The CRF Institute’s Best Employers campaign has, for the first time, extended into the continent to create the Top Employers in Africa Index, with the first class of certified multinationals announced this week.
“As businesses grow their footprints on the continent, it becomes more and more important to develop applicable, relevant HR policies and practices alongside,” says the CRF Institute’s Country Manager, Samantha Crous. “These policies become essential for managing the massive redistribution of talent that will be necessary to sustain successful business development in the continent’s many emerging markets,” she says. “And it’s for this reason that we have created the Top Employers in Africa audit.”
Announced at the country’s premier HR event, the Annual Best Employers Certification Ceremony in Johannesburg on 29 August, the Top Employers in Africa for 2012/2013 (in alphabetical order) are:
British American Tobacco: South Africa, Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe
Ernst & Young: South Africa, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria
G4S South Africa, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, DRC, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia
Microsoft: South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria
Old Mutual: South Africa, Kenya, Namibia, Zimbabwe
Siemens: South Africa, Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria
Unilever: South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria.
One of the challenges of doing business in Africa is the shortage of skills. “We already know that Africa has suffered a huge brain drain, and as a result many African countries have lost some of their highly skilled professionals, [who] have left to work overseas,” says Elisee Okanda Loma, an HR consultant specialising in issues of African development.” But there are many talented young African professionals waiting for a reason to return home, she says.
“Being recognised as a Top Employer across Africa assists us in reinforcing internally to our people that they are supported with one of the best working environments on the continent,” says Seshni Samuel, Africa People Leader of Ernst & Young, which operates in 33 African countries. Externally, Samuel says, it positions Ernst & Young to help attract the best talent. “Overall it helps us strive for continuous improvement in order to grow our ‘leading people culture’ and gives us the opportunity to benchmark ourselves against other top employers.”
Antoinette Irvine, Human Resources Vice President, Africa for Unilever says: “The Global Unilever strategy is to double our business while reducing our environmental impact, which calls for a talent strategy that supports this growth ambition. We are extremely proud to be considered a forerunner in this arena, and we are thrilled that our African operations are currently delivering the global standard of best-in-class HR practices and policies. We look forward to using, not only the certification, but also the feedback and stringent benchmark information to continuously improve our people management practices across the continent.”
The CRF Institute’s certification standards are rigorous and not all companies who apply are successful. Specifically, employers were scored in the following areas: organisation strategy; the HR function; communication; diversity management; corporate social responsibility; knowledge management; talent management and engagement; performance management; and rewards and recognition.
About 12 percent of participants this year did not meet the criteria after a thorough, objective assessment of key drivers, practices and policies. “The review considers general criteria such as financial and non-monetary benefits, working conditions, training and career development, and company culture,” says Crous.
The findings were independently audited by Grant Thornton South Africa. “In a climate where companies expect more than ever from their employees, it is gratifying to see that top employers are realising the value of and investing in their relationships with employees, and the people component of the triple bottom line,” Crous adds. “Developing and growing potential is one of the primary features of a Best Employer.”