An assessment on managing workforce diversity in public sector organisations : the case of the Department of Local Government Western Cape (WC)

Van Der Berg-Ross, Ashlene (2013-12)

Thesis (MPA)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis examines the perceptions of the staff of the Department of Local Government in the Western Cape (WC) regarding workforce diversity as part of diversity management. A literature review is presented and this research shows that organisations in South Africa and around the world have come a long way with regard to understanding and appreciating workforce diversity. The literature review also revealed the important facilitating role HR diversity management plays in improving the performance of organisations, as well as in creating unity amongst employees. What is also important is the fact that organisations now understand and realise the important role diversity management programmes and practices play in their own survival. Therefore various steps are available for organisations to ensure that the benefits are achieved from having diverse employees in their workplace while effectively integrating these employees into the organisation. A background on the Department of Local Government (WC) is provided, which highlights the Department’s priorities and Key Performance Areas (KPAs) as set out in its Annual Performance Plan (APP). The KPAs of the Department are dynamic and not influenced by political shifts, as in the case of municipalities. However, the priorities of the Department are similar to the strategic objectives that are embedded within the 30 municipalities. The priorities of the Department are parallel to those of the municipalities’ priorities in order to ensure that the Department and municipalities achieve their objectives together. It is therefore the Department’s responsibility to assist municipalities in achieving their strategic objectives by constantly monitoring and evaluating their level of performance. If a municipality performs badly, the Department must assist where necessary. The research findings regarding diversity management show that the employees are unaware whether a diversity management policy has ever existed or whether any training of such a nature has been conducted within the Department. Data show that limited effort has been made by the Department to develop a diversity management policy. The findings also indicate that more diversity management programmes and training are needed, in order to bring about awareness of workforce diversity and the successful management of diversity. What was also clear is that not enough diversity audits have been conducted to determine the level of diversity within the Department; and most importantly it is also illustrated that a limited number of staff is housed within the HR unit to assist the Department in creating a strong diversity environment that supports the wellbeing of the staff and the Department. Finally, the thesis provides recommendations for the Department on how to be an inclusive entity, but these recommendations can only be successful if top management and HR have the necessary ability to successfully implement the following recommendations (interventions): develop a diversity management policy to guide the Department on diversity issues; develop diversity management programmes to ensure that all staff members are briefed on all diversity issues; and create a monitoring system to ensure that the policies and programmes are updated as new entrants enter the Department. It is therefore a requirement that these interventions are placed in the Department’s Employment Equity Plan and, more importantly, form part of their Annual Performance Plan (APP). If there is commitment from HR, top management and the employees, these interventions will create a safe, friendly, and hard-working environment with good performance levels.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis ondersoek die persepsies van die personeel van die Departement Plaaslike Bestuur, Wes-Kaap, met betrekking tot werkmagdiversiteit as deel van die bestuur van diversiteit. ’n Literatuurstudie word aangebied en vanuit hierdie navorsing word getoon dat organisasies in Suid-Afrika en dwarsoor die wêreld ver gevorder het met die verstaan van en waardering vir werkmagdiversiteit. Die literatuurstudie het ook lig gewerp op die belangrike fasiliterende rol van die bestuur van diversiteit deur Menslike Hulpbronne vir die verbetering van die prestasie van organisasies, sowel as in die bewerkstelliging van ’n gevoel van eenheid tussen werknemers. Wat ook belangrik is, is dat organisasies nou die belangrike rol van diversiteit-bestuurprogramme en -praktyke verstaan en besef hoe hul eie oorlewing daardeur geraak word. Verskeie stappe kan deur organisasies onderneem word om te verseker dat dit voordelig is om ’n diverse groep werknemers in hul werkplekke te hê en hierdie werknemers doeltreffend in die organisasie te integreer. Die agtergrond van die Departement Plaaslike Bestuur (Wes-Kaap) is voorsien, met beklemtoning van die Departement se prioriteite en sleutel prestasie areas (KPA’s) soos in die Jaarlikse Prestasieplan uiteengesit; sleutel prestasie areas van die Departement is dinamies van aard en word nie, soos in die geval van munisipaliteite, deur politieke omwentelinge geraak nie. Die prioriteite van die Departement is egter soortgelyk aan die strategiese doelwitte wat in die 30 munisipaliteite vasgelê is. Die prioriteite van die Departement loop ewewydig met dié van die munisipaliteite om te verseker dat die Departement en munisipaliteite hul doelwitte saam bereik. Die Departement is dus verantwoordelik om munisipaliteite by te staan in die bereiking van hul strategiese doelwitte deur voortdurende monitering en evaluering van hul prestasievlak. Indien ’n munisipaliteit swak presteer, moet die Departement hulp verleen waar dit nodig is. Die bevindings van die navorsing oor diversiteit dui daarop dat werknemers nie van die bestaan van enige diversiteitbestuurbeleid óóit bewus was nie, óf geweet het of enige opleiding van dié aard al in die Departement aangebied is nie. Data toon die beperktheid van die Departement se pogings om ’n beleid vir die bestuur van diversiteit te ontwikkel. Die bevindings toon verder dat meer diversiteitbestuurprogramme en -opleiding benodig word om bewustheid van werkmagdiversiteit en die suksesvolle bestuur van diversiteit daar te stel. Wat ook duidelik was, is dat te min diversiteitkontrole onderneem is om die vlakke van diversiteit binne die Departement te bepaal. Die belangrikste bevinding is egter dat daar slegs ’n beperkte aantal personeellede in die Menslike Hulpbronne-eenheid is om die Departement by te staan in die skepping van ’n sterk diversiteit-omgewing wat die welstand van die personeel onderskraag. Die tesis doen voorstelle aan die hand vir die Departement oor hoe om ’n inklusiewe entiteit te wees. Hierdie voorstelle kan egter slegs suksesvol wees indien die Hoofbestuur en Menslike Hulpbronne oor die nodige vermoë beskik om die volgende aanbevelings (intervensies) te implementeer: Ontwikkel ’n beleid vir die bestuur van diversiteit om die Departement ten opsigte van diversiteit te begelei; ontwikkel diversiteitbestuurprogramme om te verseker dat alle personeellede oor diversiteit ingelig word; en skep ’n moniteringstelsel om te verseker dat die beleide en programme bygewerk word namate nuwelinge by die Departement aansluit. Dit is dus ’n vereiste dat hierdie intervensies in die Departement se diensbillikheidsplan opgeneem word en, wat nog belangriker is, deel vorm van die Jaarlikse Prestasieplan. Indien Menslike Hulpbronne, topbestuur en werknemers hulle hiertoe verbind, sal hierdie intervensies ’n veilige, vriendelike en hardwerkende omgewing met goeie prestasievlakke tot stand bring.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/85744
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