Gold Fields Ghana – Worth Their Weight in Gold
We learn about the human value that makes Gold Field Ghana’s successes possible.
Gold Fields Ghana is a subsidiary of one of the world’s largest mining companies, Johannesburg-based Gold Fields Ltd, with a variety of exciting operations underway.
The company has been active in Ghana for over 27 years, currently operating two mines, Tarkwa and Damang, while also having a joint-venture agreement with Galiano Gold for the Asanko mine. Through Gold Fields’ experience in the country, it has come to understand Ghana’s business environment, culture and people. With Ghana’s mature, politically stable democracy, and West Africa representing 34% to 37% of Gold Fields’ overall production, it has become a critically important region for the group.
Things are going well in terms of future growth for the mines. In Damang, Gold Fields Ghana’s 2019 drilling programme has carried out resource infill drilling at the southern end of the Amoanda – Tomento corridor, as well as an advanced Grade Control programme in the territory beneath the Amoanda Bridge.
Meanwhile, at Tarkwa, Gold Fields Ghana has put in place a strategy to explore the on-lease palaeoplacer potential to delineate new resources and upgrade known resource areas. Gold Fields Ghana has completed 27 kilometres of drilling over six targets during the initial drilling, resource definition and resource conversion programmes, leading to the addition of 1.2Moz to the company’s resource portfolio.
Finally, at Asanko, there is a strong focus on exploration across its tenement package, with a budget of US$10 million, half-funded by Gold Fields, allocated to resource exploration last year.
Each of these projects has one thing in common. They rely on high quality, skilled staff who are committed to success. However, acquiring and nurturing that talent is a task in itself.
Mining for Talent
The process of finding and recruiting new talent begins with Gold Fields Ghana’s Human Resources Department, which implements best HR practices to support Gold Fields’ employees and the business itself. By remaining aligned with Gold Fields Ghana’s strategic objectives, this department ensures the company has the talent and capability to deliver superior returns, a task that is more important than ever as mines are modernising and automating.
“Gold Fields Ghana follows a well-structured talent acquisition process. At our annual talent review sessions, we assess the talent strength within the company and identify the talent needed for critical roles,” explains Alfred Baku, Executive Vice President and Head of West Africa at Gold Fields. “These roles are then filled with competent individuals to improve our talent strength. As part of our annual business planning process, we ensure that we have the requisite personnel to drive our business strategy. We may identify vacancies depending on the business and labour plans. The required talent is identified to fill these roles.”
It is not just about finding people with the right skill set, however. It is also about creating a good mix of people from every background. Gold Fields Ghana is committed to diversity and inclusion, and this can be seen in its talent recruitment process as the company strives to create a more diversified and inclusive workplace. However, Baku is the first to say there is more work to do.
“Our gender representation is well below where it should be, which is why recruiting women into key roles is a key priority,” he insists.
But while Gold Fields Ghana is keen to build a diverse and representative workforce, it also wants a workforce that is representative of Ghana in particular.
Baku explains, “In line with the company’s policy we prioritise for Gold Fields Ghana to be managed by Ghanaians and draw talent locally. Our practice is to first advertise the role internally. If we do not find the talent we need, we expand our search nationwide. If we are still not successful, we further expand our search globally for expatriates. However, we prioritise Ghanaians working abroad when the need to recruit expatriates arises.”
Of course, building a strong workforce is not just about recruiting the best talent, it is about respecting and nurturing the talent that already exists within the business.
“At Gold Fields Ghana, we recognise employees as our most valuable asset. That is why we invest significantly in employee training and development,” Baku points out. “Our Learning and Development Department ensures that we have fully functional and safety-conscious employees to help the company drive and achieve its strategic objectives.”
Since 2014 Gold Fields Ghana has invested close to US$16 million in various competency-enhancement and professional development programmes for its people. The company provides mentorship and coaching for all employees as well as opportunities for secondment and stretch assignments at other Gold Fields operations in Australia, South Africa, Peru and Chile.
This is part of a retention strategy that dictates that the company will provide continuous employee development and study assistance, enabling employees to attain higher academic qualifications.
“We treat employees fairly, and we are committed to increasing female representation in our workforce, especially in core mining roles and management,” Baku says. “We have ensured that there is a clear path for career advancement. We are also investing in innovation and technology, not only to improve safety and reduce costs but also to attract millennials to our business.”
Built on Values
It all adds up to a competitive employee value proposition built on the four columns of Gold Fields Ghana’s culture: high performance, safety, diversity and inclusion, and seeking to be a good corporate citizen.
“We provide continuous support for our employees to sustain the high performing workforce we have built and nurtured to deliver on our targets,” Baku says. “We are also a safety-conscious organisation and we believe that zero harm is possible – safe production is a management priority. To enhance our safety culture, we have introduced the Courageous Safety Leadership programme to empower all employees to boldly speak up about unsafe practices in the workplace.”
At the same time, Baku strongly believes in driving diversity and inclusion as part of Gold Fields Ghana’s culture, and the firm is working to provide more opportunities for women by removing barriers and providing access to all roles.
In addition to nurturing employees, Gold Fields Ghana offers support to its communities.
“Finally, we know that we cannot prosper if communities around us are mired in poverty,” Baku points out. “As such, we seek to create community value by hiring, where possible, employees from our host communities, procure goods and services from companies based in these communities and channelling investments there.”
First and foremost, Baku explains, Gold Fields Ghana’s people are driven by the same impulse as the company itself, a strong belief in doing the right thing.
As Baku says, “Our high performance, safety, sustainability and diversity and inclusion culture is underpinned by our values of safety, integrity, responsibility, respect, innovation and delivery. We live these values every day and as a result, we have built our reputation as a highly ethical organisation.”