HR execs took part in an in-depth discussion of trends in the people space at CHRO Day.
Edwin Hlatswayo, chief people officer at Glencore Alloys and Carla Daniels, consulting lead at Mercer South Africa, took the audience at the inaugural CHRO Day on 12 May through a deep dive into HR metrics for financial reporting.
Annual reports informing metrics
“Our 2022 Annual Human Capital report has just been released and gives us an opportunity to see where we have been successful and where there is a little more room for improvement,” said Edwin.
“When I arrived at Glencore, I wanted to understand the problems the company wanted me to solve for them. What couldn’t be ignored was strike action that was taking place at the time. We also caught wind of news in February this year that women were being sexually harassed and assaulted at a mining company in Australia,” he said.
Edwin said the leading causes of strike action at Glencore were quite similar to the events at the Australian mine including, sexual harassment, assault, disrespect, verbal abuse and racism underground. “I made the point that if these five issues were resolved, there would never be another strike again at this company for the next five years, and I was laughed at.”
Five deadly sins and a home away from home
In 2010, Edwin and his team approached an external company to create a policy called the Addendum 1 of the disciplinary Act, which they also referred to as the five deadly sins. “Most thought it was a joke, including those who made false allegations, but anyone who was found to have committed any of those sins was fired. As a result, we had another strike, and this was at the height of strike action,” he noted.
Some of the interventions that Glencore explored were “stay interviews” with female employees, using an external agency, where they asked women to relay some of the reasons they wanted to stay at or leave the company. “Our goal with this initiative was to increase the number of female employees in the mining industry, and retain, develop and promote them,” he explained.
“In addition, we needed to create a culture that was welcoming and positive. We call this culture, ‘Glencore is a home away from home’. This strategy was met with great engagement and also reflected in our financials, staff retention, and level of production, where we saw fewer resignations.”
Glencore’s “home away from home” is a business culture aimed at delivering results and treating people with dignity. Targets are measured by the promotion rate of female employees, which will be a true reflection of transformation in the industry.
A round of questions
During the question and answer session, panellists were asked questions around employee benefits, value proposition, what HR metrics should be focusing on and getting buy-in.
On employee benefits, Carla said, “In order to encourage people to want to be a part of your organisation, you have to consider a broader spectrum of benefits, including a focus on mental health for example”.
On the value proposition issue, Edwin said, “As an employer, I need to put a proposition on the table that makes you as the employee want to come to work every day. When you propose something and deliver on that proposal, your colleagues are automatically confident in your abilities, and you get buy-in from them because you delivered,” he added.
Top HR metrics trends
According to Carla, these are the biggest trends that are informing HR metrics now and into the future:
- Companies investing in – and understanding – their people
- Metrics on the number of skilled positions versus the number of positions that are not filled by skilled individuals, and how that gap can be closed.
- A focus on ESG – the Sustainability Standards Board is working on a framework to embed ESG.
- Even though it will be focused on the climate at first, metrics from a people perspective will be brought in.
- Great concern around living wage and quality of living of employees.
- A focus on wellbeing and using this information to inform decisions and collating the data.
- Data as a matter of urgency, now more than ever
Even prior to the pandemic, Carla observed, investors had become more interested in understanding how organisations treated and managed their people, and pushed for additional metrics to be a part of their financial reporting. “However, the pandemic did reveal a rise in inequities, with women negatively affected by the pandemic, which also raised the issue of organisations having to become more accountable for their people and how they manage them,” she concluded.