Rosie Ebe-Arthur, in her capacity as Group Head, Human Capital Management and Development at First Bank Nigeria Ltd. & Subsidiaries (FBN), is accountable for the delivery of superior performance and productivity through the management of talent and
organisational development strategies. Her goal is to help the organisation achieve the position of top three employer of choice in the industry by 2022. She is also setting the people agenda and delivering an enviable employee value proposition to employees.
She is also in charge of management of employees across the Bank’s footprint in Nigeria, the United Kingdom, Ghana, DR Congo, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Senegal and the Gambia.
The COVID-19 pandemic was a significant plot twist for the world as a whole and its impact globally could not have been envisaged by one or many organisations. For Rosie, FBN has been on a transformational journey over the last few years and the agility built over that period enabled them to pivot quickly into the positive outcomes of the pandemic.
She says major digital evolution was taking place and therefore, FBN had in place robust and upgraded platforms that ensured that they were able to increase their focus on the needs of their customers at a time filled with uncertainty and anxiety.
In Rosie’s view, with a 126 year history, the experiences garnered by FBN over the years have built a strong level of positivity and resilience into the DNA of the institution.
She further revealed that, using their known ‘goal set through’ approach, they also strive for an approach that looks beyond challenges, that is, looking past the pandemic with a conviction that they will come through and therefore, focusing on what their new ways of working should look like, what they must refresh or change in their business model delivery, strategy and so on, to properly address the uncertainties that have today become their way of life.
Like with most organisations during this COVID-19 period, safety is key however, Rosie takes it further. According to her, “The safety of our employees is paramount and we made that clear to them by immediately reassuring our employees on the Bank’s interest in their welfare and progress, and that we would do our outmost best to keep them safe.” She said.
FBN did this through providing the requisite Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all employees who were designated essential workers at the onset of the pandemic and provided accommodation and feeding to ensure that services could be delivered with minimum disruptions.
Rosie explained that with the help and dedication of the Bank’s Medical Advisor, they were able to work with partner organisations to support their employees including upgrades to employee health and wellbeing. For instance, the introduction of telemedicine, employee assistance programs, virtual keep fit sessions and so on.
Ebe-Arthur affirmed that FBN made bold decisions earlier in the year and through the pandemic with regards to employee management, and this has built on the trust levels and commitment of employees.
While several organisations carried out salary cuts and termination of appointments, Ebe-Arthur said FBN carried out their salary reviews and promotions, and did not reduce salaries or exit any of their employees.
“We carried on with recruitment to ensure that all our critical roles were adequately resourced and have recently embarked on our Service Executive Conversions, which is how we create opportunities for non-core staff to become full time employees of the bank and pursue their aspirations with us.” Said Rosie.
On working towards ensuring to achieve the position of top three employer of choice in the industry by 2022, Rosie said, a few years ago, FBN designed a People Agenda which speaks to how they will achieve a strong employee value proposition, develop the learning capability and agility of their employees in order to deliver a strong employer brand to attract and retain the best of talent.
She says FBN has since brought more clarity to their people strategy by focusing on achieving the position of top three employer of choice in the industry by 2022. This has led to reaffirming their people agenda which rests on the following four key pillars which includes: Deepening their employee value proposition, building an agile and future proof organisation, creating a versatile and agile workforce and empowering employees at all levels of the organisation.
Being a leader, Rosie’s interpretation on who a leader is, is thought provoking. She says a true leader is able to speak truth to power and be heard irrespective of gender. As long as she is concerned, a true leader is someone with the ability to put forward a different point of view with empathy and thoughtfulness while being human especially in today’s world, where there is so much focus on the bottom line.
She insists that a true leader must lead with purpose and belief, while demonstrating strong values in everything they do, as this will enable you to have impact and also to inspire and empower your followership.
And to every young lady out there, Ebe-Arthur says you must be deliberate in your decisions. She adds that work and life are integrated in your deliberateness and must be across both. She advices you to do great work, build strong organisational capabilities so that you can deliver on the organisational strategy.