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Developing Africa’s Talent the Heineken Way
Interim Developments spoke to Jean Mukunzi, Heineken International’s Training and Development Manager for Africa, about the role of training and development and Heineken’s approach to developing its African talent.
ID: Mr. Mukunzi, what would you consider to be the key challenges for training and development for Heineken in Africa?
JM: Heineken has demonstrated during the last decade a strong commitment for training its employees in Africa. Considerable budgets are allocated to training each year to support business goals and individual development. However, identifying the right needs and measuring the effects of training is still weak, while Heineken’s operating companies have several training processes that need to be harmonised.
Best practice exists in some countries and is slowly being disseminated across the region, notably in technical training, sharing experiences and building regional synergy. The Management Development review meeting where MDs from Operating companies meet annually with Management in Amsterdam to discuss career and development plans is one of the best practices.
IDs: What are some of the steps that Heineken has taken to address these challenges in its African operations?
JM: At the end of 2003 we conducted a survey jointly with Interims for Development and myself in our operating companies in Africa to review best practice and identify a methodology to extend this across our operations. We analysed the current status of training and development, positioning each Opco (operating company) in a maturity grid. This year a roadmap for professional T&D is on the way with a target to achieve all round excellence in 2005.
IDs: The strategic contribution that training and development makes is now widely recognised in the West. How can T&D professionals in Africa receive this kind of recognition?
JM: Heineken has adopted the following principles that constitute the philosophy of training and development.
- Training supports business to achieve its objectives
- Learning (and training) is essential for personal development
- Personal development leads to personal success
- Personal success is behind the company’s success
Heineken, regardless where it operates, considers training and development as a strong pillar to be successful in business. In 2000, Heineken started an ambitious programme in Africa called People
Management Excellence to attract, develop and retain the best people. PME targets excellence regarding HR processes and people’s skills and capabilities, including Reward and Compensation, SAP HR, Hay job classification, Pan African managers exchange and Talents management.
IDs: Mr. Mukunzi, in view of the African brain drain, what steps does Heineken take regarding attracting young African professionals back into Africa?
JM: In 1999 Heineken started a programme to attract and develop Young African Talent to improve the quality of its workforce and prepare the succession to senior positions. My opinion is that we have successfully implemented the selection process, which is managed in close cooperation between the operating companies in Africa and the HR team in Amsterdam.
Another programme consists of internationalisation both in Africa and overseas. This international exposure gives African managers an enriching experience that prepares them to take over management positions either in home companies or abroad.
IDs: As a major global company, how big an impact has e-learning had across your business, both in and outside Africa?
JM: Heineken University in Amsterdam has developed e-learning with equipment in the Learning centre in Amsterdam. In Africa, e-learning has not yet taken a strong step. I’m optimistic that in a period of three to five years, a number of e-learning projects will be in the implementation phase and Heineken University will play an important support role. We already have a technical curriculum available electronically both in English and French, with software planned for implementation in Nigeria.
For many years communication technology has been terribly poor on the African continent and this was a strong barrier to accessing information. But the Internet changed the world and Africa as well. Also, in the last two years, Heineken operating companies in Africa equipped themselves with V-SAT technology. I see these developments as opportunities to access e-learning in the near future, probably in partnership with third parties: Heineken University, local universities, governments, etc.
IDs: Is Heineken involved in any other training and development initiatives in Africa?
JM: The Management of Heineken’s Sub Saharan Africa region is aware of the opportunities for successful business on the African continent. But at the same time we encounter various threats like HIV/AIDS, corruption, inadequate infrastructure and water and irresponsible alcohol consumption. Being imbedded in local societies and adopting socially responsible policies makes Heineken very successful in addressing these issues.
Of course training plays a role by making people aware of the issues in order to adopt responsible behaviours, but Heineken goes beyond. For example, teaching employees and their families how to protect themselves against AIDS and providing HIV/ AIDS therapy, even to those who leave the company. It’s far more than training….”
For further information about careers with Heineken in Africa