenger Caswill Mentoor wanted to start his own transport company. The company facilitated a joint venture between Mentoor and Louw Vervoer, one of its current transport contractors. Debinisa was assured a percentage of Spier’s transport business, which allowed Spier to fulfil its procurement aims. Louw Vervoer was then able to pitch for BEE business.
Newton-King emphasises that “an engaged and purposeful workforce forms a stronger connection with a company”, which can have a knock-on affect for the individual, the company and the local community.
“We recognise that each employee is unique, which is why we want to support the development of employees,” she says. “Improved employee wellness and the development of the ‘whole person’ is not just about doing good, it’s key to boosting productivity, efficiency and performance.”