First big SA company to introduce flexi leave

Posted by Gabrielle Jacobs on 26 June 2019

Investec South Africa will be offering all its staff the opportunity to migrate from their current leave policy to a new, more flexible one. The company dress policy has also been revised, effective immediately, under the concept of ‘dressing for your day’.

The financial investment company is known for its unique and forward-thinking approach to money, but it also wants to be known for prioritising its staff. Global Head of HR and Organisational Development, Marc Kahn, is a huge proponent of ‘entrepreneurial freedom’, which allows employees to work in a unique environment built on trust.

Investec believes that conventional notions of work and productivity are becoming redundant, and believes there may be a greater correlation between performance, environment and this entrepreneurial freedom, as evidenced by log sheets.

From September 2019, the new policy will allow all Investec SA staff (about 5,300 people) to move towards an annual leave policy that is more output-based than time-based. It would be the first large corporate company in South Africa to do such a thing.

Globally, this style of organisational structuring is more often associated with startups in the tech industry, populated by younger people outside of the corporate industry. Google is the classic example, where employees aren’t confined to the conventional office environment or organisational structure, and unique work experiences are incentivised.

 

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‘An organisation that is bound by policy that restricts and constrains people through time and through dress is a very limiting environment,’ says Lesley-Anne Gatter, Head of Human Resources for Investec SA. ‘The leave policy is less about time and more about how work is contracted, people’s roles and the clarity around their roles and what they need to deliver on. It is also incumbent on leadership’s ability to lead culturally in our environment around output, entrepreneurialism, freedom and ownership in terms of performance.’

According to a study by accounting company Deloitte, workplace satisfaction and the quality of life employees enjoy is integral to their performance. A worker’s sense of individuality and belonging are important, especially across the spectrum of race, gender, ability, sexual orientation, and class, to name a few areas. Employees’ lives beyond work or the work-office environment is equally important, and companies that can find the balance between accommodating staff and also receiving the maximum effort and quality of work from them might be on to something.

 

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The dress code policy of ‘dress for your day’ is less about dressing down, but is rather to give employees a high level of freedom in how they choose to dress appropriately.

According to Nicola Tager, who heads up Investec’s Careers portfolio, ‘We’ve chosen these two new policies because they truly highlight the artefacts of the organisation’s culture and therefore it aligns with us so personally as well.’

Also read:

Ernst & Young offers employees 12 weeks of ‘life leave’

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