5 CFOs celebrate their workers

George de Beer, Abigail Mukhuba, Adri Führi and more reveal how they are meeting their people’s needs.

Over the last two years, organisations worldwide have placed a renewed focus on the wellbeing of their workforce. First, Covid-19 put people right at the forefront of every business’s concerns in 2020, and in 2021 new ESG policies reinforced this people-first approach to business.

As the world celebrates Workers’ Day, these CFOs celebrate their employees and reveal how their organisations have shifted to a people-first approach by putting their workers’ needs at the heart of their businesses.

Aveng
CFO Adrian Macartney that turnarounds are about people and resilience, saying that Aveng has spent significant time and effort rebuilding teams over the last three years. “Our people are incredibly dedicated across the businesses and it is great to see the impact of their efforts come to fruition,” he says. “I think that it is pleasing to see the team’s success when people stay the course, in what have been some exceptionally challenging times.”

Imperial Logistics
CFO George de Beer explains that Imperial Logistics is creating a diverse and inclusive working environment that allows its people to apply their unique strengths and experience. “Accelerated talent development, strategic sourcing and targeted attraction and retention initiatives are used to deepen the talent pool for our organisation.”

He adds that the company’s commitment to gender diversity is also at the forefront of its social targets. “In the past year, there has been stronger introspection on ways in which we can uplift and empower women at Imperial and within our communities.”

Last year, Imperial appointed two new independent non-executive directors to its board, both of whom are women from Nigeria, and approximately 50 percent of Imperial’s Logistics Africa exco members are women. “We are pleased that, while there is still work to be done, women representation at management levels continues to gradually rise, supported also by structures such as our regional and global women’s forum initiatives,” he says.

Imperial was also recognised as the winner of the Women Empowerment in the Workplace for listed companies in Southern Africa at the 2021 Accenture Gender Mainstreaming Awards.

e4
CFO Adri Führi says beyond driving the organisation’s financial health, “as CFO’s we need to make decisions about spending money in a way that ensures that young people get that exposure and education in technology, which is acutely needed in disadvantaged communities.”

As someone who excels in building value-adding initiatives from the ground up, she is instrumental in developing e4’s strategy to look at moving girls from school, to accessing opportunities that will lead to employment, either within the e4 ecosystem or other technology organisations.

The crucial roles she has fulfilled have enabled Adri to develop much-needed skills within the technology sector. She also oversees e4’s HR and transformation and is proud of the social empowerment initiatives that she delivers with her team.

Shoprite
CFO Anton de Bruyn explains that Shoprite’s staff and their health and safety is of paramount importance to the business. “That’s why we paid the appreciation bonus of R116 million to our employees as level 5 lockdown began. It was to thank and support them for their tireless efforts to feed the nation in these unprecedented times. We were the first in the country to do that because we acknowledged the role that our staff would have to play. Whilst the whole country stayed home our people had to find a way to get to work. We are really very proud of the company and its resilience which is part of our culture here at Shoprite.”

Sanlam
FD Abigail Mukhuba (featured) says that Covid-19 has also strengthened the trust relationship between employers and employees, as well as managers and team members. “It has moved us more towards output-based KPIs rather than the traditional ‘bums on seats’ measure of performance,” Abigail says. “And while this was a challenge at the beginning, when people still wanted to see you logged in to believe you were working, we are now totally focused on outputs.”