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Value created for our employees

Value created for our employees

Delivering value to our employees

7 028 people permanently employed
81nationalities represented by employees
47%of employees are women
ZAR5.9bnspent on remuneration and benefits
ZAR212mspent on skills development
9.5%employee turnover


Our employees play a pivotal role in delivering world-class entertainment to our customers across Africa. Throughout the year, as working from home and home schooling became the norm, our employees worked devotedly to ensure news, edutainment and entertainment were digitally accessible to our customers. We were committed to ensuring that our teams could work in safe, productive and COVID-19-compliant spaces, while being able to deliver to our customers.

This year, we delivered direct value to our employees by paying ZAR5.9bn in remuneration and employee benefits. We proactively create a diverse working environment (physically and digitally) where people are engaged and inspired, where they can develop and refine their skills and passions, and where they can push the boundaries of innovation.

Our journey with employees starts with attracting and retaining talented people in line with our business growth objectives. We actively work to remain a relevant and competitive employer of choice by aligning our roles, salaries and compelling benefits to industry benchmarks across markets. We ensure that the employees we hire remotely are fully immersed into our business through a digital induction experience. The induction includes our pioneering history, vision, values, an immersive campus tour, insight into operational activities, and showcases our commitment to information rights.

We believe in supporting our people at every stage of their career. We provide an environment where they can engage, develop their skills and draw on the support they need to create and innovate to deliver on MultiChoice’s vision to be Africa’s number one video entertainment platform. In FY21, we launched a campaign to further employee adoption of the MultiChoice Way; the set of behavioural values that provide the foundation to MultiChoice’s corporate culture and ways of work. This multipronged initiative reinvigorated our shared DNA culture, with clear prompts on how we go about living these behaviours. It received widespread support and adoption across the organisation. The MultiChoice Way nurtures a sense of belonging, improves collaboration between peers and teams, and increases employee engagement – which ultimately lead to better customer value and satisfaction.

Diversity and inclusion

We believe diversity gives us a competitive advantage and aids in decision-making and problem-solving to provide the best solutions for our customers. We promote an inclusive, bias-free culture and deliver on our commitment to transformation and equal opportunity through our employment equity policy for MultiChoice South Africa, our human rights and group ethics policies, as well as other compliance policies that embrace good governance principles.

Our employees represent 81 nationalities, with the majority from Africa. 47% of our employees are women (FY20: 47%) and 53% men (FY20: 53%), and 39% of our leadership team are women (FY20: 37%) and 61% are men (FY20: 63%).

We actively drive inclusivity and support a network of female leaders across all levels of the organisation to champion impactful changes to ways of working for the benefit of our female talent across our markets. By expanding our inclusivity programmes to all business areas, we can develop and accelerate high-performing female talent. The following initiatives demonstrate our transformation efforts:

  • Our group-wide women’s forum has grown from strength to strength, armed with a clearly defined mandate and governance measures to ensure the forum functions optimally. The steering council facilitates knowledge sharing webinars and opportunities to network, as well as partnerships with businesses on programme design. It also actively raises the visibility of women in the business.
  • The Advancing Women Mentorship Programme pairs top female senior managers in our digital teams with executive-level mentors across the business, focusing on enhancing their management skills, connecting them with female role models in the digital industry and exposing them to broader aspects of the business.
  • MultiChoice gave over 200 women in technology-based careers a platform to accelerate their succession plans and career paths by providing relevant development opportunities and motivating individuals to own their development paths. We extended our support to these women through mentorship programmes, roundtable discussions, stretch assignments, training courses and webinars.
  • The Technology Head of Department Associate Programme for selected women provides executive exposure to female employees in the Technology business by pairing them with the chief technology officer and departmental executives.

Learning and development

Our learning and development offerings support our people at all levels with opportunities for career growth, including emerging talent, specialists, leadership and other workforce segments. We believe growth emerges and evolves through formal training programmes and consistent dialogues between leaders and teams, supported by continuous learning moments achieved through active coaching, mentoring, rotational programmes and on-the-job development opportunities.

We invested ZAR212m in employee development, of which 42% was allocated to female talent (FY20: ZAR191m; 49%). We also enabled 1 859 employees to attend formal training (FY20: 3 018). Although COVID-19 placed restrictions on the number of employees who could be formally trained, we saw a significant increase in enrolments through our digital learning platform.

Our investment in employee development included ZAR33m in bursaries granted to internal employees, external students and employee dependants, to help them fulfil their career development aspirations and opportunities for growth (FY20: ZAR21m).

This year, we introduced a partnership between our group and Youth Employment Services (YES), a business-led collaboration with government, labour and civil society aimed at addressing high levels of youth unemployment. The ZAR31m investment resulted in creating new opportunities and improving work readiness for 400 young, unemployed South Africans. Our Let’s Play learnership programme focused on sport coaching and leadership development for 100 unemployed youth. Despite COVID-19 restrictions, learners were innovative in carrying out practical exercises and testing skills in safe family 'bubbles'. We believe our ZAR10m investment in the Let’s Play learnerships will yield many more sporting positives in the future.

We are also actively developing professional black talent through several internships and graduate programmes, specialising in production, digital and data science to be integrated into our business. We are passionate about cultivating skills that are fundamental to the success and sustainability of African storytelling. In February 2021, we launched a pilot scriptwriter internship programme focused on supporting writers and providing practical experience in pursuing a career in this industry. The DStv Media Sales team set out to develop six digitally savvy commercial graduates through an 18-month structured graduate programme. The programme, launched in 2020, is coming to an end, with 13 graduates who excelled in science, technology, english and maths.

These programmes attempt to increase the availability of young talent with scarce technical, digital and entertainment skills to the business and to improve our ability to develop and retain these skills over time.


The development of leaders who live up to our MultiChoice leadership principles and who build trust with employees has become critical in supporting successful leadership performance.

By the end of March 2021, leaders across the business had completed one of our flagship leadership development programmes that enhance their abilities to deliver through diverse teams and embody our ethos to enrich lives:

  • The Management Essentials Programme focuses on new managers, providing the basis for managing teams in line with the MultiChoice Way while mastering business and interpersonal skills. This year, 530 managers attended this programme.
  • The Leadership Programme codesigned with Henley Business School, seeks to solve industry challenges that our managers encounter. A total of 101 junior, middle and senior managers are on the industry recognised programme.
  • The Senior Leadership Programme, delivered in partnership with Duke International, targeted 77 of our top leaders, the majority of whom are African women. The programme focuses on developing skills required for digital disruption, a step change in the way leaders think in the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) and equipping them with the mindset to deliver on our strategic vision.

We continue investing in digital learning through the MultiChoice Academy platform with access to cutting-edge business content across all markets. The MultiChoice Academy hosts an ever-expanding library of curated courses developed by leading partners such as Udemy, Harvard and Vado Business. Employees can access and complete courses at any time, on any device and from any location. This year, the academy had 103 349 course registrations, 81 235 course completions and recorded 194 203 hours of learning on the platform.

Investing in talent development

We established various talent-focused initiatives across different divisions to address their unique challenges. These included, among others:

To prioritise the future executive talent pipeline, the chair of the board launched the Chairman’s Top Leaders Programme in FY20, with an additional cohort 2021 intake.

The current programme, which consists of 50% female executive talent, has already delivered high-impact results through the successful placement of homegrown talent into critical leadership positions such as the MultiChoice South Africa CEO, the CEO for general entertainment and connected video, the southern region CEO, the managing director for Kenya and the managing director for Botswana.

The learning experience immerses participants in learning opportunities that solve real business challenges, while partnering with prestigious global learning institutions to advance a truly African leadership style in an international and 4IR context.

  • In growing AI and machine learning talent for the industry, we continue advancing the partnership with the University of Pretoria through sponsoring the MultiChoice Machine Learning Initiative.
  • The Showmax team redirected a portion of the training budget to support employees during COVID-19 lockdowns. This included helping employees make lifestyle adjustments to accommodate new ways of working under COVID-19 restrictions, and increasing their access to mental health resources. The team also focused on charity activities that improved morale and engagement, and shared valuable insights with managers through comprehensive feedback.
  • The Irdeto team implemented innovative initiatives such as lead, grow and accelerate programmes, a learn-a-thon and compliance risk management plans for locational teams, and rolled out a global Flexwork guide. Additionally, the team completed organisation-wide job evaluations, executed benefits renewals and introduced weighted objective goals for employees.
  • Our general entertainment division launched an external scriptwriter incubator programme in partnership with the University of the Witwatersrand and selected production houses. This programme encourages individuals to not just think about internal development, but also consider how their talent and expertise can be extended to benefit the external industry and community.
  • We implemented digital foundational and specialist training for our DStv Media Sales team to allow rapid innovation and problem-solving in a digital era.
  • Our finance division championed internal talent mobility through placements, promotions and transformation opportunities. Through careful and considered optimisation of business operations, the team introduced new communication methods that ultimately resulted in a greatly improved employee engagement.
  • The human resources (HR) team introduced focused initiatives to further equip teams to support businesses through remote working and creating a safe environment for essential employees who are physically present at offices and customer centres.

As leadership continuity planning evolves, we remain focused on developing and strengthening the talent pipeline for senior roles. Our pool of emerging talent is diverse and representative of our communities and customers.

Engaging our employees

Employee engagement is critical to business outcomes and driving customer experience. We embed continuous engagement into our leaders’ performance appraisals. Given that we have largely operated as a remote workforce this year, the results are extraordinarily positive. Employee satisfaction went up in nearly all aspects, with an overall group score of 7.9 out of 10, which shows that employees felt supported during the year.

We direct bi-weekly surveys to our employees, which allow us to continue growing our ambassadorship, and enable a connection between us and our employees, brand and impact on society. We leverage the insights gained from our people to proactively coach, support and drive interventions relevant for our teams using the voice of our people.

Additionally, we ensure that our employees have appropriate platforms and objective support through continuous engagement and collaboration. We respect freedom of association and collective bargaining in line with local legislative requirements and employee representation levels. We take pride in our internal employee representative body, the Workplace Forum, which operates in South Africa. There are similar bodies across our other regional operations such as Irdeto, which enables internal representatives to bargain on behalf of employees and to champion their interests. These platforms advance our collaborative opportunities to improve the experience of people through continuous, meaningful dialogue and joint decision-making.

Recognition to create excellence

All employees participate in ongoing performance and talent engagements throughout the year. These form the foundation for personal improvement and offer employees individual plans to support ongoing development in their roles and enable career growth.

Our group-wide employee recognition programme, #WeSeeYou, acknowledges excellence in driving business results and embracing our values. The programme encourages employees to recognise their peers, managers, direct reports and specific teams for the value they add to the business and the lives of their peers. This year, we registered 19 404 individual digital recognitions and paid 1 363 individual spot awards, 943 team awards and 210 employee-of-the-month awards. Each year, this culminates in the selection of employees who are recognised at the highest level of the organisation. We annually recognise employee loyalty and commitment through our long-service awards.

Caring for our employees’ health and wellbeing

We take the wellness and safety of our employees seriously. Our wellness programme looks at every aspect of the employee’s life cycle, including financial advice, health and family support, and psychological aspects.

The past year was challenging for our employees as they adjusted to working from home. Through our various employee benefits and online wellbeing programmes, we took a proactive, preventive approach to employees’ health.

The ICAS Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), encompassing core counselling and advisory services, reached a 63.6% engagement rate for FY21. We achieved this engagement score because we actively advocated for and created awareness about the programme during the pandemic. Employees reported increased stress, mental health and parenting challenges, and financial strain brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of the lockdown. We took strides to proactively address some of these concerns through targeted training, focusing on mental health, stress and burnout, as well as education about COVID-19.

Dooble is our lifestyle benefits offering geared to help employees with all the little things that make their day-to-day lives easier. During the pandemic, Dooble assisted its members by delivering laptops to their homes to minimise the number of employees at the office. In South Africa, the programme provided contactless concierge services under strict lockdown to assist with collecting medication and delivering goods to friends, families and colleagues. Members with children had access to dial-a-teacher services and kids entertainment programmes to give parents the opportunity to structure their workdays. Employees were also offered affordable work-from-home furniture and pop-up desks at discounted rates.

COVID-19 presented many challenges to our employees’ health and wellbeing, but we took proactive steps to help and continuously support them during this time. Read more on Our external business environment.

Issues raised by employees

How we addressed them

How these were addressed


Employee leave benefit

Employees with long-service sabbatical awards were at risk of losing this benefit. Typically, employee sabbaticals are spent travelling or as time with family and friends, but this was not possible due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Without the ability to enjoy everyday freedoms and travel, COVID-19 diminished employees’ desire to submit leave requests, resulting in high volumes of leave accumulating across the business.

How these were addressed

Through multiple engagements with various stakeholders such as employees, workplace forums and leaders, a decision to offer leniency on this benefit was reached. Long-service sabbatical award access was extended by two years. As such, employees are not pressured to take advantage of this benefit during a global pandemic and can instead postpone the opportunity.

Managers encouraged employees to see the benefits of taking time off to recharge, realign and re-energise given the stress brought about by living through the COVID-19 pandemic. By taking time off, employees avoid burnout, spend time with family and take care of themselves.

How these were addressed


Safe and stable working conditions

As the pandemic spread across the world, we took active measures to move to a work-from-home solution for employees, with only essential employees working onsite.

Throughout the year, many employees raised concerns related to the complications of working, parenting, self-schooling and living arrangements; and requested a return to work as it offered a stable and neutral space. In South Africa and elsewhere, employees were also faced with business interruptions brought upon by numerous electricity cuts and connectivity issues.

How these were addressed

Employee safety is of utmost importance to us. We listened closely to concerns raised through company-wide surveys and manager engagements. We conducted a feasibility study on improved ways of work and investigated creating a safe workspace for returning employees. Given ongoing uncertainty about bringing the pandemic under control, these plans are under review.

To ensure employees could confidently work from home, we increased data packages and co-funded internet access. In addition, we provided uninterrupted power supplies to critical resources to avoid disruption and customer delivery during national electricity cuts.

For essential employees working onsite at respective offices, we implemented COVID-19 checks administered daily through our CoronaFighter app. Employees also had access to additional support through the ICAS service, offering stress, psychological and financial advice.

Key focus areasgoing forward
  • Looking ahead, we will continue prioritising the group’s strategic intent to recruit the best talent, actively work to retain talent through defined programmes and maintain internal mobility opportunities.
  • We will nurture equal opportunities, representation and diversity that mirror the communities in which we operate.
  • We will further embed the MultiChoice Way, our shared company culture and behaviours, to ensure that it is our daily reality.
  • As the world adapts to changing social and technology trends, we will continue driving customer-centred, digital, data-driven ways of work, leaning on diversely talented teams partnering across our operations.
  • Our commitment to transformation is to build diverse leadership capabilities across all levels in the business. We aim to provide effective leadership development and succession planning for critical roles, and we will prioritise transferring knowledge, specifically in the area of scarce skills.
  • We will continue to foster a high-performance culture by improving employee engagement levels, and we will evaluate ways to further enhance our employee benefits.
  • We believe our collective efforts and focus will contribute to our purpose of enriching lives.