IFC case study: SCT’s workforce policies support working parents

12Aug 2021
By Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
IFC case study: SCT’s workforce policies support working parents

THE International Financial Corporation (IFC) has launched a case study on Standard Chartered Tanzania’s family friendly workplace policies and practices, highlighting the bank’s equitable and future-forward workplace policies that champion equal opportunity for all working parents.

The case study found that of the bank’s approximately 250 employees, 50 percent are women with women representing 31 percent of senior managers and 59 percent of the Bank’s entry-level staff.

The case study also unpacks some of the key initiatives implemented by Standard Chartered to support working parents that are applicable to both financial and non-financial institutions. This includes the bank’s five-month maternity leave option, which is above the country’s mandated 12-week leave.

The bank also supports managers by offering training programmes and a parental leave toolkit, which are standardised across the Group to help guide supervisors through the maternity leave processes. This gives new mothers peace of mind that they will not be penalized for the time they take during maternity leave.

The bank has also successfully developed a culture to cultivate women leaders more broadly in the financial sector in Tanzania. Standard Chartered Tanzania implements a “feeder strategy” to retain women in leadership, resulting in eight percent more women than men in business roles, helping to fill a potential pipeline for future women banking leaders.

In a recent IFC report, Leading Tanzanian Women in Financial Services (June 2021), seven of the 22 women leaders who were profiled by IFC had previously worked for Standard Chartered Tanzania.

Lilian Makau, Head of Human Resources at Standard Chartered, commented: “Working with IFC gave us fresh ideas which we can use to complement the efforts that are already in place. IFC is challenging us to continue to innovate and become even better by keeping gender on top of our mind, so that we have the right policies in place”.

The bank is committed to including men in this journey by providing them with the tools to not only be allies but to also build a rapport and learn how to work collegially, while supporting them in their family roles as husbands and fathers.

At Standard Chartered Tanzania, diversity and inclusion are not merely box-ticking exercises but are at the heart of the business. The Bank has been recognised by the Association of Tanzanian Employers, the national employers lobby, for its best practices. The Bank’s implementation of the diversity and inclusion strategies have offered direct business benefits for the Bank, which range from high attraction and retention of women, to high maternity return and employee engagement rates.

Sanjay Rughani, CEO of Standard Chartered Tanzania commented: “Internal studies show that staff feel more motivated at work when they receive better support in the integration of their professional and personal lives. These policies are part of the bank’s effort to create and sustain an environment that enables its employees and their families to succeed.”

In implementing policies and creating an accommodative culture that supports gender equality, in 2016, Standard Chartered Group signed the Women in Finance Charter and pledged to increase the number of women in senior leadership roles globally to 30 percent by 2020, and subsequently updated that target to achieve 35 percent by 2024.

Standard Chartered Tanzania outperformed the Group in senior leadership targets and, in 2020, one third of board members and executive committee members were women. Standard Chartered Tanzania is also outperforming its African peers in financial services and is considerably ahead of the Africa average, which stands at 19 percent, according to Boardroom Africa.

Anne Kabugi, IFC’s Regional Gender Lead for Africa, commented: “The results of the case study indicate that Standard Chartered Bank Tanzania is creating a culture that supports working parents through the implementation of family friendly workplace policies that are supporting working mothers to balance the demands of childcare and other responsibilities while building a career in one of the leading global banks By developing a strong pipeline of women leaders, it’s good for the organisation and for the sector in Tanzania as a whole.”

This case study makes recommendations for companies that seek to unlock the benefits of a gender equal workplace by supporting working parents.  This includes pursuing a holistic strategy that addresses a wide range of childcare needs such as extended parental leave policies, ensuring that performance appraisal processes and rewards do not penalise women for time spent away on maternity leave, and then men also benefit from parental leave policies to encourage all employees to utilise flexible work solutions.

The case study is a result of the partnership formed in April 2019 between IFC and Standard Chartered under the Finance2Equal Tanzania programme that focuses on increasing women’s participation as leaders, employees, customers, and entrepreneurs in the financial services sector.