Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Worrisome trend as key personnel leave LEA in droves

The Local Enterprises Authority (LEA) has been experiencing significantly high numbers of turnover in the past two years. The train seems to be losing its gravy as more and more employees continue to ditch the parastatal in search of ‘greener pastures’.

Speaking at a media briefing recently, LEA’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Tebogo Matome, attributed the high number of resignations to their relatively low salaries as compared to those offered by other parastatals and the private sector.

Matome said they have not had any salary adjustments for the past five years due to the recent economic downturn.

In an interview with Sunday Standard, LEA’s Director of Communications, Nyaladzi Kutjwe, said the resignations have exceeded their annual target turnover rate of 7 percent. She said for the financial year 2009-2010 they recorded a turnover of 13.7 percent while in 2010-2011 they recorded 7.8 percent both of which surpassed their target rate.

Kutjwe added that, based on the resignations received during the first six months of the current financial year 2012-2013 they project a turnover of 7.6 percent at the end of the financial year, a figure which still remains above their desired target.

She said the exit interviews conducted with those who resigned, showed that the main and frequently recorded reason given for resigning was search for greener pastures, indicating that LEA’s salaries are currently not competitive enough.

“The LEA policy indicates that our salary structure should be at the midpoint of the parastatal market. However, the current economic downturn has affected our ability to put into effect our pay policy, said Kutjwe.

The Communications Director told Sunday Standard that LEA has trained and developed experts of SMME services with an increased awareness of the SMME sector in institutions such as those in the Financial Sector. LEA loses this built capacity due to better offers from such entities,” complained Kutjwe.

On whether they have adopted any measures to curb the exodus of their trained personnel, Kutjwe said they have an existing Retention Strategy, which includes initiatives such as wellness day activities, training and development, free access to counselling services, supervisory and leadership development. She said an employee climate survey has also been recently administered to help identify other remedial actions, which can enhance Retention Strategy, adding that provisions for salary increments are also included in their annual budgets as an effort to address the issue of low salaries.

“It should, however, be noted that LEA is solely reliant on government funding and until we come out of the global financial crisis as a country, funding remains a hurdle,” she warned.

About filling up vacancies left by resignations, Kutjwe said the recruitment process is an ongoing exercise as they continue to fill up the vacant positions as the resignations come.

On what forms of damage control measures they have taken to counter the bad reputation caused by the high staff turnover, Kutjwe said: “To manage the organisation’s bad reputation caused by our high turnover, we continue to engage with key stakeholders such as the media to not only share on the milestones that we have achieved with our mandate but to further give them an overview on the challenges we are experiencing among which high staff turnover is one of to allow informed perceptions,” she explained.

LEA, which was established by the Small Business Act Number 7 of 2004 to take over the responsibility of implementing policies and programmes for the promotion and development of small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs), opened its doors for first time in 2007 with the most competitive salary structure of most (if not all) parastatals and the private sector but they all seem to not only have caught up but also surpassed LEA with better salary packages.

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