Employee engagement has emerged as a critical driver of business success in today's competitive marketplace, with various studies showing the positive impact of employee engagement on company performance. Research by Gallup, the American research-based, global performance-management consulting company, describes engaged employees as being psychologically committed to a job, and likely to be making positive contributions to an organisation.
This is further supported by Lebo Tseladimitlwa, Vice-President of Human Resources of DHL Express sub-Saharan Africa, who said that effective employee engagement policies and management can drive innovation, productivity and bottom-line performance, and should be utilised to counter adverse market conditions.
DHL was recently awarded the Overseas Project of the Year award at the UK Employee Engagement awards which recognises businesses outside of the UK that strive to do things differently and put their workforce at the heart of its operation. Tseladimitlwa explained that having motivated employees as a key focus pillar of the DHL Express global strategy has contributed to the recognition.
Learning and development programme
He said: "Understanding the need to drive a common culture across 220 countries, we launched a Certified International Specialists learning and development programme for all 3500 staff in Africa. Everyone from the global CEO to a courier in any country has gone through this training programme, reinforcing our core competencies as an organisation. We also run a number of internal initiatives, such as Employee Appreciation Weeks, Employee of the Quarter and Employee of the Year awards as well a yearly Employee Opinion Survey, which is managed by a third party in the spirit of anonymity, and employees are asked to give feedback on all areas which impact their satisfaction and engagement levels. We have a task team that analyses the feedback and take the relevant corrective action to ensure that we make significant progress each year. In 2009, our employee engagement score was 57% and for 2014, we achieved 80%. It's true that what gets measured gets done.
"We also have an internal development programme called Made In Africa, which produces a sustainable and dynamic list of future leaders that can succeed Africa Management Board positions, Country Management positions and senior functional roles. The programme reduces the historical dependency on expatriate imports, and improves skills of the talent pool."
Top Employer 2015
DHL was also recently named Top Employer 2015 in Africa by the Top Employers Institute, recognising the importance the company places on employee engagement and development. This is in addition to six African countries: South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Ghana that were also certified Top Employers in their local markets.
"Employees should be encouraged to grow - both personally and professionally, and should be continuously motivated to broaden their horizons and fulfil their potential via a wide and varied range of learning and development opportunities. These should be defined by the business and evaluated at regular intervals. Employee engagement should also be weaved into the performance criteria expected of managers, as this tends to present the most benefits.
"We believe that there is a huge calibre of talent available on the continent and that having emotionally engaged and motivated employees will continue to be a key differentiator for us in the future," concluded Tseladimitlwa.