While many global companies are expanding, or seeking to expand in Africa, the availability and retention of talent is proving to be one of the main challenges facing growth and expansion on the continent. According to Lebo Tseladimitlwa, VP of Human Resources at DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa, talent is perceived to be one of the major challenges facing business leaders in the region, with 83% of African CEOs admitting that they are especially worried about availability of key skills on the continent.
Tseladimitlwa says that in addition to this statistic, the PWC Africa Business Agenda report also reveals that most CEOs expect to increase and maintain staff headcount in the next year. She adds that it is therefore important to adopt leadership styles which will support and nurture the skills and talent needed for growth. She explains:
“Essentially, talent will no longer be the main concern when it comes to employees’ skill-sets, but rather the leader’s ability and responsibility to teach and develop these skills.”
Tseladimitlwa says that ‘Motivated People’ forms part of DHL’s global FOCUS strategy pillars, to ensure that they provide great service quality which results in loyal customers and ultimately a profitable network. They consider their Employee Engagement programs to be critical to their business success and understand the need to drive a common culture across 220 countries and territories.
DHL has launched a Certified International Specialists (CIS) learning and development program for all 3,500 staff in DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa. Everyone from the Global CEO to a Courier in any country has gone through this training program reinforcing their core competencies as an organization. CIS training has been central to their staff retention and development globally. She adds:
“In addition to our employee recognition programs, we also have an internal development program called Made In Africa, that produces a sustainable and dynamic list of future leaders that can succeed Africa Management Board positions, Country management positions and senior functional roles. The program reduces the historical dependency on expatriate imports, and improves skills of the talent pool.”
“We are fortunate to be the most international company in the world, which enables us to give our employees the very best learning and development opportunities. Our diverse network, which spans across 220 countries and territories, provides the perfect platform for employees to learn and share experiences in different markets. The value of cross-country, on-the-job learning is immense.”
Tseladimitlwa says that employers in Africa need to foster a continuous learning and development culture and encourage employees to be masters of their own destiny.