FMCG company Unilever South Africa has been chosen as one of the seven best employers in Africa.
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 this week.
Unilever was chosen as best employer in the following African countries: South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria.
Other companies chosen as leading employers in Africa are British American Tobacco, Ernst & Young, G4S, Microsoft, Old Mutual and Siemens.
Antoinette Irvine, Human Resources Vice President, Africa for Unilever said: “The Global Unilever strategy is to double our business while reducing our environmental impact, which calls for a talent strategy that supports this growth ambition.
“We are extremely proud to be considered a forerunner in this arena, and we are thrilled that our African operations are currently delivering the global standard of best-in-class HR practices and policies.
“We look forward to using, not only the certification, but also the feedback and stringent benchmark information to continuously improve our people management practices across the continent.”
CRF Institute’s Country Manager, Samantha Crous said: “As businesses grow their footprints on the continent, it becomes more and more important to develop applicable, relevant HR policies and practices alongside.
“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.
“And it’s for this reason that we have created the Top Employers in Africa audit.”
The CRF Institute’s certification standards are rigorous and not all companies who apply are successful. Specifically, employers were scored in the following areas: organisation strategy; the HR function; communication; diversity management; corporate social responsibility; knowledge management; talent management and engagement; performance management; and rewards and recognition.
About 12 percent of participants this year did not meet the criteria after a thorough, objective assessment of key drivers, practices and policies.
“The review considers general criteria such as financial and non-monetary benefits, working conditions, training and career development, and company culture,” said Crous.
A subsidiary of global FMCG giant Unilever plc, Unilever SA is the local market leader in 12 of the 17 categories in which it operates. Its market leadership is backed by a wide range of successful brands, dedicated and talented employees and a tight operational framework. The company’s global best practice provides the local business with access to some of the best international thinking and expertise.
Among the criteria that contributed to Unilever SA being adjudged a leading employer were that:
Employees can achieve successful work-life balance due to a flexible working environment;
Employees can enjoy international careers;
Unilever SA is a market leader with a number of successful brands;
The company is a leader in research and development; and
Unilever SA has highly regarded graduate recruitment programme.
Irvine added: “We are extremely proud to be recognised amongst the top employers not only in South Africa but also across the African continent.
“People are at the heart of our business; we believe they are the reason for our success. We are very proud to see that this is now being acknowledged externally as well. We have worked very hard to get here, and we will continue to do our best to improve our scores.
“We pride ourselves on an ambitious growth strategy underpinned by sustainability, being a market leader with a number of successful brands, being a leader in research and development, having a highly regarded graduate recruitment programme, international career opportunities and our employees being able to achieve a successful work/life balance due to a flexible working environment.”
Commenting on the challenges to retaining top talent in such a competitive talent market, particularly as a large size employer, Irvine said in order to retain its employees, Unilever SA focused on talent and leadership development, employee engagement and driving international opportunities.