The Top Employers Institute (TEI), a global organisation dedicated to enriching the world of work and certifying Top Employers globally, recently announced Africa’s Top Employers for 2020.
Top Employers are leading the way in all areas of HR such as talent acquisition, performance management, learning and development, career and succession management and cultural and organisational change. Top Employers Institute examined the people strategies and practices of 210 certified organisations in Africa and uncovered three trends that are reshaping and accelerating the world of HR.
Chief executive David Plink says: ”We are extremely proud of the 2020 Certified Top Employers in Africa! The dedication each and every organisation has shown towards overall HR excellence and the importance they place on their people practices have inspired Top Employers Institute to base our annual 2020 key trends outlook on the topic of enriching the world of work. To enrich is to improve, and we know that our recognised Top Employers in Africa are whole-heartedly dedicated to a better world of work.”
With the ever-changing business landscape, the employees’ family dynamics and responsibilities are also changing. Organisations need to adapt their family benefits and allow for better work-life balance. This has been evident with an increase in Top Employers offering flexi-time work schedules, telecommuting/working from home and compressed working hours.
Additionally, with the added strain of employees balancing their professional and personal lives, there has been a rise in mental health issues globally. To mitigate this, organisations are looking at ways to support their employees so they can have a better work-life balance and by implementing various mental wellness programmes such as vacation embargo (you are really “off” when you are on holiday) and meditation classes, with the support of dedicated wellbeing champions.
A stand-out trend is enriching careers, which involves many factors that need to be considered, such as employee ownership and career development, teamwork, development of soft skills and transparency.
Employee ownership and career development
There is quite a balancing act between giving autonomy to employees and providing enough guidance to ensure that the organisational objectives are achieved. Managers need to bridge the gap between company and employee expectations. This can be done with a structured performance management process. Eighty percent of Africa’s Top Employers are conducting ongoing (monthly or more) informal discussions about performance. There has however been a shift in responsibility and ownership of the process, away from manager to employee. Employers have a responsibility to ensure employees are equipped with the right tools so that they are empowered to drive their career development.
Another method to encourage autonomy, creativity and collaboration in your employees is by creating a culture where they rely on each other for support, and not solely on management. Ninety-three percent of Top Employers facilitate cross-functional or departmental networking. A good starting point is through the creation of a social learning culture such as peer support programmes, communities of practice, involving high performance employees and ensuring employees are supported and incentivised.
Development of soft skills
With the changing workplace, managers have had to acquire different skill sets in order to build relationships and evoke trust with employees. Management is an integral part of creating a safe space for employees to take ownership. Companies are required to equip their leaders with skills to provide enough guidance in this autonomous environment yet remain on track in reaching company objectives. This includes encouraging open and two-way communication. Seventy-three percent of Top Employers openly communicate their leadership development strategy to all employees, while 89% of Top Employers have 180/360-degree feedback in place. Managers are also encouraged to show courageous leadership and share their personal development objectives with their direct reports.
Research indicates that companies with highly effective internal communication practices produce superior financial results and enjoy greater organisational stability. Additional evidence shows that open and honest communication ensures employees are more responsive about taking ownership, and this increases engagement and productivity. Ninety-seven percent of Top Employers have a communication plan in place to educate their employees about their business strategy, priorities and results, while 91% provide opportunities for all employees to give feedback into the overall organisational strategy, mission and vision. Over the last five years we have seen a 14% increase in the communication of strategic HR initiatives such as talent strategy and workforce planning.
Current and potential employees look at whether an organisation’s values are aligned with their own. The values of a company can no longer remain stagnant but need to continuously be evaluated to ensure they truly represent the company and the people that work there. As the values of society change there is an expectation that corporates do the same to remain relevant. Ninety-seven precent of Africa’s Top Employers have defined and communicated their values programme, and 87% ensure that the impact and effectiveness of their programme is evaluated on a regular basis.
Another focus within this trend is the tangible contribution the organisation makes to society at large via a corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy. It is key to involve employees not only in the CSR initiatives provided, but also in the selection of programmes, as this leads to increased engagement and ownership by staff. Africa’s Top Employers are already doing this: 95% have defined an organisation-wide CSR programme, while 59% take their employees’ preferences into account when developing CSR programmes and initiatives.
The dynamics of the workplace are rapidly evolving, with more women in workplace, a multi-generational workforce and globalisation. Now more than ever, the conversations surrounding enriching employees’ lives are critical for all organisations. Companies that understand these global trends and take advantage of them are sure to stand out above the rest and have a possible impact on their bottom line.
Top Employers Institute. For a better world of work.