Jaci’s Lodges rewards staff with 25,1% stake in business…

According to the South African Concise Oxford dictionary heritage means ‘of special value and worthy of preservation – an historic building or property that has been passed down through generations’.

Although not truly heritage but close enough for comment, the owners of Jaci’s Lodges have a recently-introduced staff upliftment programme ‘of special value and worthy of preservation’. The policy states that staff members who have been employed at the lodges for more than five years are given the opportunity to become shareholders in the business. A 25,1% shareholding, held in trust, is divided among eligible employees, who receive their portion of the declared dividend at the end of each financial year.

This idea was the result of Jaci’s Lodges’ owners’ commitment to empowering the workforce and, in turn, making a difference to the lives of those in the surrounding areas.

The Van Heterens also believed that by investing in their team they were investing in their business. “And we were right – it has paid dividends,” says Jan. “We have a team that offers charming, yet discrete personalised service and hospitality par excellence,” adds Jaci. “This is a legacy we hope will be passed on when we’re no longer here.”

Jaci’s Lodges in the vast Madikwe Game Reserve were designed, built and decorated by Jan and Jaci. They are family run, with every team member committed to providing guests with unique experiences.

Below are follow-up questions that I posed to the owners of the lodge and Jaci van Heteren was kind enough to provide answers…

1. What motivated the initiative?
Shareholders wanted staff to benefit from the trust as they are the people directly involved with guests and ensuring their stay is exceptional from booking to departure – then returning or recommending Jaci’s to other travellers.

2. How many employees qualify for the program in its first year?
Three, all ladies.

3. What happens when a staff member within the program resigns?
They are no longer a registered staff trust beneficiary, we encourage beneficiaries to invest the annual dividend they individually receive, so it will grow and assist in supporting them when they retire/resign.

4. In rand terms, how much is 25,1% worth?
Are you asking about the annual dividend or the company shareholding?

Author: Muzi Mohale

Hi there, am your host and I blog about the tourism industry in South Africa. You're also welcome to contribute your expert content on matters affecting the industry. You can reach me on muzi[at]tourismedition.com

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