Performance against strategy | People review | Next: Digital and IT review

People review

Our people are an integral part of Imperial's success; their level of engagement, relevant skills and varied ideas determine the efficacy of our client-focused solutions, improved performance and accelerated growth. Progressing our people and culture journey is reliant on transforming our leadership diversity and mindset, and ensuring our people engage wholeheartedly with our purpose, values and strategy to deliver effectively against the diverse needs of our stakeholders. This will be driven through My Imperial People Way.

My Imperial People Way is at the heart of our employee value proposition, and drives consistency across all our people and culture practices. It spans the employee journey from recruitment to retirement, building on the 'One Imperial' culture which will position Imperial as an employer of choice. Our purpose and values are the cornerstones of My Imperial People Way, supported by our leadership DNA.

We are building a human experience management system - My People Central - that will deliver dynamic experiences which ultimately drive better business outcomes. For implementation across Africa, My People Central will support real-time people analytics, empower our people to manage their careers through self-service capabilities and mobile learning, and free up HR capacity to focus on more strategic initiatives. It will enable customised talent offerings, improved talent management and enhanced HR processes, ultimately improving the employee experience. In addition, it will achieve efficiencies in workforce planning and HR administration, reducing staff costs and improving the governance of people data. Implementation will be in a phased approach, and once complete, My People Central will be instrumental in measuring the success of the people and culture strategy, providing reliable data for KPIs such as employee turnover, internal and external employee value proposition measures and employee engagement.

My Imperial People Way

The ‘One Imperial’ purpose and values

set the direction for our success, uniting us in a vision and a clearly defined common purpose with values to drive excellence.

The ‘One Imperial’ purpose and values

Our leadership behaviours

support and inform the way we will move forward as one, driving collaboration and a culture of excellence.

Our leadership behaviours

Imperial’s people practices

are focused to ensure we become an employer of choice in our industry. The people practices are aligned to our values of winning through teamwork and empowering our people.

Attract Me
‘One Imperial’

Focus Me
My Performance Way
Goal setting

Grow Me
Development way
management way
Succession way

Value Me
Retain and

Know Me
Success factors (including self-services)
• Execs ESS • Employees ESS

Engage Me
Digital platforms, communications channels and collaboration

Creating an organisation with moments that matter is important to us and nurtures My Imperial People Way – celebrating our successes and learning from our endeavours with our pioneers in driving an innovative culture. This aspect provides our people with the opportunity to actively contribute to social and environmental initiatives.

Moments that matter

Logistics International's people strategy centres on having the right people in the right place to drive excellent and sustainable business performance. It is driven through five commitments - fostering innovation, connecting people, enabling entrepreneurship, ensuring diversity and inclusiveness, and delivering quality and excellence.

'One Imperial' culture

Enabling a 'One Imperial' culture, which connects our employees with each other and the communities in which we operate, is fundamental to strategic and operational delivery, competitive differentiation, ethical conduct, diversity and inclusion, collaboration, innovation and disruption.

Our culture transformation is underpinned by a robust leadership model and our values, and will be realised by our leaders who are expected to lead by example. Our leadership development programmes are designed to help our leaders build the leadership DNA we need to achieve the desired culture change. They and our HR personnel are supported in this responsibility by Change Way, a set of change management toolkits that can be tailored for different levels of change, including assisting acquisitions to adapt to our culture and ways of working. Change Way will be digitised and available on the employee portal in August 2022.

Our efforts are already seeing results; in Logistics Africa, clients are engaged with a 'One Imperial' voice, offering multiple solutions across different operating entities within the business. Change management has also contributed to our ability to adapt our organisational structures quickly and effectively to the new ways of working required to address COVID-19 risks.

A mature people and culture management framework will enable a quick response to human capital priorities and risks with decision making based on accurate information.

Towards our 'One Imperial' culture

Employee engagement undertaken during the year focused on driving culture change and cultivating a workforce that embraces the 'One Imperial' values. A Barrett employee engagement survey was recently undertaken to understand the level of culture change that has occurred within the group and assess employee engagement. The survey measures the degree to which human needs are met in the workplace.

One of the pillars of our new ESG strategy is the Social – Workforce pillar, which highlights the following key focus areas:

  • Improve diversity and inclusion: workforce diversity is seen as a competitive advantage both in our business operations and in competing for the best talent.
  • Develop talent: developing the depth of highly specialised logistics, industry and people skills needed to meet the current and future needs of our business and those of our clients, principals and customers, is a critical component of our client and employee value propositions.
  • Zero harm to people: we strive for zero harm in our commitment to ensuring a safe and healthy workplace for our stakeholders and protecting the environment for our communities.

Employee engagement

Following the launch of 'One Imperial' and our values early in F2021, engagement activations were undertaken in Market Access and Logistics Africa to communicate key messages on our 'One Imperial' and 'Gateway to Africa' strategy, our purpose, and the practices that underpin our values and what we stand for as an organisation. To give life to these messages, the three activations drew on the experiences of our people. The first activation aimed to reach all our people digitally to formally introduce our values and to gather contact details to enable more direct employee engagement in the future, the second gathered individual stories of moments that mattered at work, and the third focused on providing support during a COVID-19 peak period in South Africa and the socio-political unrest.

We also introduced our employee communication and engagement technology platform, which strives to promote inclusivity, collaboration and knowledge sharing across geographies. Accessible by personal computer and through mobile phones, the platform provides easy and quick access to the group's policies, and updates on the group's strategic progress, the culture journey and ESG activities. The pilot site is being used by a test group of 5 000 employees.

Our women@imperial newsletter keeps all employees updated on our gender diversity progress, and we have created platforms internally and externally where women's voices, ideas and opinions can be heard. Group CEO, Mohammed Akoojee, participated in a panel hosted by the International Finance Corporation, which focused on the role of men in fostering inclusive workplaces in the healthcare sector.

SPOTLIGHT: Supporting our people in times of unprecedented change

Our values emphasise that peoples' safety comes first. This year, COVID-19 and the recent social unrest in South Africa introduced specific health and wellbeing risks that demanded tailored solutions to help our people during this time of unprecedented change.

Our responses to the pandemic include:

  • Stringent safety measures to prevent the spread of the virus and protect our people and their families (eg rigorous cleaning, personal protection equipment (PPE), social distancing, sanitisation, shift working, screening, and regular compliance inspections and risk assessments of sites, among others).
  • Providing job and income security.
  • Continually engaging with our people to ensure they remain productive, motivated and part of 'One Imperial', despite many head office staff working from home.
  • A COVID-19 care guide for employees and their families, providing information on the virus, how to register for a vaccine and how to access our network of doctors and Independent Counselling and Advisory Services.
  • A network of over 100 Imperial SHEROES, who actively support and assist their peers and their families during these trying times.
  • Care packages for employees in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa who have tested positive for COVID-19, which include an oximeter, sanitiser, masks, wipes and additional tokens of care.

In cases where social unrest causes disruption in our key markets, potentially endangering our people, we react swiftly to minimise harm, ensure the safety and wellbeing of our people and ensure business continuity by:

  • Providing driver training in emergency response planning.
  • Keeping the wheels turning through the planning of alternative routes and keeping our drivers informed of unrest situations through our robust en route communication processes.
  • Monitoring operations and ground operations when necessary by leveraging our relationships with the South African Police Service, traffic authorities and non-governmental organisations to receive real-time information on protest action along routes or at destinations.
  • Together with our partners, we delivered food parcels to employees and their families in KwaZulu-Natal in the July 2021 unrest.

2021 performance review


  • Established a group-wide job evaluation committee for roles from senior management and above. The committee is supported by job evaluation and grading committees in each business, with a policy and guidelines in place, and defined process requirements and member responsibilities. 177 roles have been evaluated since March 2021.

Market Access and Logistics Africa

  • Introduced an online interactive portal that encourages two-way communication between Imperial and employees on any smart device within seconds. The portal supports customisable engagements to create rich and dynamic data to enhance our digital strategies. It is used to encourage participation and adoption of our values and to gather up-to-date employee data.
  • A Barrett employee engagement survey was undertaken to understand the level of culture change that has occurred within the group and assess employee engagement.
  • We are reviewing and improving the onboarding and induction process, which will be customised for each business.
  • Started the alignment of our Market Access businesses to the group compensation and benefit guidelines.

Logistics International

  • Implemented a new SAP organisational management module, integrating data and enhancing its integrity. Improvements to the data architecture are ongoing.


Significant progress has been made on progressing organisational change, embedding our values and communicating our purpose to our people, but we have not yet reached the finish line. We must maintain our momentum, while supporting our people through both continued changes to the organisation, and the times of unprecedented change we have witnessed and experienced over the past two years.

COVID-19 has impacted, not only the ways in which organisations operate, but also the ways in which employees evaluate their jobs. Now, more than ever, being able to do work that is purposeful and meaningful is a key requirement for attracting talent and ensuring employee engagement. At Imperial, we have seen the impact that our 'Gateway to Africa' strategy has had in uniting our employees through a shared sense of purpose, and a mission that speaks to hearts and minds alike. The draw of this sense of purpose has been seen in prospective employees as well, as has a renewed desire for a good work-life balance. Our ability to respond to the changing needs of our people and remain responsive in a post-COVID-19 environment will be critical going forward, both in terms of ensuring our employees remain engaged and productive, and to attracting new talent.

As a digitally and technologically enabled provider of logistics and market access solutions, we will require skills specifically tailored to this business model. Process automation and restructuring made necessary by our challenging operating environment, will make some jobs redundant in the future. However, as we grow and make progress in our digitisation journey, this will be offset by the need for added skilled capacity and new jobs will emerge in line with our new organisational needs. We remain committed to reskilling and upskilling our people for these roles and will preserve as many jobs as we can as we transform.


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