MANAGING STAKEHOLDER RELATIONSHIPS
MANAGEMENT PROACTIVELY RESPONDS TO THE NEEDS, EXPECTATIONS AND CONCERNS OF STAKEHOLDERS, RECOGNISING THAT THEY IMPACT ON OUR ABILITY TO CREATE VALUE, OR MINIMISE THE EROSION OF VALUE, OVER THE SHORT, MEDIUM AND LONG TERM.
Stakeholder engagement and collaboration was intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic owing to the increased interaction required with most stakeholder groups to address the widespread challenges that arose over the past two years.
The stakeholder relationship programme continues to focus primarily on the five stakeholder groups that are most likely to influence the delivery of the Group’s strategy and to impact on the material issues within the business, namely:
QUALITY OF RELATIONSHIPS
Management assesses the quality of these relationships on an ongoing basis to ensure the Group understands, considers and responds to the legitimate needs and interests of its stakeholders.
A five-point internal rating scale is applied by management for rating stakeholder relationships:
Rationale for engaging: Shareholders are the Group’s principal providers of financial capital. Engagement is focused on local and international institutional and private investors as well as fund managers and analysts. The Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, together with the senior finance management team members and appropriate directors, are responsible for investor relations. The Group has adopted a hybrid Investor relations model comprising written communication through a dedicated investor relations email channel followed by one-on-one meetings where requested/attendance at investor conferences, as required. This hybrid approach facilitates detailed and prompt responses to investor questions and enhances the overall efficiency of engagement while treating all shareholders as equal irrespective of size of shareholding and without providing any party with price-sensitive information not yet released to all shareholders.
Rationale for engaging: As the consumers of our merchandise and users of account facilities, customers are the primary source of revenue for Truworths. Engagement covers account and cash customers in South Africa and the rest of southern Africa. Store management and employees, call centre agents and customer relations employees are the main contacts with customers. Engagement takes place in stores, through call centres, social media platforms, e-commerce websites and emailers. Customer satisfaction is monitored on an ongoing basis using the Net Promoter Score as a universally comparable benchmark alongside an internally developed customer service measurement scale. The engagement process seeks to advance our social and relationship capital, and the material levels which all of revenue generated from customers as well as customer satisfaction levels which all point to the strength of the Group’s social and relationship capital.
Rationale for engaging: Employees provide their talent and skills to ensure the business operates in an efficient and sustainable manner. They comprise Truworths’ human capital and are key custodians of our intellectual capital. Engagement includes all full-time and flexi-time employees, with line management being the key point of engagement, supported by the Human Resources Division. Employee engagement occurs through formal communication issued by the business, formal and informal training, personal interaction with line management, the online platform to engage directly with the CEO, through in-house presentations covering various topics such as business performance, the hotline as well as through WhatsApp communication channels.
Rationale for engaging: Suppliers are the providers of merchandise and other goods and services to Truworths. They are therefore Truworths’ source of manufactured capital, and the breadth and depth of our supply chain is a key measure of Truworths’ considerable social and relationship capital. They include local and international design centres, product manufacturers as well as landlords. The primary sources of contact are executives, merchandise buyers and planners, and management. Engagement occurs formally and informally through supplier assessments, merchandise design and order negotiations, account management interaction and supplier development discussions.
Rationale for engaging: Regulators are the custodians of legislative and regulatory compliance and providers of licences to trade. These include government departments, regulatory bodies and local authorities, with the engagement being managed by the executive directors and finance, legal and account risk executives. Engagement occurs through regulatory filings and submissions, formal and informal discussions regarding key issues, dispute resolution mechanisms and through the National Clothing Retail Federation (NCRF). The recognition by regulators of Truworths as a good corporate citizen with high levels of legislative and regulatory compliance that emerges from these engagements is testimony to a history of investment by management in the Group’s social and relationship capital.
A compliance review of Truworths’ employment equity plan 2019 – 2024 was undertaken by the Director-General of the Department of Employment and Labour.
Master Plan for the Retail – Clothing, Textile, Footwear and Leather value chain
Revenue office, audits and requests for information.
JSE proactive monitoring of financial statements.
Rationale for engaging: Truworths International is the controlling shareholder of the Office business and the board of Office Holdings Ltd is ultimately responsible to the board of Truworths International. Engagement is managed between the executive directors of the respective businesses.
Rationale for engaging: Customers are the buyers of merchandise and the primary source of revenue for Office. Engagement focuses on customers in the UK, Germany and Republic of Ireland, and both national and international online customers. Engagement occurs through informed service in stores and via the e-commerce sites as well as through well-established social media platforms.
Rationale for engaging: Employees provide their talent and skills to ensure the business operates in an efficient and sustainable manner. Engagement includes all full-time and flexi-time employees, with line management being the key point of engagement, supported by the Human Resources Division. Employee engagement occurs through formal communication and surveys, formal and informal training, personal interaction with line management and through direct communications with the Managing Director.
Rationale for engaging: Suppliers are the providers of merchandise and other goods and services, including international suppliers of branded and own-brand merchandise, and landlords. The primary sources of contact are executives, merchandise buyers and management. Engagement occurs formally and informally through the merchandise range selection and development process, order negotiations, account management interaction and through collaboration on mutually beneficial alignment with key brands to launch and showcase key product lines. Ongoing engagement is held with landlords.
Exploring opportunities that are mutually beneficial and strategically aligned with brand partners’ plans.
Lease negotiations in the weak retail trading environment impacted by COVID-19.
Rationale for engaging: Regulators are the custodians of legislative and regulatory compliance and providers of licences to trade. They include government departments, regulatory bodies and local authorities, with the engagement being managed by the executive directors as well as finance and legal executives. Engagement occurs through regulatory filings and submissions, and formal and informal discussions regarding key issues.