David White
David White

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David White


How do you feel about DRG's great achievement in reaching 20 years old this year?

It is incredible to think that 20 years has passed so quickly. We are very pleased to have reached this important milestone. DRG has become well known in KwaZulu-Natal, renowned for providing professional and reliable human resource management services.

What made DR G decide to focus on Human Resource services 20 years ago?

We certainly have a passion for people and their development - and this perhaps is the biggest contributing factor that attracted our interest in Human Resource (HR). But, also, HR management, as a science has advanced enormously over the years, and "people management" has to a significant degree become manageable and even to some degree more predictable. We enjoy working with people, and helping companies create an enabling environment where they can focus their attention on development and growth of their business - with the confidence that their staffing responsibilities are properly taken care of.

Please will you explain the core focus of DR G's products and services?

We are a total solutions HR management company. This means that we assist companies with solutions right across the entire HR spectrum. However, our specific focus is helping companies meet their HR reporting and compliance responsibilities. We have four service lines. BEST is a retainer service where we supply companies with an accredited Skills Development Facilitator (SDF) to assist them with their strategy and compilation of Employment Equity and Workplace Skills plans and reports, coordinate training and learnerships, and help develop and prepare for BEE verifications. Employee Engagement provides position role clarity, grading of jobs, reward and incentive design, and performance leadership. HR Support provides one off interventions like chairing discipline hearings, updating contracts of employment, developing policies and procedures, etc. Payroll and Contract Management helps to keep companies compliant with their staff's income tax, social securities, and related legislative activities.

In your 20 years in business, what would you say were some of your highlights?

Just working at DRG on a day to day basis is for me a highlight, and I think this is the same for all our staff members. However, on a more functional note, our greatest highlight is having thought that companies will need HR compliance and reporting services in their businesses - so many years ago. We could not have accurately predicted that our services would be critical in the market today, and so cannot put
our strategy down to just being smart. But we did have great mentors that led our thinking, and helped us create a market relevant company.

Tell us about some of these mentors that helped in DR G's growth and development.

One of the first people we ever spoke to about our model was Jonathan Beare. We worked closely with Jonathan for six months or so, and there were two things that I remember him saying. The first was that this is a very clever concept, as it shows that a traditional cost centre in a company (HR) can reach economies and efficiencies, and can actually be profitable. The other thing that I remember well is "David, it is going to be a great story. Keep at it, don't give up." We also had other great mentors, and I would like to name a few. PUM the Dutch organisation (sponsored by the Dutch Government and big business in the Netherlands) sponsored Loet Schledon a 73 year old gentlemen to visit DRG four times over a four year period to help us create our "outsource" service model. Loet had run a similar company in Holland for 30 years before retiring, and knew exactly how to help and guide our thinking. Other great influencers are our dear friends Sandra Golden, Marc Stein, and Harry Feinberg. Sandra Golden at one point ran one of the largest outsourcing companies in the USA - and served with NAPEO (National Outsourcing Organisation) for about 30 years. We met Sandra while we were attending an outsourcing trade show in Las Vegas in the year 2000. Sandra taught us of the many experiences she had had in business, and shared with us many of her process documents. We are great friends with Sandra even to this day, and as a phenomenal sportswomen, having competed in 24 USA Open National Championships and won many medals along the way, including multiple gold medals and tournament awards - as well as a being a USA national coach, we have been privileged to learned a great deal from her about focus, commitment, and determination. Marc Stein the international guru on Referral marketing taught us his "rainmaking" science, which as he says, like farming, will continue to shower you with new client opportunities. Harry Feinberg is a publisher within the USA outsourcing industry. Harry took a special interest in DRG, and covered our development story in his publication as far back as 1999, and also introduced us to many industry leaders in the USA outsourcing and human resource management industry.

Have there been low points in DR G's rise to maturity?

About two years after we started we were asked to join a group that was listing on the JSE. We raised funds at the bank, joined the group, and assisted in growing shareholder wealth. We purchased 200 million shares at 15 cents each from a company delisting, and listed at R 5.00 a share at a PE of 15. The share price over the next months' grew to R 7.50 giving us a market capitalisation of R 1.5 million. This flourishing situation lasted for approx. 18 months, and then due to the dot.com collapse our share price started to slide. There were a number of other influencing factors, but in short our share price ended up at four cents per share - and we unbundled. As you can imagine this was not an easy time for us, and overnight I lost 13 kg. It took us four years to settle and reorganise the business, and for me to start putting on weight again. Definitely I would say that this four year period was the toughest in my life, and I am not sure it possible to again reach that very low and complex level of existence.

As an HR company, that should be knowledgeable enough to maintain a productive and harmonious work environment, how do you manage staff relationships?

We have been fortunate enough to have had great staff since our inception. Our attrition rate has been low, and so we have a huge corporate memory invested in each of the team members. Our day to day environment consists of an open plan office, which is very peaceful and orderly. Our culture is of "individual leadership" where each of us looks after our own clients - guided by the DRG framework and methodology. Within reason we manage our own time. Our compliance related services require strict reporting dates and procedures (SARS, Setas, Dept of Labour, Department of Home Affairs, etc). Our focus is to meet these delivery responsibilities, and also to building long term supporting relationships with our clients.

What is unique at DR G that has helped DR G to maintain its strong market positioning?

As a company we have in depth practical knowledge of all matters HR, B-BBEE,
immigration, and in helping companies to create an enabling environment. Staff are exposed to each of these environments, and so we are able to contribute greatly at our client meetings. From time to time we also get ask to sit on our client's Boards, and very frequently are included into EXCO strategic discussions.

What is DRG's attitude towards transformation and B-BBEE ?

We support internal transformation and supplier diversity. We have a mixed race and gender profile, and are currently rated as a Level Two Value Add (with 156% procurement recognition). DRG is currently 16% black owned, and we look forward to grow DRG's black ownership in the months and years to come. We feel that B-BBEE has its place in helping to create opportunity for South African small and
medium business owners, leaders and staff to develop and grow, and from this perspective we support the intention of the legislation.

What are DRG's plans for the future?

We currently serve about 200 KwaZulu-Natal and national companies with HR retainer services, and approximately 30 international clients. We have over time created defined delivery methodology and outcomes for each of DRG's products and services, and our vision is to expand DRG into other locations within a franchise structure. We realise that these HR services are essential for the smooth running
of any organisation, and see that we have a big responsibility in making our services available to companies on a national basis. We are optimistic about the future, and anticipate that DRG will continue to grow and shine in the years ahead.

DRG Outsourcing (Pty) Ltd
Tel: +27 (0) 31 - 767 0625
Fax: +27 (0) 31 - 767 3280

David White

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