When it comes to BEE, Employment Equity and even Skills Development it is often difficult to decide if you should 1) appoint a person in-house to do these tasks; 2) upskill someone in-house to do these tasks; 3) hire an external party to do these tasks for you. Each of these approaches has up- and downsides.
Appointing an in-house expert
Specific to BEE, Employment Equity and Skills Development, you may require an in-house expert or even team to ensure your company’s compliance with this legislation, as the risk of non-compliance can come to a greater cost for your company based on your size and turnover.
The same goes for companies with high staff turnover and those who implement large Skills Development programmes.
Upskill current employees to handle legislation
For smaller companies that need to comply with BEE, Employment Equity and Skills Development it is a perfectly viable option to upskill your current HR Representative to handle Employment Equity and/or Skills Development implementation, even BEE in collaboration with other existing departments. Unfortunately, there are few training options available for upskilling in these areas. The courses that are available are often expensive and unaccredited. Furthermore, your current team may not want to upskill themselves in these areas. That being said, it is possible to upskill and utilise your current team for these legislative matters if they have the capacity and aptitude.
Hire an external party
For most businesses, it is the most feasible option to hire an external team of experts who can focus on implementing this legislation. External teams have specialist knowledge and you have the peace of mind that your implementation will be accurate. In addition, it can be more cost-effective to hire an external team for your implementation because their pricing models are structured to be competitive. The annual retainer fees for an expert team could come down to less than the once-off cost for a BEE course.
However, hiring an external party have pitfalls which must be avoided to ensure it is worth your while. Obviously, pricing is an option but it should not be the only consideration. The following factors may influence your decision when selecting an external team:
- The expertise of the team and their specialist knowledge is in the field you require
- The team’s commitments toward other clients – boutique agencies versus large corporate agencies have different client ratios for service delivery which may impact the quality of service to your business
- A variety of options – look for other than retainer options, such as once-off Employment Equity submissions, ad hoc consultations, verification fees, etc.
- Hidden fees – travel fees for visits to your premises, audit fees, additional consultation fees, or other hidden costs, the requirements from your team that may necessitate additional spend
It is important for an external team to be able to function as a part of your team. Therefore, it is imperative to trust the external team or contact person and ensure there are signed agreements in place for the confidentiality of your business details. If an external team does not have the time/capacity/knowledge to function as part of your team, hiring them may place additional pressure on your staff and it could then be better to look at upskilling your staff instead. Your external team must truly take the burden off of your employees, and only require cooperation from your team based on the expert information and guidance they provide.