You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

Compassion In The Workplace Achieves Better Results Than Discipline Management should consider being compassionate when dealing with employees and not too quick to institute disciplinary action under certain circumstances. Here's how to tell the difference.

By Jennifer de Mata

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur South Africa, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


In light of the two posts that have been trending on social media over the preceding weeks, regarding employees getting to work on time, management should be mindful that there is a level of consciousness and kindness required in operating a business.

The one post highlighted the fear of an employee who stood to lose her job after receiving two written warnings for arriving late at work, due to the closure of the M2. The second post was one written by a CEO, who shed light on how the working class have to get up in the early hours of the morning and get into public transport, which is not always the safest or quickest route to get to work on time.

What the law says

From a labour legislation perspective, employers are reminded that every matter must be judged on its own merits and often leniency needs to be shown, dependent on the circumstances surrounding a particular transgression.

Whilst a disciplinary code provides guidelines for the sanctions to be imposed for certain transgressions, such guidelines are exactly that, and may be varied depending on the specific situation at hand.

Studies have shown that compassion within a workplace is arguably the most economically positive trait an entrepreneur can possess.

Following on from this, it therefore becomes more and more important to aim at increasing the quality of the collective lives working for your business, as well as creating a culture of understanding, humanity and team work.

Your success begins with your employees

The success of a business is highly dependent on the people that a business employs to help that business grow. Hence, it is imperative that when situations with your employees arise, such as late coming, cognizance needs to be applied to the circumstances surrounding the transgression.

It would be more productive for the employer to react with compassion, rather than the aggression of discipline in certain instances.

You need rules, not heavy-handed discipline

It goes without saying that no business can operate without rules, policies and procedures, which are implemented with the requisite business rationale, in order for organisations to function and thrive as profit making entities.

So, I am not for one second suggesting that staff members should be left to do as they please, with complete disregard for the company's rules.

I am, however, of the firm belief that employers and managers need to conduct their business dealings with kindness, compassion and respect at times, considering a transgression and its route cause in its entirety and not just the fact that a particular incident has taken place.

Employees are after all human beings, who are not infallible and analysing the employee's intent can very often assist in adopting the accurate measures to remedy a situation.
Jennifer de Mata

Founder and MD: Strata-g Labour Solutions

A respected and experienced labour law practitioner who helps businesses maximise their human capital potential, Jennifer Da Mata is the founder and MD of Strata-g Labour Solutions. Visit 
Side Hustle

This Dad Started a Side Hustle to Save for His Daughter's College Fund — Then It Earned $1 Million and Caught Apple's Attention

In 2015, Greg Kerr, now owner of Alchemy Merch, was working as musician when he noticed a lucrative opportunity.

Business News

I Designed My Dream Home For Free With an AI Architect — Here's How It Works

The AI architect, Vitruvius, created three designs in minutes, complete with floor plans and pictures of the inside and outside of the house.

Side Hustle

How to Get the Most Money Out of Your Side Hustle During Tax Season, From an Expert Who Raised $75.2 Million to Make Filing Easier

Lauren Myrick started Found to solve the common problems she saw small business owners face.


26 Of The Richest People in South Africa

Here are 26 of South Africa's richest people, but how did they achieve this level of wealth? Find out here.

Health & Wellness

This 103-Year-Old Doctor Opened Her Medical Practice Before Women Could Have Bank Accounts — Here Are Her 6 Secrets to a Healthy, Successful Life

Dr. Gladys McGarey started medical school in 1941 and helped pioneer the holistic medicine movement in the U.S.


10 SA Entrepreneurs Who Built Their Businesses From Nothing

Remarkable stories about local entrepreneurs who built big businesses and well-known brands up from humble beginnings.