In light of not being able to meet in person. An EAPA-SA Special General Meeting was held online on 28 September 2021 at which a report-back on the past twelve-month period was given.
In her welcome address EAPA-SA President, Thiloshni Govender, expressed her gratitude for her fellow Board members who have given unstintingly of their time during trying circumstances amid work and personal time pressure. Thiloshni thanked individual and service provider-members for standing by the Association as the Board navigated the way through uncertain times. She voiced her appreciation for EAPA-SA’s partners, Sanlam, Old Mutual, Proactive Health Solutions and ICAS, who have been so generous with their support, enabling the Association to carry on providing certain services, such as EAPA-SA’s EduWeb programme, to the membership.
Thiloshni said, “In 2021, our journey in the world of work has required transitioning from workplaces to work spaces. EAPA-SA has had to innovate new ways to access and support client organisations and employees through this pandemic and the tsunami of issues to which we have been subjected. This year has seen an upsurge in mental illness and distress as many have struggled with the changes that have been forced upon us, with lockdown bringing isolation and the need to transition to using virtual platforms to engage with each other. As much as these have enabled us to continue work, they have brought a shadow of isolation and mental distress that came with them…This time last year we were optimistic that COVID-19 was going to come to an end, but it is still here. I want to be optimistic and say that I do not think we are going to have to contend with it for another year. I am hoping that we will resume our usual programming next year. So, God willing, everything will go well; people will be vaccinated and we will attain our herd immunity and the virus will release the grip it has had on our lives.”
“Join us as we reflect on the year into which the Board members have invested their time and limited resources to keep our project afloat and to make some significant development is some areas – EduWeb being one of those areas where we have excelled in innovating and keeping in touch with our large database of members, stakeholders and interested parties in the field of employee wellness. The other key projects that I would like to mention are the Service Provider Guide that has reached finalisation, the Board exams that are at an advanced stage of progress and the exciting newsletters that have been very carefully put together to reflect the issues we are facing in practice and to empower us with the latest, up-to-date information that informs our practices and own self-care. These are some of the highlights that stand out for me over the past year.”
In feedback on the Association’s accomplishments and challenges faced in the past twelve months, members heard from Board member portfolio heads as to services that have been delivered and headway made in realising future plans, even while navigating pandemic-related hurdles.
Accomplishments are set against the Associations five-year strategic goals. These are:
- Finances: To ensure organisational sustainability
- Statutory Council: To establish EAPA-SA as an authority in the workplace arena
- Conference/Member Benefits: To develop an effective stakeholder management process in order to meet our objectives as a Board.
- Governance/Administration: To ensure that EAPA-SA’s systems and processes are ethical, transparent and accountable to its membership.
Accomplishments in line of sight for 2018 – 2023 term are:
- A Board and Chapters as EAP guardians with sound governance who are responsive to the needs of members.
- Membership that is truly representative of EA/WP practice in South Africa.
- Vibrant chapters and social media platforms for members to be heard and participate in EAPA-SA activities.
- Recognition of members, service providers and work organisations through accreditation and certification.
- A driving role in EAP education and training environment so that we expand from CPD to EAP qualifications that are recognised by our NQF.
- Strong partnerships with stakeholders and our fellow EAP cohorts.
The following highlights, key principles and challenges were outlined by Mr Joel Gumede, Finance Portfolio administrator:
Highlights over 2020/2021
- Property ownership: An asset that is proving to benefit the Association
- EduWeb and Marketing: Helping to keep the Association afloat
- Partnerships and Sponsorships: Supporting the Association in delivering programmes and initiatives
Challenges to overcome in the year ahead
- Identifying cost saving items in line with the “new normal”
- Sustainability through membership retention and programme relevance
Key Principles that govern EAPA-SA’s financial operations
- Financial accountability
- Segregation of responsibilities
KEY STAKEHOLDERS AND SPONSORSHIPS
President, Thiloshni Govender spoke to sponsorship monies received in the past twelve months, which have been significant in being able to bring the EduWeb programme to members.
Commitments received from sponsors
Old Mutual: R100,000
CONFERENCE: EDUWEEK VERSUS EDUWEB
Nicole Rollings of EnOv8 brought information on behalf of Board member, Bernadette Roberson, on the highlights and achievements of EduWeb and the challenges of not holding and in-person conference in 2021, talking through attendance records.
Highlights and achievements
- 807 attendees spent 181,809 minutes with EAPA-SA – attending EduWeb since July 2020
- Each person spent an average of 80 minutes learning with the Association
- EAPA-SA has produced over 55 hours of EduWeb seminar content
- This would not have been possible without member engagement, the commitment of specialist speakers and valued partners and stakeholders.
- EduWeek in Sun City was cancelled
- This heralded budgetary constraints
- The inability to connect to virtual events by members
MARKETING HIGHLIGHTS AND ACHIEVEMENTS
Board member, Mr Jimmy Lenong, Marketing Portfolio holder, provided insights into the highlights and challenges in making sure the brand, EAPA-SA remains visible and that it brings value to members and service provider members.
- Sponsorship received from Sanlam for EAPA-SA App – “EAPA on the Go”
- Newsletters/Article – 4 x articles per month, 1 x newsletter monthly distributed to +-1850 members and receiving positive feedback
- Website facelift and fresh new look – much more user friendly
- Improved functionalities on the website, e.g. online membership system and payments online
- Platform statistics are showing a steady increase on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube
- Attracting the younger EAP professionals – social media content will be geared accordingly
- Generating income from EAPA-SA platforms – tariffs for advertising on the EAPA-SA website have been set
Board member, Dr Pravesh Bhoodram, presented a summary on EAPA-SA Board Exam action.
- Candidates have three years in which to complete all certification requirements and pay all certification fees. Once the candidate has passed the Board exam and the activation fee has been paid, candidacy ends and an initial three-year certification period begins.
- Self-employed affiliates may write their own letter on their practice/company letterhead, and attest to the completion of the experience requirement. They should submit supporting documentation attesting to this.
- Block training will be provided by EAPA-SA Board – Chapter Chairs
- All new EAPA-SA candidates applying for initial certification must have completed at least two hours of Domain 1 ethics training as part of their PDH eligibility requirement. This can be provided by EAPA-SA online, at a cost of R750.
- Exam fees have not yet been finalised and will be set at an affordable rate, yet are instrumental in bringing income into the Association.
- The office will ensure that the website is ready and compatible for the exam process.
- The exam contains 230 items, 200 of which are scored, 30 are pre-test items for future exam administrators. A databank of possible questions will be created.
- The exam process is yet to be finalised
- The certification process is to be developed by the office.
- Recertification fees have not yet been finalised and will be set at an affordable rate, and will cover exam process and administrative costs
- Each year 10 percent of those recertifying will be randomly selected for audit.
- Inactive, deregistration, reactivation processes will be instituted
- If deregistered for more than 3 years, a redo of the Board exam is stipulated
Three different education domains have been developed and will be uploaded on the EAPA-SA website:
- Topics linked to the first domain include EAP-specific ethics and ethical standards: laws governing business and operations, licencing laws and regulations, employment laws and regulations, regulatory requirements, and research trends and technologies. Also included is EAP operations.
- The second domain looks at management training and consultation: critical incident preparation and response, behaviour risk management and threat assessment, and organisational dynamics.
- The third domain looks at employee education, EAP assessment, short and long-term counselling, case management and EAP-related clinical skills.
MEMBERSHIP AND CHAPTER DEVELOPMENT
Board Secretary, Janine Naidoo, spoke on behalf of Andiswa Lefakane about steps being taken toward membership and Chapter development.
- A new Service Provider Guideline that will be implemented from January 2022.
- There has been a successful launch of online membership applications and renewal forms.
- Service Provider online application forms will be implemented from January 2022.
- Membership growth – this has been a challenge as, usually, attending the in person conference includes being awarded membership
- COVID-19 lockdown limitations have negatively affected in-person Chapter activities.
EAP FOR AFRICA
Highlights and challenges were shared by Thiloshni Govender on behalf of Board member, Godfrey Chabalala.
Talks are underway for a PAN African conference to be held virtually in order to share best practices in the region – with Nigeria as the host country.
Challenges and priorities
- The pandemic has brought the challenge of funding and poor attendance commitment
- It is a priority to increase awareness and publication for the EAP for Africa project
- It is important to increase African delegate attendance at EAPA-SA annual Eduweek and seminars.
Board member, name Isaac Koto spoke about EAPA-SA governance and upcoming projects.
- There have been no comments yet regarding the proposed amendments to the constitution.
- There has been progress made in updating Bylaws.
- A Standards Review project is forthcoming
- A project to finalise the framework to recognise and reward employers who apply and adhere to EAPA-SA Standards in the execution of their business will be undertaken.
- The development and implementation of a Governance Auditing Tool for all EAPA-SA Chapters will take place.
Before Thiloshni Govender handed over to President-elect, Radhi Vandayar to close the meeting, she gave special thanks to Nicole Rollings of EnOv8, whose assistance and support to the board has been invaluable as she has brought new ideas and innovation to the Board’s attention and helped to solve the problems brought about by the pandemic. Nicole and team have grown with the Association and add great value to the Board.
In closing Radhi Vandayar thanked all the Board members, who have been meeting and participating in task teams, keeping in touch and getting the work done. She acknowledged that huge leaps towards being automated have been made and that the Board is more efficient in many ways. But, being from a people orientated industry, Radhi acknowledged that personal interaction has been missed. She specified that, as participants in an industry of front line workers, the Board would like to be able to support members in any way possible. Radhi expressed appreciation for the foresight and agility of the Board in adopting technology so quickly. She thanked the members also for being flexible in adopting new technology.