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Doing More for Our Employees

Our approach to employees is the same as our approach to clients: we want to enable them to live their best possible lives. We recognise that our employees are in different life stages and that we employ a multi-generational workforce in different business units and geographies.

We have the brand, the capital and the positioning, but without the people, it’s nothing. This is a people’s business.

Ian Kirk, Sanlam Group Chief Executive

Key Performance Indicators

Total number of employees

103 662

Number of South African-based employees

20 120

Total headcount

82 999 for Sanlam Emerging Markets

Total headcount for non-South African-based

543 Sanlam Investment Group employees

% of black employees


% of female employees


% of male employees


Percentage turnover

17% in office employees

Number of new external appointments*

3 119

Number of advisers

5 368

% of total employees

1,52% with disabilities

We were recognised as a top employer in 2015, 2016, 2017 and again in 2018. Organisations that gain Top Employer certification are acknowledged to have demonstrated the highest standards of employee offerings in a forward-thinking human resources environment that leads the way in developing its people.

We were recognised as a top employer in 2015, 2016, 2017 and again in 2018. Organisations that gain Top Employer certification are acknowledged to have demonstrated the highest standards of employee offerings in a forward-thinking human resources environment that leads the way in developing its people.

How We Ensure We Take Proper Care of Our Employees

Our human resources (HR) function makes sure we work as one big team to align performance, behaviours and corporate culture. We foster collaboration and drive potential synergies between the clusters. ind out more about how our HR function takes care of our employees.

We Have Developed an Enhanced Employee Value Proposition

Our Employee Value Proposition is agile and fit for purpose and is built on our core values and an ethical culture. It consists of six themes:

We are committed to be as relevant today as we were almost 100 years ago. Over time we have built a reputation of a leading financial services company that can be trusted to act in the best interest of all stakeholders.

Balance is crucial to the well-being of our employees. We attempt to make life a little easier by offering flexible working hours, access to convenience services and the Sanlam Wellness programme.

We take leadership seriously. Through diverse initiatives, we invest in nurturing leaders who engage and empower, are open to new ideas, and are driven to create an environment in which our employees can excel.

Our Wealthsmiths™ culture is rooted in sincerity, respect and consideration for one another and for our extended communities. We are focused on doing things right and doing them together.

We reward exceptional performance and recognise excellence. To attract the best talent and secure continued high performance, we offer our employees more than just a market-related package.

There is always room for growth. In addition to contributing to South Africa’s economic growth, we are committed to the growth of our employees through various training and development opportunities.

Our Employee Value Proposition focus in 2018

In 2018, we focused on activating the growth pillar of our Employee Value Proposition and created plans to supplement each employee’s growth strategy. The plans encourage employees to tap into the intranet where we provide a variety of tools and applications for their personal development. Managers also have access to tools and resources to support their team members’ individual growth journeys.

Managing Human Resource Scarcity

Employees in key talent segments are stretched due to operational, regulatory and competitive challenges. Sourcing key talent to address human resource scarcity therefore remains challenging. To mitigate this risk, we are focused on improved talent attraction, employee engagement and better people practices to deliver an improved employee experience. Read more about how we are mitigating our strategic risks and leveraging opportunities.

Our 2018 Engagement Survey

In 2018, a Group-wide survey was completed by 38% of our employees. It assessed employee engagement, Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and our Employee Value Proposition. We used the Gallup Q12 statements, which provide a solid framework to assess and measure our employee engagement approach.

Read more

We Are Working Hard to Promote Employee Wellness

We recognise that a healthy work-life balance is crucial to maintaining the health and well-being of our employees. We create opportunities to increase our employees’ financial literacy, reduce their financial stress and enhance their productivity through the following activities:

Ongoing communication with employees

We frequently publish newsletters and include educational materials in our internal magazines.

Online credit reports

Employees can access free, online credit reports, which provide a snapshot of their credit accounts and repayment records, as well as insight into how well they are managing their finances.

Improved risk cover

We converted and improved our employees’ risk cover resulting in greater flexibility to tailor their cover according to their needs and circumstances.

Our Wellness programme offers a variety of initiatives to help employees to lead balanced lives:

On-site wellness, online self-reporting and pharmacy-based screening provide convenient ways to access health screening.

Our innovative online programme includes personal assessments, an ask-the-coach advisory service, a series of self-help emails, and more.

Be Active is an incentivised step-tracking module that offers monthly prizes for employees who track their daily steps or complete online self-assessments. There are two walking routes (1km and 5km) at our Bellville Head Office, as well as various other walking routes at our other offices, to encourage employees to get active, earn rewards and achieve the ultimate health goal of walking 10 000 steps every day.

We are creating a network of wellness champions to drive support for our Wellness programme and any on-site initiatives.

A 24/7, confidential and professional employee assistance programme (EAP) is in place – offering advice, support and counselling on psychosocial, personal, financial and legal matters. In 2018, we recorded a high EAP utilisation rate. This shows us that our employees find value in this programme and trust us as a partner in their employee wellness journeys. Looking back on programme utilisation in 2018, we have identified employee mental health and well-being as a focus area going forward to help our employees function optimally both as individuals and as members of our Sanlam team.

We have an on-site health clinic at our Bellville Head Office, where employees have access to registered nurses. This clinic caters to our employees’ basic health needs and contributes to workplace productivity and balance. Importantly, our employees find this a valuable service that we are proud to offer them. In 2019, we will open an additional facility in our Johannesburg office.

We Provide Training and Development Opportunities

We collaborate with our employees to help them realise their worth. This is reflected in the growth pillar of our Employee Value Proposition, which highlights our commitment to providing a stimulating work environment and development opportunities. Training and development are prioritised in our human resources department’s strategy, and cross-cluster processes are designed to drive internal career advancement. In South Africa:

Spent on training and development*

R344,4 million (2017: R312,8 million)

Of employees received training

77,2% (2017: 84,9%)

Of employees who received training

73,4% are black (2017: 71,4%)

Of employees who received training

59,3% are female (2017: 59,9%)

Our Financial Sector Code score achieved

16,62 out of a maximum of 23 for skills development (2017: 16,63)

Percentage of employees

100% who receive individual performance appraisals

Employee hiring costs per full-time employee

±R26 000

Number of employees

666 who received internal promotions
*This figure includes all associated management expenses

Our graduate and leadership programmes

Our graduate and leadership programmes focus on accelerated development, which is aligned to our transformation objectives. Through our Future Leaders Development, Graduate Leadership, CA (TOPP) and Actuarial Training Programmes, as well as the Investments Academy, we place graduate professionals on an accelerated development pathway to grow a pipeline of future leaders. The Executive Leadership Programme, Senior Management Programme and Business Management Programme increase the strength of our leadership bench.

A recent addition to the graduate programmes is the development of the Sanlam Data Academy, which will offer a two-year advanced and intensive training programme aimed at graduates who studied in the fields of computer science, information science, engineering, mathematics and statistics.

What these opportunities mean to our employees

I have experienced tremendous personal and career growth since joining Sanlam as a graduate. I attribute a significant part of this growth to their amazing support I have received from Sanlam as an employer. I definitely feel a sense of belonging at Sanlam and have made connections with amazing and inspiration people in the business through the various networking platforms. Sanlam fed my hunger for success by enrolling me in various development programmes that focused on developing me as an employee, a leader and as a person.

- Sinethemba Ntezo

My involvement with multiple projects across the Group, involving various businesses and stakeholders, was a fantastic opportunity for me to create connections and build relationships to deliver on our strategy and vision in the reporting space. Senior leadership in Sanlam has been wonderful in supporting my career path and growth in such a way that I myself as a senior manager now head up the Regulatory reporting and CA training programme. Furthermore, I have flexibility to work from home and support my family where I need to. I am proud to be part of Sanlam.

- Ayesha Hayat

The Launch of Myworkspace to Help Sanlam Grow

The myWorkSpace platform (supported by SAP’s SuccessFactors technology) was launched in 2017 and aims to revolutionise our employee experience by standardising and simplifying the way we work, engage and grow as a business. The new platform will enable employees to gain insight into the competencies required to progress to the next employment level or role as well as help them participate in suitable learning and career-growth activities. Continuous performance conversations will help employees know exactly what is expected of them, and a new and improved career site will increase connectivity with colleagues and opportunities throughout the Group.

We Take Care of Our Employees’ Health and Safety

We are committed to doing everything reasonably possible to ensure safe workplaces and offices for our employees, clients and contractors.

We adhere to the occupational health and safety standards set by the Department of Labour in South Africa. In addition, an independent inspection authority monitors our compliance level. Large offices (those with more than 100 employees) are independently assessed on-site monthly or quarterly. Our smaller offices (those with fewer than 100 employees) are responsible for completing a self-assessment twice a year. There were no fatalities reported during the year and only 34 minor injuries were reported (resulting from slips or falls).

Outside of South Africa, our emerging market businesses all subscribe to our Group Office Health and Safety Policy.

We Pursue Fair Remuneration

To support our equity and transformation goals in the workplace we pursue fair remuneration practices. We also understand that remuneration opportunities and career advancement are inextricably linked. We take the following measures to advance women and address career growth and opportunities across our business:

  • Talent mapping specifically focused on women;
  • Leadership development courses to increase exposure for women;
  • Gender representative and equity recruitment practices;
  • Flexible work policies and practices to accommodate families;
  • Diversity targets for women in leadership, which are measured with relevant accountability;
  • Ongoing review of gender-based policies to ensure they facilitate development and retention;
  • Increased positioning of women in key events, publications and platforms; and
  • Refinement of unconscious bias programmes to ensure key focus on gender related issues.

All five clusters conduct benchmark surveys to ensure their remuneration approach is competitive, and that bonus and benefits packages are aligned to global benchmarks.

Importantly, remuneration is linked to strategy execution and our four strategic pillars. The executive committee members’ remuneration scorecards contain strategic targets and outcomes to drive execution. Due to their roles and line of sight, the performance scorecards contain financial targets as well as other strategic targets. However, generally, financial targets comprise the majority of performance scorecard metrics.

In addition, we ensure:

Remuneration is properly governed

Our Human Resources and Remuneration committee is responsible for the remuneration strategy of the Group.


We adhere to King IV

Our remuneration policy and remuneration implementation report are tabled to shareholders for a non-binding advisory vote at our annual general meeting.


We pay attention to the gender pay gap

In all markets where we operate, our approach to fair remuneration is aligned with the internationally recognised principle of “equal pay for work of equal value”.

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