As part of its strategy “to ensure job preservation and cash conservation” during these difficult times, Debswana Mining Company has had to revise its On-the-spot Recognition Awards Scheme at its mines.
An exemplary employee who in the past would be rewarded with a corporate gift like a state-of-the-art Nokia cellphone now has to settle for verbal acknowledgement in front of his/her colleagues.
The company’s Group Manager (Public and Corporate Affairs), Esther Kanaimba, says that like any other mining company, Debswana has been adversely affected by the global economic meltdown, which has manifested itself in a sharp decline in the demand for rough diamonds.
“In order to mitigate against the effects of the global economic meltdown, and to ensure the sustainability of the company, the company adopted a number of measures to ensure job preservation and cash conservation. In view of this, the company is continuously exploring innovative ways of doing more with less,” Kanaimba says.
Prior to the challenges of the recession, the scheme awarded “on the spot awards” in the form of corporate gifts to employees for exceptional behaviour.
“In view of the global recession and its impact on our business, the scheme has been modified and now comprises recognition that does not require financial expenditure,” she says.
Reward now comes in the form of: verbal acknowledgement of the exemplary employee in front of his/her peers; personalised letters from the mine’s General Manager acknowledging exceptional behaviour; and, mention of exemplary employees in other internal communications tools such as the management brief.
The objective of the scheme is to appropriately reward and recognise the contribution and initiative of employees who perform jobs, projects, tasks and activities over and above their normal duties; exceed the expectations or standards of their job/project and, set an example to other employees in supporting and implementing the mines’ core values.
Kanaimba says that Debswana also has an on-going program called Innovation, which falls under the company’s sustainability pillar of the North Star strategy. The project encourages employees to develop innovative ideas for doing our business, while saving money in the process.
“The scope of the innovation policy covers administration, adjudication, implementation and recognition processes related to the generation of innovative solutions by employees. Benefits of ideas that are implemented are tracked over a period of time and the originator is given a monetary reward up to P100 000. This program is still in abeyance due to the recession,” she says.
The company has four categories of awards, each varying in the amount of the award and the person responsible for issuing the award within the specific category: General Manager’s awards; Departmental awards; Spot awards; Excellence awards; Incentive awards; and Ex-gratia payments.
The spot awards scheme has not really ridden off into the sunset.
“Once the global financial situation normalises, corporate gifts will be re-instated,” Kanaimba says.
She adds that other forms of recognition will also continue as the company has seen value in them.