What It Takes to Be a Top Employer in Africa in 2023

Published 2 months ago
By BrandVoice Partner | Paid Program | Matimba Mbungela, Chief Human Resources Officer at Vodacom Group
Matimba 2

As organisations have had to navigate various challenges over the past few years, including the Covid-19 pandemic, a talented workforce is key to their success now and in the future. Simultaneously, employees’ expectations and priorities have shifted, with a greater emphasis on well-being, career development and a company culture that aligns with one’s values. Within this landscape, employers are increasingly taking a more people-centric approach to their employee experience. 

The Top Employer Institute certified Vodacom Group as a 2023 Top Employer in Africa, for the seventh consecutive year and ranked second amongst all the companies on the continent. This accolade reflects our long-standing, forward-thinking, people-focused strategies in which we recognise that our business success is dependent not only on the skills of our employees across our markets, but most importantly on their welfare too. 

In a global Workmonitor 2023 survey, 54% of respondents said they would leave their job if they felt they did not belong at the company. While striving for diverse representation is important, employers need to ensure that all their employees feel a sense of belonging. For instance at Vodacom, we have a range of programmes and internal policies, including the Disability Employee Forum, the LGBTQ+ Network and the Women’s Network Forum to ensure inclusivity in the workplace. Our Disability Employee Forum has also helped us make our workplace more accessible, where we have internal targets to employ staff who identify themselves as disabled. This type of platform has also helped us understand the needs of our customers better. In Tanzania, we have trained staff to serve customers with special needs, while in Kenya; we introduced a sign language team to drive education amongst customers who are deaf.

We also strongly support gender parity within our organisation. This encompasses compensation, where we do an annual assessment across all our markets to make sure we pay equally for equal work, but this also includes benefits such as parental leave. Vodacom was among the first in South Africa to implement a gender-neutral parental leave policy that provides 16 weeks of fully paid leave. This policy is open to all employees, whether their partner is having a baby, or they are welcoming a new child through surrogacy or adoption. 

Empowering employees with skills and tools for growth within the organisation increases engagement, innovation and retention, with benefits for business performance and productivity. As a company acutely focused on creating learning opportunities in the business, we invest substantially in skills development and have various initiatives focused on that. In South Africa, we invested R542 million in skills development in the last financial year.

One such initiative that fits into our inclusive digital society purpose pillar is #1MoreSkill, which enables employees to acquire new critical skills, like automation, artificial intelligence and digital marketing, across all aspects of the business. This past year, 95% of all staff across our markets have completed one additional learning programme in alignment with the project.

From an attraction and retention perspective, while we ensure pay and benefits are competitive and fair, and we recognise employees for exceptional performance through programmes such as our annual CEO Awards for employees who have gone the extra mile, we also prioritise the development of talent and opportunities for growth. In addition, we have implemented succession pools for our most senior roles and are supporting female talent in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through initiatives like the Code Like a Girl programme across our markets, with more than 4600 participants since 2017.

A Deloitte survey, found that 84% of respondents consider it important to work for an employer that provides meaningful work, and 83% want to feel proud of the organisation they work for. This confirms that in 2023, a Top Employer is really defined by an organisation that cares, is in tune with its purpose and makes a difference in society with a talented workforce in the driving seat. 

DISCLAIMER: Brand Voice is a paid program. Articles appearing in this section have been commercially supported.