An interview with David Plink, chief exective of the Top Employers Institute.
Tell us more about Top Employers
Top Employers recognises excellence in companies that create the optimal conditions for their employees to develop and enrich their lives. Such organisations have proven that HR is strategically important to reach their business goals. The certification itself sends a strong signal to stakeholders and the marketplace that the organisation’s employment practices are globally competitive, developing the best talent.
How important is being seen as a Top Employer to organisations? And is such a certification a luxury in the current economic climate?
It has proven to be a necessity. We have tracked the downturn over the past five or six years and our business has grown yearly in that time. We see that, in Top Employers that are serious about development as a lever in driving high performance, focus and investment on the employer value proposition and supporting certification has increased.
What are the HR priorities in the territories the Top Employers Institute conducts its research programme, comparatively speaking?
Interestingly, China, Brazil, Africa and Europe share the same top two HR priorities of talent management and employee engagement. However, they differ on the third: Africa is focused on organisational change; Europe on development; and China and Brazil on leadership. Each of these speaks to the heart of the economic strategy of all these regions as Africa presents itself as an exciting new market and organisations prepare for the rush, Europe maintains its course and China and Brazil are focused on leadership in support of their aggressive growth strategy.
Is the planned or lack of growth in staff numbers consistent with this?
Absolutely. In Africa 47% of Top Employers expect full time equivalent numbers to increase by between 1% and 5%, 36% expect no increase by 5% or more, while 86% of Top Employers in China expect these numbers to increase by 5% or more. A quarter of European Top Employers expect their numbers to stay the same. In Brazil, 56% of the surveyed companies expect their staff to grow with 5% or more over the next three years.
CRF International has rebranded to the Top Employers Institute globally. What prompted this move?
At Top Employers we believe we can only create value for our Top Employers insofar as it is a direct function of our own credibility as a global certifier. This means that being understood as a brand is enormously important. Since the core of our mission centres around the credibility and transparency of our certification process —which in turn creates value for our certified Top Employers — it makes sense that we make this the focus of our brand, so that it remains the top HR standards test that a company serious about developing people must take every year.
What are the key goals for the Top Employers programme going forward?
Our goals are threefold. Of course, maintaining the audit programme’s objectivity and integrity is a high priority. Then innovating through growing the continental certification is a core focus. This year, in addition to Europe and Africa, we have moved our continental certification into Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Latin America. North America will follow in 2014. Finally, our exclusive community of Top Employers is focusing on de-regionalisation when it comes to HR policy design and alignment of employer value proposition across territories. Top Employers research, feedback and certification supports this and certification itself is more a strategic key performance index of HR executives in global multinational businesses. In support of our customers we continued to develop the insights that help our Top Employers to harmonise the conditions they create for their staff and to build their employer brand in the process.