During the period under review, Imperial embarked on a concerted talent management process. With the increasing scarcity of key management skills, the growth of the group into new markets and segments, and increasing demands on senior management in a more complex operating environment, talent management and succession have become critical considerations at group level. This implies a pronounced shift in the role of continuous learning and people development – from an operational function to a strategic imperative. Strategy around talent management and succession is set by the CEO in conjunction with the senior management team and implemented through line management.
The group maintains a strong focus on training, with employees at all levels having access to training and development opportunities. Training programmes are aligned with performance management though the creation of personal development plans for employees.;
An internal psychometric assessment centre has been established, to assess potential new recruits and enable high-performance individuals to be identified and promoted internally. This centre is staffed by a number of psychologists and psychometrists.
Psychometric assessments are conducted for recruitment, developmental and promotional purposes. Traditionally, recruitment for senior roles at Imperial has mainly been from within the organisation, but the growth of the group and the focus on new areas of business have meant that a broader skills pool now needs to be tapped. The expansion of the group has also driven a focus on different aspects of human capital management. For example, an expatriate policy is now being developed as a result of the group’s expansion into Africa and beyond.
The primary goal of the group’s transformation initiatives is to ensure the sustainability and societal alignment of the group over the long term and to contribute positively to the development of the South African economy and society. It is also essential for the business to achieve an acceptable empowerment rating in each of its divisions to assure their competitive position within each industry is maintained and enhanced.
Sustainable transformation is addressed in the group by focusing on three areas:
While the group has made significant progress in the overall level of transformation to date, the pace of transformation at senior levels remains a concern. In response, we have put in place programmes designed to increase the representation of employment equity groups in two areas – dealer principals (the managers of our dealerships) and experienced finance professionals, specifically Chartered Accountants, who can be deployed in the broader group. The latter programme is known internally as ‘Project 60’.
Both programmes have targets and processes associated with them to ensure an additional 100 black managers are responsibly deployed into our talent pool by December 2015.
IMPERIAL’S TRANSFORMATION STRATEGY
The Car Rental business is centred on
service delivery, with people and people
development critical to achieving business
growth, transformation and sustainability
The car rental business’ people development strategy for 2014 covered a range of areas reflecting the diverse requirements across the business, including:
One key challenge faced in implementing these programmes was the lack of available, experienced and willing workplace mentors to assist with practical application of the knowledge gained. This is being addressed through mentor development programmes.
In 2015, existing initiatives will be continued and a learning programme specifically for people with disabilities will be introduced.
Auto Pedigree, which sells pre-owned vehicles, provides employees with ongoing support to perform at an optimal level. Talent management programmes identify high-level performers who are then earmarked for future promotion and receive further training in accordance with individual development programmes.
In 2014, four of Auto Pedigree’s employees
went through management development
programmes to prepare them for senior
positions. Our experience is that there is a noticeable change in the behaviour of
employees who undertake these
programmes. To satisfy demand for
competent motor vehicle sales employees,
The Aftermarket Parts business has
designed and developed a Leadership
Development Programme and, during 2014,
concluded the first course under this
programme. It is embarking on a
second programme for junior and middle
management in July 2014, in an attempt to
build a succession pipeline and retain key
In the logistics businesses, the talent pipeline is crucial for sustainability and to support business growth objectives.
In Logistics International, an expert in talent management and skills development was recently appointed by the business. The ageing workforce in Europe poses a specific challenge for the European operations. The division participates in regional vocational training and job fairs to attract new labour market entrants.
In Poland, the business has taken on six
logistics students for a three-year
programme to be offered for the first time
from September 2014, which includes both
In Logistics Africa, people development strategies focus on the areas of people management, skills development and training. Transformation objectives are met through these workstreams and supported through group-level transformation incentives.
Human resource policies, procedures and programmes in Logistics Africa are aimed at ensuring that the division has access to the human resources required to achieve long term objectives and strategies.
A strong talent pipeline is crucial, as is a skilled workforce. The business performance of the division would be impaired if there was no skilled pipeline of talent and if the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) scorecard of the division was not a competitive and morally acceptable level.
A primary focus is performance management. The division has rolled out performance management in all operating units, which has led to succession planning and the identification of High Performance and Potential Individuals (HPPIs), for whom development plans have been generated.
The Logistics Africa framework governing education and professional development includes three elements:
The latter is focused on alignment with the
government’s National Skills Development
Strategy III (NSDSIII), where the business
works together with industry and
Significant achievements during the year included:
In the Financial Services businesses, people development is a particularly relevant consideration given the service orientation of the business.
The product value proposition to markets and clients is delivered through interaction with people. Client centricity and unquestionable market conduct are core tenets of the organisational value set and culture.
Our workforce needs to both reflect the demographics of our clients and differentiate our offering through the delivery of sound financial advice, product and excellent service. As we operate in an increasingly competitive and highly-regulated market, we also require strong capabilities in the areas of product development, actuarial skills, pricing, marketing, sales, client relationship management, claims management, technology and compliance. The availability of these skills in the marketplace is low and in some cases very scarce, especially in areas such as actuarial skills.
Talent management is proactively addressed at all levels of management in the business and is given continued focus at the divisional board level, including through the board’s various sub-committees, Regent’s executive committee and other management fora.
Three key objectives of Regent’s human capital management policy are:
To achieve these objectives, the business is currently deploying the following programmes:
Performance against the division’s human capital management objectives is measured with reference to metrics covering workforce diversity, being an employer of choice and building human capital excellence. The business met targets and milestones as planned in most areas, although challenges remain in meeting the desired level of black management representation at middle, senior and top levels of the organisation.
THE NEED FOR A PRACTICAL SKILLS DEVELOPMENT INTERVENTION
In South Africa, the low level of educational outcomes presents a number of challenges. Low levels of literacy and numeracy, in particular, are obstacles to the progression of employees’ careers and their own personal development.
In response, the Europcar South Africa business initiated a pilot project in January 2014 to run the Foundational Learning Competence programme (FLC). FLC is a nationally-recognised, one-year learning programme consisting of two six-month modules – communication with a focus on English and mathematical literacy.
The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), an oversight body set up to monitor and regulate training and skills development initiatives, formally recognised the FLC programme in 2012 and encourages employers to run FLC programmes for employees. SAQA envisions that in time, FLC will replace the fundamental unit standards of all qualifications in the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). Completion of FLC also opens doors for employees to study further. For example, FLC must be obtained before an occupational qualification at NQF Level Three and Four can be awarded.
WHO IS PARTICIPATING IN OUR PILOT FLC PROJECT ?
Our programme has been implemented with a group of ten learners, five of whom are current employees and five of whom are youth participants who have been given the opportunity to join Europcar on a fixed-term contract for the duration of the programme. This allows practical work experience and mentorship for these young people. Europcar has structured the pilot programme to ensure a balance between time spent in formal classroom learning, and time spent in the workplace acquiring practical business skills.
In the selection process, existing employee participants were identified as development candidates and were assessed for programme readiness. For youth participants, a database of learner applicants was screened and promising candidates were interviewed, with shortlisted candidates then assessed for programme readiness.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES?
Employee uncertainty about the benefits of the pilot programme still needs to be addressed, and trust with employees built over time to ensure this is viewed as a helpful and meaningful intervention. Perceptions that FLC is primarily for young and junior employees might potentially limit uptake with older or more experienced employees. This needs to be managed through communicating the successes of the programme and demonstrating the opportunities it may unlock.
WHAT HAS THE IMPACT BEEN?
Initial assessment results for the 2014 participants reported an average score of 33% for the English and 17% for the Maths Literacy modules. Upon completion of the programme at the end of the 2014 calendar year, we expect the average score for participants to have shifted to 65% for English and 50% for Maths Literacy.
More difficult to measure – but no doubt as important – has been the noticeable increase in personal confidence among the participants, as well as their increased engagement in the workplace. These individuals feel they are now more eligible for occupational development opportunities.
TOTAL PROGRAMME COST
The FLC pilot project has cost just over R300 000 to implement, of which approximately half relates to accredited training partner costs and the balance was used for supporting stipends for the youth participants.
Europcar intends to extend the FLC opportunity to a further ten participants in 2015, once again to a combination of current employees and youth participants, should the pilot project prove successful in terms of the targets set.
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