We understand that to become the leading financial services organisation in, for and across Africa, we must contribute to the long-term prosperity of the communities and countries in which we operate, by facilitating inclusive economic growth and social development.
To do this effectively we must ensure our relevance to social needs and our capacity to help advance national objectives. Our vision commits us to contributing to socioeconomic development in a way that is consistent with the nature and size of our operations in the countries we serve.
Standard Bank aims to ensure that all our employees feel valued and included, and that diversity is welcomed as a business advantage. In South Africa, for example, our employee diversity and inclusion forums meet regularly, to ensure that both employees and management engage on key diversity and inclusion challenges and opportunities. The forums underpin our commitment to achieving a broad and united approach to diversity and inclusion.
Prism, a forum for LGBT+ employees and allies, was launched in South Africa in 2017. It provides support and guidance to line management and employees on understanding sexual orientation in the workplace and strives to create a working environment that encourages a culture of respect and equality.
In 2018, we ran an internal communications campaign across Standard Bank to encourage greater awareness of unconscious bias and appreciation of diversity. Many employees have undergone unconscious bias training.
Promoting gender equality
We’re not yet where we want to be in terms of gender parity at executive and senior management level, and we’re actively working toward increasing the representation of women at these levels.
Reflective of this commitment, our Group CE Sim Tshabalala became one of UN Women’s HeForShe Thematic Champions in 2018. HeForShe is rooted in the understanding that gender equality will only be achieved with the involvement of men. The movement invites all people to stand together to create a gender-equal world. Sim stands alongside other leaders such as Dr Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group, & the presidents of Ghana, Rwanda and Malawi.
|Gender equality in Standard Bank Group|
|Number of women in the bank||2018||2017||2016|
|Number of men in the bank||27 387||27 915||28 128|
|Number of men in the bank||20 032||20 407||20 494|
|Percentage of women in Standard Bank (%)||57.8||57.8||57.9|
|Women in executive management positions (%)||32.2||31.5||30.4|
|Women in senior management positions (%)||39.4||38.2||37.5|
|Women in middle management positions (%)||44.9||44.8||45.0|
|Women in junior management positions (%)||50.9||50.9||51.2|
Wealth International sponsored ‘The Big Debate’ in October, held in London’s City Hall. The panel discussion, entitled ‘Closing the Gap: How can gender equality be achieved in Africa?’ covered key issues facing women in Africa and highlighted positive changes currently taking place.
One of the ways in which we have sought to increase the number of women in senior management and executive positions has been through delivery of a variety of women’s leadership and development programmes. These include programmes at group level, such as CIB Ignite, designed to grow woman in upper middle and senior management, our Female Progression Programme, which targets women with the potential to assume chief executive positions, and group IT’s Women as Leaders programme, as well as numerous programmes implemented at country level.
During 2018 we conducted a review of these programmes and other initiatives across Standard Bank to assess the range of programmes offered, and their impact. Our review demonstrated that we have invested significantly in women’s development programmes and have made a clear commitment to driving the development and advancement of women across the group. We believe, however, that we can enhance the impact of the programmes by involving men more deliberately. We must also do more to deliver programmes that target broader audiences (not country or business area specific) to support the integration, expand networks and build relationships across the group.
Going forward, we recognise that to increase the impact of these programmes, we need a deeper understanding of the various barriers to advancement of women within Standard Bank, and how these differ across business area, region and country, to inform the design of impactful interventions. We’ll be taking this forward in 2019.
At the same time, we recognise that fairness is not about treating everyone the same, but about treating people in a way which enables them to achieve their full potential. In line with the UN HeforShe ethos, we aim to create an inclusive culture, and to engage men and women to interrogate and address the systemic and societal constraints that many women face. This includes making it easier for all employees, men and women, to manage the often-conflicting demands of work and home life, making it easier for women to integrate back into their positions after maternity leave, and offering opportunities for employees to take sabbaticals and extended leave periods when certain conditions are met.
Discrimination and harassment
While we have robust anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies in place, we are unfortunately not able to eliminate such instances entirely.
Our aim is to minimise incidents of discrimination and harassment, to ensure that all cases are promptly and justly handled, and that victims of abuse are supported. Standard Bank’s board and the social and ethics committee devoted considerable attention to these issues during 2018, assessing the robustness of Standard Bank’s grievance and disciplinary processes in relation to harassment and discrimination, whether the environment empowers employees to raise complaints, and whether hearings are fair and just.
After reviewing our existing policies and alignment to best practice, we revised and enhanced our group policies on harassment, sexual harassment and discrimination. These policies establish non-negotiable principles and standards on these issues, while allowing for in-country adaptations to dealing with complaints.
In 2018, we ran an internal communication campaign reiterating our zero-tolerance approach to harassment and discrimination. We encourage victims to come forward and commit that all complaints will be taken seriously, that the victim will be provided with the necessary support, and will in no way be prejudiced or disadvantaged as a result of having laid a bona fide complaint.
We also distributed a sexual harassment survey to a sample of employees across Standard Bank. This survey revealed that the majority of those sampled had not personally experienced sexual harassment in the preceding 12 month period. Most respondents were aware of our harassment policy and agreed that Standard Bank does not tolerate sexual harassment. The one area of concern that did emerge was the low level of reporting of potential incidents of sexual harassment. Going forward we need to strengthen awareness of the processes available to anyone who may experience sexual harassment.