Total Straight Talk. May 2013. Volume 01
On 31 October 2012 - in celebration of the sixth anniversary of TOTAL South Africa's Ethics programme - employees were invited to 'talk ethics' with special guest Philip Jordan (TOTAL Group Senior Vice-President: Ethics), Christian des Closieres (TSA Managing Director and CEO) and Dr Jerry Gule (General Manager: Human Resources and HR). The discussion panel was facilitated by Professor Deon Rossouw, CEO of the Ethics Institute of SA. Deon and the event sought to demonstrate TOTAL's renewed commitment to transparency. Employees' enthusiasm did not disappoint and 28 anonymous questions were retrieved from Snoopie-do-right's mailbox. The disbelief was audible as members of the Ethics Committee and the audience posed sensitive questions to the panel, who must be commended for the openness with which they responded.

As we know, time flies when you're having fun! And since we couldn't get to everyone's questions, the Ethics Committee undertook to follow up and respond to a number of outstanding questions.

This edition of Straight Talk does just that!
Employees have expressed concern that in recent years the company lacks strategic direction. What measures are being implemented to curtail the above challenge?
TOTAL South Africa has experienced numerous challenges in recent years with increased competition and new regulations in the petroleum market that, as a result, has required the company to re-develop (or re-align) its strategy. The new roadmap strategy, entitled Together from Good to Great, provides a clearer direction and path for the company to progress from 2013-2017.
Family responsibility leave Our policy is in accordance with the Labour Relations Act, however, we will always take each staff member's circumstances into account, as well as the business requirements of their job when assessing family responsibility situations. Where required, the human resources department will advise both the employee and the manager about the stipulations of legislation and employee's rights.
What is TOTAL South Africa's procedure for staff grievances especially, those relating to incidents where there is a lack of mutual respect between the manager and his/her team?
The staff member is required to enter into a diplomatic discussion with the manager where each party clearly stipulates their grievance and attempts to find a solution. Should the matter not be resolved during this discussion, the employee should lodge a grievance with the employee relations and wellness division so that further action can be taken to resolve the matter.
Unfair management practices As per the company's human resources policy, any aggrieved staff member has a right to lodge a grievance. A line manager may make decisions that they deem to be appropriate in order to best manage the business and it is also their responsibility to respond to challenges that they may be facing with their team. In all instances where a matter is brought to the HR department's attention - and where a manager is found to be out of line - appropriate steps are taken to rectify the behaviour. The human resources department's role is to instruct line managers on how to best allocate work to their teams and also to ensure that any unfair behaviour is brought to the attention of the offending party. Should any staff member feel that a particular matter requires attention beyond their line manager; the issue can be taken up via the management structure and further clarity can be sought from the human resources department.
BBBEE procurement policy This is a challenging issue at the moment as there is still a preconception that some white-owned companies are claiming that they are compliant with the BBBEE codes when in fact they are not. Employees are often unaware of this when appointing a company as a service provider. The purchasing department is, therefore, required to conduct a thorough investigation to check that all the company's credentials are in order before appointing any particular service provider.
What is TOTAL South Africa's BEE policy?
The company's policy is in accordance with the requirements of the Employment Equity Act and the requirements of the Oil Industry Liquid Fuels Charter. TOTAL South Africa is also required to respond to the monitoring and evaluation findings as per the Department of Energy reviews in order to retain its licence to trade. Employment equity (EE) is part of the recruitment and selection policy of the company and is approved at the highest level of management.
Recruitment, training and development
What is TOTAL South Africa's policy for the preference of recruitment of staff internally? Does the applicant receive training if they do not have the credentials for the position?
The focus is always on finding the best candidate for a particular job. All applications are considered in respect of each job's requirements. The individual's qualifications, the amount of experience required for the job and the level of the applicant's competence are all taken into account when someone is hired by us. As part of each employee's performance appraisal, an individual's training needs must be identified in order to better equip such an individual to perform or become efficient in the current role, or to prepare for a potential future role.
Further training requirements The training needs to be approved by your manager as per the performance appraisal. The particular individual will agree with their line manager to attend such training upon completion of the performance appraisal. TOTAL South Africa continuously strives to develop the skills of our employees.
Are better looking people more likely to get a job at Total?
The human resources function considers the inherent requirements of a job as detailed in the job description and follows the company's recruitment and selection policy and procedures. A mutual decision is reached on the most suitable person in consultation with the recruiting line manager and the final decision for appointment is based on a candidate's skills and experience.
Internal position considerations It is a requirement that internal applicants have to actively apply for a position if they are interested in it and must duly follow the normal recruitment and selection process. The most suitably qualified person in accordance with the company's Employment Equity policy will always be appointed whether the appointment is internal or external.
Are skills and talent retention strategies a component of the company's human resource practices?
Up-skilling employees is the joint-responsibility of the company and the individual job holder. A training matrix per position is developed to compare skills against position requirements. Employees have responsibility for their own individual growth aspirations during their employment with the company. An employee can also request to have an individual career discussion with their line manager where any training needs will be considered.
Succession planning Succession planning is the remit of TOTAL South Africa's management committee and at no stage are external candidates discussed, as the information presented at the session only covers permanent employees. People who are classified as temporary employees and consultants are never part of the discussion.
There is a misconception that positions are not advertised to internal staff and external candidates are employed as temporary staff. What is the company's policy in this regard?
The company's recruitment and selection policy requires that internal adverts are run to recruit internal staff as a priority, followed by an external recruitment process should a suitable internal candidate not be selected for the position. Only in rare cases does an internal advert run simultaneously with an external recruitment process and such has to be authorised by the highest level of management in the company. The position cannot be left vacant for long without exposing the company to a major risk or where a permanent employee has gone on a long-term absence in line with his/her terms and conditions of employment, a temporary employee may be hired for a fixed term contract. It is normal for companies to have a healthy mix of internal and external recruitment policies in order to ensure that there is innovation and continuous improvement, amongst all staff members.
HR criteria when appointing candidates HR is guided by the business requirements and employment equity imperatives of the company as well as relevant regulatory requirements as per the Basic Conditions of the Labour Relations Act. New appointments follow strict due diligence procedures to ensure that the company's goals and objectives are met, in accordance with the recruitment and selection policy and procedure.
What is the process with regard to employees who have left the company and are then considered for re-employment?
Employees who have left TOTAL South Africa are not generally considered for re-employment. It might happen that we do re-employ for reasons of scarce skills, but it is not the company policy, especially if the employee had left with a negotiated package.
Remuneration and grading
Are the company's remuneration structures in accordance with market standards?
The company participates in market research surveys and management has, over the past two years, commissioned consulting companies to undertake an independent analysis of remuneration across the national petrochemical market. The results from both these studies have indicated that the company's remuneration structure is in accordance with market standards. In certain specialist areas, however, the remuneration rate was found to be lower than market trends. The above matter has been addressed adequately through salary adjustments and the human resources department will continue to monitor the remuneration levels and make recommendations to management and the TOTAL South Africa board on a regular basis.
Non-disclosure of remuneration structures for staff mambers All human resources staff have signed a code of ethics and a confidentiality agreement and are required to abide by these documents at all times. In instances where violations have occurred, these should be reported to management along with any evidence of such transgressions.
What is TOTAL South Africa's policy with regard to awarding performance bonuses?
Performance appraisals are a joint responsibility between the employee and their line manager and should be undertaken at regular intervals throughout the year. During these appraisals, employees are encouraged to ensure that they have clear objectives and fully understand their responsibilities and performance targets. Bonuses are structured in accordance with the results of the performance appraisal.
How is the Ethics Committee formed? Who appoints the chairman of this committee? How long must the chairman and other committee members serve on the committee?
The Ethics Committee comprises a chairman, the ethics officer and four nominated members. Members of the Management Committee (MANCOM) will not be eligible to serve on this committee. The CEO of TOTAL South Africa appoints the chairman of the Ethics Committee. The other members are appointed, with Mancom's consent, on the recommendation of the chairman.The members of the Ethics Committee must be permanent employees of TOTAL South Africa who collectively have broad experience and knowledge of the company's different disciplines and who occupy positions enabling them to exercise the necessary independence and freedom of judgement.

Members of the Ethics Committee cannot delegate their functions to non-members. Whilst the position of ethics officer is a permanent position, all other members are appointed for a term of four years; unless some other provision is made, to ensure a regular turnover of committee members.
More info For any questions or feedback,
email the ethics office at