Our focus on human, social and relationship capital

We provide details about our communities and employees in our material relationships.

Due to the material size and contribution of our South African workforce, this section contains detail about their demographics, key performance indicators and development. This supports the transformation imperative: building an employee base that reflects South Africa’s demographic diversity is a crucial part of our social mandate and contributes to the success of SPAR.

Our approach to human capital and culture

Culture is a key enabler of the new SPAR supermarket strategy. We identified the need to shift our culture to enable and support the following focus areas in wholesale and retail:

  • Distribution centre and retail relationships
  • High-performance teams, teamwork and empowerment
  • Speed and agility
  • Communication
  • Customer service

To achieve this shift, we must implement a robust change management process with HR functions as key drivers of the process. They work according to workstreams and are responsible for defining and shaping the desired culture through stakeholder analysis, identifying and addressing obstacles and resistance to the required culture shift, including interventions, role changes, and the use of technology as an enabler.

Employee demographics

Achieving greater transformation is a major aspect of our strategy, and our employee demographics are a core measurement of progress. We are committed to building a culture that embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunity, as these contribute to our strength as a group. We rely on our ability to access a wide range of skills, talents and ideas. This is an ongoing challenge for SPAR, and we have allocated responsibility at executive level.

SPAR employs 3 743 people across our corporate offices, distribution centres and warehouses in South Africa (2017: 3 602) and adheres to all the relevant South African labour legislation and standards. The following table provides data regarding SPAR’s black employees as a percentage of our total number of employees and the split between male and female across all race groups, as at 30 September 2018:

Occupational levels SPAR categories 2018 %* 2017 %* Male
2018 %**
2018 %**
Board of directors Executives and non-executives
Paterson Grades EU and F
40.0 40.0 82.0 18.0
Senior management Group Exco (excluding executive directors), divisional executives and specialised group functions
E band
17.0 16.6 88.2 11.8
Professionally qualified and experienced specialists and mid-management Middle management
Paterson Grades DL and DU
55.0 44.2 68.7 31.3
Skilled technical and academically qualified workers, junior management, supervisors, foremen and superintendents Supervisory and technical positions
Paterson Grades CL and CU
80.6 79.0 51.4 48.6
Semi-skilled and discretionary decision-making
Unskilled and defined decision-making
Operators and clerical staff
Defined decision-making positions
96.8 96.1 78.2 21.8
Paterson Grade 1 96.2 100 93.1 6.9
Total permanent black employees as a percentage of total employees 84.8 85.0 63.5 21.3
* Black employees as defined in the BBBEE Act.
** All employees split between male and female.

New employee hires and turnover rate

While we endeavour to retain our talented human capital, we recognise that an appropriate level of turnover is healthy and creates opportunities for growth. SPAR’s ability to attract diverse, qualified employees further reflects the strength of our brand as an employer of choice. The following table reflects new employee hires and employee turnover according to age group, gender, and percentage of black employees:

2018 2017 Male employees 2018 % Female employees 2018 % Black employees 2018 %
New employees 91 58 72.9 27.1 47.1
Employee exits 242 142 65.0 35.0 80
Group employee turnover rate 6.9 3.9 4.5 2.4 5.5

Broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE)

We measure our BBBEE score as a group in South Africa, which includes the central office and the eight distribution centres. Our rating in the respective elements is provided in the table below. According to the latest verification conducted in December 2018, the group is a level 6 contributor (2017: level 8), with a 60% recognition level.

Scorecard element Weighting 2018 2017
Ownership 25 17.00 2.90
Management control 19 9.16 8.84
Skills development 20 24.95 23.59
Enterprise and supplier development 40 20.43 17.52
Socio-economic development 5 5.00 5.00

The number of black retailers owning SPAR stores increased from 292 to 339.

Find our latest BBBEE scorecard here.

Employee development

The group’s internal employee development programmes, which are run through The SPAR Academy of Learning, are crucial to attracting, retaining, and developing a diverse talent pool. The following development programmes are in place:

Find our latest BBBEE certificate here.

  • Programme for Management Development (UCT)
  • SPAR Leadership Development Programme
  • Management Growth Programme
  • Supervisory Development Programme (various)
  • Graduate Training Programme

During the 2018 financial year, training covering a range of other areas also took place. This includes, among others:

  • First-aid and firefighting training
  • Driver training
  • My SPAR Picker Programme
  • SPAR Values Programme
  • Operating a lift truck and other vehicle combinations
  • Mentoring and coaching
  • Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET)

In line with the group’s transformation imperative, our skills development programmes, such as ABET, Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) and management training, are focused primarily on upskilling previously disadvantaged candidates.

The following table reflects the average number of hours of training received by SPAR’s employees according to gender and employee category:

SPAR categories 2018 2017 Male employees 2018 Female employees 2018
Executives and non-executives 111 360 1 880 30 762 3 704
Group divisional executives and specialised group functions 3 504 1 936 7 600 2 264
Middle management 24 512 21 960 23 072 1 440
Supervisory and technical positions 42 256 42 672 34 352 7 904
Operators and clerical staff 167 216 222 240 128 376 38 840
Defined decision-making positions 28 016 5 504 30 672 3 704

SPAR participates in national efforts to address unemployment including the YES initiative and Jumpstart. Read more about these contributions in the Chairman’s report.

During the year there was a specific focus on sourcing funds to create learnerships aimed at specific to scarce skills. These funds are aimed at the following:

  • Professional drivers
  • Freight handling
  • Diesel mechanic apprenticeship
  • Electrician apprenticeship

We continue to support employees who aim to obtain formal qualifications with reputable institutions and we have a specific commitment to upskilling female employees.

Health and safety

A comprehensive risk management programme is in place to protect the health and safety of our employees. It is audited on a regular basis by an external risk management service provider. The five components of the programme are emergency planning, health and safety, transport, fire and security.

Implementation is monitored and reviewed on an ongoing basis, with the understanding that legislative compliance is the minimum standard, and that excellence should be pursued. Each distribution centre has its own Health and Safety Committee, which oversees regular training and emergency drills, and is responsible for resolving or escalating issues that arise. During the 2018 financial year, 688 employees received health and safety training (2017: 792 employees).

The bulk of our health and safety incidents occur at the distribution centres, where employees handle bulk goods and operate heavy machinery. Strict health and safety compliance is a daily discipline for our distribution centres.

The table below indicates our health and safety performance for the year:

Incident 2018 2017
Disabling injuries 13 8
Non-disabling injuries 172 151
Deaths on duty 0 1
Number of employee visits to on-site clinic   10 865 10 732