The Number 1 Article all HR and Productivity Managers should read -
Published: 2019-03-06 13:27:04. Originally by: Debbie Engelbrecht.
How do we get engagement? How do we motivate our staff? How do we get staff to stay? These are questions we at Staff Training are being asked on a daily basis.


In fact at a recent meeting the question was..."Is there some kind of test that can be taken prior to employment to get an idea of how long an incumbent is likely to stay?”

Addressing the issue is clearly complex and multi-faceted so I am going to attempt a break-down for you, especially in the South African context.

Firstly let’s understand the South African context.

1. According to a First National Bank report in Dec 2018 – 56% of middle income (R7 000 to R60 000 per month) earners are spending their money within the first 5 days of receiving their salaries!

Our conclusion from this report is that more than half of all working South Africans have financial stress. In other words they are under resourced according to the Maslow Hierarchy of needs.

2. With our crime statistics prompting Police Minister, Bheki Cele in 2018, to refer to South Africa as a warzone, it is clear that very few South Africans are ticking the box for safety, a 2nd rung requirement from Maslow’s viewpoint.

Our overall conclusion is simply that, it has become critical for HR manager and management interested in raising productivity, to address the first two tiers of the Maslow Hierarchy as a matter of priority for the majority of South African employees.

Once these basic tiers are in place, it is easier for us to work with the upper tiers of the the Maslow Hierarchy.

But how do we do this without breaking the budget?

It is quite amazing how simple and cost effective some of the answers can be. What follows is by no means an exhaustive list, nor is it attainable for everyone, but it can certainly provide the fodder for some critical conversations and strategies.

For example:

1. Flexible working hours improves the possibility of being able to operate in a lift club and not having to use failing and unsafe public transport, it also helps in winter for example that your employees are not having to walk in the dark to the public transport pick up spots where they are soft targets for criminals.

2. Short sharp 1 hour information sessions on how to manage your finance, dietary information on how to maintain your energy levels, the 3 golden rules of parenting etc.

3. Lunch hour self-defence classes

4. A half day a month off to sort our personal matters such as driver licence applications, ID book replacement etc.

5. Gym in the parking lot – where staff members are able to blow off some steam at an affordable price

6. Education bursaries for employees children please refer to this article for an indication to see how saving on taxes is possible if you go this route.

7. Creating on site nursery and preschool care – this does not have to come at an expense to the company except maybe for the space necessary to do this – some organisations have the parents carry the full expense , with the benefit to parents being that they get to spend more time with their children on the inbound and outbound journeys as well as possibly over lunch time and tea times. This article from My Wage has some useful further information

8. Providing debt consolidation loans to employees and administering the payments on their behalf. Please consult your accountant regarding the legalities of this step. An interesting article by Spectrifin is referenced here
A different take on the matter is offered by SAGE

9. Partnering with a clinic to bring healthcare to the workplace helps your staff save money, time and effort your local health department should be able to provide you with more information on how this works.

10. Providing an on-site canteen enabling your staff to purchase cheap and nutritious meals saving them much cooking and shopping time.

11. Provide your staff with training on self-mastery and emotional intelligence and/or assertiveness, all these are self-empowerment workshops enabling individuals to make life decisions based on reality rather than perception. As a result decision making ability improves. The upside is that you can claim back 20% of your SDL and make some of those taxes work for you as well.

12. Training your management to be aware of their influence on the satisfaction level of staff. Management have a large influence on the top 3 tiers of the Maslow Hierarchy and our effort to retain staff has to be an all-round approach, an article by gives valuable insight into the exact role management can play.

© Debbie Engelbrecht 2019
Debbie is the MD at Staff Training, providing soft skills and leadership training for South Africans since 2000. Should you wish for Staff Training to put together an annual training package for you covering aspects of management, wellness and self-mastery, please email