Kusile Training Services

Strategic Employment Relations

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I asked John Povey, MD of Kusile Consulting Services what was the most critical aspect of taking a strategic approach to employment relations.  “If you want to grow and develop your business, you have to grow and develop the people in your business”.

John went on to say that whatever business you are in, you need to examine the people side of the organisation with the same strategic care and attention as you would your marketing, sales, production or distribution activities.  This is because however excellent your product and service is, it is only achieved through the people in the enterprise.

If business strategy looks at developing markets, products, systems and processes, then it needs to look at people with a strategic approach as well.  Kusile has created a unique approach to employment relations in their client’s business through its HR Value Chain

Kusile’s approach is to examine each aspect of the HR Value Chain against the business strategy of the client to determine what areas need focus and how to establish an effective programme to cultivate a cohesive approach to managing its people from engagement to separation.

Like any other business strategy this is all premised on the core values of the organisation: its vision and mission and its general philosophy about the way it conducts itself.

By using Kusile’s unique SELF analysis in developing straetgy, clients are able to interrogate their current status against any given value or strategic objective.  The SELF analysis is a structured tool that helps to examine current practices, outside influences and constrictions to execution of the value or objective.  From this analysis it becomes easy to identify the strategic actions that are necessary to accomplish the objective. 

“The ability to break down concepts into simpler elements is a great aid to understanding the issue and provides a framework to develop practical steps to achieve the objective”.

Too many people take solutions that have worked in other organisations or other contexts and apply them without considering the unique attributes of the specific client or the situation in which they operate.  We have seen documents like policies cut and pasted from organisations whose philosophy is far removed from that of the client. The result is that the policy reflects values that do not synchronise with those of the client and there is a discord between the principles of the business and the content of the policy.

Whilst these may be tried and tested processes that have been successful in the past it does not mean that they fit all situations.  “Gaining a deep understanding of the philosphy and beliefs of the buisness and the entrepreneurs that drive them is a critical aspect of the success of any employment  relations strategy”

The Kusile team will engage to understand the drivers of the business in terms of business strategy, entrepreneurial philosophy and people ethics.  Armed with this appreciation of the ethos of the organisation we can engage in the process to formulate the employment relations strategy in the specific areas of the HR value chain requiring attention.

This approach has underpinned the reliability of Kusile’s advice and services and is attested to by the number of clients of many years’ standing.  John says that in the field of employee relations consultancy, to have dozens of clients of more than fifteen years is a true testimony of the value of the relationships we have moulded over the more than thirty five years of our existence.  Having clients for more than thirty years is a true testimony of our strategic approach to addressing the people needs of our clients.

If the solutions to labour issues are not linked to and interwoven with business strategy, then they are unlikely to be successful or sustainable. ”It seems like a cliché to say that when our consultants are with a client we feel like a member of their management team, but that is how we feel about our clients. In many cases we have been with the client longer than their current management team” John said.

“It has been a very interesting journey over the last thirty years of consulting in labour relations” said John. “From the fervent days of the struggle to the enlightenment of employment equity and skills development, we have been applying a strategic approach to address the needs of our clients.”  One example of this are the wage costing models that enable clients to go into wage negotiations with confidence that they can measure the true impact of their proposals and those of the Union.  “This also provides insight into negotiations strategy by being able to examine the impact of proposals that aid the linkage of items and what can be traded or conceded.”

To be able to support our consulting approach with a wide array of relevant, up to date, customised and practical training programmes enables Kusile to fulfil one of its own core beliefs – to internalise skills in their clients.  This is because the consultant cannot take the place of the management in developing relationships with employees. “If we are to build sustainable solutions for our clients, they have to be able to carry out the strategy themselves”. As an accredited provider with the Services SETA and ETDPSETA we are able to enhance supervisory, management and skills development competencies in our clients through training as well as practical hands-on advice and guidance.

Having been part of the skills development revolution whilst representing the Diamond Polishing industry at the Mining Qualifications Authority, the knowledge and understanding of the objectives of the skills development transformation has enabled Kusile to develop practical approaches to combining employment equity, succession planning and skills development strategies for meaningful engagement and people development. “The development of provider accreditation requirements was a particularly useful contribution to the understanding of outcomes-based education in the workplace.” It is this kind of experience that laid the foundation for the development of Kusile Training’s wide range of management programmes. 

By engaging Kusile Training our clients can proactively address the ever-changing requirements in people management and enjoy the benefits of partnering with one of SA’s leading and longest serving labour consultancies. We create effectiveness in dealing with a range of HR and management topics. We ensure the currency of our training experience by having our knowledgeable consultants facilitate learning thereby ensuring the skills and experience imparted is practical and current.

Being able to provide a full array of expertise is another critical aspect of engagement with Kusile as your strategic employment relations partner.  No one person can have all the know-how needed to fulfil the HR function any more.  Kusile provides a team of experienced and accessible consultants who collectively can meet the needs of clients and enable them in the execution of their people strategies. These skills spread from industrial relations to recruitment and selection, HR Development, job profiling, assessment, grading, performance management, employment equity, skills development, succession planning, broad-based black economic empowerment, quality and provider accreditation as well as payroll services.

“It is the strategic approach, coupled with a passion for people development that has enabled Kusile to have lasting impact in the success of our clients.”

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