Our world is being transformed by a digital revolution that will require us to undergo radical change in order to ensure that our customers remain at the centre of everything we do. Our associates need to be optimally empowered not only to respond to this change but also to drive it. Our focus remains on ensuring that our associates are change ready and digitally empowered.
We aim to become the strongest, healthiest retail group with the best long-term prospects on the continent. Strong teams and empowered leaders are core to this aim. Talent management is viewed as a strategic pillar, critical to our ability to execute our turnaround plan, which requires highly engaged people empowered to meet the demands of omnichannel retail, fill our key roles. These leaders strive to create a culture where all associates feel valued and respected not only for the work they do, but also for their diversity of thinking and culture they bring to the Group.
During the difficult trading year, we have continued to rigorously drive Massmart’s people agenda to heighten engagement and retention while presenting a compelling proposition for new entrants to the Group.
Building on the successful foundation laid in 2018; we continue to drive this critical dimension of our strategy and are making good progress.
A multidisciplinary Digital Steering Committee was established to drive an integrated approach in our digital journey towards making every day easier for busy families and transforming the associate experience.
In 2018, we reviewed the content and delivery methods within our School of Leadership to ensure its relevance and support for digital first ways of thinking and working. We concluded this project in 2019 with the launch of the Massmart Talent Development Zone, offering a range of journeys using blended learning methods. This supports customised learning journeys for 4,600 associates managing their careers through our online talent portal, TalentPrint.
A key milestone in driving digital awareness was the Massmart Digital Boot camp; which was attended by 160 key influencers from across the Group in 2019. Held over two days, the agenda included topics such as agile ways of working, design thinking, hackathon simulations and lectures from renowned retail digital specialists. This culminated in the launch of a Digital School within the Massmart Talent Development Zone to ensure digital awareness and capacity is disseminated throughout the Group.
Our Human Resources (HR) Analytics team continues to provide supportive and predictive stories to leadership, while ensuring data integrity and providing support in measuring and evaluating the effectiveness of many of our initiatives.
We concluded the preparatory phase for the implementation of a HR Information System with the go-live scheduled for the first quarter of 2020.
The Group prides itself on its investment in learning in all functional areas. Learnerships and skills based programmes, focusing on our customers, continue to be the backbone of store based learning. In building the core competencies, which will deliver on our turnaround plan, we rely on all elements of our integrated talent management system. Each element is designed to enhance the capabilities of associates in critical roles, both now and for the future. The insights that we continue to obtain from the TalentPrint system enable decision-making around succession, development, engagement and aspirations of key talent.
As we understand the potential of our associates, we are better placed to empower them to achieve their aspirations with relevant exposure and personalised learning interventions, including mentoring.
Our Learning and Development operating model accelerates learning and future readiness for associates through customised, integrated, agile, digitally enabled learning options and journeys thus growing our people balance sheet, improving bench-strength for succession and improving retention.
Our Strategic Talent Reviews have evidenced the impact of this and highlighted critical gaps. Revised assessments have been introduced for recruitment, selection, promotion and development purposes reducing subjectivity in appointments and enabling people to constructively address development gaps.
Our graduate programme is foundational to our talent pipeline and has evolved to include digital and finance specialists, while still focusing on our Retail operations and supply chain learners. Now in its twelfth year, it is exciting to observe the number of senior managers who are alumni of this NQF level six programme, proving the wisdom of this key investment. We look forward to the continued growth of our graduates.
We are excited to have senior women participate in Walmart’s International Women in Leadership and Real Estate development programmes with other senior associates nominated for Walmart International Development programmes.
Through the Massmart Talent Development Zone, we have successfully launched unique learning opportunities in response to our goals. Our blended approach involves digital, face-to-face, virtual classrooms and networking sessions allowing associates and their leaders to tailor learning in response to their needs and aspirations. Through platforms such as Udemy and Bookboon, we have curated learning offerings in support of our drive to improving digital awareness throughout the organisation.
This approach, together with relevant content, has been positively received by participants and managers. We are working to encourage and scale usage to ensure that more associates benefit from the experiences. We will also digitise the merchant development programmes.
Creating a high performance culture is dependent on leadership leveraging all elements of the associate experience. Associates with career path clarity and an understanding of their development needs are highly engaged. With each iteration of our talent process, we are building trust in the system thus heightening engagement. Our ‘Learning to Lead’ sprint, a short digital intervention for managers equips them to support associates on their development paths.
Sharpening our selection process, enhancing our on-boarding programme and a renewed performance management system supports the drive to build a culture of excellence and mutual respect.
Both internal and external appointments to the Executive Committee have driven shifts in culture resulting in new ways of working and ensuring cultural and thought diversity.
To ensure that leadership communicates a clear direction and vision for the Group a variety of communication forums and tools have been introduced. These include town hall meetings, Officer feedback sessions and regular digital communication from the CEO.
While our active Employment Equity Committees have ensured the achievement of employment equity targets, we have also focused on establishing a diverse and inclusive workplace and company culture. Our need to retain and attract talented people has also led to the formation of our Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
Our commitment to the principle of diversity and inclusion does not aim to elevate or exclusively applaud specific groups of people, but rather seeks to remove biases and preconceptions, which inhibit constructive conversations. We aim to recognise the skills and ideas that every person has the potential to contribute. The principle of diversity and inclusion is also not exclusively an HR imperative but forms part of our overall Group strategy.
The Committee has driven and supported the following initiatives:
Initiatives to ensure fair and responsible compensation are covered in the Remuneration report on pages 103 to 127. Embedding the practice of performance reviews is critical to underpin reward based pay. This is implemented through our performance feedback system. Ongoing remuneration reviews are regularly conducted in the markets in which we trade to ensure market related pay and equal pay for work of equal value.
Associate engagement is monitored through BUA, our annual associate engagement survey. This survey comprises four engagement drivers: My work, My Company, My Team and My Manager. Sub drivers give us insight into the associate’s views on their impact, inclusion, voice, performance feedback, organisational values, authenticity and general work environment. This in turn provides us with data to determine how we are tracking against our Associate Value Proposition pillars of Purpose, Inclusivity, Opportunity and Wellbeing.