The 18th EAPA-SA Annual Conference took place from 13 – 16 September at the NH Lord Charles Hotel, Somerset West with the theme, Human Capital Intelligence: Design for Organisational Value and Impact, bringing employee and organisational service innovations, industry updates, the latest research, and new resources to the fore to strengthen EAPA-SA members’ programme design for more value and impact.
The conference brought together 322 delegates, and 32 speakers presented cutting edge findings and debated some of the most pressing issues facing the EAP field today. The 2016 conference keynote speaker Dr. Quinella Minix from Gellequin & Associates in Houston, Texas is a licensed Professional Counsellor Supervisor and certified Employee Assistance Professional. Dr. Minix has considerable experience working with professional and college athletes, celebrities, corporate employee assistance programmes, and executives around the world. In addition to her keynote Dr. Minix brought workshops on Dealing with Difficult People and The Psychology of Women: Thriving in the Workplace.
In his foreword to the conference, EAPA-SA President Mr Tinyiko Godfrey Chabalala wrote, South Africa’s current working environment is faced with both political and economic uncertainties, with the rand continuing to weaken and experience severe strain from international markets. There is a growing demand, therefore, for EAPs to continue to look for more proactive ways to educate employees about the culture of saving. In the longer term, clearly, the economic climate will continue to exert unfavourable pressure on employers forcing them to adapt and find more flexible systems in order to re-align their strategic objectives and increase performance. The recent trends of organisational restructuring, budget cuts, strict treasury measures, as well as mergers and acquisitions, are the current reality. Therefore, employers are in competition for skilled people, for talent acquisition, talent management, succession planning, and leadership development, in order to survive. EAPs today are seen as proactive and preventative rather than reactive in providing solutions to these complex institutional challenges which face organisations of the 21st century.
EAPA-SA conference convenor, Bernadette Roberson had this to say: For EAPA-SA this was hailed as one of the best conferences to date, not only with regard to the attendance numbers, we had 322 delegates, but also with regard to the educational input from our speakers. Our pre-conference training started the day before the conference and this also clocked a record attendance for us. Our International guest speaker from Houston, Texas, Dr Quinella Minix, was very popular and drew a large audience with her workshop on dealing with difficult people. The programme was so diverse and it is interesting that people commented on how difficult it was to make a choice on what electives to attend. The highlight for many people was the gala dinner and awards evening.