Passion, work-ethic and resilience win PnP’s Thato Mxo an award

Thato says that winning this national award has given her the opportunity to transfer her skills.

Thato Mxo has scooped the award for Best Performing Human Resource Business Partner for 2020/2021 at Pick n Pay for her work to improve the quality and efficiency of the HR systems nationally.

Thato says she had never imagined winning a national Award but her passion, work ethic and displaying much-needed resilience during a very challenging time in her company spoke for itself.

“This career achievement means I am capable of so much more and has opened many doors for growth and learning.”

Thato was based in Cape Town but recently relocated to Gqeberha, “I relocated to Gqeberha in November, and coming from our Pick n Pay national office I had a huge role in changing the way of working and processes in the region. I became more involved in operations and when the second wave of Covid-19 hit the Eastern Cape, I had to be brave and support our employees in stores who were the frontline workers.”

She explains that not much was done to prepare her for this, “I was put outside my comfort zone and had to unleash my leadership qualities and continually build trust. I showed empathy and accurately reported Covid-19 stats and ensured that each store implemented protocols to protect our customers, employees and their families.”

Since Thato started working at Pick n Pay, she says she has tried to make sure that every employee has equal opportunity to grow through their learning and development programmes.

She says Pick n Pay has played a huge role in furthering her career. “My career at Pick n Pay started in 2008 when I was working as an HR practitioner at Northgate Hyper and later was transferred to Soweto Hyper in the Gauteng Region. I left Pick n Pay a few years later due to seeking employment nearer to home in KZN after tragically losing my mother.”

She says she burnt no bridges and a few years later Pick n Pay was keen to re-employ her after an intensive recruitment and selection process, “I was then appointed as a human resource business partner at Pick n Pay Western Cape in May 2019.”

Thato now works in the Eastern Cape region and is based at the Gqeberha head office looking after 12 Supermarkets and one Hypermarket.

She says that the culture at Pick n Pay alone makes her love her role and feel positive about her future career with the company, “HR is not just about administration and people numbers but I also get to understand other important aspects of the business. I have also improved my employee relations negotiating skills. I am not just an HR business partner but a retailer too.”

A mother of two, a five-year-old girl and a four-year-old boy, Thato says as a young black professional who is working for one of the biggest retailers in the country, the national award gives her an opportunity to transfer her skills, to show her peers that there is more to HR.

Outside of work, Thato is a board member at one of the biggest NPOs in Cape Town, Ikamva Labantu founded by Helen Lieberman to uplift people in Cape Town's township communities. “I have also recently qualified as an accreditation i-act practitioner, which empowers HR business partners in understanding and promoting positive mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.”

The Pick n Pay Awards are held annually at the end of their financial year to recognise the great work done and milestones achieved by their employees.