Challenges faced by Eswatini electricity company in transformation of human resource management

Moreover, globalisation, increasing labour mobility, changing demographics, reduced product lifecycle, and technological advancements are changing the face of the current labour markets. Expectations of HR have, over the years intensified and heightened with company leaders relying on human capital management as a critical driver of business performance. For organisations to be successful and sustainable, they need to embrace these changes and transform themselves in response to the demands of the business environment.

The Eswatini Electricity Company (EEC), formerly Swaziland Electricity Company (SEC), is an electrical power generating, transmitting and distribution company in the kingdom of eSwatini. Since its inception in 1963 as the Swaziland Electricity Board (SEB), the company has enjoyed a monopoly in the supply of electricity in the country. In 2007 however, the energy sector underwent a reform to reduce the monopoly of the electricity powerhouse (Sustainable energy for all action plan, 2014).

This also served as a strategic agenda aimed at delivering sustainable value to stakeholders, which not only included structural changes from a board (SEB) to a company (SEC) but also saw a number of changes in the operations and services of the company being implemented in the subsequent years. The transition from a board to a company also meant lasting changes in the organisational culture of the company, in terms of its competitiveness, customer service and people management. This had serious human capital implications including how employees are recruited, how they are developed to keep up with the latest technological developments while striving to instil and maintain a high- performance culture.

Following the establishment of SEB in 1963 and the conversion to SEC in 2007, the company has however grown and established itself as a reliable power generating company. According to Swaziland’s Sustainable Energy for All country plan report (2014), SEC is currently third in SADC in power supply reliability. Currently, the company owns numerous substations across the country and operates four hydro-power stations, all serving as peaking and emergency power stations, and they contribute between 14% and 24% of the total energy consumed in the country. However, since the establishment of SEC in 2007, and faced with several transformational challenges following the reform, the company has had to restructure to ensure its sustainability.

As a result, a number of initiatives aimed at accelerating the creation of a high-performance organizational culture were implemented (Annual Integrated Report, 2012/13). Among these were;

(i) development of a leadership framework to aid in benchmarking and assessment of leadership effectiveness; (ii) design and implementation of a performance management system based on the balanced scorecard aimed at improving the overall line of sight in performance and (iii) development of a human-capital strategy which reinforces the company’s vision of “winning through people” and determining critical human-capital issues which need urgent attention (Annual Integrated Report,
2012/13). In 2012 the company also adopted the Human Resource Business Partner (HRBP) model in
an attempt to bring HR closer to business.

With the HRBP model, HR has designated consultants within the various divisions in the company who work closely with divisional heads and supervisors in providing advice and consultancy services on various human capital-related issues. The company attaches great significance to talented individuals and considers its employees critical to its success and growth. Their HR strategy focuses on achieving business success through the collective efforts of its employees. Attracting, retaining and continuously developing the skills and capabilities of their employees consequently remains crucial to the growth and sustainability of the company.

In their (2012/13) annual integrated report the company identified talent management, technical training, performance management, change management, employee well-being and systems administration as crucial areas central to the achievement of business objectives and requiring attention in both time and resources. The Swaziland Electricity Company’s Human Capital Management Progress Report (2015) indicated however that there is a continuous loss to other companies within and outside of the country of critical and skilled employees occupying key positions.

This was cited as a huge concern, as large amounts of money are spent on recruiting and developing employees for these positions. Like many organisations in the engineering field, SEC experiences an exodus of skilled employees. The issue of employee turnover, especially in the technical and engineering fields has been a cause for concern given the fact that the country has a shortage of such skills. Deloitte (2015) in their report on High-impact HR operating model, notes that for years organisations have been attempting to transform their HR functions.

The report mentions however that 42% of companies surveyed reported that HR operations have a “weak” impact on organisational success and that 85% of the companies surveyed were considering transforming HR to meet new business priorities. Apart from demonstrating efficiency in the delivery of core, HR today is also expected to drive the talent agenda and including performance and engagement. HR departments face new demands that require them to lead talent management initiatives and attract the best talent, including driving alignment, promoting a culture of exceptional performance, leveraging technology and business metrics, and having viable succession management plans. They argue that there is limited knowledge of the conception, implementation and development of TM within organisations and what the outcomes are.


In light of the above case study, identify and explain the changing dynamics at Eswatini Electricity Company (EEC) that resulted in the transformation of business operations and services. Further, suggest strategies and programmes for talent management that can be executed by Eswatini Electricity Company (EEC) for attracting, retaining and continuous development of skills and capabilities of employees.

Identify some of the repercussions of high staff turnover at Eswatini Electricity Company (EEC), especially on critical and skilled employees occupying key positions. Further, differentiate between the concept of talent and performance management.

Recruitment and selection of competent human resources can be achieved, guided by an organisation’s recruitment strategy. Propose some of the internal and external sources of recruitment that organisations can apply to identify suitable candidates whose qualifications and skills match the requirements of the advertised job.

Distinguish between the numerous sources of the competitive advantage including the role of human resources in achieving a sustained competitive advantage.

Answer to Above Question on Case Study

Answer 1: An analysis of the given case study indicates that there are several factors that have resulted in the transformation of business operation and services at Eswatini electricity company. The major factors include reform in the energy sector with the objective of reducing the Monopoly of Eswatini electricity company and it requires changes from a board to a company.


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