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Human Capital
– Truworths

Total employees down 2% to

10 022

through natural attrition (2020: 10 209)

Turnover of permanent employees


(2020: 11%)

Achieved target of


female representation on the Truworths International board

In South Africa black employees comprise


of total employees (2020: 93%)

Female employees comprise


of total employees (2020: 73%)

Investment in skills development decreased to

R116 million

(2020: R121 million) due to the continued impact of COVID-19 and lockdown regulations


Truworths’ employees in key roles were required to work from home from the start of the national lockdown in South Africa in March 2020. During the reporting period employees who were able to work from home were encouraged to follow a hybrid approach of working some hours or days in the office and some from home depending on their job function. The percentage of time to be worked from home and from the office was adjusted according to COVID-19 infection rates and the prevailing lockdown restrictions.

Working in teams is integral to Truworths’ values and operating model. Working from home has naturally impacted on our ability to do so and is not an optimal model for the future. Teams were, however, innovative in developing ways to maintain group interactions using technology and departmental-specific processes. Plans were therefore tailored to bring all employees back to the office as soon as it was safe to do so. This included moving some teams to the recently acquired additional head office premises at 75 on Plein to ensure adequate social distancing in the workplace.

Employees receive regular communication on COVID-19 protocols and precautions, including completing a health questionnaire on the in-house COVID-19 mobile app before entering the workplace on each occasion. When COVID-19 cases are detected, in-house case managers arrange for deep cleaning of stores or offices and co-ordinate the return to work based on the regulations. Non-adherence to COVID-19 measures is considered in a very serious light.

Leave allocations 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 colleague who tested positive in the office. Employees are being encouraged to be vaccinated and may use their paid pandemic leave for the time taken off to get their vaccinations or if they experience side effects from the vaccination.

More recently Truworths partnered with the administrators of the Group’s medical aid scheme to offer vaccinations on site at the head office building to encourage head office staff to get vaccinated in a convenient and safe environment. The response was very positive. Further vaccination days have been planned for second vaccinations and also vaccination days at other sites where there are large numbers of employees such as our credit offices, geographically clustered groups of stores and distribution centres. A vaccination plan was formulated and included in the company’s COVID-19 policy.

Employees have been informed regarding the importance of protecting their own mental well-being and that of their colleagues and staff as there has been a global increase in mental health issues caused by the impact of COVID-19 on people’s lives. Employees affected by the loss of a colleague due to COVID-19 were offered pyscho-social support.

Five of our employees sadly succumbed to COVID-19 during this reporting period. We extend our sincere condolences to their families and colleagues who worked closely with them.

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 key human resources focus areas are:

  • ensuring employees understand and live by the Truworths Values;
  • maintaining the investment in training and development despite the challenging trading and working environment;
  • investing in employees’ financial and broader well-being to ensure sustained engagement levels; and
  • managing employee retention in a tough economic environment.

The Truworths workforce comprises a core component of full-time employees and a smaller component of flexi-time employees whose working hours are dependent on business requirements. The number of flexi-time positions has continued to reduce through natural attrition and this has enabled Truworths to avoid retrenchments in the reporting period. This continued responsible and cautious approach has ensured 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)

10 022

10 209

Full-time employees

5 080

5 133

Contract employees*



Flexi-time employees

4 777

4 889

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)

9 656

10 626

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

9 511

10 329

Black employees as a % of employees trained in South Africa




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


The Truworths Business Philosophy, comprising our Purpose, our Values and our Vision, permeates the corporate culture and underpins the human capital management strategy and the goal to be the South African retail employer of choice. These elements have been central in guiding the business through the current challenging trading environment and assisted in navigating the ongoing impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic.

Management endeavours to foster a culture of innovation and high performance by encouraging employees to share their ideas and by recognising and rewarding excellence. The business continually invests in attracting, developing and retaining talented employees who live our values and are ambassadors of our brand.

The values are incorporated into everyday working life at Truworths through employee engagement, recognition programmes, performance reviews and employee development. We remained focused on embedding our values throughout the business during the period to ensure that there is continuity and common understanding of how each person can contribute to the success of the business by living our values.


Truworths’ remuneration strategies consider financial and strategic project performance as well as the performance of teams and individuals. 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 needs. In addition, tailored incentive structures are aimed at driving reward for performance in all areas across the business. Rewarding and retaining high-performing employees has never been more challenging as there is a strong demand for talent and scarce skills in the market. There is equally a strong drive to contain costs and to protect jobs to ensure the long-term sustainable performance of the business and our ability to continue employing and rewarding people. Our challenge is to find the balance where all stakeholders are considered and can benefit.

Due to higher claims experience, disability premiums for Alexander Forbes Retirement Fund members who qualify for disability benefits increased from 0.6% to 1.08% of pensionable salary. Employees contributing to the SACCAWU National Provident Fund experienced an increase from 1.06% to 1.16%. 71% of all Truworths’ employees are members of retirement funds.

There have been no other material changes to remuneration practices in the reporting period.

Owing to changes in business operations and trading patterns, 27 stores were closed in the reporting period, with no resultant retrenchments, as all affected store employees were absorbed into nearby stores.


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 2021 and despite the tough climate improved our BBBEE score from 57.15 to 63.68 points. Truworths remains committed to steadily improving its current BBBEE score in the year ahead.

Truworths’ BBBEE scorecard






Management control (including employment equity)



Skills development



Enterprise and supplier development (including preferential procurement)



Socio-economic development



Total points






The BBBEE points for ownership improved due to an increase in our black and black female shareholding in our Mandated Investments. The improvement in our Management Control points was due to an additional black non-executive director being appointed to the Truworths International board and the consolidation of the Truworths board, taking into account forthcoming retirements and subsequent promotion of several divisional directors to directors.

The skills development score increased as we maintained our investment in the learnership programme, with over 1 200 learners registered on accredited training programmes with the Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority (W&R SETA). The focus on employing unemployed youth, disabled people and the employment of learners post completion of their learnership programmes has benefited the skills development score and is firmly aligned with our Business Philosophy.

Management’s success in engaging suppliers on their BBBEE status, and highlighting that BBBEE compliance is a requirement for a continued business relationship with Truworths, positively impacted the enterprise and supplier development pillar.

To accelerate transformation in the business the Truworths Transformation Committee has been restructured and a director has been allocated responsibility for managing each of the five pillars of the scorecard. The CEO has assumed the role of chairperson of the committee. The committee will continue to meet quarterly to review strategy and measure general transformation activity and progress relative to the BBBEE scorecard. The committee will continue to seek advice from external consultants on opportunities to improve the BBBEE score and to highlight associated risks.


An employment equity plan for the South African businesses was implemented in 2020 and is scheduled to run until June 2024. Quantitative and qualitative analysis was undertaken in developing the 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.

As the plan is not predicated on a growth in headcount, opportunities to transform the workplace profile to be more representative of South Africa’s demographic and economically active population will arise from resignations and retirements. However, due to 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.

^ The increase in black representation at a top management level is due to the promotion of two black divisional directors to directors.

# The increase in female representation at a top management level is due to the promotion of two female divisional directors to directors which also had a slight knock-on effect on senior management female representation.


Truworths’ Values encourage employees to learn and share, and there is a strong culture of guiding, coaching and mentoring throughout the business. In 2021, 9 656 employees participated in 120 training programmes, of whom 9 511 were trained in South Africa.

The training programme has been adapted due to COVID-19, with innovative learning solutions being applied, including the development of online resources and greater use of blended development interventions.

Over 40 training interventions were offered on the e-learning platform, TRULearning. The high rate of completion, measured by those employees who pass the assessment that forms part of every intervention, reflects employees living the Truworths Values and embracing the opportunity to learn and contribute more effectively. The e-learning platform is aimed at high-volume training interventions and content is developed internally, allowing for quick response interventions that are targeted, fit for purpose and cost-effective.

The graduate training programme is crucial to our succession pipeline in scarce skills areas of our business, which includes the merchandise buying and planning, garment technology, sourcing design and credit risk departments.

The training programme uses a blended learning approach, combining theoretical, practical and on-the-job training, supported by individual mentorship and coaching for every trainee. In order to ensure the effectiveness of the training, the training material was redesigned for the new learning environment. This approach has been especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic which has been particularly challenging for new entrants into the workplace.

Opportunities have been created for unemployed learners and youth through the implementation of learnerships and internships in entry-level positions. The internship programme provides opportunities for unemployed graduates to gain workplace experience and has also become a talent pool for recruiting for flexi-time and full-time entry-level roles. Participants in the one-year learnership programme are placed in the credit and store environments and on completion of the programme qualify with a National Certificate in Wholesale and Retail Operations. Following the success of this programme in the retail, credit and human resources departments, the internship programme will be extended to other key scarce skills departments in the 2022 financial year.

The bursary programme further demonstrates Truworths’ commitment to its employees as it provides mentorship and financial support to those who plan to enrol for tertiary academic studies.

Truworths continues to offer leadership-focused development programmes for managers to ensure succession in merchandise, operations and support departments. In 2021, 1 275 employees attended these leadership development programmes (2020: 1 959), despite the constraints related to the COVID-19 pandemic.


All employees are made aware of their rights of freedom of association. Managers are trained on the right to freedom of association during the course of the employee relations training programme. Truworths has a policy against unfair discrimination or victimisation of employees exercising any right to freedom of association. The right to freedom of association is extended to the Group’s operations globally but there is no material union membership in other African operations and therefore Truworths only has a relationship agreement with the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (SACCAWU) in South Africa. Membership of SACCAWU remains unchanged at 9.4% of all South African employees. There are 90 employees, who belong to the National Bargaining Council for the Clothing Manufacturing Council, these employees being employed by the newly acquired design centre business, Barrie Cline.

Truworths did not experience any incidents of industrial action in the reporting period.

Labour standards

Truworths is committed to valuing the rights of children as outlined in section 28 of the Constitution of South Africa, specifically designed for South African citizens under the age of 18. Truworths is furthermore committed to the legislative and moral principles relating to the prohibition of work by children under the age of 15 and forced labour. In this regard, Truworths complies with laws within South Africa and other countries in which it operates.

The principles in respect of the employment of children aged 15 to 18 are equally adhered to by Truworths, and no child of such age may be required to do work that is inappropriate for their age or work that places at risk the child’s well-being, education, physical or mental health, or spiritual, moral or social development.

Please refer to our Social and Environment Report on our website at www.truworthsinternational.com for further details relating to Human Rights.

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