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Enriching the employee's life through work

Top Employers Institute on the top three trends shaping HR in Africa for 2020 - what organisations can learn.

Top Employers Institute, 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 & Development, Career & Succession Management and Cultural & Organisational Change. Top Employers institute examined the people strategies and practices from 210 certified organisations in Africa and uncovered three trends that are reshaping and accelerating the world of HR.

CEO 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.”
1. Enriching employees

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 both 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 to have a better work-life balance and by implementing various mental wellness programmes such as vacation embargo and meditation classes, with the support of dedicated well-being champions.

2. Enriching careers

A stand-out trend is enriching careers which comes with 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. 80% 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 they are empowered to drive their career development.


Another method to encourage autonomy, creativity and collaboration within your employees is by creating a culture where they rely on each other for support and not solely management. 93% 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 or 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. 73% 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 to taking ownership and this increases engagement and productivity. 97% of Top Employers have a communication plan in place to educate their employees about the business strategy, priorities and results while 91% provide opportunities for all employees to provide 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.

3. Enriching society

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 it truly represents the company and the people that work there. As values of society change there is an expectation that corporates do the same to remain relevant. 97% 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 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-generation workforce and globalisation. Now more than ever, the conversation 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's press office

Top Employers Institute The 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.