Social impact: Human capital

We have built on FY22’s strategy of driving employee centricity through inclusive leadership. Our people are core to our business and we continue to put our employees at the centre of what we do through leader-led engagement initiatives. Our foundation is solid and our people planning framework remains our core focus, ensuring that we build a future-fit organisation with the right people with the right skills.

Retaining talent has become increasingly difficult as employee and employer expectations change and impact this. Our strategy has been informed by the trends identified by research from the Gartner International HC report:

  1. Person-first experience: 82% of employees believe it to be essential for their organisation to see them as a person, not just an employee.
  2. Shared-purpose: 53% of employees would like their organisations to take action on issues they care about.
  3. Flexibility: 52% of employees believe flexible work policies will affect the decision to remain at their organisations.

Focusing on building a future-ready organisation, we have had to acknowledge the evolution of the Human Capital (HC) role worldwide and we see remarkable opportunities to partner on a more strategic level with business. We fully understood that we would have to build new capabilities in our team, shift how we think of our role and building the correct capability required to lead the new employee expectations. This had to be carefully designed to allow leadership capacity.

As we embarked on FY23, we were enthusiastic to align ourselves with the changing expectations of our employees. We needed to understand this in order to navigate the path ahead and to ensure a seamless engagement with our people and leaders. We needed to build a strong connection with our leaders and to understand the objective and challenges of each business unit.

We have:

  • Built a strong foundation for employee engagement and have enhanced it with our internal application so they can stay engaged anywhere, helping motivation levels and improving productivity;
  • Reviewed our current values and although it is the heart of our business and replicates our culture, we will be refreshing our values, in order to assist Blue Label in driving outlook and what is essential for the coming year;
  • Designed a more suitable leadership development programme that allows us to develop emerging talent and middle and senior management leaders;
  • Established our first-ever succession planning for all occupational levels in business throughout the business;
  • Reduced over R9 million in recruitment cost;
  • Built our employment brand to attract the best talent which has given us a 33% growth in LinkedIn visibility;
  • Built a pipeline, ensuring emerging talent development and successfully rolled out five YES programmes across subsidiaries and employed over 250 YES youth, thereby affording young people the opportunity to gain experience for future roles;
  • Understood the shift from a reactive role to a proactive one, as we are focusing on long-term workforce planning, talent management and employee development; and
  • Commenced and are working closely with our leaders providing insights and guidance to support their strategic decisions.

Human capital profile

We will use 2023 as our baseline to set targets for the future.

2023 2022
Diversity and inclusion
Total headcount 1 412 1 566
By employment type:
  Permanent 1 033 1 288
  Fixed period 337 227
  Non-South African 42 51
Allegations and confirmed incidents
Number of discrimination and human rights incidents relating to workers' incidents
Learnerships 4 310 3 629
Status level 4 4

Focusing on building a future-ready organisation, we are committed to ensuring that the structure and operating model supports the business strategy through:

  • A people planning process that empowers businesses with the information required to make people and skills decisions;
  • Formalise the designs which are informed by workforce planning principles; and
  • Co-designing a leader-led leadership programme that builds leaders for the future.

BBBEE scorecard

Element Audited
Scoring if
are implemented
Ownership 12.08 12.94 12.94
Management and control 10.54 11.09 13.00
Skill development expenditure 18.12 19.17 19.78
Preferential procurement 18.66 16.27 15.00
Supplier development 10.00 11.00 11.00
Enterprise development 15.00 17.00 17.00
Socio-economic development 12.00 12.00 12.00
Total score 96.40 99.47 100.72
Level achieved Level 6 Level 5 Level 4
Level achieved after discounting n/a n/a n/a
YES enhancement YES - 2 level up YES - 1 level up No
After Yes Level 4 Level 4 Level 4

We focused on optimising supplier, enterprise, and socio-economic development in order to remain at level 4.

FY24 will focus on management control and leverage aspects of procurement wherever possible.

Blue Label has access to and supports human capital through the vast footprint of our merchant base, of which many are sole-trader entrepreneurs or informal businesses. These merchants have a symbiotic relationship with Blue Label in that they form a vital element of the distribution network and similarly are afforded the opportunity to build their own businesses and create employment opportunities.

Employee engagement

Employee engagement survey scores
Job satisfaction 75 75 70
Meaningful job 80 90 75
Overall engagement 70 70 65
Feeling valued and safe 90 91 55
Significant work 90 90 67
Happy at work 70 >80 >75

In an increasingly complex work environment affected by external influences, positive performance while transforming was critical to our operations. We are proud of our engagement results and the resilience of our team in these unpredictable times.

No employees are under collective bargaining agreements, even though Blue Label does not place any limitations.

We will continue to focus our efforts on engagement elements in order to retain our high engagement levels and people culture, incorporating the following:

  • Job satisfaction
  • Impactful objectives
  • Employees feeling valued and safe
  • Employee experience

We have not experienced any major stoppage in the workplace over the past two years.

2024 focus areas

  • creating an employee-centric work environment and meeting the changing expectations of employees;
  • flexibility, shared purpose, well-being, a person-first experience and building on our inclusive culture where every employee feels valued and motivated to do their best;
  • merging employee expectations with driving accountability and delivering results; and
  • be deliberate about our values and leadership behaviours and belief that everyone in our organisation are leaders of self.

To date we have implemented the following tools in order to assist and enable leadership:

  • Blue Galaxy Radio and our podcast platform to showcase relevant topics to profile our leadership team and their various career and industry success stories. We will be launching Blue Galaxy TV Vlogs that will make use of video in order to share newsworthy information and to highlight talent;
  • We have designed a leader-led training intervention for all senior leaders in the organisation and will roll it out during FY24; and
  • We will continue building future leaders through our leadership development programme.

We believe that our leaders are the key drivers of culture, and investing in them is critical for the organisation’s success.


Employee retention

Measures the percentage of employees who left our employment during FY23.

We understand through exit interviews that most of our employees are leaving because of better career opportunities and therefore our focus on leadership development and impactful objectives are key.

FY23: 27.9%
2022: 20.08%

Voluntary turnover
FY23: 20.75%
2022: 13.19%

Involuntary turnover
FY23: 7.15%
2022: 6.89%

Executive turnover
FY23: 1.5%
FY22: 3.4%

There has been a notable decrease in headcount due to building a fit for future business and acquiring skills to drive continuous process improvement.

Our efforts to retain key talent have yielded positive results, with a decrease in employee turnover in managerial occupational categories. Resignations result from more attractive career opportunities, with an excess of 88% voluntary in semi-skilled and junior management, as they are seeking more rapid career advancement.

We are heading in the right direction in driving gender equality.

Our key focus for FY23 was:

  • to improve internal movement opportunities for our employees to have opportunities for growth within the organisation to continue to focus on employee retention by enhancing our benefit comparable with the market offerings by partnering with remuneration advisors to benchmark and to ensure that our rewards are compatible with the market.

Working to ensure retention of junior and middle management, we will be focusing on Black talent, and the following initiatives have been implemented in this regard:

  • We moved from online interview surveys to engaging with our people personally to gain an understanding of how to improve retention;
  • Tracking the retention of our new recruits by identifying a pattern within which employees have been exiting the organisation within the first year;
  • Employee engagement surveys focused on subsidiaries that seemed to be experiencing high turnover; and
  • Improved our leadership development offerings to ensure that our work environment remains inclusive.
Age group Number of employees
Under 20 13
Under 20 - 29 422
Under 30 - 39 482
Under 40 - 49 349
Under 50 - 59 119
Over 60 27
Total 1 412
Age group Number of employees
Under 20 22
Under 20 - 29 561
Under 30 - 39 480
Under 40 - 49 356
Under 50 - 59 121
Over 60 26
Total 1 566
Female Male
Occupational level African Coloured Indian White Foreign nationals Female total African Coloured Indian White Foreign nationals Male
Total headcount
Top management 3 1 3 7 3 4 24 31 38
Senior management 4 1 7 12 1 4 6 26 37 49
Professional* 15 4 7 20 46 14 7 11 42 4 78 124
Skilled* 114 19 22 47 3 205 181 47 45 84 15 372 577
Semi-skilled 316 24 15 12 10 377 183 15 6 5 9 218 595
Unskilled 17 1 18 9 1 1 11 29
Grand total 469 48 45 90 13 665 391 73 73 181 29 747 1 412
Female Male
Occupational level African Coloured Indian White Foreign
African Coloured Indian White Foreign
Top management 2 1 3 6 2 1 5 23 31 37
Senior management 1 1 6 8 2 2 2 20 26 34
Middle management 9 5 2 21 37 17 5 9 44 2 77 114
Junior management 120 23 23 52 4 222 226 38 43 94 21 422 644
Semi-skilled 387 38 12 13 12 462 211 12 6 6 11 246 708
Unskilled 16 16 11 1 1 13 29
Grand total 535 67 38 95 16 751 469 58 66 187 35 815 1 566
* Middle and Junior management have newly defined occupational levels.

Proportion of employees from under-represented groups

Total movement in headcount year on year:

  • African male representation declined by 2.2% as a percentage of total headcount
  • African female representation declined by 1.0% as a percentage of total headcount
  • Coloured male representation increased by 1.5% as a percentage of total headcount
  • Coloured female representation declined by 0.9% as a percentage of total headcount
  • Indian male representation increased by 1.0% as a percentage of total headcount
  • Indian female representation increased by 0.8% as a percentage of total headcount

We continue to balance our gender representation. Women comprise 48% (FY22: 48%) and men 52% (FY22: 52%) of our talent across the business closely aligned to our target of 50:50. We continue to seek a balance of gender representation at senior and top management levels. Of our total headcount, 65% of our employees are below the age of 40 and they continue to bring fresh perspectives and high energy levels as well as enthusiasm.

Promotion opportunities were within the junior management level, and our focus was on improving Black representation. Of all the promotions in FY23, 55% were for females and 83% for Black talent.

Our goal is to create an inclusive workplace in which employees can bring their authentic selves to work and live their purpose. Our robust strategic approach focuses on our people’s diversity and inclusive leadership, providing an inclusive, fair and supportive workplace.


Our organisation continues to evolve rapidly, with the demand for new skills and capabilities continuing to grow. Our ability to meet the demand is critical to stay relevant in building a high-performance workforce. Total number of new staff members employed was 318 for FY23 of which 257 were permanent staff and 61 contract staff.

Our recruitment strategy incorporates innovative talent acquisition practices and the development of our employees for promotional opportunities, ensuring we focus on the following:

  • Recruiting for the future — repositioning talent mobility as an opportunity to recruit new talent better suited for the future;
  • Employee referrals — a great source of future talent has come from our current talent and alumni. We believe that our employees remain our most valued ambassadors in the market; and
  • Anchoring our Success Management Model — the people planning process allows us to build an internal talent pool.

With our focus on equity, we see an improvement in new appointments, with 87% of new recruits being Black and 69% of females appointed in the organisation being African. Our key focus has been to improve our employer brand in the market in order to attract the correct talent.

There has been a marked improvement in the propensity of internal placements. This aligns with our principles of developing our people and providing career progression, thereby developing our people for long-term success. This has been achieved through:

  • Utilising recruitment platform insights to reduce recruitment costs further while accessing talent market trends and a more comprehensive database of prospective employees; and
  • Utilising the database to assess predictive analysis.


The employment opportunities provided by Blue Label’s business model extends beyond just our employees but includes a strong learnership programme as well as extending business opportunities to entrepreneurs in the form of merchants, particularly informal business merchants. It is noted that the merchants probably do not derive all of their income from Blue Label products but it allows them to build up a portfolio of trading activities as entrepreneurs. It should be noted that as the business moves to more digital “channels to market” the opportunities for distribution merchants will shift from physical distribution to pinless distribution.

Over the past few years we have noted a significant increase in the emergence of new skills. This continues to impact how we develop internal talent. There is a need for employees to have diverse skills that were not traditionally required for their roles, as a result of the impact of digitisation. Employee learning and development is critical to ensuring that our talents remain abreast of changes in the market so that they have the correct skills to contribute positively towards a future-fit organisation.

The People Planning process is the cornerstone of talent development and it allows us to identify the current skills that we have versus the skills that we need in the organisation.

The Success Management framework encourages career conversations between managers and employees, thereby enabling employees to own their career growth. This creates an environment that supports a learning culture.

We encourage a growth mindset so that our employees believe in expanding their knowledge and skills. This allows for improved innovation, knowledge sharing, problem-solving and collaboration. In FY23, we introduced an engagement application that supports the growth model mindset, and this tool enables our employees to have access to macro-learning content specifically designed to address what is happening in the organisation as well as in the market.


Entrepreneurship is at the heart and soul of Blue Label. Our organisation is built with the goal of continuing to improve from the past by unearthing the greatness within each individual. We always seek opportunities to develop our people, communities, and businesses. Blue Label intentionally creates employment opportunities for young South African people. FY23 revealed a positive impact through various growth initiatives, namely:

  • U-Belong programme offering young South Africans the opportunity to earn an accredited learnership as well as an employment opportunity within the informal telecommunications landscape of South Africa. During the duration of the programme, the participants earn a stipend and are issued with all the tools of the trade necessary to operate in the market, such as tablets and connectivity:
    • The completion of the programme and if selected based on performance throughout the programme in which the participant will have the opportunity to start their own SME within the ICT sector in the informal market;
  • The implementation of five YES programmes, placing over 200 youths in professional occupations within Blue Label;
  • Mobile Technician learnerships providing learners with hands-on experience. These learners are introduced to the world of mobile technology, thereby affording hands-on experience in this field; and
  • Having employed 56 learners living with a disability, of which 34% are in the process of completing learnership that address scarce skills in the ICT sector.


Leave taken 2023 2022
Annual leave days per employee 14.35 10.26
Sick leave days per employee 3.19 2.12
Study leave days per employee 2.71 1.75
Maternity leave months per employee 4.0 4.0
Paternity leave days per employee 10.0 10.0

A process of analysing leave days taken has been initiated in order to provide a better understanding of our employee well-being. This will enable Blue Label to assess a comparison from FY24. The well-being of Blue Label’s employees is a critical asset that cannot be compromised and should constantly be prioritised. We encourage our employees to take care of their physical, mental and financial well-being. We have introduced the following programmes to support employees and have empowered them with the knowledge to navigate daily challenges that directly impact their well-being:

  • Employee wellness days were hosted across all regions, including health checks;
  • WeLead learning articles were initiated, focusing on creating awareness around crucial health issues;
  • Monthly financial advisory services were provided both on-site and online;
  • Medical GP and physiotherapist every month on-site at our head offices;
  • Monthly online masterclasses that focus on creating a psychologically safe environment; and
  • Well-being sessions facilitated by our EAP partner.

We have invested in a hydroponic vegetable garden to benefit our employees at head office and to promote health and wellness within Blue Label.

Over the past two years, research has revealed that employee well-being is a crucial focus for employee retention, as employees continuously search for organisations that support their well-being. Our surveillance has afforded us a better understanding of our employee needs. Of the staff members who completed the well-being survey, 92% were in agreement with such research. The current economic climate continues to negatively impact all South Africans.

Health and safety performance

Blue Label KPI 2023 2022
Total number of fatalities recorded on duty
Total number of work-related injuries reported 3 4
Total number of work-related illnesses reported
Total number of days absent as a result of injury on duty 16 93
Total number of claims submitted to Workman's Compensation 3 4

Our health and safety policy sets out our commitment to the physical, mental and social well-being of our staff. It is regularly evaluated by Blue Label’s health and safety managers, in accordance with the 1993 Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). Health and safety plans, evacuation protocols and other safety procedures are on display at strategic points throughout our offices. Health and safety officers at all subsidiary companies work closely with Blue Label’s health and safety officer.

During FY23 we recorded 3 (2022: 4) work-related injuries and 0 (2022: 0) work-related illnesses. There were no fatalities as a result of a work-related injury or ill-health across the Group.

It is compulsory for all permanent staff members to be a member of the Group’s medical aid scheme. Furthermore, Blue Label assists workers, both permanent and nonpermanent, in accessing non-occupational medical and healthcare services through the Discovery Healthy Company.

Wage level and living wage

We are committed to ensuring that our employees are fairly remunerated, with none of our employees being paid below minimum wage.