iKhokha implements mental health break to give employees time to recharge

Johannesburg, 21 Sep 2021
Read time 2min 40sec

Rapidly-growing fintech and mobile payment provider iKhokha announced this week that the company will implement a mental health break for all employees.

Initiated by global brands such as Nike, iKhokha is the first South African company to formalise a company-wide mental health break. It's an unprecedented move for a South African brand which shows iKhokha’s commitment to nurturing the talent in its team.

The decision to implement the free and compulsory break comes after the iKhokha Talent Team saw the need to prioritise employee wellbeing.

It’s been a challenging 16 months for all South Africans. Aside from the ongoing lockdown from the COVID-19 pandemic, many were also thrown into turmoil a few months ago during the July unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

Being on the frontlines with small businesses, iKhokha has felt the devastation of these events acutely. As a result, CEO Matt Putman and the rest of the executive team have decided to give iKhokha employees the chance to recharge and reboot on Wednesday 22nd and Thursday 23rd September, ahead of Heritage Day on Friday 24th September.

“Despite the COVID effect, we have still managed to achieve a lot of positive things at iKhokha," says Putman.

“We have welcomed a generous injection of talented, bright-eyed new iK Tribe members and grown both our customer base and product set at an unprecedented pace. We have truly Hustled Hard Together.”

Putman, however, recognises the sacrifices made to keep iKhokha on its rapid growth trajectory. As a result, the leadership team has decided to prioritise employee satisfaction in a move that can only be described as innovative and forward-thinking.

iKhokha’s mental health break follows an extensive employee wellness programme initiated and championed by iKhokha Head of Talent, Steph Snyman.

“It's been a taxing year for all of us. Burnout is on the rise across the board globally, and within our business, many of us are feeling a bit weary," says Snyman.

"We believe this is a fantastic opportunity for our iK Tribe to rejuvenate mind and spirit ahead of the next financial year.”

While the company will shut down most operations for the scheduled mental health break, certain customer-facing functions will remain operational through a skeleton staff, much like the structure used during the festive season.

This will ensure that all iKhokha merchants still have access to the support they need over this period. iKhokha will then rotate out the skeleton staff the following week to ensure everyone receives the much-needed break.

iKhokha employees have applauded the Talent team and iKhokha leadership for their innovative approach.

In unprecedented times, it is inspiring to see leadership having the bravery to make human-centric decisions that prioritise the wellbeing of their people beyond business metrics and objectives.

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