Globally and locally, there has been a positive shift in the past 20 years in how companies approach diversity, inclusion and transformation. Gradually, organisations have moved away from looking at diversity simply as something to be managed, to recognising the importance of creating an inclusive environment in which diversity can be fully maximised.

Where many research studies have proven the value of diversity for organisations, few can achieve the maximum advantage of diversity or create genuinely inclusive working environments. This is particularly pertinent in the South African context, where the diversity of the South African workforce is coupled with a complex and troubled history. This presents a challenging task for SA companies, as well as an important opportunity for the country and for business.

Despite this, there has been little in-depth research into people’s experiences of transformation in the local corporate environment. It is for this reason that Knowledge Resources and Mandate Molefi HR Consultants partnered to conduct a national survey into people’s perceptions and experiences of transformation, diversity and inclusion in South African organisations. Responses were received from a diverse range of industries and sectors across the country, from organisations representing over 466,000 employees.

The aim of the survey was to gather “on-the-ground” data on people’s perceptions and experiences with diversity and inclusion in their organisations, to gain an understanding of the culture and climate behind employment equity statistics, and to gain insights into how people are experiencing transformation – how real or close it feels for them.

The survey was conducted by KR and Mandate Molefi HR Consultants. It covers:

  • Perceptions of BBBEE and EE compliance
  • Demographic composition of leadership
  • Leadership and management’s approach to transformation, and what they could do better
  • Diversity markers causing tension and conflict
  • The barriers to career development and glass ceilings
  • Assessment of cultures of assimilation vs. cultures of inclusion

The report also offers detailed recommendations:

  • Methods for tackling obstacles to transformation
  • Effective strategies for creating inclusive and diverse work forces