Page 1




Top investors in people power


Top investors in people power Editorial: Christian Jordan Production: Chris Bolderstone

Times are exciting at Exxaro. The company was recently named as one of South Africa’s best employers by the Top Employers Institute and we thought we would find out why. We spoke to Mzila Mthenjane, Executive head of Strategy and Corporate affairs, and he explained more about just a few of the on-going initiatives that the company has put in place to develop its people so that they can reach their full potential.

In September, the Top Employers Institute released its annual lists of South Africa and Africa’s best employers. The lists are compiled following months of painstaking research that covers five main areas of HR strategy; primary benefits, secondary benefits and working conditions, training and development, career development and culture management. The Top Employers Institute, formerly the CRF Institute, has been promoting excellence in the field of HR since 1991. The company’s website states: “Recognition as a Top Employer enables companies to stand out as employers of choice. This is beneficial for all stakeholders, and in particular their current and prospective employees. Being certified provides companies with the opportunity to celebrate their achievements and to reinforce the role of the HR environment in the business.” Top Employers CEO, David Plink, says: “Over the years,

PAGE 2 nov 13

we have assessed and certified companies the world over using our proprietary methodology. We strongly value our objectivity, independence and selectivity. As a result, current and prospective employees can trust upon the certified organisations to have excellent conditions in place for their people to develop. Always.” Exxaro is one of South Africa’s leading mining groups with interests in coal, mineral sands, base metals and ferroalloys, and iron ore. The company is listed on the JSE and at the end of 2012 had assets of R37 billion and a market capitalisation of R40 billion. The company is now the second largest coal producer in South Africa with a capacity of 41 million tonnes per year and was formed in 2006 following an empowerment transaction that involved the unbundling of Kumba Resources’ iron ore assets and the relisting of Kumba as Exxaro. At Exxaro, the Top Employers Institute found ‘exceptional


employee conditions’ and highlighted the way that the company ‘nurtures and develops talent throughout all levels of the organisation’. Executive head of strategy and corporate affairs at Exxaro, Mzila Mthenjane, tells IndustrySA that the certification was very pleasing for the company. “It is a big deal for Exxaro, in the context of an environment where skills are short and which a risk to business sustainability. What these assessments really look at is the processes and systems in place to enable effective recruitment. “From a systems and process perspective, we are happy that we have been assessed to have one of the best available systems and it is working,” he says.

LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT There are many policies that Exxaro apply to ensure that

skills and qualities are realised in every employee. The company understands that leadership is vital in building a high-performance culture and is committed to developing leaders according to the credo that leaders must be ‘credible to be truly incredible’. Mthenjane suggests that anyone in the organisation can become a leader and further themselves through education offered by the company. “There is a typical career path for engineers as well as other professionals in all of the other functional areas and depending on the level that employees come into the organisation, there is really nothing stopping them from reaching the top,” he says. “You will find in the worst cases, employees who have never been to school or left school early and worked in a mine as a means of managing their financial situation; when they come to Exxaro or some of the other Gauteng based continues on page 31...

nov 13 PAGE 3

Manitou announces 2 super-sized telehandlers Johannesburg - 2014 promises to be a big year for the global Manitou brand, after announcing two new telehandler models in final development stages at its Castelfranco facility in Italy. And BIG is the right choice of word, as speculation grows about the new models’ lifting capacity, with one of the preliminary machines said to feature what would be the market segment’s largest lifting weight capacity at an impressive 40 tons. In an announcement, Manitou Southern Africa’s MD, Lindsay Shankland, explained: “Manitou is currently in the process of building two new telescopic handlers due for introduction to the local market in the first semester of next year. At this stage, it’s important to say that the larger of the two models has been designed to safely and repeatedly handle up to 33% more than the highest-capacity production telehandler currently on the market.” When asked about the machines’ proposed market, Shankland added that the company has placed a new emphasis on size to cater for the growing heavy-industrial market and, in South Africa specifically, for the handling of conveyor belt reels in the mining sector. Manitou also shed some light on a few new technologies we can expect to see in the next generation of heavy lifters:

Automatic attachment recognition This system makes the machine easier to use when using multiple attachments as the machine automatically adapts its mode to the selected attachment without selection from the operator. “For over 50 years, Manitou has been at the forefront of the technological trends within the material handling market, and we take pride knowing that, before a model is put into production, each aspect of the machine is tested and verified to provide the level of reliability the market expects from a Manitou. We are confident that our customers will respond positively to the new level of functionality and safety the RCL and LMI system will provide,” says Shankland.

Even more versatility With the possibility of custom attachment design, the new telehandler models are being designed for standard operation with forks, jibs, winches, platforms, tyre handlers and belt reel handlers etc. “Our R&D team has designed an automatic attachment recognition system to help the telehandlers calibrate their weight limits and envelope tolerances, which PAGE 4 OCT 13safety in every application,” added Shankland. means improved

Even greater comfort Manitou has created some of the telehandler market’s most sophisticated cab technology – in line with the company’s viewpoint that comfort reduces fatigue, which means greater productivity. “We can expect a radical new cab design with the introduction of the two new models that will give operators more space, as well as enhanced ergonomics that’s based on user experience gathered from Manitou’s global customer base,” said Shankland.

A peak at the power train Manitou traditionally partners its high-end telehandler models with engines from Mercedes-Benz for best-in-class efficiency and performance. Shankland explained that the new models will continue with the tradition by featuring the automaker’s 7.2-litre, 6 cylinder diesel engines, with outputs on the larger telehandler model designed for 1 400 Nm of torque and 240 kW (350 HP) at 2 200 rpm. “This will make our flagship telehandler perfect for extreme-duty operation, without the risk of finding yourself underpowered during critical manoeuvres, even when on or near the maximum load capacity,” he explained. The engines will be matched to a fully automatic hydrostatic transmission, for driving at up to 25 km/h. Manitou’s current flagship telehandler is the MHT10225, which is able to lift 22.5 tons of dead weight, and can extend its boom by up to 10 metres.

For more information on Manitou’s existing range, visit For more information on Manitou’s existing range, visit Enquiries: Lindsay Shankland, MD Manitou Southern Africa Tel: 011 975 7770 Fax: 011 975 4646 E-mail:




PAGE 6 nov 13

Exxaro ...continued from page 27 mining operations, they then get exposure to other ways in which they can further their education and with support from the organisation they are able to improve their level of education. There are examples in South Africa where individuals will gain tertiary qualifications and then move through a company into senior management roles, so this is absolutely possible. “Obviously, the other side of it is where you have, say, a graduate engineer or graduate financial accountant and from wherever they start in the organisation, they can move upwards on their career path and gain a senior management position at head office which is pretty much what everyone aspires to.”

• Develop and sustain core competencies and maximise human resources to meet the group’s strategic objectives and improve operational performance.

• Create a learning culture by assisting and facilitating

the process in which employees and their dependants take responsibility for improving their own educational and competency levels, to the mutual benefit of the individual and the organisation.

• Ensure integration and uniformity in all learning and development processes by leveraging technologies.

• Support and reinforce our values through various learning and development initiatives.

SKILLS DEVELOPMENT Like most major companies in South Africa, Exxaro has a need to train its people for effective and efficient delivery of the strategy, and no expense is spared when it comes to offering the best possible development opportunities. The company has a HR policy with six focal objectives:

• Ensure learning and development initiatives are careerfocused and aligned with business objectives.

• Establish life-long learning as the major thrust of learning and development.



African continent is the biggest growing area for producers in South Africa at the moment”

Through these objectives, the company is able to address the problem that faces all industries in the country, the proverbial skills shortage. However, solving one problem invariably throws up another and in this case, the next problem is cost. Specialist training is expensive so Exxaro, in a time of challenging economic conditions, is now looking to bring more and more of its training in house. “From a cost management perspective, that is one of the key drivers of trying to bring as much training as possible in house rather than use external companies especially for employees from the coal face because we are talking about large numbers and when you outsource that training you are incurring a huge cost,” says Mthenjane. “I think the idea is that while we remain labour intensive, the need for onthe-job training will remain important. Compared to other mines we are reasonably mechanised but not yet automated.” “One of the key drivers for us, in an environment where there has been margin squeeze because of commodity prices coming down and input prices going up, is how we train better and more effectively by doing it ourselves,” he says. Taking training largely in house will mean a more specific and focussed scheme and a control over costs but most importantly, the people will benefit and benefitting the people in a time when the mining industry has come under PAGE 8 nov 13

scrutiny for its relations will only provide a boost. Add this to the fact that Exxaro offers ‘exceptional employee conditions’ and you can see how the company has managed to separate itself from the pack where strikes and violence have tarred the industry’s image. “We are assisted by the structure in terms of being largely mechanised,” says Mthenjane. “Underground coal mining would be undertaken through bord and pillar mining methods as well as longwall mining, both of which are extensively mechanised and so it’s not your typical metalliferous mining which involves narrow and tabular working areas. It is much more open, as would be the case with any bord and pillar mining operation. There are fewer people and the company has spent money transforming the accommodation from hostels to family units and single quarter units.”

OWNERSHIP Talent management is obviously a key part of Exxaro’s HR plan and talent retention falls under this banner. For all of the effort and expense that is put into developing people, it makes no sense at all to watch them leave for a competitor. This is the same for many companies and causes a headache for HR departments every month. The retention programme in place at Exxaro is bolstered by its ESOPs

(Employee Share Ownership Plans) scheme, Mpower, which was reviewed and renewed in 2012. While ESOPs obviously have huge benefits, many of which have been realised by employees in other companies that offer similar schemes, Mthenjane suggests that the correct approach has to be taken and potential benefits are tailored to help employees on all levels as well as ensuring the company receives a benefit. “The ownership discussion is a double edged sword,” he says. “On the one hand, you could say it’s a regulatory requirement in terms of the transformation legislation and the BEE legislation and just about all of the mining companies have implemented that. “For those that have been successful in the stock market, it has been well received but has increased responsibility and accountability, financially speaking. For example, it can increase the tax burden and put people in different tax brackets when they realise the benefits of their shares and that is something which employees often haven’t been trained on effectively and that has posed a question about the future of ESOPs. “As good a scheme as it is, is it applicable to all levels of employees and do they provide the benefits that we expect? When you give a share ownership scheme or option scheme to an executive, it does serve the purpose

24 hour safe, reliable transportation of your workforce

ISO 9001:2008 Accreditation by TÜv Rheinland BEE LEVEL 2

T: (+27) 13-6927241 F: (+27) 866 846 086 E: W: Runner up for 2013 AFRICA SMME Awards - Services Sector

that it’s meant for and you are providing it to an employee who is at a different level of the organisation where they can wait for the benefits to flow through in three or five years’ time. Employees at the coal face are at a different financial standing and their needs in terms of financial support are different and they will have a much more short term focus on cash requirements so the schemes in that regard will not always fulfil the role that the company would expect.” This has resulted in questions as to whether companies continue to implement ESOPs. “We are required to by law so we will, but what we will look at is how employees continue to share in the upside of the company and share the upside on a shorter basis as that is where the need is,” says Mthenjane. Even with questions surrounding ESOPs and the best ways to manage them, one thing remains constant and certain – Exxaro is one of the country’s best employers. This is now officially, independently certified and the company’s nearly 8000 employees can work every day knowing that the commitment and loyalty that they show, will inevitably be reflected by Exxaro – refreshing in an environment where people are so often just seen as a number.



+27 12 307 5000

(0)1603 618 000 East Coast Promotions Ltd, Ferndale Business Centre, 1 Exeter Street. Norwich, Norfolk NR2 4QB

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you