• Employees

We are committed to being a world-class employer of choice and take our responsibility to maintain a productive, supportive and safe working environment seriously. Our vision of transforming lives begins with transforming the lives of our employees and a key aspect of this vision is to create a supportive working environment that allows us to attract, develop and retain the best staff. We classify our employees by the following attributes: age, gender, job grade, location and contract status (permanent or contractor). We measure staff morale using an annual ‘SEMA Survey’, staff turnover rates, the Staff Council and the ‘Sema na CEO’ chat room.


The overall demographics of our workforce remained stable during the year. The closing employee number stands at 5,085, with the majority of our employees remaining Kenyans in their 30s, based in Nairobi. While the general demographics of our workforce remained steady during the year, it is interesting to note that we became slightly younger as an organisation in FY17, with the ranks for employees aged between 20 and 29 years old swelling to 1,079 people or 21% of the total workforce. Most employees are still aged between 30 and 39 years old, nonetheless, with this age bracket accounting for 3,231 people or 64% of the total company.

The size of our permanent workforce remained constant during the year, decreasing by around 1% or 42 employees to 4,245 permanent members of staff.


On the whole, our staff complement is still very evenly split between men and women, although the number of women in more senior management positions remains relatively low and, as gender equality is now an area of keen focus, we will start monitoring and publishing this figure annually. Persons With Disability (PWDs) account for 1.4% of the total staff population. We are working towards achieving a PWD target of 5% in 3 years.

Latest Employee Index results suggest that 84% of employees are happy with employment conditions at the company.

We are making a deliberate effort to increase female representation in management. The initiatives being introduced include: monthly gender target tracking at all levels; targeted recruitment of female managers; the Safaricom Women in Leadership programme, which aims to encourage women to enter the technology industry from the age of six years old and includes an internship programme and mentorship and coaching services for female staff members; and Safaricom Reconnect, which supports and assists professional women who have taken a career break of between one and 10 years to return to the corporate environment. The female Senior Leadership Team has also put together tangible annual workplans, with expected results, for three focus areas: growing the number of women-led and women-owned organisations that do business or partner with Safaricom; growing the number of female employees; developing a strong Coaching and Mentorship culture among Safaricom female employees; and building a strong ecosystem of female-driven thought leadership and social events.


We measure employee morale using the Employee Engagement and Manager Index, which is part of our ‘SEMA Survey’, and staff turnover rates. Overall, employee morale appears to have improved significantly during the year, with the latest Index results suggesting that 84% of employees are happy with employment conditions at the company, in general, and are reasonably motivated or engaged with their work. This overall perception of morale is supported by a staff turnover of only 5.2%, which is its lowest level in the last three years.

Staff are also able to voice their needs and expectations through a variety of channels besides the SEMA Survey, including the Staff Council and the Sema na CEO (“speak with the CEO”) chat room.


We continue to take our responsibility to maintain a safe working environment for staff and contractors very seriously and regret to report four fatalities this year: three of the fatalities (two employees and one contractor) were sustained in road traffic accidents and the fourth was a third party who was electrocuted while drilling through concrete after gaining unauthorised access to a Safaricom BTS. We are satisfied to be able to report that no Lost Time Injuries (LTIs) were sustained during the year.


In alignment with the SDG strategy and the mission of The B Team – Africa, we launched the 100% Human at Work programme during the year. The programme is an expression of The B Team belief that it is time for businesses to stop looking at people as ‘resources’ and to start looking at them as ‘human beings’. It represents a move away from focusing solely on maximising profits and profitability to how we can help our people reach their highest potential and purpose, which will naturally have a positive impact on the bottom line.

Through 100% Human at Work we are aiming to create a work environment that celebrates diversity and inclusion, enables talent and career growth, promotes employee wellbeing, as well as providing equal status, rights and opportunities to all employees in the Safaricom ecosystem. We believe that work should have a purpose and that workplaces should be places of belonging that facilitate human interaction, collaboration and creativity.

The programme seeks to introduce a 100% Human culture in the workplace using five key values: equality, respect, growth, belonging and purpose. During the year, a series of training sessions were held to raise awareness of the programme. An initial area of focus was our ‘invisible workers’ — security, cleaning and hospitality stewards and all in-house contracted staff — and we celebrated them visibly on Christmas and Valentine’s Day by hosting and sharing gifts with them under the banner of ‘#Homeiswheretheheartis’. We also invested in medical cover for them and streamlined their basic salaries to support this. We increased compassionate leave to help support staff grieving for lost loved ones as well. We are extremely excited and passionate about this initiative and its tag line ‘happy place to work’ because the business is taking care of the people who take care of it.

As part of our focus on wellbeing and in response to work-life concerns raised by staff in the last ‘SEMA Survey’, we partnered with Thrive Global, a wellbeing and productivity group founded and led by Arianna Huffington, and launched the Thrive Global Programme midway through the year. The Thrive Agenda seeks to make companies truly human organisations in the digital age and it focuses on four main areas: Body (wellbeing), Mind (wisdom), Heart (wonder) and Soul (purpose). This programme requires a full cultural transformation, working with the leadership team and workforce to improve the overall health and wellbeing of the entire Safaricom team, tackling physical health, stress management, burnout prevention and emotional wellbeing.

The initial implementation will run from January 2017 to March 2018 and will feature: company-wide awareness sessions, interactive live training, weekly curated email content (delivered post-workshop and organised around specific themes), activities such as webinars and e-courses, and through impact measurement to track and optimise employee wellbeing and engagement metrics.
This year also saw the development of an Adoption Policy to guide child adoption by employees. In terms of benefits, employees adopting children are now entitled to two months of maternity leave if the child is younger than two years of age and one month if the child is older than two years of age. As part of this process, we also ran awareness sessions with managers to share with them best practices in terms of handling maternity leave and flexible working hours.

Road safety remains an ongoing concern for us and we ran several initiatives this year, including the ‘Drive to Live, Arrive Alive’ themed Safety Week in April 2017, the modernisation of the Safaricom fleet of vehicles and maintenance of our vehicle tracking systems, defensive driving training sessions and ensuring staff
members who violate road safety requirements attend a monthly meeting with the CEO and report to line managers weekly.

Our graduate management training initiative, Safaricom Discover Programme, continues to be a success and we managed to place all 19 management trainees in April 2017. We also successfully hired another group of 20 management trainees in April who will experience rotations within and across the business functions for 18 months before final placement. The programme aims to accelerate the development of leadership talent and uses a combination of 70% on-the-job learning, 20% coaching learning from mentors and colleagues, and 10% formal training.

Looking Ahead


  • Re-launch of the e-Learning Platform.y Re-launch of the e-Learning Platform.
  • Rolling out of phase 2 of the Line Manager toolkit.
  • Extensive upgrades to Safaricom Clinic, including laboratory services and recovery room.
  • Launch of the Health, Safety and Wellbeing (HSW) 20:20 framework.