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 last night. South Africa has a growing list of local and international multinationals with operations in Africa that face unique challenges in the attraction, retention and engagement of top talent to the continent. "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." Successful expansion is being seen by companies that prioritise the wellbeing of their staff and the retention of top talent. Among them, Old Mutual: "We are on a phenomenal journey," says HR director Anisha Archary.
"From a singular focus on South Africa in terms of our growth, our strategy now includes the emerging markets, a shift which will open up untold opportunities for both the people who work within the organisation and our customers as well."
One of the challenges of doing business in Africa is the shortage of skills. Elisee Okanda Loma, an HR consultant specialising in issues of African development, says: "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."
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 at Ernst & Young, which operates in 33 African countries. Externally, Samuel says, it positions Ernst & Young to attract the best talent.
"Overall it helps us strive for continuous improvement in order to grow our 'leading people culture' and gives us the opportunityto benchmark ourselves against other top employers," says Samuel.
One advantage of globalisation is that it has made talent much more accessible to companies wishing to expand (and vice versa), regardless of the geographical boundaries.
Announced at the country's premier HR event, the Annual Best Employers Certification Ceremony in Johannesburg last night, 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, Côte 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