Employee engagement

Ensuring a motivated and engaged workforce.

Absa’s stance

Integral to the One Absa strategy, the Group has identified that, to meet its goal of being truly customer-centred in everything that it does, it must be resourced with talented, energised and passionate people. Absa aims to achieve its ambition of becoming a more people-centred organisation, by focusing on fostering healthy and mutually beneficial relationships with all its employees.

2010 review

Absa undertakes an employee opinion survey (EOS) on an annual basis to track progress on employee engagement, performance support and leadership. In 2010, 91% of employees responded to the survey. Absa's results have shown significant improvements on seven of the 13 trend categories.

During leadership engagement sessions in 2009, employees shared the challenges that were top-of-mind for them. A large amount of effort was invested in addressing those challenges through a number of initiatives: 
» Transformation: The Group has made good progress in the achievement of employment equity targets during 2010, with all categories showing improvement. Absa believes strongly in the participation and engagement of employees at all levels and there are several transformation forums. 
» Reward: A new out-of-cycle and promotions policy was introduced to address concerns raised about promotions without a salary increase. The existing reward and recognition programmes are being reviewed to deliver a more integrated framework for 2011. 
» Learning and development: For 2010, Absa spent R372 million on learning activities, of which R284 million was spent on historically disadvantaged groups. This equates to 3,0% of leviable payroll spend. 
» Learnerships: In total, 1 850 learners were provided an opportunity to gain skills by working at Absa, of which 115 are currently employed full-time by the Group. Absa also partnered with the Banking Sector Education and Training Authority (BankSeta) to offer learnerships to previously disadvantaged school leavers and unemployed graduates. 
» Talent management: A new talent management system was introduced to identify and develop top talent within the organisation for more effective succession planning. An increase in internal promotions and transfers compared to external appointments was evident from 2009 (28%), with 36% of appointments during 2010 from the ranks of existing Absa talent. 
» Recruitment: Innovative channels for recruiting external candidates were introduced in 2010 to supplement the use of recruitment agencies. 
Absa continues to foster strong relationships with relevant role players such as the employee union, SASBO, to ensure that employees' interests are respected and protected. Extensive consultation with SASBO takes place regularly to facilitate constructive engagement on employee related matters.

Absa has a comprehensive wellness programme called 'Live Well Work Well' to encourage employees to choose healthier, more balanced lifestyles. In 2010, the overall wellness engagement rate notably increased. A knowledge, attitude and perception survey was conducted in 2010 to obtain a better understanding of employees' knowledge, attitudes and perceptions on issues such as HIV counselling and testing, chronic diseases and other wellness matters. The findings will be used to inform the implementation of a comprehensive Absa HIV counselling and testing (HCT) and chronic disease management campaign during 2011.

Focus for 2011

Significant effort was placed on establishing a truly sustainable employee engagement strategy in 2010. The focus for 2011 will be to embed the activities undertaken in 2010 and launch a number of significant initiatives. Continuing progress will be made in: 
» further delivering on targets as set by the Department of Labour, Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) and Department of Trade and Industry CoGP requirements, particularly at middle and senior management levels; 
» introducing a new approach to talent management, providing skills development opportunities, stretch assignments and cross-cluster rotation. Formal mentoring, coaching and leadership development programmes will receive attention as well; and 
» implementing a revised wellness programme, as informed by employees’ opinions gathered in the 2010 employee survey. 

Further reading


» Improved participation in the 2010 employee opinion survey.
» Reduced employee turnover rate.
» Met the CoGP target for training spend on historically disadvantaged individuals.
» 1 850 learners participated in Absa's learnership programme during 2010.
» More than R20 million invested in bursaries for employees to further their education.

Key performance indicators

    2010 2009
Total permanent and non-permanent employees (number)   43 239   42 796
» Total South African permanent and non-permanent employees1 (number)   39 782A   39 531
» Total permanent employees (number)   36 770   36 150
» Percentage of employees covered by collective bargaining agreements2 (%)   56,0   58,0
» Percentage of employees that are disabled (%)   1,04   0,92
» Percentage of female employees3 (%)   65,2   65,5
» Percentage of African, Coloured and Indian employees3 (%)    64,2   61,7
Employee opinion survey (EOS) participation (%)   91   82
» EOS commitment score (%)   75   70
» EOS perception of business unit leadership (%)   61   61
Permanent employee turnover rate for South Africa4 (%)    10,1A   12,3
Internal promotions and transfers (%)   36   28
Absenteeism rate (%)   1,8   1,8
Grievances as a percentage of the total employee base (%)   0,6   0,9
Total South African training spend5 (Rm)   372A   282
Disabling frequency injury rate (%)   0,48   0,49
1 Number of employees includes permanent and temporary employees legally employed and paid by Absa payroll including ‘regular’ contracts; interns; graduates; specialists and brokers (excluding pension brokers). It covers operational and non-operational full-time, part-time, two thirds and commission paid employees. It also includes contingency workforce, which is all agency, contractors and selfemployed employees paid via a third party for services rendered. The number excludes BBM, NBC and WFS.
2 Excludes managerial positions.
3 Excludes non-permanent employees WFS, NBC and BBM.
4 Number of terminations as a percentage of the average permanent headcount in South Africa (excluding WFS).
 5 Training spend is all verifiable and reportable spend on learning and skills programmes including accredited and non-accredited training; bursaries; learnership allowance; related travel; an employee matric equivalency programme and interventions focused on employees with disabilities.