Career development

REA nurtures talent within its workforce and has an annual programme of in-house training, participation in external training courses and regular outbound activities.

To optimise productivity, the group aims to ensure that employees at every level within the organisation are rewarded based on their performance. To ensure that the group’s compensation levels remain competitive and in line with the current market practices, they are periodically benchmarked against local industry standards.

Performance of management staff is evaluated annually in relation to a pre-agreed set of quantitative and objective KPIs. The reward system for all levels of employee is reviewed at least annually and refined if necessary to ensure that it remains in line with best practice. Particular attention is paid to ensuring that compensation and benefits for field workers, who are a key component of REA’s workforce, are competitive and effective. To incentivise productivity, there are bonus systems and additional allowances for achieving certain graduated targets or working in difficult areas, such as harvesting tall palms.

REA aims to maintain and improve management standards by facilitating the upward mobility of promising employees through its management training programme and by recruiting new graduates through its collaboration with local polytechnics and universities. A fresh graduate recruitment programme was introduced in 2023, receiving applications from 336 applicants of which 20 were employed to fill a range of functions in REA. The recruited graduates undergo 12 months of theoretical and practical training in all aspects of plantation management and those who successfully complete the programme are appointed as assistants on REA’s estates, in the mills and in various administrative departments, such as technical services, sustainability and safety. Over the last 20 years, close to 500 trainees have participated in the trainee programme of whom one third are still employed by REA.

REA’s partnership with a specialist palm oil polytechnic, CWE, continues to support the development of future technical specialists by sponsoring scholarships for CWE’s diploma programme. In the partnership’s second year in 2023, a further nine (2022: nine) scholarships were awarded to children of REA’s employees and from local communities. It is intended that REA will offer employment to these students upon graduation. In recognition of this scholarship programme, REA received a CSR award from the local authority in 2023.

Help with career advancement is not restricted to the management training programme. To equip employees at every level with the skills and knowledge to perform effectively and to advance their careers, REA also runs an annual intensive training programme for established employees to map talent for future leadership roles. The programme is designed by REA’s training manager and consists of both in-house training and participation in external training and conferences. Externally facilitated training, coaching, and workshops are also provided for senior managers to ensure the alignment of individual and corporate values, policies, and priorities. A total of 1,543 (2022: 1,133) employees, representing some 16.5 per cent (2022:12.4 per cent) of the workforce, participated in various training and development programmes in 2023.