En­abling em­ploy­ees to be their ex­cep­tional best: Old Mu­tual’s key to suc­cess

‘We are ex­tremely proud to be named the Num­ber One Top Em­ployer in South Africa and in Ghana’

Mail & Guardian - - Top Employers -

‘Old Mu­tual has a legacy of iconic lead­ers who have con­trib­uted to build­ing who we are to­day,” says Anisha Ar­chary, Hu­man Re­sources di­rec­tor at Old Mu­tual Emerg­ing Mar­kets.

Es­tab­lished in 1845 in South Africa, the Old Mu­tual Emerg­ing Mar­kets busi­ness is priv­i­leged to have 11 mil­lion cus­tomers and over 30 000 em­ploy­ees, spread across 18 coun­tries in Africa, China and Latin Amer­ica. To over­come the com­plex­ity pre­sented by its broad ge­o­graph­i­cal spread, size and di­verse en­vi­ron­ments, Old Mu­tual’s Peo­ple strat­egy fo­cuses on creat­ing best in class peo­ple prac­tices across its op­er­a­tions to en­sure dis­tinc­tive con­sis­tency.

“We set out eight years ago to take Hu­man Re­sources out of the bunker and into the board­room. Each year, we built on the feed­back re­ceived from the Top Em­ploy­ers bench­mark­ing information, to strengthen and el­e­vate our per­for­mance. In ad­di­tion, we are de­lighted to be the In­dus­try Leader in Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices and In­sur­ance for the sev­enth con­sec­u­tive year. All 13 op­er­a­tions on our con­ti­nent have achieved cer­ti­fi­ca­tion,” says Ar­chary.

This achieve­ment comes at a time when Old Mu­tual Emerg­ing Mar­kets is em­bark­ing on an ex­cit­ing jour­ney to pre­pare for its in­de­pen­dent fu­ture next year, which en­tails a pri­mary list­ing on the Jo­han­nes­burg Stock Ex­change.

It has taken a well-or­ches­trated plan to en­sure this achieve­ment. The dial shifters have been (1) ef­fec­tive use of HR an­a­lyt­ics; (2) ac­tive em­ployee par­tic­i­pa­tion; (3) dig­i­tal en­able­ment; and (4) build­ing an HR ca­pa­bil­ity that is a cat­a­lyst for change in the busi­ness. “Our suc­cess is un­der­pinned by a strong part­ner­ship be­tween busi­ness and HR lead­er­ship, com­mit­ted to achiev­ing busi­ness re­sults through our peo­ple,” says Ar­chary.

Ef­fec­tive use of HR an­a­lyt­ics

Over the past years, Old Mu­tual has shaped an in­te­grated Em­ployee Value Propo­si­tion fo­cused on the crit­i­cal pil­lars of cul­ture, lead­er­ship, ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties in a top multi­na­tional com­pany and fair re­ward and recog­ni­tion.

“It is es­sen­tial that we en­gage our em­ploy­ees on what mat­ters most to them. We deep dive spe­cific em­ployee group­ings and de­velop dif­fer­en­ti­ated of­fer­ings based on their feed­back. For ex­am­ple, with our mil­len­nial em­ploy­ees, we rec­og­nized that they value ‘ex­pe­ri­ence hop­ping’ rather than ‘job hop­ping’, choice of ben­e­fits, ac­cess to in­spi­ra­tional lead­er­ship and work­ing for an or­gan­i­sa­tion that makes a dif­fer­ence. Pur­pose­ful Fri­days was in­tro­duced to en­cour­age ev­ery­one to con­trib­ute to a theme for the month, such as sup­port for Read to Rise and Food For­ward SA.”

“Depth of fe­male suc­ces­sion for key roles is an­other chal­lenge we iden­ti­fied. Our data showed a high turnover of women within their first year of re­turn­ing from ma­ter­nity leave. We re­searched key re­ten­tion driv­ers and in­tro­duced the ‘MyPar­ent­ing pro­gramme’ to sup­port moth­ers in their dual roles in so­ci­ety. A pro­gramme for line man­agers on rein­te­grat­ing new moth­ers into the work­place was also im­ple­mented. Since the launch of this pro­gramme, the rein­te­gra­tion ex­pe­ri­ence of re­turn­ing moth­ers has im­proved by over 30%,” she ex­plains.

Old Mu­tual’s pre-re­tiree pro­gramme is yet an­other of­fer­ing to as­sist em­ploy­ees within 10 years of re­tire­ment, to pre­pare for their next chap­ter. This pro­gramme cov­ers ar­eas such as readi­ness as­sess­ments, fi­nan­cial work­shops, tran­si­tion­ing roles and how to leave a last­ing legacy in the busi­ness.

“Fun­da­men­tal to our suc­cess has been the im­por­tance of thinking in an in­te­grated way, fo­cus­ing on a seg­mented view of our em­ploy­ees, matched with multi-faceted de­liv­ery,” Ar­chary says.

Ac­tive em­ployee par­tic­i­pa­tion

A great source of pride for Old Mu­tual is the en­vi­ron­ment it has cul­ti­vated to pro­mote the holis­tic well­be­ing of em­ploy­ees. “Our ‘We Care’ Well­ness Pro­gramme is our sig­na­ture of­fer­ing built on the foun­da­tions of fi­nan­cial, phys­i­cal, emo­tional and psy­cho­log­i­cal well­be­ing. Pur­pose­ful Liv­ing is an­other core tenet of the pro­gramme,” she says.

“In Au­gust this year, we hosted a Fes­ti­val of Well­ness, a week-long pro­gramme to en­cour­age em­ploy­ees to kick-start their jour­ney to a health­ier life­style. Over 2 000 em­ploy­ees par­tic­i­pated in ses­sions that in­cluded yoga, Zumba, mind­ful­ness and work­shops with ex­pert talks on well­be­ing.”

A cru­cial as­pect of well­ness is fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion. “Our ‘On the Money’ and ‘Moneyver­sity’ pro­grammes al­low em­ploy­ees easy ac­cess to our fi­nan­cial of­fer­ings. Fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion and fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion are key to our Re­spon­si­ble Busi­ness com­mit­ment,” says Ar­chary.

Dig­i­tal en­able­ment

Aided by the power of ever-evolv­ing tech­nol­ogy, Old Mu­tual has cre­ated spa­ces that pro­mote col­lab­o­ra­tion, in­no­va­tion and cre­ativ­ity. Em­ploy­ees are kept up­dated on the lat­est dig­i­tal ad­vance­ments in ar­eas such as the Ge­nius Hub and Dig­i­tal Garage. The Ge­nius Hub is a place where em­ploy­ees meet and learn about Old Mu­tual’s dig­i­tal fu­ture and where cut­tingedge propo­si­tions are show­cased. Em­ploy­ees are able to ex­pe­ri­ence live demos and in­ter­act with cus­tomer so­lu­tions long be­fore they are launched to the mar­ket.

This year, Old Mu­tual in­tro­duced a mo­bile so­lu­tion for em­ploy­ees. Con­nect­ing the Old Mu­tual Way pro­vides em­ploy­ees and lead­ers with ac­cess to information on man­ag­ing per­for­mance and plan­ning their ca­reers, as well as op­por­tu­ni­ties to par­tic­i­pate in en­gage­ment sur­veys.

Build­ing HR ca­pa­bil­ity as a cat­a­lyst for change

“A ma­jor philo­soph­i­cal shift that HR is driv­ing is en­sur­ing that em­ploy­ees take equal ac­count­abil­ity for their ca­reer to un­lock the great­ness within them,” says Ar­chary.

“Transforming the HR ca­pa­bil­ity has re­quired a re­lent­less fo­cus on get­ting the ba­sics right, while work­ing on be­ing a cat­a­lyst for change. Break­ing down si­los be­tween the cen­tres of best prac­tice and HR busi­ness part­ners across our ge­o­graph­i­cally di­verse busi­ness has been a ma­jor achieve­ment.

“Ev­ery­thing we do at Old Mu­tual is founded on our core pur­pose of cham­pi­oning pos­i­tive fu­tures every day. We truly be­lieve that rais­ing HR’s strate­gic con­tri­bu­tion to the busi­ness and our em­ploy­ees is a ‘jour­ney with­out end’. We at Old Mu­tual re­main com­mit­ted to con­tin­u­ing on this path. We are both de­lighted and hum­bled by this recog­ni­tion of be­ing South Africa’s num­ber one Top Em­ployer,” Ar­chary con­cludes.

“Fun­da­men­tal to our suc­cess has been the im­por­tance of thinking in an in­te­grated way, fo­cus­ing on a seg­mented view of our em­ploy­ees, matched with multi-faceted de­liv­ery.”

Anisha Ar­chary, Hu­man Re­sources di­rec­tor at Old Mu­tual Emerg­ing Mar­kets. Photo: Supplied

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