A Lesson in Human Resources: Hiring, Retention and Legality

Hoare offered some suggestions to the entrepreneurs with regards to sourcing quality staff. “One of best ways to find people is to use the networks you have,” says Hoare. These networks can refer to social media such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Hoare also suggests that the entrepreneurs make use of trial ships. Trial ships refer to a period of time, usually 3 to 6 months, where a worker offers their services to a business in hopes of becoming a permanent employee once the trial ship is over. During the trial ship the employer should assess the worker periodically and offer suggestions on how they could improve. Hoare advises that it is important to have a written contract for both trial ships and permanent employment, as a contract stipulates important information such as leave and pay. Hoare encouraged the entrepreneurs to additionally practice reference checking. “Recruitment is a long process that has to be done thoroughly. Never believe what someone says on their CV,” says Hoare. Hoare notes that if the trial ship, also known as the probation period, is done correctly and the entrepreneur is still unsure as to whether the potential employee is a good fit to the business, they may let them go. If this employee was sourced through a recruitment agency, the agency must refund or replace the employee lost.

After recruitment, Hoare then went on to discuss retention. The two main issues employers face pertaining to retention is absenteeism and presentism. Hoare defines presentism as “someone who comes to work, keeps the chair warm, then leaves again.” In order to combat these two issues, Hoare advises that the entrepreneurs should work on creating environments that employees want to be in. According to Hoare, the top de-motivators amongst employees are inadequate recognition, no training, lack of communication, infrequent delegation of authority, lack of clarity, perceived favoritism and mistrust. Hoare stresses that it is important for employers to communicate with their staff as workers often do not feel recognized by the individuals they work for. “poor communication is the biggest issue I deal with on a daily basis,” says Hoare.

The final issue pertaining to human resources discussed was legality. According to Hoare, there are two contacts employers should be knowledgeable of; fixed term and permanent contracts. A fixed term contract is project based. It stipulates a definite start and finish date and cannot be extended. A permanent contract has no end date. “If you employ anybody for your business, they have to go onto a permanent contract. If you manage performance during the probation period, you will not have to manage it during the permanent employment period,” says Hoare. This is pivotal information for employers as it allows them to let employees go based on misconduct, without receiving problems from the CCMA. This is because employers will have a clear paper trail of employee reviews from the trial ship, which will prove that any misperformance is misconduct. “The added benefit of sitting down with your employee once a month is that they will know exactly what is expected of them,” says Hoare. Hoare has some other tips for the entrepreneurs when dealing with employees. She advises them that they should supply their employees with a written code of conduct so that they do not need to prove to the CCMA that their employees were aware of the rules. Hoare then went on to inform the entrepreneurs of the three things the CCMA will look for when dealing with a case; do you have a valid reason, did you follow procedure and did you verbally address the issue three times.

After the class on human relations, the entrepreneurs possessed vital information pertaining to organizational design, recruitment, retention and legality. This information will allow them to successfully form and manage teams, successfully interact with staff and more importantly; be a better leader. Although human relations is a difficult aspect to any business, the Thread’s entrepreneurs are now equipped with all the necessary knowledge and tools to be successful in this aspect of their business. Thank you to Pascale Hoare and the Threads business of fashion program for facilitating this class as this information will allow the entrepreneurs to raise the standards of their existing businesses.



A South African girl who has a passion for informing and connecting others to information that aims to better the readers lives.