Black Beneficiary dissonance


Dr Ivor Blumenthal | CEO | ArkKonsult | mail me

BBBEE Employees are not entitled. Often, they are just COMPROMISED.

A major problem is developing in companies which have embraced BBBEE, where Employee Ownership or Beneficiary Trusts have been created. Employees who happen to also be BBBEE Beneficiaries, sometimes misunderstand that they are ordinary employee’s and do not have a favoured, preferred or somehow entitled status, in-comparison with other employee’s in the company.

There are two target groups which are partly responsible for the mess which is being created in companies where this problem is getting out-of-hand: 

Group 1

The first are Team-leaders, Supervisors & First Line Managers who simply are out of their depth, in managing a workforce where labels have now become attached to Black Employees who are listed as Beneficiaries in-terms of BBBEE Deals.

Far from the Black Beneficiary Employee’s (BBE) asserting their status as somehow favoured, it is the unprepared echelons of managers who have no idea how to performance manage these members of their teams. It is the Management Team who somehow are attributing this status to these employees. Then an inevitable and dangerous self-fulfilling process takes hold, in the minds and behaviour of the target employees.

Yes, the sense of entitlement and ‘specialness’ of their positions expressed by Black beneficiary Employee’s is not of their making, but of how their Managers attribute this status to them.

Group 2

The second group responsible for these problems arising, are the balance of employee’s in these companies who again are ill-prepared to understand the workings of BBBEE & the benefits as well as limitations on those benefits, which apply in the employment context.

From the rumblings of Shop Stewards, to the misinterpretation of peers in an unprepared workplace, the BBE’s quickly become distasteful pariahs. This is not through any fault of their own, or of their making, but because those around them are ill informed, miscommunicated with or simply not sophisticated enough to understand the nuances involved in attributing such status.

What is a BBE?

In reality a BBE is in no way any different to an employee who is white or a black employee who, for whatever reason, is not regarded as a Black Beneficiary at the same time. There is no difference in how they are recruited, selected or contracted with. They do not receive a preferential contract of employment, an enhanced job description or any kind of protected status. Indeed, their status as a Beneficiary is solely protected while they remain employed. The moment they are fired, or resign, they lose their benefits and are no longer classified as a Beneficiary. An Employee Ownership Trust where it is created will NEVER transfer shares to a Beneficiary. That Beneficiary will only ever benefit from the economic dividend declared in the company, while employed.

Performance criteria

The identical Performance Management System, distinguishing between Performance and Behaviour, prescribing Management, Counselling and Discipline phases will apply to BBE’s in precisely the same way that these policies apply to all other Employee’s.

Indeed, a BBE will inevitably find him or herself subjected to a behavioral focus during appraisals at an increased rate compared to other employee’s where they display a disproportionate sense of entitlement or haughtiness and certainly where they become insubordinate in the process.

This is the way it must be.

Management’s role

As far as managerial responsibility is concerned, in dealing with these problems, senior management set the …

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Read this article by Dr Ivor Blumenthal, CEO, Arkkonsult, as well as a host of other topical management articles written by professionals, consultants and academics in the October/November 2018 edition of BusinessBrief.

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