SACO CFR Launches STARS Leadership Initiative

STARS Leadership is a leadership and development initiative that aims to identify potential future leaders in the SACO CFR team of companies. This includes SACO CFR, Metro Minds, ZacPak, and the group’s Mauritius office. The initiative aims to offer candidates opportunities to improve their leadership and business skills.

SACO CFR aims to invest in its employees’ skill development to secure the future leadership of the company and the industry. By investing in the right people, the business aims to create world-class systems and processes that will lead to high customer satisfaction and good financial results through sustainable and relevant solutions.

“The first pillar of the SACO CFR strategy map is to invest in highly motivated and skilled people,” said Metro Minds managing director Juliette Fourie. The program runs over a year and is customised to inform future leaders by providing them with an NQF 5 qualification in management. Furthermore, the program is customised to cater to the business, its vision, mission, and values.

Applications for the initiative were advertised, and the application process consisted of high prerequisite requirements, a motivational letter, and a presentation to the executive team about their background, expectations, and motivations. Twenty-seven applicants responded to the advert, and after the extensive selection process, 12 candidates were selected to participate in the program for 2023.

The delegates are employed across multiple divisions, including IT, internal sales, the training department, operations, warehousing, business solutions, accounting, and finance. Of these delegates, about 60% are from Johannesburg, while the remaining 40% are from Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, and Durban.

The curriculum consists of eight modules, including an introduction to the essence of leadership, management and management functions, building high-performing teams, performance evaluation and review, change and innovation, coaching and mentoring, business solutions and strategies, understanding business finance, and creating value for customers. Lastly, delegates have to make an exit presentation for the executive team to explain what they’ve learned from the initiative and what innovation they want to take forward.

For every module in the qualification, the company invites an executive-level member and an external subject-matter expert to speak to the delegates in a series of seminars. Delegates from coastal cities travel to Johannesburg to attend seminars for two days every four to six weeks. Additionally, they attend classes and do assessments, proposals, and presentations to enhance their competency.

“We found, as an employer, that specifically leadership skills are lacking. We saw the need for these skills to be developed,” explains SACO human resources executive Beverly Kirstein. As a result, the program facilitates personal and professional development specific to business strategy to enable employees to move into higher positions in the company while highlighting to the rest of the industry the importance of developing their employees on this level.

“For the business itself, I think what’s important on an executive level is people development and skills development. The business highly regards the development of its employees and the future and sustainability of its leadership,” said Fourie. Like many other companies in South Africa, SACO CFR faces the challenge of high employee turnover rates. Thus, the program also acts as a source of internal promotion and motivation to retain good staff by providing them with opportunities that will simultaneously enrich the company.

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