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Human Capital Report
– Truworths


Truworths employees in key roles were required to work from home from the start of the national lockdown in South Africa with effect from midnight on 26 March 2020. Those employees not required to work from home used their remaining special leave and annual leave before utilising unpaid leave. Employees were also allowed to take up to 10 days annual leave not yet accrued to them in order to mitigate the financial impact of having to take unpaid leave.

The company applied for Unemployment Insurance Fund COVID-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) benefits on behalf of employees. Owing to some delays in the payment of these benefits the company provided temporary loans to employees until they received their benefits.

All directors, divisional directors and some members of senior management offered to donate up to 33% of their monthly remuneration for a period of up to three months to an internal fund to assist those employees in financial need during the pandemic.

Leave provisions were extended with a once-off extra five days leave being granted to employees who tested positive for COVID-19 or were required to self-isolate due to contact with a fellow employee.

Truworths strives to be the South African retail employer of choice for people who identify with the company’s Purpose and Values. The business continually invests in attracting, developing and retaining talent while enhancing employee engagement and satisfaction levels.

The focus during the reporting period has been on the following:

  • investing in training and development despite the challenges of maintaining normal workshop training interventions due to the COVID-19 lockdown;
  • investing in employees’ financial and broader well-being to ensure sustained engagement levels;
  • managing employee retention and well-being during a time of extreme uncertainty and economic hardship;
  • fostering a culture of transparency, accountability and innovation; and
  • ensuring employees live by the Truworths Values.

The Truworths workforce comprises a core component of full-time employees and a now smaller component of flexi-time employees whose working hours are dependent on business requirements. The number of flexible positions has been reduced through natural attrition and this has enabled Truworths to maintain staffing levels and avoid retrenchments. Management will continue to follow responsible and cautious staffing strategies to ensure that Truworths remains a stable employer for the many loyal and high-performing employees in the business.

Truworths’ human capital at a glance



Total employees (South Africa and rest of Africa)

10 209

10 642

Full-time employees

5 133

5 193

Contract employees*



Flexi-time employees

4 889

5 218

Skills development expenditure (excluding W&R SETA levies paid)




Skills development spend per employee trained




Total employees trained (including those who left employment during the period)

10 626

11 247

Employees trained in South Africa (including those who left employment during the period)

10 329

10 970

Black employees as a % of employees trained in South Africa




*Contract employees include interns, and fixed-term and post-retirement contracted employees.

Total employees down 4.0% to

10 209

through natural attrition (2019: 10 642)

Turnover of permanent employees


(2019: 13.5%)

Achieved target of


female representation on the Truworths International board

In South Africa black employees comprise


of total employees (2019: 93%)

Female employees comprise


of total employees (2019: 72%)

Investment in skills development decreased to

R121 million

(2019: R149 million) due to the impact of COVID-19 and lockdown

Remuneration and retention

The achievement of Truworths, team and individual performance targets remains central to driving remuneration strategies. All management and specialised full-time employees are remunerated on total guaranteed packages, which enable these employees to tailor their cash and benefits to suit their personal lifestyles.

Truworths has continued to improve benefits for longer-serving flexi-time employees and this year added a health insurance benefit. Since introducing additional benefits for longer-serving flexi-time employees in 2015, turnover in this category of employees has reduced from 54.1% to 36.9% pa. The average length of service for flexi-time employees has increased from 2.0 to 2.5 years.

While there have been widescale retrenchments in South Africa, these have been minimal in Truworths. The philosophy of prudently managing the business through long-term decisions focused on sustainability is entrenched in the Truworths Values and reward and recognition structures, and has proven beneficial in the current environment. Owing to changes in business operations and trading patterns, 26 stores were closed in the reporting period with no resulting retrenchments in South Africa, with all affected store employees absorbed into neighbouring stores.

A new parental leave policy was introduced in January 2020 in recognition of the need for employees to take time off work for parental reasons other than maternity leave. Fathers, couples in same-gender relationships, adoptive parents and commissioning parents in a surrogate motherhood agreement are given the opportunity to spend valuable time with their children when they are born or adopted. The new parental leave policy is aligned with the changes to legislation in South Africa.

Embedding our values

The Truworths Business Philosophy, comprising our Purpose, our Vision and our Values, permeates the corporate culture and underpins the human capital management strategy. Our Values are incorporated into everyday working life at Truworths through employee engagement, recognition programmes, individual performance reviews, employee development and recruitment. Truworths fosters a culture of innovation and high performance by encouraging employees to share their ideas, and by recognising and rewarding excellence. The Truworths Values have been central to guiding the business through these turbulent times and navigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Truworths recognises and rewards excellence through several initiatives, for example management teams nominate employees and operational teams for ‘CEO citations’ based on excellent performance, outstanding achievements or demonstration of high commitment to our Values.

Truworths has multiple channels to enable open communication within the business. These include an online channel that enables employees across the business to engage directly with the CEO. Other channels include the Communiqué magazine, the store e-mail system and the task manager system. At head office the CEO and senior managers host six-monthly communications on business direction and performance. Two operational roadshows also take place each year which are attended by approximately 1 000 store-based employees. The CEO gives a business update twice a year and other business updates are circulated by e-mail.

Employee surveys are also conducted to obtain feedback from employees on pertinent issues.

Truworths has policies and programmes to ensure all employees are aware of the conduct required which aligns with our culture and are aware of their rights. These elements combine to create an environment that stimulates and assists employees to contribute to the business both in the short and long term, and assists in fostering open communication.


Truworths is committed to transformation and meeting the objectives of the South African Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Act and Codes. We maintained our BBBEE scorecard rating of Level 8 in 2020. Truworths remains committed to improving its current BBBEE level in the year ahead by recouping the ground lost as a result of the amendments to the BBBEE codes and the impact of COVID-19.

The Transformation Committee, chaired by the Divisional Director: Internal Audit, Governance and Risk, meets quarterly to review progress relative to the BBBEE generic scorecard and general transformation activity. The Transformation Committee makes recommendations to the Truworths board on opportunities to improve the BBBEE score and to highlight associated risks.

Our success in engaging suppliers about their BBBEE status, and highlighting that BBBEE compliance is a requirement for a continued business relationship with Truworths, positively impacted our score. Positive improvement was shown in preferential procurement due to having more black-owned suppliers and an increase in submission of certificates. We also achieved a bonus point for job creation through our enterprise development initiative.

However, our BBBEE points declined in the skills development category, partly due to being impacted by the May 2019 amendments to the Codes which came into effect at the end of 2019. This saw the decrease of points allocated for learnerships, an area in which Truworths has always been particularly strong, and the introduction of a bursary target for higher education.

Truworths’ BBBEE scorecard






Management control (including employment equity)



Skills development



Enterprise and supplier development (including preferential procurement)



Socio-economic development



Total points






Employment equity

The Employment Equity Plan 2019 – 2024 guides the Truworths strategy to transform the Group’s South African workforce to reflect the demographics of the country and ensure that the workplace is free of discrimination. The plan includes targets aimed at improving race, gender and disability representation at all levels.

The plan came into effect in July 2019 and includes affirmative action objectives and targets for the next five-year period. Quantitative and qualitative analyses were undertaken in developing the new plan, including an employee survey to identify affirmative action barriers in the workplace. The process included consultation with the Employment Equity Forums, the Truworths International Social and Ethics Committee and the Truworths Transformation Committee as well as communication to all employees regarding the process of developing and adopting the new plan.

While the plan is not predicated on a growth in headcount, opportunities are likely to arise from resignations and retirements that will enable Truworths to make further progress towards being more reflective of South Africa’s demographic and economically active population. The plan sets more aggressive targets at middle management levels to accelerate progress being made at senior and top management levels, as well as improving female representivity at senior levels and increasing broader participation of males at junior levels. However, in light of the economic impact of COVID-19, the pace of transformation is likely to be impacted as management critically evaluates the need to fill vacancies, particularly at more senior levels.

Employment Equity Plan 2019 –
2024: Targets



Goal 2024

Black* representivity

Top management



Senior management




Middle management




Junior management




Female representivity

Top management




Senior management




Middle management




Junior management




*‘Black’ comprises persons classified as African, Indian and Coloured.

Succession, talent and skills development

Truworths’ Values aim to encourage employees to learn and share, and there is a strong culture of guiding, coaching and mentoring throughout the business. In 2020, 10 626 employees participated in 193 training programmes, of whom 10 329 employees were trained in South Africa. COVID-19 impacted on our ability to hold formal training workshops and innovative solutions were developed to maintain the focus on training and skills development to ensure the succession pipeline is maintained.

The continued investment in training and development (R121 million in 2020 compared to R149 million in 2019) continues to benefit the business and provides a pipeline of skills in core areas across all levels. The majority of training programmes are developed and run internally, enabling the business to protect intellectual capital in the highly competitive retail market as well as enabling a tailored, focused approach. External training providers are utilised for highly technical training.

Succession continues to be a priority, particularly for the top management team and areas of scarce skills.

The graduate programme is the main source of recruitment for positions in the merchant area and a large number of current senior managers are graduates of this programme. In the reporting period 122 candidates (2019: 141) participated in the graduate programme. The programme is targeted at developing professional competence in areas of skills shortages such as buying, planning, designing, international sourcing, garment technology and risk. The programme combines theoretical and on-the-job learning with a trainer and mentor supporting each trainee.

Truworths also offers an internship and a bursary programme focused on skills shortage areas such as fashion, design, retail management and qualifications linked to merchandise planning. These programmes are designed to develop future talent for the graduate programme and support employment equity and transformation. In the period 113 graduate interns obtained valuable work experience over a 12-month period. At entry level, 402 learners completed the National Certificate in Wholesale and Retail (2019: 367).

Truworths offers focused leadership development programmes for managers to ensure succession in merchant, operations and support departments. In 2020, 1 959 (2019: 1 742) employees attended these leadership development programmes. The external executive coaching programme has been expanded and the application of the 360° leadership assessment survey remains a key tool to develop new leaders as well as provide input for continued leadership development.

The business continues to collaborate with the Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority in South Africa on a number of initiatives including the International Leadership Development Programme (a 12-month intensive management programme aimed at senior managers), the Retail Management Development Programme (a 12-month management programme aimed at junior and middle managers), Learnership Training (resulting in a certificate in retail operations) as well as internships and bursaries.