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    Employee Engagement Icon

    How our people think and feel about their work correlates directly with how satisfied our clients are, and how successful we are in delivering our strategy and performance aspirations.

    What success looks like

    • We are considered a great place to work and our people feel deeply connected to our purpose and our clients.
    • Our people are empowered to, and are recognised for, delivering against our strategic objectives and being clientcentric in everything that they do.
    • Our people make the most of every opportunity to embrace new ways of working and learn new skills to achieve their full potential.

    How we measure progress

    line with global best practice, we use an employee net promoter score (eNPS) as an indicator of how likely an employee is to recommend the group as a good place to work. The annual employee engagement survey is conducted across the group.

    How we measure progress

    eNPS: calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. This value can range from -100 (if every employee is a detractor) to +100 (if every employee is a promoter). Although the eNPS score measures the distribution of promoters, insights gained from the responses of detractors and passives are also assessed for further action.

    Employee turnover: measures the percentage of employees who left our employ during the year.

    Employment equity: measures the representation of black people in management levels in South Africa.

    How we performed

    eNPS: an improvement in eNPS to +23, up from +14 in 2017, is a strong indication that more employees are willing to recommend Standard Bank as a great place to work, with positive movement in the responses to all the survey questions. 62% of permanent employees across all our geographies participated in this year’s survey (2017: 56%).

    Employee turnover: overall and voluntary employee turnover was favourable (declined year-on-year) while voluntary regrettable turnover remained stable. Our overall and voluntary turnover remains well below the global financial industry benchmarks1 set in 2017 of 14.4% and 9.9% respectively.

    Employment equity (South Africa): we continue to make steady progress in increasing the representation of black people at all management levels, and have achieved a notable increase in top management representation.

    2017: +14
    2017: 8.8
    2017: 2.3
    2017: 5.5
    2017: 4.3
    2017: 34.1
    2017: 43.1
    2017: 69.5
    2017: 87.5
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    • Access to career advancement opportunities.
    • Creating an environment where our employees are engaged and take care of their wellbeing.
    • Reskilling employees to meet demands of rapidly evolving industry, with implications for job redundancy.
    • Diversity and inclusion.
    • Accelerating the necessary shifts in the demography of senior and top management.

    Raised by:

    Our people.

    Our People icon
    • Diversity and inclusion (with a particular focus on gender equity).
    • Transformation in South Africa.
    • Impact of digitisation and automation on workforce requirements.
    • Build and retain local skills and capabilities in countries of operation.



    47 419


    2017: 48 322

    2016: 48 622

    4 728


    2017: 5 725

    2016: 5 726


    Tenure Breakdown graph


    32 162


    2017: 32 876

    2016: 33 332

    14 618


    2017: 14 831

    2016: 14 693



    2017: 615

    2016: 597


    • In South Africa, we won the LinkedIn Best Employer Brand Award 2018 in the category of 500+ employees, and in Nigeria we won five awards at the 2018 HR People Magazine Awards, which included Outstanding Employee Engagement Strategy and Employer of Choice in the large corporate category.
    • We won Employer of Choice in the South African Graduate Employers Association Retail and Commercial Banking category for the tenth consecutive year and improved our ranking as the Most Aspirational Employer in the South African Graduate Market to third position.


    Our focus is on the entire workplace ecosystem, driven by the personal needs and expectations of existing and prospective employees, technological advancements and broader societal and economic trends. A shift in culture and mindset to new ways of working is underway for people to truly embrace a constantly evolving and highly competitive world of work.

    A multi-generational workforce, coupled with trends like accelerating digital advancements, predictive analytics and the introduction of robotics, AI and automation are impacting the future shape and skill sets of the workforce, prompting the reshaping of the employee experience in the group in a deliberate way.

    The human capital strategy supports the group’s three key focus areas with our performance management and reward practices aligned to focused delivery against these areas, measured by the strategic value drivers. This alignment ensures that we recognise and reward the contribution of our people accordingly.

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    Client centricity

    Our people management practices are continually being aligned to ensure that our people are equipped with the right skills and knowledge to best serve the needs of our clients.

    Digitisation Icon


    We are ensuring that our people have access to user-friendly digital solutions ranging from self-service capabilities to people management solutions enabled through integrated global systems. Initiatives are underway across the group to introduce digital tools that will improve workplace productivity and employee access to connectivity and collaboration mechanisms. Tailored skills development programmes ensure the future readiness of employees for new roles in line with digital capability requirements.

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    Integrated group

    To enable our people to deliver value to our clients in an integrated way, a range of culture programmes and operating model alignment initiatives have been introduced to support the required behavioural shifts and ensure that we have the right people and capabilities in place to achieve integration. We deploy new ways of working to ensure multidisciplinary, agile teams can respond rapidly to changing client and business demands.

    Attracting and retaining deeply committed people with the right skills and capabilities in competitive environments: ensuring that we have the right people to deliver value to our clients, particularly given that fierce competition for highly specialised skills is intensifying.

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    Enabling our people to be agile and adaptive to remain relevant in a rapidly evolving and increasingly digital environment: encouraging and supporting employees to embrace new ways of working and develop new skills to ensure their future employability and ‘employagility’ as digitisation matures and new services and solutions are introduced to deliver a seamless client experience.

    Leveraging diversity and ensuring local market expertise: accelerating employment equity in South Africa and increasing the representation of women at executive level in all countries of operation to leverage diverse thinking that stimulates innovation so that we deliver client-centric solutions.

    Creating an environment in which our people are engaged and enabled to take care of their wellbeing: what our employees think and how they feel about working at Standard Bank directly affects client satisfaction and the delivery of the group’s strategy. It is therefore incumbent on us to deliver a culture, working environment and value proposition that is compelling to our employees.

    Enhancing the employee experience Icon

    Enhancing the employee experience

    Challanges addressed
    key priorities
    • Deliver consistent employee experiences that resonate with our people and enables the business to thrive.
    • Ensure that our employees are deeply connected with our purpose and place the client at the centre of everything they do.
    • Listen to our employees and enable them to share their insights in real-time to help co-create a conducive work environment.
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    ACHIEVED IN 2018
    • Piloting the employee journey philosophy from employee induction to retirement.
    • Engaged with employees on their ideas and feedback through multiple channels:
      Annual employee engagement survey to benchmark key engagement drivers and inform business strategies and people plans. New online dashboards provide managers and employees with a view of their business and personal engagement scores relative to the group’s average performance.
      11 bespoke surveys based on business demand to obtain input from their employees on strategic topics.
      Design thinking workshops to conceptualise and test employee experience solutions.
      Regular face-to-face engagement sessions during townhall sessions, conferences and other platforms.
    • Used our rich data repository of survey results and insights – which enables more advanced analytics and modelling – to better understand the mindsets and views of specific employee segments to inform our people plans.
    • Continued to provide wellbeing services to employees across the group, helping them to manage their mental and physical wellbeing and build resilience in a rapidly changing socioeconomic and operating environment.
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    • Prioritise and pilot critical employee journeys.
    • Ensure a more integrated and personalised employee approach to enhance experiences across different employee segments.
    • Design and implement a people promise proposition.
    • Involve employees in the design of people-centric solutions.
    • Provide access to multiple channels for employees to share their views and ideas.
    • Continue to promote personal wellbeing.

    Engagement levels

    In our annual employee engagement survey, eNPS (‘I would recommend Standard Bank as a good place to work’) moved from +14 to +23, and the emotional promoter score (‘how I feel about working for Standard Bank’) rose to +58 from +47.

    Employees showed a strong connection to our purpose and brand.

    Employee Engagement Icon
    96% of respondents are willing to go the extra mile to make Standard Bank Group successful.
    94% understand their contribution to the broader Standard Bank Group purpose.
    90% are proud to be associated with Standard Bank.
    Accelerate the digitisation of reliable human capital Icon

    Accelerate the digitisation of reliable human capital services that are convenient for our people

    Challanges addressed
    key priorities
    • Provide access to advanced technology and tools that support the future world of work and fulfil the promises we make to our clients.
    • Empower our employees and managers to conduct routine human capital transactional activities through self-service functionality.
    • Leverage employee insights and data to inform people plans and drive innovative changes.
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    ACHIEVED IN 2018
    • Embedded and optimised integrated people management and transactional systems
    • Rolled out the human capital portal to additional countries and aligned these to the new Standard Bank Hub.
    • Developed, tested and implemented human capital digital solutions, including:
      Experimental learning solutions such as micro-learning platforms providing employees with instant access to learning opportunities.
      Employee mobile app in South Africa enabling employees to access human capital transactional services seamlessly using mobile devices.
      Innovative digital campaigns to reach and attract employees from specific market segments.
    • Tested new interviewing technology as part of a broader AI strategy to improve time to hire and the candidate experience of our recruitment process.
    • Introduced digital tools to improve the productivity and connectivity of our employees.
    • Used people data analytics to inform people strategies.
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    • Experiment with advanced predictive analytics to support improved proactive decision-making.
    • Build a workforce planning capability able to respond to the pace and maturity of the group’s digitisation strategy.
    • Implement solutions to enhance the digital user experience for employees.
    • Design and test solutions to further enhance the digital workplace for our people.
    Accelerate access to relevant and progressive learning oppertunities Icon

    Accelerate access to relevant and progressive learning opportunities to embrace the evolving world of work

    Challanges addressed
    key priorities
    • Encourage a culture of continuous learning through access to ‘relevant, anytime, anywhere’ learning experiences.
    • Implement learning solutions that develop the future skills and capability we need.
    • Provide access to accredited and recognised learning, contributing to the future employability of our people.
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    ACHIEVED IN 2018
    • Delivered flexible digital learning solutions, supporting the growth of our employees in their current role and enabling them to learn new skills. This included experimenting with tailored micro-learning digital solutions for learning priorities in specific areas.
    • Identified capabilities that will be in high demand in the future and implemented fit-for-purpose interventions to accelerate skills development in these areas.
    • Delivered a range of training programmes around client service delivery.
    • Provided bursaries to employees to advance their specialist skills.
    • Experimented with tailored offerings to fast track mid-career development.
    • Tested a potential solution in which retired executives are able to contribute to the group through coaching talent.
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    • Continue to invest in innovative learning solutions to bring relevant learning to our people at the right time and place.
    • Optimise the use of coaching and mentoring to assist employee growth and transition to new ways of working.
    • Design and implement career management journeys that empower employees to take charge of their careers.
    Reward and Celebrate outcomes linked to superior client experience Icon

    Reward and celebrate outcomes and behaviours linked to superior client experience and commercial success

    Challanges addressed
    key priorities
    • Embed fit-for-purpose performance management to drive a high-performance culture.
    • Develop reward and recognition practices that incentivise the right behaviours and place the best interests of the client first.
    • Continue to enhance our employee benefits to support a competitive employee value proposition.
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    ACHIEVED IN 2018
    • Focused on embedding new performance practices that empower line managers to serve as performance coaches and have regular coaching conversations.
    • Initiated processes to ensure reward practices and recognition schemes are designed to support the delivery of our three focus areas and new ways of working.
    • Recognised and celebrated team and individual contributions through our monthly Beyond Excellence and Mark of Excellence recognition programmes.
    • Piloted and implemented new benefits in South Africa and focused on the broader rollout of certain benefits in Africa Regions based on commercial viability.
    • Designed and tested a total reward and benefits digital platform for implementation in six countries in phase one.
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    • Launch new employee reward and benefits digital platform to the rest of our operations.
    • Maintain focus on driving performance management practices that enhance delivery and empowers our people to improve and grow through ongoing performance coaching conversations.
    • Align reward practices to new performance and accountability metrics, to support delivery of key focus areas.
    • Continue to implement new benefit offerings for our people.
    • Won the South African Reward Association’s 2018 award for our remuneration report. The award recognises our compliance with the King IV principles on remuneration philosophy and its application.

    Skills development facts

    Responses in the annual employee survey indicate that while most employees are satisfied with their opportunities for career growth and skills development, there is scope for improvement.

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    81% believe they have opportunities for development.

    71% have opportunities to grow and advance their careers.

    We invested R931 million (2017: R924 million) in skills development.

    Tailored in-country employee bursary schemes help employees develop their professional skills. For example, bursaries for underand post-graduate studies were provided to 1 933 employees across Standard Bank.

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    Employees are embracing opportunities to learn via our online training libraries. Our world-class digital libraries provided employees with access to almost 7 000 online training courses and more than 200 000 learning videos.

    Ensuring the appropriate growth and mobility of diverse talent across our business Icon

    Ensuring the appropriate growth and mobility of diverse talent across our business

    Challanges addressed
    key priorities
    • Deliberate and accelerated development of a diverse talent pipeline.
    • Deepen the local leadership pipeline across operations to drive a deep understanding of local markets and client needs.
    • Provide opportunities for young people to grow and thrive, and build a strong talent pipeline for the future.
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    ACHIEVED IN 2018
    • Made steady progress in building depth in our local talent pools.
    • Enabled our people to take on new career opportunities within the group through internal transfers and promotions.
    • Facilitated international assignments and secondments to expose employees to specialised skills and new markets.
    • Maintained our focus on progressing women into senior roles through bespoke development interventions.
    • Delivered talent development initiatives across business lines and corporate functions.
    • Improved cross-functional succession planning through initiatives that determine successor readiness.
    • Introduced an enhanced framework to standardise assessments for specific employee segments to enable informed talent acquisition and talent development practices.
    • Ongoing investment in young talent through student bursaries, scholarships and workplace experience opportunities delivered through our learnership, internship and graduate programmes.
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    • Redefine our approach to talent management, ensuring practices that support clearly defined career experience journeys and a focus on building future-fit capabilities.
    • Design and implement an accelerated competency framework to assess employees and provide them with the development needed to deliver the group’s strategy.
    • Extend the employee exchange programme with ICBC to selected countries in Africa Regions.
    • Ensuring succession depth at senior executive level and in highly specialised roles.
    • Accelerating the transformation of the demography at top and senior management levels to better reflect the communities within which we operate.

    Initiatives to develop our young talent pools to ensure diverse and skilled talent pipelines include:

    • Graduate programmes: 194 graduates in South Africa participated in our programmes, of which 91% were black and 43% were women. In Africa Regions, 49 graduates participated, of which 43% were women.
    • Learnerships and internships: In 2018, we enrolled 1 016 unemployed people on learnerships and internship programmes, of which 815 were in South Africa and 201 in Africa Regions. A further 1 485 employees participated in learnership programmes to build scarce, critical skills in financial advisory and intermediary services, data analytics, IT, auditing and finance.
    • Internal mobility: 60% of hiring activity in South Africa in 2018 comprised internal promotions and transfers.
    • Flagship employee exchange programme with ICBC: Since inception, 28 assignees have participated in short-term assignments which build the skills of local talent and facilitate a stronger Africa-China relationship through the exchange of knowledge, ideas and skills. In 2018, eight Standard Bank employees commenced assignments in China and four ICBC employees joined Standard Bank in Johannesburg.
    Enabling leadership, a conducive culture and new ways of working to deliver the group’s aspirations Icon

    Enabling leadership, a conducive culture and new ways of working to deliver the group’s aspirations

    Challanges addressed
    key priorities
    • Clearly understand what leadership attributes and competencies are required in the future.
    • Develop our leaders to be accountable role models and catalysts for change.
    • Build a strong client-focused culture supported by clearly defined behaviours.
    • Shape the ideal organisational structure and introduce new ways of working to empower our employees to serve the needs of our clients.
    • Create an inclusive work environment.
    • Ensure consistent and fair employment practices that are aligned to regulatory requirements.
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    ACHIEVED IN 2018
    • Finalised our unique Standard Bank Leadership Identity, clearly defining specific characteristics and practices that leaders need to embrace.
    • Delivered a suite of management and leadership development programmes to employees across the group and prioritised women for accelerated development to strengthen our leadership pipeline.
    • Participation by senior leadership team members in global international leadership programmes.
    • Initiated culture programmes to test fit-for-purpose methodologies that drive behavioural shifts in line with our three critical behaviours and local business operating context.
    • Introduced restructuring and job architecture initiatives to build new capabilities, improve client centricity and deliver productivity and efficiency gains.
    • Tested and deployed new ways of working to develop multidisciplinary, agile teams to rapidly respond to changing client and business demands across our operations.
    • Deployed design thinking methodologies across the group to ensure ongoing ideation and solutioning, underpinned by our three focus areas.
    • Launched a groupwide communication campaign to encourage employees to become aware of their own unconscious bias. A series of critical conversations took place in South Africa to stimulate debate on topics of social relevance.
    • Educated employees on the group’s zero tolerance stance, policies and procedures relating to discrimination and sexual harassment, to safeguard fair workplace practices where all employee’s rights and dignity are respected.
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    • Roll out of a tailored leadership development solution to executive leadership across the group in 2019.
    • Incorporate the leadership identity in all management and leadership programmes and use it to inform key human capital practices.
    • Embed culture programmes and ensure meaningful impact.
    • Ongoing focus on delivering work design in line with future capability and operating model requirements.
    • Rolling out solutions that support more agile teams and improved ways of working.
    • Educate line managers and employees to understand and apply fair workplace practices.
    • 5 939 employees representing all business areas and geographies participated in management and leadership development programmes.
    • 425 women attended customised development programmes across the group.
    Gender Quality Icon
    Group chief executive, Sim Tshabalala, became a UN Women HeForShe Thematic Champion. The movement invites all people to stand together to create a gender equal world. The group has publicly committed to gender targets to improve the representation of women on the board and in executive positions.

    Gender targets

    Women on Board:
    33% by 2021
    Women in executive positions across the group:
    40% by 2023
    Women chief executives in the Africa Regions:
    20% by 2021
    Women in executive positions in South Africa:
    40% by 2021