Why Absa Bank was named top employer in Kenya and Africa

Absa Bank Kenya’s Chief People Officer Mumbi Kahindo with Samuel Ngotho.

Photo credit: Courtesy

The legendary management guru Peter Drucker once said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. His often-quoted observation was probably borne out of the realisation that there is little that an organisation can achieve if the people implementing its strategies do not have the right attitudes to support the attainment of the organisation’s strategic intentions. The bottom line is that winning organisations have winning colleagues working for them.

One of the leading corporates in Kenya that has taken up this challenge is Absa Bank Kenya. For three consecutive years, the bank has been recognised by the Top Employers Institute as a stellar employer whose people policies enrich the workplace.

Consistent recognition as a top employer speaks volumes about how the bank treats its people – from own staff to customers.

We sat down with Absa Bank Kenya’s Chief People Officer Mumbi Kahindo to speak on how the institution strives to create a thriving, future-fit organisation that attracts, develops and retains the best people through a differentiated workplace experience.

Absa Bank Kenya’s Chief People Officer Mumbi Kahindo. 

Photo credit: Courtesy

No mean achievement

Ms Kahindo appreciates that being accorded the Top Employer Award in Kenya and Africa for three consecutive years is no mean achievement.

She explains that this achievement has been possible “through constant engagement with employees."a

She adds that the bank ensures all its employees are heard. Absa acknowledges their contribution while providing equal opportunities for career advancement.

Vibrant, fun workplace

Over the years, Absa has created a workplace that is vibrant, fun and a great place to work, encouraging employees to learn, explore and innovate.

The bank also strives to achieve a best-in-class employee experience by implementing enhancements in its remuneration framework. It offers staff a diverse variety of benefits.

Ms Kahindo adds: “Our employee share scheme also increases their sense of ownership and their desire to contribute towards Absa’s success and recognition as a top employer.”

Maintaining exemplary working conditions benefits Absa Bank’s customers.

“I believe that this consideration of our colleagues’ wellbeing translates into their commitment to delivering excellent customer service, innovation and general business success,” Ms Kahindo explains.

The Top Employer award, therefore, instils confidence in the bank’s customers. They are guaranteed excellent and reliable customer service that meets – and even surpasses – their expectations.

Absa Bank Kenya Top Employer Award Kenya and Africa 2024.

Photo credit: Courtesy

Diversity and Inclusion

A key pillar of Absa’s culture is Diversity and Inclusion, which ensures that the organisation represents a broad range of colleagues and customers across the market.

The bank’s Diversity and Inclusion story has been a long and fulfilling one, epitomised by the institution’s historical milestone of being the first bank in Kenya to promote a woman – Agatha Obare – to the position of Branch Supervisor in 1972. A few years later, the bank promoted Mary Okello - to Branch Manager in 1977.

In 2014, Absa Bank Kenya became the first listed company in Kenya to achieve a 50:50 male-to-female representation at board level. 

Ms Kahindo says: “We support the development of female professionals across all grades and amplify the number of women in senior executive roles to ensure that we achieve the gender parity that we set as per our sustainability policy.”

Enhancing Employee Wellness

She points out that wellness has always been a top priority at Absa. The bank, she explains, is committed to protecting the employees’ health, safety and wellbeing to create a safe work environment for all.

In 2022, through its weekly soul food sessions, the bank broadened its engagement with employees to tackle non-health-related wellness issues, including personal finance, parenting, and education on pension.

The bank also covered mental and emotional resilience, lifestyle disease management, cancer facts, prevention, screening and treatment, and increased understanding of health metrics such as body mass index (BMI), blood sugar levels and blood pressure.

To encourage active living, the bank holds online workout sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The bank’s employee health reward programme celebrates employees for the sustainable and objective use of their medical cover.

We have professional counsellors who contact colleagues and engage on a variety of wellbeing matters as part of our psycho-social support to employees,” says Ms Kahindo.

Last year, Absa Bank launched its wellness magazine.      

Ms Kahindo says the bank’s dedication to transformation “aligns with our shared purpose and we encourage open and honest communication that allows us to collectively own and face our challenges and celebrate our successes.”

Absa Bank routinely analyses its position as an organisation to produce an externally benchmarked evaluation of its strengths and weaknesses.

Explains Ms Kahindo: “This information allows us to create a diversity, transformation and inclusion leadership journey programme that enables all leaders and employees at Absa Group to create a more inclusive work environment.”

Evans Ongwae - [email protected]

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