As an international organisation, AECI actively seeks to attract and retain talent at all levels in all its countries of operation. The Group’s key policies, programmes and initiatives in support of its Employer Value Proposition are presented here.
To safeguard its future growth, the Group continues to foster a pipeline of talent via its internal Learning and Development programmes and through its partnerships with secondary and tertiary educational institutions. In South Africa, the emphasis is on designated candidates and women.
Recruitment campaigns have been held in outlying regions to build strong local talent pipelines. Wherever possible, preference in employment is given to people from communities which are close to Group operations.
Further enhancements were made to processes that enable and facilitate the development and growth of AECI's employees. Several additional projects and programmes were initiated to reinforce their workplace engagement and experience.
Executive coaching has been made available at senior levels, with the specific emphasis placed on meeting the aspirations of a changing workforce, such as the growing representation of Millennials for example. Also recognised was the need to highlight fourth industrial revolution competencies in leadership programmes.
The development of leadership capability for a pipeline of future leaders is achieved, inter alia, through the Group's partnership with the Gordon Institute of Business Science ("GIBS"). GIBS provides customised and accredited management interventions in the context of the AECI Leadership and Management Development Programmes. The Programmes are designed for leaders from Junior to Senior management levels, offering participants the most up-to-date knowledge.
The sixth intake of 129 participants enrolled in 2018. The success of the initiative was illustrated by the need to present the Foundation Management Programme for the second time to two groups of employees. Over five years, more than 660 employees have benefited, with 80% of them from designated groups.
At Senior and Middle management level, especially, participants are exposed to stretch assignments from individual and syndicate perspectives. Action Learning and Business Improvement Projects continued as part of the Programmes, with the results and outcomes of the assignments being the identification of growth or improvement opportunities, and the development of these. Efforts in the areas of Group-wide collaboration and innovation initiatives have yielded good results.
For the Middle Management Development Programme, subject matter experts from across the Group were invited to share their experience and expertise with the class. The delegates found this valuable and similar engagements will be extended to the Senior programme going forward.
Two Senior Managers completed the GIBS Global Executive Development Programme. This Programme will continue to be offered until all Senior Managers have had an opportunity to attend.
In 2018, significant effort was invested in workforce planning. Group businesses assessed their existing plans and amended them, where necessary, to address the most up-to-date information on short- and long-term employment needs.
To enable improvements in engagements between managers and employees, as many people management processes as possible have been standardised and their automation is being rolled out in South Africa and internationally. Payroll and Human Capital administrative tasks have been the first items addressed.
Good progress has been made in the programme as a whole. It went live in South Africa on 1 March of 2019 and international deployment has commenced.
The HCMS is a collaborative effort between the Group's businesses and the IT, Finance and Human Capital functions, with all parties having been involved in determining business requirements, process design and technical functionality.
The programme is underpinned by an integrated technology platform, branded AECI-connect, which provides the control required to streamline and govern processes, create a single set of employee master data, create a people analytics platform and enable the design and implementation of an optimal Human Capital operating model. The platform accommodates the use of mobile devices, hence allowing valuable on-the-go transacting for the business and its more than 8 000 employees.
The AECI-connect analytics platform will provide visibility of the employee life-cycle and enable actionable insight into employee-related matters. It will also enable an integrated decision-making ability, linking financial data, production data, employee data and various other data sources required to generate predictions and apply metrics.
A Human Capital Shared Services Centre has been established at the same time. It provides administrative, reporting and payroll services globally.
The new operating model empowers Human Capital professionals to focus on strategic partnering with business, Line Managers to engage with their employees more effectively and employees to access their data and manage their transactions effortlessly.
Common access points are being made available for non-computer users, thereby ensuring that they, too, transition to more efficient and paperless transactions. Basic computer literacy training will be provided to them, as required.
To cater for the need of employees across AECI's extensive geographic footprint, AECI-connect is also being configured in Spanish, Indonesian Bahasa, French and Portuguese. Employee training material will be translated into these same languages to facilitate comprehensive understanding of the processes and functionality.
By year-end, the AECI Group had almost completed its second performance management cycle since automating and launching the system, branded Khula Nathi (translated from Zulu as "Grow With Us"), in 2017. The focus shifted from enabling employees to use the online system and following a standardised process, to improving the quality of KPIs and conversations between Managers and employees.
Crucial Accountability training for Managers was introduced in 2018, to enhance their skills in conducting effective performance conversations, and will continue in the coming year. A further focus in 2019 will be completing individual development plans as part of the Performance Management process.
A Culture Survey was conducted across the Group to gain insight into employees' perceptions and aspirations in terms of AECI being the company they choose to work for. The project was overseen by Deloitte so as to guarantee the anonymity of respondents. The overall response rate was 64%.
The Group achieved 58,8% for the Attraction Index, which measured employees' overall attraction to AECI and its businesses. This equates to a Bronze award in Deloitte's scoring hierarchy. For the Engagement Index measure, the Group achieved 65,5%. This measure reflects employees' state of mind relating to behaviours and discretionary work effort.
The overall results as well as business-specific scores were communicated, key change initiatives have been identified and they will be actioned in the coming year. Each Group business is establishing task teams to facilitate the culture change process. Regular feedback and progress reports will be communicated to AECI's Executive Committee and, via this Committee, to the Board.
Learning and training are key components of AECI’s Employee Value Proposition. Skills and behaviours that promote a culture of continuous learning, leadership and diversity are fundamental to the achievement of the Group’s strategic goals and objectives, including its EE targets.
Training programmes ensure the timely availability of the Group’s human capital requirements and learning interventions aim to deliver well-rounded, competent employees who make contributions that provide them with personal growth and facilitate increased productivity and hence improved shareholder value.
The Learning and Development function remains committed to allowing employees to grow and advance their careers in the Group. The employment level “banded” approach in place gives employees opportunities to participate in programmes appropriate to their levels of work, but also to attend interventions at more advanced levels.
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