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Top Employer Sanlam Focuses On 2021 People Trends

By Jeanett Modise, 28 January 2021

Sanlam has been awarded the Top Employers Certification for the sixth consecutive year by the Top Employers Institute. Amid the unprecedented pandemic, Africa’s largest nonbanking financial group has stayed focused on its foremost asset. For more than 100 years, the Group has championed progressive people practices.

The impacts of Covid-19 meant Sanlam had to accelerate new hybrid ways of working. In 2021, the Group will continue to draw from global trends to sustain a culture conducive to learning, employee well-being, and talent management.

Jeanett Modise, Group Human Resources Director at Sanlam, says: “The pandemic meant we had to adapt to new ways of working to ensure the well-being of our team of more than 21 000 staff across multiple geographies. The shift in 2021 is to build resilient, flexible and responsive organisations that proactively sense change and iteratively advance people practices, operations and processes as conditions evolve.”

Modise says that now is the time to bolster resilience to withstand whatever disruption may come next and to capture competitive advantage even during the phases of uncertainty. As a Top Employer, our priorities remain:

1. Getting the right skills in the right place at the right time

In 2021, we will sharpen how we recruit, facilitate non-linear career transitions and manage talent, including how we find the best people from outside traditional talent pools. We need to ensure our organisation and role design enables our people to bring their best and act with impact.

2. Redesigning our practices and processes to adapt to disruption

We need to empower people to pivot when there is a change in business needs or priorities. To do so, we must clarify expectations, prioritise, and introduce streamlined systems and processes to enhance efficiencies.

3. Optimising HR

This includes elevating HR to respond quickly, and with impact, to the needs of our customers, a digital transformation journey to enhance employee experience, implementing agile principles to ramp up responsiveness and prompt key projects, and re-evaluating resources to focus on high-impact priorities.

She adds that Sanlam continuously reviews its employee value proposition (EVP) to keep pace with what people value when it comes to culture, connectivity, flexibility, growth and reward, with the focus on our workforce experience. “Sanlam operates in 34 countries and it is important to ensure that people feel valued and that our EVP is appropriate in every context.”

“We have enhanced our employee well-being offering to help employees have better work-life integration. Supporting our people’s mental and financial health is a big part of our holistic focus.”

Here are some of the key 2021 trends Modise believes will impact people practices:

1. Businesses as social enterprises
Gartner research shows that 74% of employees expect their employer to be more actively involved in current cultural debates. As forces for good, businesses are expected to use their voices when appropriate and authentic. We encourage our people to also get involved through volunteerism as they are connected to our organisational purpose.

2. Diversity, equity and inclusion
DEI is crucial for attracting diverse talent and forming pivotal leadership pipelines. Hybrid working (remote and in-office) may increase the number of women in leadership, which benefits the overall business.

3. Flexibility and productivity
The pandemic has changed where we work. It could also shift when we work. The focus will shift to hybrid ways of working with focus on output, rather than hours.

4. Mental well-being support
Increasingly, employers are offering mental well-being support as part of EVP. This can be in the form of access to counselling, meditation apps, online yoga, ‘mental health days’ and more.

5. Shifting talent approach
Another trend we may see is more companies ‘renting’ talent to compete for in-demand skills. While it’s critical to build a pipeline of young talent, it’ll be increasingly necessary to quickly acquire capabilities to bridge gaps.

“2021 is going to be an exciting, challenging and defining year, where we take stock, bolster resilience and build for the future. We know nothing is possible without our people. That is why the Top Employer certification matters so much to us - it’s a great honour and encouragement. This year, we will continue to evolve our people practices to ensure our team feels empowered to bring their best, despite the pace and unpredictability of the current climate,” concludes Modise.


Sanlam Life Insurance is a licensed financial service provider.
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