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Our people

Case study:
Building a
long-term career
in retail
At Massmart we want to develop keen students into competent retailers. To do this, graduates need the right foundational knowledge as well as practical experience, made possible through our Massmart Graduate Development Programme (part of the Massmart Corporate University).

Honours students and students in their final year of their undergraduate degrees in information technology, business science, finance, marketing, logistics/supply chain, industrial engineering, business management, retail management and business administration are invited to apply.

Students are required to complete an assessment to identify the Massmart business area best suited to their interests and talents. Once selected they complete a year-long programme that consists of retail theory as well as work experience in specific areas of the business, from merchandise buying and planning to business systems and process.
Masego Jautse, who has a BA Honours in Business Studies, joined the Graduate Placement Programme in 2013. Today she is responsible for regional buying for Massmart’s Africa stores. In 2017, Masego received a Performance Excellence Citiation (awarded to top performing employees across the Group) for the invaluable role she plays in managing and driving exceptional value from Jumbo Zambia’s regional suppliers.

She believes that the programme equipped her for her current role because it broadened her retail knowledge and exposed her to different roles, both at store and head office level.

‘The programme gives you the opportunity to explore various areas of the retail business and is definitely the best direction to head in if you’re looking to build a career within retail. There are many opportunities and the growth prospects are brilliant,’ says Masego.
Attracting, growing and retaining world-class talent
As a forward-looking organisation, talent management is integral to Massmart’s success. We believe that effective and strategic talent management contributes to the overall wellbeing of everyone who interacts with Massmart – from our employees to our customers.

Our access to world-class talent is a key enabler of Massmart’s strategy. By ensuring that we have the best people, in the right roles and a healthy environment, we empower our people to create better futures for themselves and the business. To this end, we value individual and collective performance. Collaboration across the Group is also appropriately recognised, valued and rewarded.

At Massmart, we believe everyone in our organisation has talents that can be strategically and proactively managed. Our talent strategic levers define our journey in multiplying talent, growing capabilities, leading our culture and re-inventing/simplifying all our efforts.
Our approach is based on four key strategic pillars:
Multiplying talent
Create a talent strategy where all our people prosper
Develop and retain people who grow our business
Promote an active, leading and learning culture that attracts talented people
Build more intuitive, more responsive systems to maximise operational efficiencies
Multiplying talent
Our relentless focus on talent management
In 2016 we embarked on a journey to redesign Massmart’s talent management approach. We focused on creating a customised, integrated talent management solution in order to enable the Group to better plan for, identify, assess, manage, develop and retain high value talent in all our identified talent segments.
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We believe this will have multiple benefits including enabling our people to create a better future for themselves and the business, whilst addressing critical skills shortages and our transformation imperatives. In the year under review, we completed the first phase of this project with pleasing results.

The data that has resulted from this phase has enabled more robust succession and development decisions. Outputs from this phase included:

  • Launching a new career and development platform, TalentPrint, with 428 managers trained on this system
  • The implementation of strategic talent reviews with 418 one-on-one talent review conversations from 17 talent workshops
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Grow capabilities
Developing exceptional leaders
The Massmart Corporate University is now entering its seventh year. Each year we continue to review and refine the offering of master classes, courses, programmes and events that combine to provide Massmart’s people with a unique and comprehensive approach to their ongoing development.
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By customising the course content and approach, we are able to focus on the development of a distinctive brand of Massmart leadership and culture and build strategic capabilities that will set us apart from our competitors. The Massmart Corporate University consists of four schools, each one closely aligned to the capacity building needs of our business.

The School of Leadership Development offers advanced development for our next generation of leaders. It ensures the ongoing growth and development of senior Executives through a variety of master classes and formal programmes. Our Executive Development Programme focuses on ensuring key position excellence by developing exceptional Executives. To this end, we have collaborated with a variety of executive education specialists, including GIBS, to provide career development training courses. Currently 17 Executives continue their development journey within this key programme. Further, we are focused on reviewing the content and delivery mechanisms in our management and leadership schools, in order to ensure their relevance to our demanding work environment, our growth strategy and our digital context. We spent over R2 million on our leadership development programmes in 2017.

The School of Management Development provides emerging leaders with the opportunity to attend accredited and non-accredited courses that equip them with the tools to optimise their own and their teams’ performance. It aims to prepare current and future leaders to thrive in a rapidly changing and increasingly complex business environment.

As the foundation of the Massmart Corporate University, the School of Retail Excellence addresses the shortage of core skills in our sector. This school provides talented young people with the opportunity to gain foundational experience in retail, while continuing their studies. Career streams include merchandise (buying and planning) supply chain, marketing, business analysis and information systems, finance and industrial engineering. The programmes in this school are largely aimed at the buying and planning community, and are focused on developing skills in both the art and science of retailing.

The School of Career Development is positioned to develop diverse emerging talent candidates and support Massmart in its drive to counter South Africa’s history of systemic discrimination. The Graduate Development, Store Manager Development and Graduate Alumni Programmes are housed within its framework. Our goal is to ensure that our talent pool is constantly developed and kept abreast of latest trends in retail, thereby ensuring their progress within the organisation.

Year-on-year we developed our employees through the following initiatives:

  • Placing 64% of our 2017 graduates and 71% of our operations development graduates in permanent positions
  • Providing 337 learnerships
  • Enabling five executive assistants to shadow Executive Committee members
  • Investing R112.1 million in the development of our people


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Developing a lead culture
Transforming our workforce
As a leading South African retailer, we understand the importance of transformation in our business. Transformation, particularly at senior management level, remains a key focus area.
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Our vision is to become a truly diverse company that mirrors our customers and the communities we serve; a company that provides an environment that allows all team members to feel valued so that they contribute wholeheartedly to Massmart’s success. We continue to drive diversity through our many development programmes and by closely monitoring recruitment, selection and promotions.

In support of the growth and development of our people, we launched a structured mentoring programme in 2016 with a select group of people participating. The primary purpose of this initiative is to create and entrench a mentoring culture at Massmart. We believe that all Massmart people should be given the opportunity to be mentored and to be mentors, if they so choose. The mentoring pilot programme has proven to be a valuable intervention and will be extended to a further 41 mentees and 16 mentors.

As inclusive leadership is a critical element in driving diversity, we have introduced a programme designed to measure and address key areas of opportunity within our workforce, as well as acknowledge and recognise managerial behaviours that support an inclusive culture.

Our employee engagement survey is a critical part of understanding our employees’ levels of engagement. During 2017, our employees were again provided with the opportunity to share their views. Employee engagement showed a positive upward trend year-on-year.

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Optimise HR systems
Ensuring our HR process runs optimally
In 2015, the HR community embarked on a project to implement the HR IT Roadmap, an integrated approach to a comprehensive HR systems upgrade.
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The project was initially focused on the implementation of a new Group-wide HR/payroll system which will replace existing legacy payroll systems, while optimising HR processes and thus facilitating cleaner data and richer reporting.

Having successfully moved the Group onto a single instance payroll, we are progressing to the implementation of our integrated Group talent strategy. This has provided rich data for succession planning and decision-making. Further, we have extended the reach of the employee self-service portal into most of our Divisions, with the remainder to follow in 2018.

We are also exploring digital learning tools, which will allow us offer a more cost effective and personalised learning experience for all our employees.

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Our people performance indicators