Tidy Files Successfully Implements a Skills & Employment Equity Audit
by Sharon Bard

When Tidy Files, a leading local provider of end-to-end filing and storage solutions required a comprehensive Employment Equity and Skills Development plan, it turned to Progression, a leader in Human Capital and Transformation solutions. Progression would support and guide the company through a best practice Disability Equity Audit and Skills Audit that would link into its Employment Equity, Skills Development and B-BBEE strategies.

The Challenge:

Since its establishment in 1978, Tidy Files has developed into a leading provider of complete filing and archiving solutions. Having experienced significant growth over the years, with a nationwide client base and representation in other African countries, the company has a customer base of some 14 000, growing at a rate of an average of 100 customers per month. The company employs just over 300 people.

In order to meet its legislative requirements, Tidy Files had previously managed to achieve a Level 5 BEE status, through a number of standard initiatives. However, its management team felt that this was not a sustainable or adequate process. At this juncture, the Tidy Files team bought into the rationale behind BEE and what it is meant to achieve. It set out to offer employment that would not only benefit its employees, but also help create a more loyal and dedicated workforce.

Tidy Files requested that Progression support and guide the company through a best practice Disability Equity Audit and Skills Audit, which would link into the Employment Equity, Skills Development and B-BBEE strategies.

The Solution:

The Disability Equity Audit carried out by Progression assisted in facilitating the optimisation of the B-BBEE Scorecard by determining the Disability Equity of the organisation. This would assist in determining the current percentage of people with disabilities employed at Tidy Files, identify the gaps to reach targets and prioritise a disability equity plan to optimise the B-BBEE Scorecard.

Louise Hekma, Financial Director, Tidy Files: “In short we needed to find out how many of our current employees had a disability. We also needed to change employee perceptions. Unfortunately there are still perceptions out there that people with disabilities are not as effective in the workplace. This makes individuals living with a disability reluctant to disclose any personal information.”

The Process:

Sharon Bard, Diversity Manager at Progression: “Progression assisted Tidy Files in carrying out a highly comprehensive awareness campaign ahead of the Equity Audit, to help create an environment that would embrace disability and diversity, and create a disclosure-friendly environment within which people are empowered to overcome reasons that have prevented them from not having previously disclosed their disability status.”

The Result:

Summary of disclosures received:

Total number of disclosures received – 213

“Yes” disclosures – 22 (10,3%)

“No” disclosures – 191

The next phase of the project involved a Skills Audit conducted by Progression on behalf of Tidy Files to determine current competencies and skills within the organisation.

Tidy Files is now in a position to use the data collected to assist with its Workplace Skills Plan (WSP), to ensure that future training interventions help to uplift and empower employees.

According to Louise Hekma of Tidy Files the goodwill demonstrated by Tidy Files employees, has made the entire project a significantly worthwhile effort. “The training and skills that our own HR department has gained by working closely with Progression on these interventions cannot be valued enough. The total number of people who disclosed a disability during this campaign highlights that trust has been established and that Tidy Files is on a transformational journey to become an accessible and non- discriminatory employer.”

Since the audit, Tidy Files has embarked on various learnerships for the existing employees and unemployed learners with and without disabilities. It has also implemented a training schedule where candidates from different departments are sent on task specific training. Growing the skills level year-on-year rather than just repeating the same courses over and over. Tidy Files is also working towards the registering of its in house training NQF, so that its internal training programmes will be recognised and count towards its skills development score.

Successes:

Changing management and staff perceptions about disability in the workplace, by following best practice principles

Aligning all training requirements to the Tidy Files business strategy

Creating a progressively inclusive workplace environment as an accessible and non- discriminatory employer

Creating an environment where employees trust their employer and feel secure enough to disclose their disability

Conclusion

According to Sharon Bard of Progression, Tidy Files has demonstrated a strong commitment to becoming a progressively inclusive and compliant workplace and that Progression has enjoyed the process of working with a management team that are dedicated to creating an environment that is

accessible, non-discriminatory and supportive.

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