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Managing service provider empowerment: a case study of induction of contractors in a private sector organisation.

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This research study focused on induction and onboarding of external contractors rendering service at Paradise Aluminium Smelter. The case company had been swamped with several external contractors’ recordable classified injuries in the financial year June 2019 to 2021. This made it impossible to attain the company safety goal of achieving zero accident vision. This dissertation aimed to establish induction and onboarding programmes that were in place in a private sector company, Paradise Aluminium Smelter for external contractors. The study aimed to establish if the induction and onboarding programmes for external contractors at Paradise Aluminium Smelter were effective enough to protect external contractors from causing accidents and other mistakes and to establish improvement (if any) that needed to be made to the induction and onboarding programmes to ensure better socialisation of external contractors. The induction and onboarding programmes were presented as intervention strategies to curb the high number of accidents and incidents involving external contractors. This was a qualitative study. A case study method and interpretivist approach were used in this study. The target population of the study were external contracting employees who attended the induction and onboarding programmes at the case company from 2019 to 2021. Purposive sampling was used to select participants. Focus groups and semi-structured interviews were used to collect data. Paradise Aluminium Smelter’s induction and onboarding programmes seemed to have limitations when it comes to execution and monitoring. The following were areas of concern: information overload; HR invisibility after the initial two day’s induction classroom training; the sole use of traditional classroom approach in isolation to the online induction training; the lack of mentoring, monitoring and feedback systems. There were no clearly defined schedules, methods and tools to assess the effectiveness of the induction and onboarding programmes and thereby, external contractors had many knowledge gaps that caused them to make unnecessary mistakes and eventually caused accidents which could all be reduced by identifying gaps and reducing the induction and onboarding programmes limitations. The study concluded that induction and onboarding programmes were of great value to the organisation and employees if they were well planned, jointly executed, assessed and continuously monitored as these programmes serve to impart knowledge, skills and information to new employees more so about their new jobs and their working environment. This investigative piece of research concluded that induction and onboarding were of paramount importance in any operation.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.