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Top 5 companies you would enjoy working for in Kenya

By Paul Wafula | Published Fri, May 18th 2018 at 11:54, Updated May 18th 2018 at 11:57 GMT +3

Half of employees in Kenya hate the companies they work for.

This means that one in every two employees is just enduring the workplace for the sake of the paycheck at the end of the month.

If a new offer came calling, they will bang the door behind their employers and never come back.

The disturbing revelations, which will now keep many human resource departments awake at night, are contained in a report that ranked Kenya's best 100 companies to work for.

The report by Brighter Monday, a human resource firm, shows that only two out of every ten Kenyans would recommend their companies as the best places to work.

As companies focus on making as much wealth as possible for their shareholders, they seem to have forgotten the people that generate the money – staff. 

The top five things desired by employees in Kenya from dream companies include good welfare benefits, career advancement prospects, job security, a competitive pay package compared to other companies in the industry and learning opportunities.

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Employees rated pride, culture, career opportunities, pay package, diversity, and inclusion as top qualities in their current companies.

Safaricom, the United Nations (UN) and electricity generator KenGen ranked highly in all these qualities to emerge the top three companies to work for in Kenya.

Internet firm Google followed KenGen and at the fifth position among the best companies to work for is the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

Others on the top ten are Centum, Kenya Power, Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC), Unilever and Coca-Cola.

But it is the top three companies that are set to attract attention for those seeking greener pastures and those looking for best practices for benchmarking.

Safaricom, which was ranked the best firm to work for in Kenya, has put in place various initiatives that have seen its workplace stand out.

 If you adopt a child at Safaricom, you are entitled to a two-month maternity leave.

The telco extended its maternity leave to include the non-natural parents as part of its employee-focused reforms.

To make it work, the firm developed a policy to support its employees who would wish to adopt children. This is a first among the blue-chip companies in Kenya.

The firm offers one of the longest maternity breaks for its employees. It allows staff to take four months off after childbirth, a rarity in the Kenyan labor market that frowns on new mothers, with an option to extend it to six months by combining it with their annual leave.

The firm also has an additional benefit known as mother's shift that kicks in after maternity leave ends, in which a mother is allowed to work for an average of 5hrs a day for 6 months.

By the end of last year, 51 per cent of Safaricom's 5,085 employees were women making it among the few blue chip companies that have as many women as men. 

It has also achieved a 50:50 gender pay parity in the organization. This means that men and women earn equal salaries for equal work done.

The United Nations has for years been one of the most sought after work places in Kenya given its reputation, pay package as well as job security. The UN is also famed as a place with a rich pot of culture given its spread of employees from the various nationalities around the world. The UN also offers its staff a global work experience.

This has seen the UN attract thousands of volunteers over the years. Some of the volunteers end up getting a job afterwards.

On its part, energy generating company KenGen has also been implementing its own raft of reforms to make it attractive to fresh graduates seeking a job in a parastatal in Kenya. This saw it emerge the top parastatal in the country.

The Brighter Monday report focuses on identifying, recognising and celebrating the top employers in Kenya as rated by employees and other professionals.

The report also provides insights to job seeking professionals on companies they should be keen on. A total of 2067 valid responses were considered in the final analysis.
"Men and women value the same traits in a company. The top 3 traits being: Good pay, job security and proximity to home. However, men are more willing to stay at their current place of work, than females," the report notes.

Women are most dissatisfied employees at work today, with only 21 percent of the respondents saying they were satisfied compared to 23 percent of male respondents who said they were dissatisfied.

But generally both men and women are dissatisfied.

"Both Men and Women are not overwhelmingly satisfied with their place of work," the report notes.

Ms Pauline Kiraithe, a human resources expert, says one of the reasons why most Kenyans have found themselves dissatisfied at their work places is the wrong career choice.

"So many people have found themselves in the wrong jobs and this is often too late," Ms. Kiraithe said. She is currently running a program to help students make the correct career choices when they are still in high school.

 But to get to the top, Safaricom has not just offered its staff competitive salaries, career development opportunities and job security.

 It has gone down to the needs of their individual staff to make sure they are comfortable at work.

One of the areas it has deliberately focused on is childcare.

The firm has on-site crèches at its premises for its staff, allowing nursing mothers to comfortably express milk or feed their children.

For the employees that come to work with their children, they will find breastfeeding rooms at work and will also have a shift preference system at the call center.  

This saw the firm featured as a case study for the International Finance Corporation (IFC), in its report on tackling childcare at the workplace.

It also has a bring-your-child-to-work policy, which makes it normal for its staff to come to work with their kids. The firm has a mother's shift which sees its new mothers enjoy a reduced working week at full-time pay.

To ensure complete peace of mind, the firm has an on-site doctor and medical insurance.

"We believe that we can only be at our best if our people are at their best. Our employees are crucial to our success and that is why we have undertaken several initiatives to inspire and get the best out of them," the firm says in its financial statements.

The firm recently launched the 100 percent Human at Work programme last year which emphasizes that it was time for businesses to stop looking at people as 'resources' and to start looking at them as 'human beings'.

The programme represents a move away from focusing solely on maximizing profits and profitability to how to help its employees reach their highest potential and purpose, which will naturally have a positive impact on the bottom line.

Through the Human at Work program, the firm is creating a work environment that celebrates diversity and inclusion, enables talent and career growth, promotes employee well-being, as well as providing equal status, rights and opportunities to all employees in the Safaricom ecosystem.

"We do this by creating a work environment centered on equality, respect, growth, belonging and purpose," the firm says.

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