Unilever rules the continent

See the Top Employers South Africa 2015 results here

The Top Employers Institute has announced Unilever as the Top Employer South Africa 2015, with Accenture and EY making up the top three.

Fast moving consumer goods multinational Unilever has been named the number one Top Employer South Africa 2015 by global HR certifier the Top Employers Institute for the second year in a row, having taken top honours in the prestigious Certification programme last year. Professional services firms Accenture and EY featured in the number two and three positions respectively, with a consistently strong performance yet again by EY.

The Top Employers South Africa 2015 were announced last night, at a glittering event held at Gallagher Estate.  The event brought together 700 business executives and leaders of top local and global organisations from over 25 countries in Africa in recognition of the world-class conditions they create for their employees. 

The Top Employers Institute (TEI) is headquartered in the Netherlands and globally certifies excellence in the conditions organisations provide for the development of their employees. It conducts months of rigorous research into an organisation’s HR environment, covering HR and talent strategy, policy implementation, monitoring and reporting, leadership development, career planning and succession management. This year’s research also probes the extent to which HR is enabled by smart technology. The Certification programme is independently audited by Grant Thornton.

Says TEI chief executive David Plink: “We are proud, for the 16th consecutive year, to present the 77 certified Top Employers South Africa 2015. Our extensive research concluded that the certified employers provide their people with excellent employee conditions, nurture and develop talent throughout all levels of the organisation and strive to continuously optimise employment practices. They can truly call themselves Top Employers, an accomplishment worthy of great pride, trust and celebration.”

“Being named the number one Top Employer cements Unilever’s position as the employer of choice in South Africa and we are really excited about achieving this fantastic recognition,” comments Unilever’s vice president of human resources for South and Southern Africa, Antoinette Irvine. She adds that the company values being part of the Top Employers Certification programme as it allows Unilever to benchmark its HR policies against global best practice to continue to push the boundaries of excellence.Unilever has also been named the number one Top Employer Africa 2015.

“We have invested significantly in the right HR operating framework, technology and optimal HR practices to deliver value to the business,” says Irvine. The company strives to create the very best working conditions for employees, with on-site facilities such as a gym, beauty salon and ice-cream parlour, as well as flexible and agile work practices to help employees achieve better work-life balance.

Each participating organisation was asked to complete an online HR Best Practices Survey comprising 98 questions, incorporating 585 practices across nine topics: talent strategy, workforce planning, onboarding, learning and development, performance management, leadership development, career and succession management, compensation and benefits, and culture. 

Samantha Crous, regional director, TEI Africa and Benelux, says the Top Employers Certification programme has multiple benefits – not only for employers but for employees as well. “The HR environment is changing rapidly around the globe. Top Employers develop their people to ensure their organisations continue to grow successfully. The Top Employers certification sets the standard internationally.”


Brent Cairns, talent strategist manager for Accenture, says that to be recognised as a Top Employer has been humbling. “Accenture’s human resource philosophy is embedded around putting our people first. We attract the best in the industry and once they become part of the Accenture family we ensure that our employees remain empowered and engaged.”

Cairns says the company believes in making a significant impact on the growth and sustainability of the country through corporate citizen programmes. It also helps train previously disadvantaged SA youth in market-relevant ICT skills. “While the company recognises that no one company can address issues of unemployment by itself, Accenture aims to collaborate with other clients, employees and NGOs to expand the company’s impact in innovative ways,” says Cairns.

“There is a true partnership between the business and HR, allowing us to align HR strategy with business strategy. We collaborate with our global network to ensure that we remain one step ahead of our competitors.”

This article is part of a larger supplement which can be found here

The supplement has been made possible by the Mail & Guardian’s advertisers and the content has been vetted by the Top Employers Institute.

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