The value of investing in your people

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At NAB, we’re building a culture that’s centred around our customers and key to this is having the right people with the right skills. This is a critical element in our goal to becoming Australia and New Zealand’s most respected bank and something investors increasingly look at when analysing business performance.

One of NAB’s highest assessed categories in the 2015 Dow Jones Sustainability Index was how it invests in its people and their growth and this is something NAB’s Executive General Manager People Louise Harvey-Wills is proud of.

 

Q: How do you create an enviable workplace and attract the right people and reward them once they’re with you?

Louise Harvey-Wills: NAB makes such a significant investment in its people and is focused on being an employer of choice, attracting and retaining great people. We’re passionate about creating value and exceeding our customers’ expectations and constantly striving to redefine our standards of excellence.

We invest heavily in our people so that they can fulfil their potential and have an enriching career and we benefit from their leadership, skills and experience.

We also recognise that it is important that both men and women can access the appropriate support outside of work, whilst also having challenging and fulfilling careers. There is no such thing as work-life balance, just life.

Flexible working options are a fundamental part of the way we do business and giving our employees choices to balance their needs; we have working options, salary averaging options, flexibility in when and how leave is taken, job sharing, compressed working weeks, part-time work, salary averaging options and working from home.

This year we implemented changes to our parental leave, allowing parents of any gender to take 12-weeks of paid leave within the first 12 months of their child’s life. We continue to offer 40 weeks of superannuation contributions during unpaid leave and have instituted a ‘keeping in touch’ newsletter to ensure our people stay connected whilst on extended leave should they wish to be informed of things that are happening in their workplace whilst they’re away.

 

Q: How do you align your investment in your people with your business strategy and values?

LHW: We’re creating a workplace where our people feel confident in being able to drive their own careers and professional development. Our employees understand that NAB cares about their overall wellbeing and that flows through to better returns for our customers, higher levels of engagement, and improved productivity. We have invested in programs and initiatives to create a high-performing, customer-centric workforce, strongly aligned to our organisational values.

Our workplace values are important to our culture and are a centrepiece in our performance management system. Our people are rewarded for how they live by those values every day.

Investing in our people and their development is critical to the success of our strategy. We have a targeted learning curriculum, aligned to our values and the delivery of our strategy.

We bring this to life across the organisation via online learning, role specific training, leadership and professional development programs so our employees are engaged, confident and capable in their roles, can focus on delivering a great customer experience and builds their capability. In addition to formal training, employees build capability through coaching and mentoring, project experiences and have access to online learning portals to regularly refresh learning. There are also numerous development opportunities including secondments, role shadowing, stretch assignments and a dedicated employee job centre for internal job applications.

We also place an emphasis on embedding leadership skills in our people to drive workplace culture and performance. We have close to 3800 people leaders and they are provided targeted development. This includes an upfront ‘People Leader Fundamentals’ learning module and a virtual induction program for all new people leaders. Not only are our leaders getting targeted training, but we also work hard to ensure they have the right skills to support their people.

In 2014, we invested over $24 million in training, on average this equals 37 training hours per employee across the organisation, an 11-hour increase on the previous year.

 

Q: In bringing this to life, what impact have you noticed?

LHW: In 2015, we’ve had a strong focus on delivery of a consistent job-ready experience. These programs ensure that our bankers, customer advisers and support teams are more confident and capable in the first three months of their role.

We have a strong focus on easy to use and readily available training irrespective of time and geography – for example, scenario based online learning – and we are increasingly seeing a trend towards bite sized learning to fit busy schedules, meaning you get to practice what you’ve learnt between modules and improve as you go.

In addition to formal training, employees build capability through coaching and mentoring, project experiences and increasingly have access to online portals to regularly refresh learning. The use of innovative technology and informal learning spaces promotes new ways to learn, share knowledge and work collaboratively.

Preliminary results indicate a reduction in the attrition rates for new employees in the first six months in addition to improved performance and returns for our customers.

 

Q: Finally, how do you measure the effectiveness of what you’re doing and continually try to improve this?

LHW: Like any investment, we want to ensure our investment in our people is valued, having an impact and ultimately achieving the right returns and outcomes for our business. We track the effectiveness of our training programs through business outcomes (such as increased sales, reduced compliance costs and changes in employee engagement levels), direct participant feedback and observational coaching of our people.

From the top down, our employees develop individual development plans, focused on how NAB can help them develop their careers and have an eye on their own future, whilst the business benefits from their continued development and improved performance in delivering for our customers.

 

For more information about how NAB’s invests in its people, click here

 

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