Steinhoff is focused on managing the long-term sustainability of the group’s businesses and business practices

Case studies

Becoming a learning organisation

The group's Human Resources Service Centre is focused on enabling employees to be high performing individuals and to reach their full potential. Becoming a 'learning organisation' where employees are encouraged to own and celebrate learning and development is a strategic goal for building and retaining skilled and talented employees.

All of the group's policies and practices were closely scrutinised to ensure that the group's learners were the primary focus of the activities of the learning team and that high-quality, world-class learning was delivered.

The Human Resources People Effectiveness Centre of Expertise is the custodian of 'next practice' strategy, policy and procedures in learning and growth, and skills development and this guides the development, measurement and execution of business-focused learning solutions. The group's vision of an integrated skills development system, which promotes economic and employment growth and its social development through     a focus on education, training and learning services was developed by the People Effectiveness Centre and the programme is delivered through our geographically located hubs.

The skills development strategy is an integral part of JD Group's commitment to the overall development of skills in employees, which results in a more empowered and capable workforce.

The group skills development strategy was a three-year process. The first year included educational reform in the learning space within the group and it focused on the upskilling of the business community. This specifically related to the value and business commitment needed to sustain skills development within the group as well as to the importance of this commitment for sustainable business growth.

In addition, year one saw the realisation of a structured plan to ready the people effectiveness team for the skills and qualifications in order to meet the requirements of a Sector Education Training Authority (SETA)-accredited institution. This included the preparation and upskilling of SETA-recognised facilitators, instructional designers and subject matter experts while formalising processes to maximise and align work skills plans to meet sector and business needs. To date,
12 individuals have qualified as facilitators, five individuals qualified as instructional designers, seven individuals qualified as assessors, and three as moderators. Gaining this expertise was a requirement to support a Wholesale and Retail Sector Education Training Authority (WRSETA) accreditation.

March 2012 was a milestone in the deployment of the human resources service delivery model in that the first hub was 'activated'. This meant that the implementation arm of learning moved under the leadership of the hub, but it followed the principles and practices of the People Effectiveness Centre. The people structure was in place to roll out the next phase of the skills development plan and the implementation of accredited courses at an accredited site.

March 2012 saw the 'sign-off' of the 'desktop accreditation' of JD Group with the WRSETA as well as the recognition of
10 modules of learning. In August 2012 months of focused energy in preparing the organisation's learning policies and practices with the requirements of the SETA materialised. This culminated in an accreditation site visit that was held on
21 August 2012 by representatives of the WRSETA, an organisation empowered to grant service provider accreditation. At this event, all of the group's policies and practices were closely scrutinised to ensure that the group's learners were the primary focus of the activities of the learning team and that high-quality, world-class learning was delivered. In
September 2012, JD Group attained 'provisional accreditation' with the WRSETA as a service provider, and the group's operations management development programme became recognised as learning with a national qualification.

The benefits of accreditation as a service provider by the WRSETA are fourfold.

  • Firstly, the employees of JD Group, when having successfully completed and passed their accredited course with the group, will have qualifications recognised nationally.
  • Secondly, the status of this accreditation and accredited courses will have a positive impact on the group's employer value proposition and will result in the attraction of talented employees to the group.
  • Thirdly, the group B-BBEE scorecard will be bolstered in the skills development pillar as more learners benefit from accredited courses in the group.
  • Finally, the group will build critical and scarce skills within the retail and wholesale sector and, ultimately, throughout the country.

Strategically, our aim is to register all of our learning programmes with the WRSETA in order to develop our people to be world-class in their particular fields of expertise and to ensure that we enable and empower a workforce that delivers with excellence.

A 10-year partnership providing substantial social benefits


Steinhoff's partnership with Abraham Kriel Childcare (Abraham Kriel) evolved over many years. Several discussions and community research brought about the decision to assist vulnerable children who have been orphaned by the HIV/Aids pandemic.

In March 2013, the Steinhoff Extended Family programme celebrated 10 years since the initiative was launched in Emdeni, Soweto. The programme is the result of a productive and rewarding partnership between Abraham Kriel and Steinhoff.

After some careful consideration, the Steinhoff Extended Family programme was designed and adopted by Steinhoff and Abraham Kriel. Former chairman and founder of Steinhoff, Mr Bruno Steinhoff, became the patron of the programme – a position which he still holds.

The programme officially started in March 2003, with an initial group of 15 beneficiaries which gradually expanded to nearly 200 beneficiaries. Since April 2012, Steinhoff agreed to expand its commitment, and the programme now includes about 400 children after another parrallel programme, run by ABC, ran the risk of being closed down due to a lack of funding.


The aim of Steinhoff's involvement in this initiative is to provide children affected by HIV/Aids with food, clothes, social services and, where necessary, ARV treatment.

Core objectives of the investment:

  • Invest in a project where Steinhoff could have a positive impact on the lives of children that need real support and assistance. One of Steinhoff's core objectives with CSI is to make a difference in the lives of Aids orphans now and in the future.
  • Invest corporate social investment funds in a programme where Steinhoff had the confidence that the money and effort would be accounted for and spent wisely to directly benefit the children in the programme.


Beneficiaries are included in the programme on a 'needs only' basis, and the recipients are mostly individuals from child-headed families where the parents have passed away due to HIV/Aids. In some instances they live with another family member or grandparent as part of an already extended family where resources are severely under pressure.

Many of the caregivers who work in the programme to assist with the care of the beneficiaries, especially the smaller children, are 'graduates' from the project themselves.

Services provided

The services rendered to these beneficiaries through the partnership:

  • Provision of food. Daily meals consist of meat, a starch and two vegetables, two fruits and bread. This is provided to each beneficiary 365 days a year.
  • Enrolment of the children into school, including properly equipping each child to attend their classes.
  • Attention to health issues, bereavement counselling, facilitation with proper registrations with government departments and applications for grants to further support the family.
  • Regular visits to their homes by the caregivers.
  • Where relevant, younger children are enrolled in school after-care programmes, where they eat, get help with homework and participate in life skill classes.

Long-term benefits

The Steinhoff commitment gave Abraham Kriel a level of financial sustainability that allowed for long-term planning to ensure that a real impact could be made. It also allowed for the promise that children could be given the gift to grow and develop so that their dreams have a chance of becoming a reality.

Unlike a one-off charity donation, the Steinhoff Extended Family programme is an example of a long-term investment where time and trust are key to its success.

This partnership and its extended investment gives the programme the time it requires to accomplish what is necessary, especially for raising children.

  • It takes time for children to recover from malnutrition to a state of health.
  • It takes time to recover from the loss of a parent and regain hope.
  • It takes time for children to grow up and become productive members of society.
  • It takes time to develop self-confidence and the life skills of an adult.

Ongoing evaluations bring valuable improvements

The programme is continuously evaluated and adapted to ensure that the children cared for by the Steinhoff Extended Family programme do in fact become contributing members of society.

Where possible, the young people leaving school are helped to obtain relevant skills, employment opportunities and are assisted to enrol for tertiary education. To assist with this, a skills centre at Emdeni provides skills development to the school leavers and wider community and classes include computer skills, life skills, cooking and hospitality, tiling and painting and vegetable cultivation. The centre has 21 productive food tunnels that produce enough vegetables for own use with any excess being sold to the local informal trade market.

Looking back

We are privileged and proud to have made, and continue to make, a difference in the lives of the children in the programme. We know that the security of getting a warm meal makes going to school easier each day. The knowledge that there is someone looking out for them truly makes them part of a larger family and safer within the larger community.

Beyond the commitment of their basic needs being taken care of by the programme, Mr Steinhoff and Steinhoff employees remain involved on many levels and regularly visits Soweto.

Since 2003

  • the programme grew from 15 to 400 beneficiaries;
  • more than 720 000 meals were prepared; and
  • more than R20m was invested into the basic care and well-being of our youth

The future

Steinhoff's corporate social investment strategy remains with the Steinhoff Extended Family programme. The aim for the future is to be involved with the extension of the programme and to assist with further after-school development for the matriculants to enter the job market or become young entrepreneurs within their communities.

Mr Bruno Steinhoff, founder of Steinhoff and patron to the programme, has been involved from the start and the programme continues to receive much valued support from him, his family and various international associates and friends.

‘Graduates’ from the programme

The following students are examples of the difference the programme has made in their lives

  • Seitebaleng Mookisi (21)
    Third year: Community Development and leadership (degree)
  • Funeka Tshuluba (18)
    Second year: Education (degree)
  • Thulani Radebe (22)
    Second year: Human Resource management (diploma)
    Thulani applied for this degree after achieving three distinctions and three Bs in his first term.
  • Sifiso Nkosi (19)
    Second year: Civil engineering, Aveng Grinaker LTA Boksburg
  • Lindokuhle Makhaya (20)
    Second year: Policing course: Safety Society
    (South west Gauteng College)
  • Tshidiso Pitso (22)
    Will be registering for Law at Unisa in the second semester

The Golden "M" – A quality endorsement

The golden "M" – a quality endorsement

Scandals around the safety of products for public use and the circumstances around manufacturing processes have fuelled consumer concerns.

In practical terms, this means that furniture manufacturers voluntarily subject their furniture to the current DGM quality assurance and certification regulations.

The Deutsche Gütegemeinschaft's (DGM) comprehensive quality concept in Germany, with its quality assurance and certification regulations and comprehensive testing procedures, takes all of these aspects into account. The outcome of this quality assurance and certification is the appropriation of the Golden "M" Quality Mark – a prestigious stamp of approval for products that have passed the quality tests for consumer safety.

To guarantee the credibility of the mark and ultimately the integrity of the products, every product that carries the Golden "M" mark also carries a control number, which assists with customer recourse back to the manufacturer.

Steinhoff is proud to be associated with the DGM's Golden "M" quality assurance standard. The bathroom furniture produced in the Puris factory in Brilon, continues to meet the necessary requirements to comply with this certification, thereby giving customers ultimate assurance in the products they purchase.

What does compliance mean?

Proof of compliance with the guidelines, according to the DGM's Quality Assurance Standard RAL-GZ 430, is documented for each manufacturer through receipt of an approval certificate.

In practical terms, this means that furniture manufacturers voluntarily subject their furniture to the current DGM quality assurance and certification regulations (under RAL-GZ 430) and subject their products to tests carried out by neutral, independent institutes.

Once the furniture has passed all tests in terms of stability, material quality, durability, safety and health compatibility, and the manufacturer can prove that this quality level will be maintained during further production, the DGM awards the RAL Quality Mark for furniture. This takes the form of the Golden "M". The physical label is firmly affixed to each piece of furniture in the form of a tag and it tells the purchaser that the piece of furniture has been quality tested, upon which customers can rely when buying the product.

The quality assurance and certification regulations are constantly being reviewed to ensure that the quality standard corresponds to the latest scientific findings. This is the Deutsche Gütegemeinschaft Möbel e.V.s quality assurance committee's responsibility. The committee, in turn, exchanges information with various working groups consisting of specialists for particular types of furniture, and experts in certain fields (for example, environment and health).

Furniture manufacturers that are members of the Deutsche Gütegemeinschaft Möbel e.V. not only have to ensure that the quality of their furniture adheres to the constantly updated regulations, but also agree to subject their furniture to ad hoc testing.