BEE based on skills, service delivery will work, says Aptronics
Aptronics, a local fully integrated corporate IT solutions and service provider, believes in the principles behind black economic empowerment (BEE), but that skills development and customer service are equally important.
This is according to Appie Pema, managing director of Aptronics.
"The approach I`m referring to, is more focused on the empowerment of all sectors of society, as well as on business performance and less on merely meeting a list of criteria," Pema maintains.
"BEE should not be practised in such a narrow, selfish way that, far from alleviating poverty and promoting those who suffered in the past, it is actually promoting a wealthy minority," he comments.
Pema adds that this is obviously the very opposite of what was intended by the promulgation of BEE legislation in the first place.
"Companies focused merely on self-enrichment will soon realise that this is not a viable way to promote healthy, long-term business success," he cautions.
"Individuals who do not only meet BEE requirements; but who have the right attitude, skills and experience necessary for them to do a really good job, are what companies need to move forward successfully," Pema explains.
He warns that we should seek to prevent a legislation and self-enrichment-driven economy; and rather to promote one where skills empowerment, service delivery and the resultant customer satisfaction are top of the list. When it comes to BEE, he observes, too often companies focus on the letter of the law and don`t put the intent of it into practice.
So how can companies wishing to do the right thing, but also to stay on top of their game in terms of doing successful business, address BEE?
"The most constructive approach to take is to support the spirit and intent of the government`s BEE drive; while remaining balanced and focused in terms of ensuring your staff are really empowered - and ultimately enriched, too - because they possess the right skills and attitude to guarantee happy customers at the end of the day," Pema recommends. "If you keep your eye on the long-term success of both your staff and your customers, you really cannot go wrong.
"Investing in BEE - from recruitment to procurement and in every other aspect of one`s business is the right thing to do - but not at the expense of skills empowerment or service delivery and customer satisfaction. What I`m saying is that the promotion of BEE has to be done in a community-minded way, to the ultimate benefit of those being empowered; and also should be practised in a business-minded way, so that the development of sound expertise and consistent service delivery outweighs the development - and enrichment - of the minority," he concludes.