African Talent Rewarded with Expanded Benefits

New study shows that employees in Africa are increasingly being rewarded with nonmonetary benefits in addition to traditional salary packages

Apr 7, 2016
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The Netherlands-based Top Employers Institute, which ranks and certifies top companies on their employment practices, has released a new report on employee compensation and benefits at top organizations in Africa and around the world. It shows that employees are becoming more mobile and that job stability is no longer as important as it was during the years following the 2008 economic downturn.

The institute’s 2015 Compensation and Benefits Report, published in October, shows that the best employers are actively trying to make the working experience more pleasant for employees in an attempt to retain staff and attract top talent. The report is based on the larger findings of the institute’s global HR Best Practices Survey, which recorded the responses of 600 certified Top Employers in 96 countries across the globe, including Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia.

“While salary is still hugely important, nonmonetary elements like flexible hours, catering to changing life-stage needs, learning and development, and recognition have become decisive factors in job offers and employee retention,” says David Plink, CEO of the Top Employers Institute. “Noncash-related benefits have a history of increasing and decreasing relevance, but the recent growth in importance suggests it is an irreversible trend.”

Johanna Mapharisa, talent leader at Ernst & Young Africa, a Top Employer for 2015, says that at her organization, “We focus on the overall employee experience. Our way of working goes beyond the borders of compensation and benefits [and is] designed to foster the building of a better working world.”

A total of 93 percent of Top Employers from around the world said they attach different compensation and benefits packages to specific job roles—indicating more-individualized employment packages. Medical technology company BD is another African Top Employer that believes in offering more benefits and compensational elements.

“An example is our learning and development initiatives,” says Catherine Karue, human resource manager, Africa, corporate/shared services. “BD’s commitment to learning and development is driven by our pursuit of being a great place to work and our strategic objective of building organizational and individual capabilities. Learning and development at BD is achieved through various methods such as a coaching partnership, enriching job experiences and challenges, and formal training provided by BD University. This greatly enhances our employees’ work experience.”

The report also shows that some sectors and regions prefer a pay-for-performance model, with 96 percent of organizations giving salary increases based on performance. Other popular recognition incentives among participants include performance awards (used by 91 percent of organizations), showcasing individual successes (83 percent), values awards (70 percent) and innovation awards (61 percent), with the most popular being recognition for length of service (98 percent).

Mapharisa says Ernst & Young Africa offers the nonmonetary benefit of flexible working arrangements.

“It is based on our recognition that employees do not have to be in the office at their desks to be productive,” she remarked. “They may be most productive at a coffee shop, at the beach, on a balcony, or wherever and whenever they choose to be productive. This contributes to work/life balance and a wholesome feeling of being in control.”

Republished by permission from the World Federation of People Management Associations.

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