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Empowerment key as 20 years of Top Employers celebrated in Africa

The results of the 20th African Top Employers Certification Programme were announced at an annual Certification Dinner on 12 October 2017, recognising African organisations that have been able to demonstrate the highest standards in HR practices in the past 12 months.
This year, a record 200 organisations from 33 countries and 24 industry sectors achieved Certification status signalling that African employers are increasingly committed to building optimal conditions for the people who work for them. Collectively these organisations positively impact the lives of approximately 541,000 employees on the continent.

The Certification Programme conducted by the Top Employers Institute, a global HR certification company, remains the leading barometer of HR excellence in employee conditions around the world Certification is awarded based on a rigorous set of criteria. International research undertaken by the Top Employers Institute annually determines whether an organisation meets the required standard of excellence for Certification as a Top Employer.

Billy Elliott, Top Employers Institute Country Manager: Africa, says that the Certification provides employers with an important quality metric that enables them to position their brands more effectively in the attraction, retention and engagement of top talent.

“The Top Employers Institute is not just certifying Africa’s Top Employers. We are making visible those who, through continuous employee development, are helping to bring Africa in the mainstream of modern business practice,” he said.

David Plink, CEO of the Top Employers Institute, added: “We have been recognising outstanding employers globally for over 25 years and in Africa for 20 years. Since 1997, hundreds of employers on the continent have opened their doors and allowed us to assess their HR and people development practices.

Plink says that recently, the organisation has seen tremendous growth in the maturity of HR policies and practices on the continent. “We have seen African employers continuously working to optimise their employee conditions and put the development of their people first. The organisations certified as Top Employers lead the way in the development of their people and set an example on the continent and beyond. An achievement they can be truly proud of.”

Top Employers across Africa consistently subscribe to a set of HR best practices in the areas of: talent strategy, workforce planning, on-boarding, learning and development, performance management, leadership development, career and succession management, compensation and benefits as well as culture.

A key trend that emerged in the recent research was that Top Employers empower employees to take ownership of their development. “Organisations are shifting from manager-driven development plans towards empowering employees to take direct ownership of their careers and development,” said Elliott. “What sets Africa’s Top Employers apart is a growing recognition that people development is not a top down strategy, but a partnership between the employer and the employee.

“To empower their people, the organisation must provide the right processes and structures. Line managers are expected to lead by example and be responsible for providing their employees with the right guidance and support.”

This symbiotic relationship leads to better employee engagement and improved business performance, adds Elliott.

Top Employers say the Certification adds structure to their employee development processes, and is a valuable stamp of credibility in the very competitive market for top talent.

EY has been a Top Employer for 11 years. “It underpins our high performing culture,” says Africa Talent Leader Johanna Mapharisa. “This has led to an enhanced recruitment strategy at EY, which has afforded the firm the opportunity to attract the best and highest performing talent, setting us apart from our competitors [and] adding validity to our values of integrity, respect and teaming.”

Orange is one of ten companies and the only telco, to be certified globally. The company believes the competitive value of being an employer of choice extends beyond employee retention into creating a stronger brand. “We operate in a fiercely competitive market for talent,” the company said. “Our ambition is to be an employer of choice, so we can recruit and retain the right skills for tomorrow. Our Top Employer Global Certification is highly visible to our customers, giving them reassurance that they are doing business with a socially responsible and ethical employer.”

Old Mutual says it constantly reinforces its reputation as a great company to work for, for the benefit of clients and customers. “We ensure that we publish the seals we receive every year on as much of our internal and external material as possible. Examples include our internal Groupnet portal, employee engagement campaigns, Total Reward statements, job adverts on LinkedIn and on our website careers page,” the company said.

Elliott agrees HR best practice is a valuable branding and business tool for African organisations. “A key pillar of economic growth across the continent rests on the growth of our people, and these companies are doing that right,” he said. “For this they deserve to be recognised and celebrated.”

The Top Employers Institute helps leading employers around the world adapt to the rapidly changing HR environment. The full list of Top Employers for 2018 is available. To gain more insights, visit

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Top Employers InstituteThe Top Employers Institute globally certifies excellence in the conditions that employers create for their people. Optimal employee conditions ensure that people develop themselves personally and professionally. This in turn enables companies to grow and to develop, always.

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