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Human capital


We operate in a competitive service-oriented industry. Our employees are the most important contributors to our ongoing success as daily clientfacing brand ambassadors. They are supported by a corporate culture that emphasises ‘people caring for people.’

During Covid-19, our employees went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure memorable guest experiences. Even though many of the group’s hotels had to temporarily suspend services for extended periods over the course of the year, our employees were ready and able to serve at all times.


City Lodge Hotel Group is a values-driven organisation. We are passionate about our employees, about service and about identifying, growing and encouraging leadership that is dedicated to making a difference at every level.

We take every opportunity to grow both internal and external talent through targeted development programmes and meaningful succession planning. We attract retainable and productive employees by offering a safe and stimulating work environment, a unique identity and diverse culture, interpersonal significance, and innovative work practices.

CLHG has expanded over the years and we are always on the lookout for fresh and diverse talent to add to our growing family. We pride ourselves on above-average employee engagement resulting in below-average attrition, our workforce says that job security, employment benefits and job satisfaction are what CLHG does best. Through our internal recognition and reward programme, we encourage staff and guests to recognise when our teams are doing things right.

To ensure that we ‘walk the talk’ as a team, we commit to demonstrating the CLHG leadership drivers and living the group’s values and fundamentals at all times. CLHG leaders guide their teams according to five imperatives:

  • Lead by example
  • Innovate and own their businesses
  • Empower people to engage and act
  • Inspire a shared vision
  • Encourage the heart

We are proud that 91% of our current leaders were groomed internally. Attracting and retaining top talent is crucial to developing a sustainable pipeline of leaders for the future and our employee turnover rate of 3.45% is significantly lower than the industry average.

Year Voluntary
% of total
2020/21 28 11 3.45
2019/20 41 22 5.52
2018/19 69 33 8.48
2017/18 74 19 7.88
2016/17 60 37 8.69

We were pleased to have avoided any retrenchments so far during the pandemic, and we continue to pay salaries, albeit at a reduced rate.


Communication is critical to mitigating the tension and uncertainty brought on by Covid-19. CLHG provided employees with advice and counselling resources throughout the pandemic, helping them care for their wellbeing and fostering self-development. All our managers were equipped with tools, learnings and resources to lead in times of uncertainty. Constant training also ensured that employees were empowered to keep guests and colleagues safe against the pandemic.

A new internal Facebook group was established to keep employees connected during this time. This online platform has grown to serve as a fun, inspirational and newsy space for the team to share their successes, colleague commendations, vaccinations, team events, news of upcoming industry events, and so much more. It is a boon for team spirit when many of the staff are working from home.

In the past financial year, CLHG started the journey towards updating our corporate culture to attract younger generations of employees and guests without losing our caring identity. We conducted an organisational culture survey to gain insight into the group’s current culture and where it needs to shift. The feedback from the survey forms a baseline for developing an effective and deliberate culture change for the future.

Employee and industrial relations

The South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (SACCAWU) currently represents 13.69% of the group’s employees, with 15.86% of those occupying positions within the defined bargaining unit. CLHG maintains a recognition agreement with SACCAWU. No workdays were lost because of industrial action during FY2021. Group managers and union shop stewards attend refresher courses on group policies and procedures to facilitate communication and collaboration.


While CLHG’s properties are not inherently high-risk areas, the group takes all necessary measures to ensure the safety of guests and employees. Every hotel has a health and safety committee, with appointed people being responsible in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The group’s adherence to health and safety practices is reviewed annually as part of the internal audit process and our service providers are required to adhere to CLHG health and safety requirements. All our hotels are required to maintain hygiene standards that meet or exceed Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points (HACCP) legislation.

Keeping our people safe during a pandemic

CLHG readily complies with all government measures and regulations introduced to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus across all the territories we operate in.

The group’s safety measures include providing personal protective equipment, sanitising materials and hygiene training to employees. We also conduct daily Covid-19 screenings, with contact tracing in positive cases and our hotels installed protective screens at our front desks and food and beverage service areas. The group’s protocols are extremely thorough, setting an industry standard that was presented to government and adopted by other hotels.

Currently, CLHG do not mandate vaccines for staff. We are monitoring legal precedents and trends to see if this position needs to change. However, CLHG encourages vaccination and will help our staff, especially those living with comorbidities, to gain this additional immunity where we can so that they can safely continue guest facing activities.

Safety performance

During the year, seven minor staff health and safety issues were reported and resolved (FY2020:7).

Wellness programmes

Employees have access to an independent wellness programme offering:

  • free counselling for trauma and mental health
  • debt counselling and protection issues
  • retirement planning.

The group talent manager is primarily responsible for attracting, developing and retaining high-calibre people. Following annual appraisals for all CLHG employees, those who show leadership or specialist potential are placed on specific career development paths. We prioritise previously disadvantaged individuals in accordance with our employment equity and transformation goals.

Training and development

We are passionate about developing people and offer various opportunities:

  • On-the-job training
  • E-learning
  • Internal development programmes
  • Learnerships
  • Work integrated learning
  • Succession planning
  • Accelerated Development and Deployment Programmes (ADDP)
  • Graduate Intern Programme (GIP).

During the reporting period, our employee development focused on three primary areas:

  • Compliance: health and safety, hygiene, first aid, firefighting, POPI Act compliance, and employee accreditation in line with job responsibilities
  • Industry skills: bespoke property management system training, in-house procedures
  • Career development: hospitality management skills and knowledge obtained through reputed institutions.

Training and development highlights

Every year, the group looks forward to welcoming hotel school students from across South Africa to gain practical experience at the group’s hotels, as part of our work-integrated learning. Following the advent of Covid-19, which resulted in the temporary suspension of services in several of the group’s hotels and disruption to the academic year, this programme was suspended in 2020. However, the group celebrated several other highlights:

  • City & Guilds qualifications: CLHG permanent employees may attend these programmes to earn an internationally recognised qualification. A total of 46 employees are registered on various programmes, with 12 employees passing their City & Guilds exams during the second half of the financial year.
  • Learnership opportunities to unemployed individuals: The group is currently hosting 15 previously unemployed learners in a Hospitality Reception programme.
  • Executive Development Programme for Women in Leadership: Three junior management employees are participating in this programme. It is funded by the Department of Tourism in partnership with the University of South Africa (UNISA).
  • The group participated in a food and beverage learnership programme in the Free State funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training.
  • The group participated in a 12-month work integrated learning programme in Mpumalanga, empowering unemployed youth with essential workplace experience, skills and exposure.

Succession planning

As a part of our succession planning strategy, up to 10 talented black candidates are selected every year for accelerated development through our accelerated development and deployment programme. Several of CLHG’s current general managers are graduates of this programme.

Skills development committee

The skills development committee is mandated to deal with skills development issues and to assist in determining the group’s skills requirements. The committee meets at least bi-annually and includes:

  • the HR divisional director
  • the group’s skills development facilitator
  • a union representative and regional shop stewards
  • staff members from different levels and backgrounds, elected by their constituencies.

The group’s registered skills development facilitator, assisted by a training coordinator, submits a mandatory grant plan annually and reports on training achieved against that plan.

The following table is aligned with the reporting period for the Sector Education and Training Authority, which utilises a January to December calendar year.

Training spend over a five-year period

  2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
% of total payroll spent on training 1.74 3.53 4.00 3.75 3.94
% of total payroll spent on training previously disadvantaged employees 1.91 2.13 3.66 3.40 3.23
Total number of interventions attended by all employees 13 564 14 870 15 244 15 631 11 320
Total number of interventions attended by black employees 13 383 13 498 13 819 14 209 10 041
Total number of interventions attended by black female employees 8 691 8 859 9 055 9 494 6 441
Total spend on training and development R4.4million R10.1million R11.2million R10.5 million R9.7 million

Although the liquidity constraints facing the group because of Covid-19 limited our training and development spending during FY2021, we continue to build employee skills in the new financial year.

Reward and recognition
Staff share scheme

The CLHG staff share scheme rewards employees who are employed by CLHG for longer than a year. It aims to incentivise employees and promote the continued growth of the group by allowing them to acquire shares in CLHG, aligning their interests with those of shareholders. The reward may be distributed as a dividend pay-out, or a combination of a share redistribution and dividend pay-out, depending on the group’s performance.

WOW: Service excellence

We continually review our definitions of service excellence as client expectations evolve. We introduced a group-wide WOW programme to ‘wow’ all our stakeholders – whether suppliers, guests, or shareholders. The programme encourages employees across all CLHG levels and business functions to generate ideas for wowing guests. Every idea is thoroughly evaluated for its potential to improve services, save money and resolve speedbumps.


Broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE)

Over the past few years, South Africa’s B-BBEE landscape has changed considerably. Our transformation committee keeps CLHG abreast of the latest developments and identifies key focus areas.

The group achieved an overall Level 4 B-BBEE contributor rating in the prior year, which matured at the end of September 2021. At the time of publication, the group were in the advance stages of finalising the current year independent B-BBEE verification audit.

This year has met with many challenges as we try to navigate our B-BBEE strategies, while suffering constrained funds and Covid-19 restrictions.

  • We continue to invest in the development of our people by encouraging skills development through new and existing e-learning courses, rather than historical off-site training sessions.
  • We have maintained our socio-economic development partnerships, e.g. Emthonjeni Community Centre in Zandspruit, even during these difficult times to ensure we give back and help build our communities.
  • We remain committed to our supporting Small and Medium Enterprises and our economic development partners, who have been hardest-hit by the pandemic in some cases, due to their reliance on the hospitality and travel industry.
  • The CLHG share purchase in the B-BBEE SPV's in December 2020 has reduced the benefits derived on the ownership scorecard this year compared to prior years. We remain committed to optimising our share register credentials, and investing in a youth employment scheme in the short -term, while we evaluate the future B-BBEE ownership structure, in the medium to long term.
Scorecard element Weighting Score
Ownership*Δ 27.00 17.68 16.90
Management control 19.00 13.49 13.71
Skills development* 20.00 17.69 17.84
Enterprise and supplier development* 40.00 34.35 34.89
Socio-economic development 5.00 7.24 8.00
Total B-BBEE score 111.00 90.45 91.34
* Priority element.
Δ Sub-minimum score not achieved, resulting in a one level penalty to overall rating.



The following comparative table, in accordance with the Employment Equity Act, displays the company’s South African operations’ employee profile as at 30 June 2020 and 2021:

      Male       Female   Foreign nationals  
Occupational level Year African Coloured Indian White African Coloured Indian White Male Female Total
Top 2021     1 4 2 1 1 1     10
management 2020     1 5 2 1 1 1     11
Senior 2021 5 5   34 3 1   21     69
management 2020 6 5   32 3 1   22     69
Middle 2021 12 2   12 28 8 1 14   1 82
management 2020 8 2   11 29 7 3 15   1 78
Junior 2021 50 10   16 109 21 3 12   3 227
management 2020 52 11   18 110 21 3 12   2 233
Discretionary 2021 101 14   12 176 26 7 42     381
decision-making 2020 114 16   12 193 29 8 48 1   425
Defined decision- 2021 120 11   6 181 25     2   345
making 2020 121 10   5 186 28     2   352
Total permanent 2021 288 42 11 84 499 82 12 90 2 4 1 114
  2020 301 44 11 83 523 87 15 98 3 3 1 168
Non-permanent 2021 9 2 1 1 17 2     1 1 34
  2020 9   1   11   1 1 2 1 26
Grand total 2021 297 44 12 85 516 84 12 90 3 5 1 148
  2020 310 44 12 83 534 87 16 99 5 4 1 194

People caring for people – guest feedback

City Lodge Bryanston quote

“All the staff are well trained, they helped us with our mom, rooms were clean, food was perfect, the Manager, Sipho, was so friendly, and the waitress treated us like VIPs. Will definitely come again to the hotel. Sipho was outstanding in his treatment of me and my colleagues. This also goes out to Gift. I have found a home away from home.”
~ Anonymous

City Lodge Hotel Durban quote

“This communique serves to compliment your team led by Xoli, Buyi, Sihle and others based on their respective roles for a great customer service. I have used the Durban City Lodge for the past 11 years and your staff keeps on raising the game. May they continue with the spirit of Ubuntu and humility. No doubt that loyalty is earned through commitment and consistency in rendering impeccable service to your clients.”
~ Lihle Mqayi

Courtyard Hotel Waterfall City quote

“I’d like to express our deepest gratitude to the excellent service we received yesterday. The book launch wouldn’t have been a success without your exceptional service. I was really amazed by the friendliness that your staff portrayed, I was truly blown away. They really went out of their way to ensure that we had everything we needed; not forgetting how delicious the food was. Compliments to the chef. I really look forward to have many more events at your hotel in the future.”
~ P Sedupane