In as much as global companies are expanding or seeking to expand in Africa, availability and retention of talent is proving to be a major challenge. According to the PWC Africa Business Agenda report upto 83% of African CEOs admit that they are worried about availability of key skills on the continent. The report also states that most CEOs expect to increase and maintain staff headcount in the next year. In Africa’s competitive labour environment, statistics highlight that attracting and developing the right skills is crucial. As such it is important to adopt leadership styles that support and nurture skills and talent needed for growth. Essentially talent will no longer be the main concern when it comes to employees’ skill sets but rather the leader’s ability and responsibility to teach and develop these skills.

According to a recent EY 2014 Sub – Sahara Africa talent trends and practises survey while managers in Africa are perceived to be performing well at day to day activities, they are considered to be less capable when it comes to people management more so in relation to retention, productivity and management. Globally it is reported that only one in five companies are providing additional training and development to existing staff proving that employers are not doing enough to address talent shortages. In Africa the situation is much worse.

In DHL ‘Motivated People’ forms part of their global FOCUS strategy pillars which ensure that they provide great service quality. This results in loyal customers and ultimately a profitable network. DHL as a company understands the need to drive a common culture across 220 countries hence they launched a Certified International Specialists (CIS) learning and development program for all their staff in Sub Saharan Africa. This training program reinforces their core competencies as an organization and it has been central to their staff retention and development globally. Certified International Manager (CIM) is an extension of CIS and is focused on ensuring their leaders have a correct balance between IQ and EQ to lead tomorrow’s workforce.

In addition to DHL’s employee recognition programs they also have internal development programs called ‘Made in Africa” that produce sustainable and dynamic list of future leaders that can succeed top management positions. The program reduces the historical dependency on expatriates and improves skills of the talent pool.