Navasha Chetty, HR Executive of the JSE, on employee engagement, well-being, upskilling and retention


Q: What is your strategic vision for the HR function at the JSE?
A: To ensure that our people are treated with care and empathy in everything we strive to achieve at the JSE. Relationships and mindsets are key in the corporate world. People are our most strategic asset, and in taking care of them we are driving sustainability for our people and our clients. Top of mind as far as goals go is to forge a strong HR team that is highly skilled and competent to deliver on the HR agenda. We need to build the JSE as an attractive place to work, where people feel valued and appreciated – thus, creating a culture of connectedness, linking people to a sense of pride in our employee brand. This will be through constructing and driving a workplace culture that is sustainable and leaves a legacy within capital markets for generations to come. As a team we have co-created a vision and purpose for HR. Our vision is to co-create innovative, value-added people solutions by enabling meaningful employee experiences; and our purpose is to provide strategic partnering and walk the employee journey with them through human connectedness, within a diverse and inclusive environment.

Q: How do you plan to enhance employee engagement and well-being at the JSE?
A: Employee engagement is a key contributor to our success as an organisation. As part of the engagement journey, we will be embarking on a phased approach to culture and, in Phase 1, we’ll be looking at the ‘archaeology’ of the JSE culture. We’ll start to engage through focus groups by unpacking our ‘hidden artefacts’ related to culture. These have strong associations with our employer brand and what we stand for as the JSE. Employee well-being has become a key tenet in our value proposition not only to our future talent but also to our existing employees. I have seen some great work done on the wellness initiatives at the JSE. My plan is to build on what we have. We have established great partnerships with Panda, our employee well-being app. This app is available to all employees and their families. We will also look to bring some innovative solutions on employee well-being to our employees, at the same time setting the benchmark for other organisations.

Q: What initiatives will you be implementing to foster diversity and inclusion?
A: I am a firm believer in diversity and inclusion in the workplace. I have recently engaged with the employment equity forum and I’m excited to see the robust conversation and debate in driving transformation throughout the organisation. In terms of our employment equity plan submitted to the Department of Labour and our committed targets for 2023, we have done extremely well in achieving our goals. I am impressed with the work that we have done as we have achieved our targets across all levels except for middle management. My focus will be on the retention of top talent and ensuring we retain employees across the various levels. This would mean strong retention strategies that support employment equity goals. Diversity and inclusion initiatives done in isolation of organisational strategy will not work. It must become a key imperative at the highest levels. I am also delighted to see the great strides we have made on gender equality, and this can be seen in the recent accolades we have achieved. We recently won accolades at the Standard Bank Top Women Awards, ie the Gender Icon Award and Business of the Year. My job will be to sustain these efforts and work with the teams to support our diversity and inclusion agenda.

Q: How do you envision developing and implementing learning and development programmes at the JSE ?
A: Part of my vision is that we really look at future skills and how we prepare our organisation for the world of automation and AI. This new world has arrived and we need to embrace it with open arms. The only way we can do so is to drive an approach that supports employee growth through ensuring we prepare our employees with the right skills to be able to embrace the future. However, we tend to forget that there are not only hard skills but also soft skills required by our people. Working with machines is also about harnessing the soft skills required that machines don’t necessarily have. So the question is, how do we bring the two together to create this new profile employee who is highly skilled and competent in all the facets needed to be able to carry out our strategic automation agenda. Further to this we’ll be embarking on a career pathing project early this year, which will support employee growth on all levels across different job families.

Q: How do you plan to leverage the latest technology to streamline HR processes, enhance employee experiences and support data-driven decision-making?
A: I’m excited to announce that we will be implementing Workday as an HR offering to our employees. This will take place post-August 2024. This truly puts us at the cutting edge of technology and opens up avenues to do groundbreaking work, based on data and analytics. Historically the JSE has been quite manually driven and we have been supported through various standalone systems. Workday really seeks to change the employee experience through an integrated platform, putting us on par with many global firms. We will now have access to data whereby we will be able to create a narrative around how we come up with better solutions for our employees.

Q: What is your approach to attracting and retaining top talent for the bourse?
A: In our talent-acquisition strategy it’s imperative that we recruit for the right mindset and profile. Innovation and technology-driven talent sits at the heart of the skillsets we will need to look for. This talks to our future skills requirements but also looks at building this skillset within the exchange, thereby making AI and technology a huge attraction factor to the JSE. The JSE has a strong brand and our job is to now harness the different elements of the brand to attract the talent we need. There are also other retention mechanisms we have started to look at that will drive ‘stickiness’ to the exchange.

By Patrick Farrell