Our Group purpose is to add quality to life. The fruition of this purpose is embedded in our people strategy, which is uniquely positioned for the different geographic regions in which we operate – Africa, and Australia and New Zealand. Its strategic intent remains anchored by our values, and is centred on delivering unique experiences for our people and our customers.
As a Group, it is important for us to ensure that we employ and invest in people who share our brand purpose, values, and passion to help grow a future-fit business. Our Employee Value Proposition is aimed at attracting, developing, and retaining talent that enables us to create a diverse staff complement to deliver on our strategy. It is important that we implement an Employee Value Proposition that nurtures a unique employee experience. Through regional oversight of our people strategies, we are able to deliver a compelling value proposition that is customised towards meeting the unique employee needs in our areas of operation.
The people strategies in Woolworths South Africa (WSA), David Jones and Country Road Group emphasise a people experience that will enable a differentiated customer experience, albeit in varying regional contexts. In WSA, the broader South African socio-economic and political context in which the organisation exists – and in which our people live – is considered. In David Jones and Country Road Group, the focus on business sustainability through ensuring the right culture and optimising processes to build a strong business in the region is a key focus.
Our Group people strategy has three strategic focuses:
We continue our focus on driving streamlined regional strategies for Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. The pandemic highlighted the focus on our people, who continued to remain committed and passionate during exceptionally difficult times. The imperative for both regions has, therefore, been to provide support to our people through initiatives such as wellness offerings, and to adopt ways of working that position us for shared growth as the long-term impacts of Covid-19 are understood and addressed.
In the past year, we continued to entrench our purpose and values through continuous employee engagement, building our organisational leadership capability, as well as investing in the wellbeing of our people. Our people are looking for a differentiated experience. We also appreciate that there is a direct link between the people experience and the customer experience – and, one step further, that the people experience is largely a function of how they experience their leaders. Therefore, at a Group level, we continue to focus on building our competitive advantage through our people, with a focus on a leading and integrated talent experience, improving our talent processes, and building leadership capability among our senior leaders.
Our strategies are driven through various mechanisms, including the WHL Exco and the excos of our businesses, the People Leadership Teams, Human Resources Forums, and townhall sessions. In addition, at WSA, a Connected People Council (CPC) – a collective forum of senior executives, chaired by the WSA CEO – was established in 2016 to deliver a modern and connected people experience to our employees. The main aim of the CPC has been to systematically address the issues that hinder us from living up to our promise of a unique employee experience. Having identified a few pain points, we have also focused on further entrenching our values, building leadership capabilities that are aligned to our values, and digitising our operations – not only for better delivery to our overall business strategy, but also to facilitate agile communication with our staff.
From a talent-management perspective, our Group Talent Forums are embedded as part of our Group talent practices, focusing on senior management across the Group to attract, develop, and retain the best talent.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, a crisis response plan was implemented in our businesses. Its aim was to develop a Covid-19 People Plan that continues to deliver on our Employee Value Proposition even in the midst of a crisis.
More information on the focus area and our performance thereon can be found in our annual Good Business Journey Report