Integrated Annual Report 2021
Integrated Annual Report 2021

Our people

Stronger together

During a year in which we faced many challenges, we have proven that Massmart people are resilient people, able to navigate the worst of situations and come back stronger. We are sincerely appreciative of our leaders who have helped us manage our business under very trying circumstances, our associates who have showed up every day regardless of what they faced, and our suppliers who have ensured that they provide us with the goods and services we need to deliver to our customers. We have proven that we are indeed stronger together.

People vision and value proposition

Our vision is to enable Massmart to be a leading retailer in Africa and the best place to work for, through building a future-fit, engaged and diverse workforce. Our vision is supported by a value proposition, defined through five critical value drivers and enabled through our focus on six priorities.








Reorganising work structures

Following the establishment of our new operating model and the optimisation of our portfolio, our leadership teams focused on reorganising and entrenching our work structures to support our customer-centric efficient operating model, supported by Group-wide Centres of Excellence. This included the reorganisation of our head office functions, the outsourcing of non-core functions and our exit from non-performing stores.

Key highlights:

  • Outsourcing SAP applications support and development to Walmart India’s Development Centre
  • Outsourcing financial transaction processing activities to Walmart Enterprise Business Services and Genpact
  • Moving from a trading banner-based to a product-based Supply Chain structure
  • Further consolidating IT Architecture, Information Security, Corporate Services, Wholesale and Retail IT structures into the existing Group-wide e-commerce support structure
  • Concluding the sale of the Cambridge, Rhino and Massfresh businesses
  • Reorganising Makro and Cash & Carry’s head office merchandise, marketing, operations and e-commerce functions
  • Reorganising the head office merchandise, marketing and operations functions of Game and Builders.


During our reorganisation, 36 business areas were transformed which impacted 1,663 associates. We were successful in placing 90% of these associates at Massmart, Genpact and Steelhill Studios, with only a 2% retrenchment rate.

During this process, we were able to ensure that we retained core skills and expertise, preserved jobs, and also saved R85 million which we reinvested in our business.

This journey was characterised by high levels of anxiety as can be expected and the recurring theme from our management was that associates should be kept informed at all times and every individual was to be treated with respect. The Executive Committee would like to thank all our associates for their dedication and support during the process. Our business is undoubtedly now more focused and better positioned to implement our future strategy for growth.


Top Talent

During 2021 we continued to entrench the robust management of talent across the Group, ensuring a unified approach to talent management. Our strategic talent reviews focus on identifying and accelerating talent, in line with our diversity, equity and inclusion ambitions. This acceleration has also made it possible for us to improve our approach to managing emerging young talent and enable cross segment opportunities and talent mobility. Individuals, identified through talent reviews, will participate in a number of bespoke initiatives including leadership development programmes such as sponsorship, executive coaching, mentoring and secondments.

During the year we also showcased some of our talent internally as well as externally, through various social media platforms and our participation in the Annual Accenture Rising Star Awards. The purpose of this event is to recognise, celebrate and connect talented young people below the age of 40, who have the capacity to achieve and be successful. Five of our associates who participated in the awards were included in the semi-finals. One of our associates won our category. Participation in this prestigious event highlighted the ability of our young talent while also creating opportunities for our talented individuals to develop, grow and connect across the industry.

We recognise that obtaining work experience can be challenging for young people. During the year under review, we were able to assist 196 SETA interns with workplace readiness experience. Interest in our online Graduate Management Development Campaign attracted 18,000 views. This translated into 2,522 applications being received, of which 312 candidates successfully joined Massmart. This campaign has positioned us well to build our future pipeline and positively impact youth development.

While skills within Data and Analytics, Group Technology and Group e-commerce are scarce in our market, we were able to attract talent and fill vacancies through taking a unique approach to recruitment. In these three categories, we filled 70% of 233 vacancies available. Of these placements, 79% were equity placements and 44% were female.










People and Teams

We have standardised performance management practices across the Group. Our line managers and associates are empowered to own their performance, development and careers by engaging in integrated conversations. These conversations advocate real time management of performance delivery against objectives and give associates an opportunity to continually obtain feedback, plan their careers and improve their skill sets. We continue to enhance our performance management practices through the rollout of our performance management system, while embedding a simplified performance approach.

Massmart aspires to develop agile, digitally enabled associates with the knowledge and skills to support the achievement of our business strategy and our sustainability. We aim to deliver workplace learning that enables a culture of continual learning across the Group by being:

  • Coordinated: Efficiently building common knowledge, skill sets and behaviours through best practices in learning delivery
  • Proactive: Customer centric, aligned to business needs in an agile and swift manner
  • Sustainable: Maintained and scaled with accountability for transfer of learning to line managers
  • Future fit: building capabilities for current and future organisational needs.


To achieve this the Massmart Academy was established, and as such we consolidated existing training programmes across banners and designed new programmes, which will be offered at scale. In addition, the Massmart digital learning strategy was boosted through the implementation of ULearn, a content deployment platform with a range of new programmes designed and delivered as a blended learning solution.

Over 99,000 learning initiatives were delivered across the Group this year, despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the civil unrest. While the major focus of our training during the year under review was on Anti-Corruption, Compliance and Ethics, we also provided training in other areas:

In addition, all pipeline programmes such as Learnerships, Internships and Graduate Development continued, with a new structured Graduate Buildout Programme developed for the 160 new SETA-funded pipeline learners recruited.

Massmart offers a range of programmes aimed at building leadership capabilities across our business, from Foundational/New Leader through to Executive Development. These programmes are delivered through our internal faculty, partnerships with local providers, as well as through our Walmart partners.

Our newly introduced Leadership Expectations initiative is core to all leadership development, and forms the foundation of our programmes. Other key initiatives rolled out this year include Personal Mastery, New Leader Experience and the Advantage Leadership Programme.

A core focus of ours is on providing upskilling opportunities for all our associates. Our digital and e-learning strategy has made this possible. Our digital learning platforms, which were successfully launched in November 2020, include our internal ULearn platform as well as our external partners, being LinkedIn Learning and BookBoon. These platforms have allowed us to scale learning across the business, and provide a wider variety of just-in-time learning opportunities through blended content, which includes short courses in video, audio and e-book format, as well as interactive theory-based content that make it possible for associates to learn remotely and at their own pace. The content on these platforms covers an array of focus areas including technical, functional, behavioural, leadership and wellness development offerings.


Leadership and Culture

BUA Survey

We take pride in driving a culture that creates an environment where all our associates feel like they belong and appreciate the commitment that both our leaders and associates have shown to continually improve our culture. Associates provide feedback to us through our annual BUA survey. BUA is a South Sotho word that means speak freely. We encourage our associates to do just that through our annual BUA associate engagement survey.

Amidst the continuing global pandemic that has impacted our ways of working, we also underwent a series of business transformations and civil unrest, all in an already challenging economy. Despite this, our associates’ commitment to sharing their views persisted, with just a slight decrease in participation from 90% in 2020 to 88% in 2021. The overall associates’ engagement score slightly decreased from 71% in 2020 to 70% in 2021, in an environment where it would have been expected that engagement with our associates would show a greater decline. The decrease in participation and engagement has also been impacted by the exclusion of Cambridge, Rhino and Massfresh participation. Moreover, our overall eNPS has improved incrementally from -24% in 2020 to -20% in 2021, implying that our associates are more likely to recommend our Company to others as a place of work. We recognise that there is still room for improvement in this area, and we aim to improve on our 2021 results as the organisation settles into the new operating model.

The overall results of the BUA survey reflected the confidence associates have in our business and the strategy it is implementing. During the survey we have noted opportunities for us to improve on where responses were lowly rated. An example of this are the below statements from the survey:

  1. I have seen action take place as a result of the last BUA survey
  2. My Company responds to issues or concerns raised by associates
  3. Someone at work takes a supportive role in my growth and development.


We will continue to prioritise all feedback received by associates. To ensure improvement areas are targeted holistically across the Group, we have implemented action plans, driven by functional and team levels and championed by our Executive Committee. We are able to track the implementation of these action plans as well as the success of the improvement areas. We have also implemented a communication programme which encourages the culture of taking action for BUA results

The survey results regarding diversity and inclusion were pleasing overall, as we forge ahead on our diversity and inclusion journey.





Our Associate Value Proposition (AVP)

Following the business reorganisation, it was imperative that we start shaping a distinct and all-encompassing associate experience and culture across the Group. The AVP framework was subsequently developed and socialised with senior leadership across the Group. The overall feedback on the framework has been favourable and we are now engaging with the broader associate network across corporate and stores for further contribution to the AVP design.

It is essential, post the launch of the AVP, that there is alignment between associate and customer experience throughout the Group. We have therefore been working closely with key leadership to ensure alignment and the feedback to date has been encouraging. To further support this alignment, we have planned engagement sessions, namely, Smart Spaces with leadership and management to ensure integration and sponsorship.

We are currently finalising the branding and planning for the AVP launch in 2022. We have ensured that business function initiatives align to AVP drivers and that the content is relatable, which can be showcased both internally and externally with ease and simplicity. We plan to include our AVP philosophy on all key communication platforms and additionally, we are organising AVP campaigns across the Group, to ensure broader participation and inclusion in the journey.





Transformation continues to be a key priority for our business. Our business is built on the essence of diversity as we operate in diverse geographical locations within Africa, with a diverse spread of customers and associates.

Our efforts towards achieving visible diversity in our business can be seen through our diverse Executive leadership team, which includes 25% female representation and 58% who are African, Coloured and Indian. The rigour of ensuring our business is well-balanced and diverse is also supported by the diversity targets we have put in place in all of our leaders’ scorecards, which include a requirement to ensure equitable representation across all population groups and that appointments made support our efforts towards a representative workforce.

Our Massmart Transformation Committee, which includes our Executive Committee members and representatives from different areas of the business, continues to ensure that there are effective strategies to address transformation and reports progress on key transformation drivers to our Board on a quarterly basis.

Being a leader at Massmart comes with many responsibilities, which also includes embracing and supporting all diversity, equity and inclusion strategies and initiatives. This year we began by strengthening the capability of our leaders by launching diversity, equity and inclusion conversations which were geared towards empowering leaders in leading inclusively. Our aim was to ensure that this training was deployed to 80% of our senior leaders across the Massmart Group. We achieved a 97% participation rate and positive feedback from participants..

We are firmly committed to gender equality. This year we have seen the number of female appointments increasing due to our deliberate strategies and efforts put in place towards achieving gender equity. We have a 38.4% permanent associate female representation across the business and our ambition is to achieve 50% representation of females across all occupational levels by 2023.

This year we launched our disability strategy, which forms an integral part of our transformation journey to ensure the inclusion of people from underrepresented groups across our business. Through this strategy we implemented our Disability Internship Programme, which is geared at building a Talent Pipeline of People living with disabilities within the Group. We also deployed several disability education and awareness campaigns to encourage our associates to declare their disability status so they can be reasonably accommodated. Through these various campaigns, our representation of people living with disabilities increased to 1.4% with our target being 1.5% by 2022.

We will continue to focus on gender representation, disability inclusion, delivering diversity, equity and inclusion learning interventions and building an inclusive workforce where everyone feels like they truly belong in our business.




Core to our People vision is to build a future-fit, engaged and diverse workforce by attracting and retaining talent through our leading Associate Value Proposition and Associate Experience. Part of this journey includes strengthening and being intentional with our employer brand strategy in relation to the market. One of the ways we have chosen to do this was to undergo the rigorous certification process of the Top Employer Institute, for the first time in the history of Massmart. This in essence allowed us to subject our people practices to public scrutiny. We were awarded this accreditation as a Top Employer in South Africa for 2022, based on our dedication to creating a better world of work for our associates through our policies and people practices. We are also very proud of having been placed in the top 25% of the 1,800 employers who participated in this rigorous accreditation process. Massmart performed particularly well in the pillars covering our values and ethics, our efforts in terms of sustainability and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. We aim to improve our ranking in the years to come.