Integrated report <IR> 2020

People are our business

People are the foundation of our business and our human resources framework is central to motivating and developing our employees, ensuring we have a workforce with the relevant skills to deliver on our strategy. The five strategic pillars of the framework are to: optimise overhead costs and capital expenditure; improve portfolio quality; maintain long-term optionality; focus on people safety and sustainability; and ensure financial flexibility.

Strategic pillars

We have identified areas that are key to delivering a successful human resources strategy, including ensuring an organisational design and operating model aligned with our business strategy and the implementation of health-of-discipline frameworks to enable operational excellence, that allow us to:

  • develop capable ethical global leaders across the organisation
  • focus on employee engagement and commitment
  • provide an integrated talent management programme to ensure succession planning and retention
  • simplify and integrate global human resources systems across the company

The Health of Discipline framework supports our continuous drive for operational excellence and efficiency across the business. We use competency frameworks for several technical and functional roles. The leadership competency framework that gives effect to the development of global and ethical leaders was introduced and is embedded into recruitment practices. Our mentorship programme continues to grow and supports the transfer of knowledge and skills and promotes broader exposure within the business.

Focus for 2021

It is clear that attracting, retaining and developing critical and scarce skills is a key human resources priority and we are developing a comprehensive response to address this. We have adapted our approach towards employee engagement as a result of COVID-19 to ensure that we maintain levels of engagement despite significant changes to the working environment.

COVID-19 has altered the working landscape significantly and there is a need to re-imagine the future of work. This need, together with a number of leadership changes during the year, led to the decision to carry out a company-wide organisational culture assessment during the year.

COVID-19 response

AngloGold Ashanti has adopted a risk-based approach in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was led by group health specialists who worked closely with regional and country-based health professionals.

Consistent people management practices were established based on the philosophy that no AngloGold Ashanti employee should be negatively affected from an employment perspective as a result of COVID-19. This led to an effective response that included identifying and protecting vulnerable employees, introducing and administering special COVID-19 sick leave, and reinforcing employee wellness programmes as well as focusing on physical and mental wellness for our employees and their families.

We introduced remote working where possible and leveraged technology to facilitate and adapt to new ways of working. Where remote working was not practical, for example on mining and processing sites, operating procedures were modified to ensure social distancing, mask wearing, good hand hygiene and frequent hand washing.

Business travel was restricted to essential and business- critical travel to reduce the risk of exposure for employees, including expatriates.

Talent management, learning and development

Talent and succession planning

AngloGold Ashanti talent review and succession planning process continued to deliver on its aim to strengthen our internal talent pipeline. Annual bottom-up reviews are conducted to identify, develop, engage and retain a cross-section of talent pools with particular focus on succession pools for executive and senior leadership positions (including general managers), critical and scare skills talent, and high-potential future leaders.

During 2020, we succeeded in further strengthening our talent and succession pipelines across the company. Some 90% of vacancies during 2020 were filled by internal candidates which indicates the efficacy of talent and succession planning practices. We also achieved a retention rate of ~90% within the executive and senior leadership talent pool.

For more detail on how we work to build talent through our Chairman’s Young Leadership Programme and Mentorship Programme, see Integrated talent management in the <SR>.

Learning and development

We continue to focus on the development of employees with the requisite skills to ensure operational excellence, support talent development and succession management and give effect to key priorities including localisation and gender inclusivity.

During 2020, the Company spent approximately $5.6m on learning and development interventions, with the main focus on technical skills training to enhance safety and productivity, supervisory training, graduate development, mentorship and coaching, and management and leadership development.

Online learning

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift from traditional classroom to online and virtual learning. Online interventions were piloted across the company, with targeted interventions covering project management skills, leadership essentials, team management, business communication, self-management and various technical courses.

The pilot phase offered a large selection of content, offering formal courses, videos, online books, audiobooks and podcasts and involved 107 employees.

We are rolling out personalised online learning with the aim of providing a comprehensive online curriculum to support AngloGold Ashanti’s blended learning approach.

Diversity and inclusion

During 2020, the company progressed to further entrench its Diversity and Inclusion Framework approved by the Board in 2019. For more detail, see Integrated talent management in the .

For more detail on how we work to build talent and promote diversity and inclusion through our human resources strategy, see Integrated talent management in the <SR>.


Working with local companies and employing people from host countries and communities remains a priority for AngloGold Ashanti, particularly in Africa. We have seen a 34% reduction in the deployment of expatriate employees since 2016, with the number falling from 216 to 142.

Several deliberate interventions contributed to this reduction:

  • Internal capacity building through initiatives such as technical assessments, structured development plans, local talent pool mentorship, and international exposure have helped to strengthen local talent pipelines
  • The regional recruitment policy has been revised and reinforced and the company has entered into strategic partnerships with local and international recruitment agencies to advance localisation objectives
  • An extensive talent mapping process to identify external pools of national talent
  • Graduate programmes across the Africa region
  • The appointment of high-potential local talent in key roles
  • Extensive mentoring and career guidance for local talent across the group
  • Ongoing support and development of young leaders in the Africa region

There is still much work to be done to further reduce dependence on expatriate employees and improve gender representation in local talent pools. We have set a target to further reduce the number of expatriate employees and accelerate development of critical skills in the next three years. The focus will be to develop leadership skills and key technical mining and artisanal skills in partnership with local training institutions.

Employee engagement

AngloGold Ashanti appreciates the importance employee engagement plays in helping to run a successful business. Biennial global engagement surveys, conducted by an external provider, monitor levels of employee engagement. The level of employee engagement increased from 69% in 2014 to 76% in the last survey in 2019, against a global benchmark for large companies of 70%.

Remote working and social distancing measures in place last year likely impacted employee engagement.

Several measures were implemented across the business in response to COVID-19. See Employee and community health in the <SR>.

The engagement survey will not be conducted in 2021. This will be replaced by a company-wide organisational culture assessment.

Employee relations

AngloGold Ashanti works to establish constructive relations with our employees and their union representatives. Working closely with our sites, we are also at the forefront of ensuring that we comply with local legislation as well as with our regulatory obligations.

Positive employee relations is central to our business and, employees at our operations in the Africa and Americas regions are unionised and have a right to collective bargaining, in line with the relevant country labour legislation. See Employee and community health in the <SR>.