According to former Fortune 500 CEO and New York Times bestselling author, Douglas Conant, “To win in the marketplace, you must first win the workplace”. This quote is relevant now as ever with forward-thinking organisations recognising the critical role competent, motivated employees play in meeting their business objectives. While it was sufficient to pay lip service to issues of staff welfare in the past, the current global realities brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and the attendant slowdown in economic activities has made this a very germane conversation.
In Nigeria, several institutions are blazing the trail in the development of sustainable, enabling and supportive work environments. At the forefront of this remarkable set of organizations is leading financial institution, Fidelity Bank PLC. The 34year old institution has committed itself to developing an engaging and productive work environment for its workforce with the aim of ensuring their wellbeing and optimum performance.
One of the numerous ways the organisation ensures this is by encouraging members of staff to regularly study and take professional certification examinations. Consequently, Fidelity Bank grants employees study leaves as well as reimburses them for successfully completed certification courses. This is in addition to several capacity building programmes it organises for staff.
One of such programmes is the Policy Familiarization Program which is aimed at building subject matter experts in all business areas.Through this programme, Fidelity Bank has and is still building a knowledgeable and versatile staff base. Project Alpha is another capacity building initiative launched by the Bank under the leadership of its visionary Chief Executive Officer, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, where members of the workforce are put through a rigorous learning and development framework.
Beyond the professional development of its staff, the leading Bank also offers financial support to employees in their time of need. For instance, the Bank provides wedding grants to employees getting married and also supports members of its workforce who have to handle funeral costs with cash donations.
In a bid to deepen employee welfare, the Bank also provides essential commodities (Essenco) to its staff annually and includes them in profit/dividend sharing. Through these initiatives, the bank provides relief to its employees as well as increases its workforce’s financial net worth amongst others.
Going a step further, Fidelity Bank also provides annual medical check-ups for its workforce in addition to signing them up to reputable Health Management Organisations (HMO).
When tasked on the reason the organisation embarks on such an elaborate staff welfare regime, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe disclosed, “For us at Fidelity Bank, we take staff welfare very seriously. While we are ultimately focused on our financial performance, we are equally concerned about the men and women who contribute to the bottom line daily. We understand that an organisation is only as good as the caliber of staff on its workforce and we are therefore devoted to attracting, growing and retaining the best talents. We know this is one of the easiest ways to ensure long-term sustainability of our business and would not spare any cost in ensuring our employees are safe and thriving”.
Overall, it is evident that for this outstanding financial institution, its workforce is of utmost importance to it, as it should be. For this leading Bank, its employees are not just faces in the crowd but lives that matter.