Nedbank’s approach to human resources centres on enabling their employees to make a purposedriven impact
– Cayleigh Bright
For current and future Nedbank employees purpose is at the core of the bank’s mission. Encouraging its team members to ‘be the difference’ that they’d like to see in their organisation and the world, the bank places its emphasis on a purpose-driven impact. By looking to the future and developing the talent that will likely become their future employees, Nedbank intends to fulfil ‘Our People Promise’ by making an impact through its organisation’s talent – and for them.
Working with the University of Johannesburg (UJ), Nedbank is providing support to the future’s brightest young talent – ensuring, in the process, that they get the chance to welcome these innovative young professionals into their organisation. During breaks in the university year, students are given the opportunity to perform vocational work in Nedbank’s offices, in departments relevant to their fields of study.
‘We give them each a senior business mentor and they actually help to solve real Nedbank challenges or projects that we’re working on,’
says Jacqui Barnes, Head of Learning and Development at Nedbank. ‘They have to go and research, and present back to us, and we get amazing insights from them. And they get exposed to Nedbank – so by the time they complete their degree, we’re not foreign territory, we have a relationship with them, we’re aware of their talent, and we can employ them.’ For the graduates, the value of being sponsored by Nedbank increases immeasurably because of this opportunity to obtain real-world training, as evidenced by the anecdote of one recipient of multiple funding offers choosing Nedbank, based on the chance to gain work experience. Ultimately becoming a Nedbank employee is, of course, a bonus.
The young talent working with Nedbank’s established teams can inject new inspiration and up-to-the-minute expertise into their working environment. Noting that young mentees work in all aspects of the business, Jacqui speaks highly of the results recently produced in every area from multimedia to data analysis. ‘Banks have scarce critical skills shortages in IT, programming, coding … It’s not just about ‘data’ anymore. It’s about being able to do something with enormous amounts of data – being able to chew through that, make sense of it, spit out some intelligence, and make some key business decisions based on that. That is a key skill, and believe it or not, it’s not readily available.’ With Nedbank’s early-career support, Barnes believes, this can begin to change.
‘They are incredibly innovative,’ she says of UJ, explaining that the university’s commitment to tackling the exciting and challenging prospects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is further proof that they make an ideal partner for a futurefacing programme such as this.
In 2020 the programme has looked a little different due to the constraints of lockdown, but it seems that there would be no better group than this to tackle the innovations necessitated by ‘the new normal’. ‘My experience has been more of a virtual experience due to the effect of the Coronavirus but regardless of that, I was exposed to what Nedbank is mainly about, which is doing good for the people,’ says Bekezela Nicole Thoka, a 22-year-old student currently pursuing her honours degree in BCom Information Management at UJ. ‘I had the opportunity to complete assignments for top business heads within Nedbank, and the opportunity to interact with them virtually, which made me develop an interest (in) working hard and eventually being chosen to be part of the Nedbank team. As the employees are considerate, they provide you with guidance, make you feel part of the team and try to work around the little work experience one might have.’
She describes the team as approachable, and willing to help her, whenever needed. On the financial assistance
that Nedbank has provided, she says,
‘Funding is one issue that most university students experience, and it is extremely difficult to get a postgraduate sponsor. Nedbank, however, came to my rescue. My fees are extremely high and as an honours student, I have to attend evening classes. Therefore, I need accommodation close to the university. Fortunately, the Nedbank scholarship also provides funding for accommodation, textbooks and a monthly allowance – which means the only thing I have to worry about is excelling in my academics, and one day becoming a business analyst who mostly specialises in strategic design and implementation.’