Sustainable development report 2015 | Annual report 2015

People development

People development

As Wealthsmiths™ we have respect for the worth of our people and an appreciation for what they can become. We embrace our differences, firmly believing that diversity allows us to build on our collective strengths. For this reason we promote equal opportunities, because our success depends on the skill and dedication of every person working on our team.


Sanlam is successful because of its people. People drive strategy, they represent our brand. This is why we do everything we can to engage, motivate and retain them, investing heavily in talent attraction and in the delivery of an employee experience which is compelling and differentiated.

Our culture and way of doing things provide our competitive edge. We drive a high-performance culture, but we temper this with care and respect. Our 97-year-old legacy of empowerment and leadership has seen us through both the good and the challenging times. This legacy serves as the foundation of our core values and The Sanlam Way, and we believe it positions us well for the rapidly changing world of work.

Our emphasis on transformational practices is embedded in a belief that diverse work teams and an inclusive culture are good for business. Our appreciation for diversity and the transformation targets we set for Sanlam are driven within this context.

As our reach into Africa and Asia deepens, the competitive edge provided by our people becomes ever more important. Our talent extends beyond South Africa’s borders and the mobility and motivation of staff across all boundaries is critical.

Group Human Resources provides strategic direction in terms of Sanlam’s human intellectual capital across the Group, driving synergies between the clusters, fostering collaboration and seeking out opportunities for alignment. It implements initiatives aimed at driving talent mobility and development across the Group, both in South Africa and globally. Group companies identify and address their own commercial and strategic needs.

Key Performance Indicators

People development material issues

We focus on the following material issues:

Attraction and retention of key talent

Turnover 26,6%.
Strong emphasis on attracting young professionals and graduates.

Training and skills development

Training spend up three-fold in five years, to R17 171 per employee.

Employment equity and diversity

FSC score up from 7,71 in 2014 to 8,15 in 2015. New EE plan developed for 2016 – 2018.

Organisational culture and employee commitment

Business clusters developing their own KPIs. For example, SEB conducts an employee engagement survey, achieving 4,81 out of 6,00.

Employee wellness

Number of employees screened for wellness increased to 37,8%

Attraction and retention of key talent

Our Employee Value Proposition

Our attraction and retention strategies are closely aligned with Sanlam’s business strategy and are built on the premise of a differentiated Employee Value Proposition (EVP) for key talent segments.


Internally, our commitment to our employees is explicit – Realise Your Worth. We encourage all employees to take advantage of the rich array of opportunities available to them and, through this, to raise their level of contribution to the business. The campaigns to embed our EVP continue to gain traction and it is evident that our employees have internalised what it means to be a Wealthsmith™.

Establishing a strong culture of integrity and ethical business practices forms the basis of Sanlam’s approach to implementing principle-based regulation. This is complemented by an assessment and analysis of the risks that the regulation seeks to address to enable us to formulate an appropriate response.

Externally, our efforts to position Sanlam as an employer of choice are starting to yield dividends. Both our corporate brand positioning and the marketing of our EVP externally help us showcase the company in the marketplace.

Our employer brand message is clear: Sanlam is the company where Wealthsmiths™ are groomed. We are particularly conscious of the importance of developing young black talent into key skills areas, such as asset and portfolio management, the actuarial team and chartered accounting.

View EVP diagram

Recruitment platforms

We use three key recruitment platforms: online recruitment on our career website (our main talent attraction platform), LinkedIn for strategic sourcing, and our face-to-face and online graduate recruitment channels.


Our careers page is one of the most visited pages on In addition to aligning this page to the new brand positioning, ease of use has improved since it was adapted for mobile users, and applicants are now also able to apply with their LinkedIn profiles.

The LinkedIn recruiter contract has allowed us to create a dedicated careers page on this platform. Our campaign to target key talent segments has resulted in follower growth from 10 000 at the end of 2014 to just over 25 000 followers to date. More than 6 500 Sanlam employees are on LinkedIn and their professional networks are leveraged to position the Sanlam employer brand.

View Key Performance Indicators

Attracting graduates and young professionals

Sanlam continues to increase awareness of its employer brand among young professionals and graduates. The objectives are threefold: to recruit high potential future leaders who will help us craft the Sanlam of tomorrow, to position Sanlam as a preferred employer, and to create brand awareness in the young professional and graduate market.


The graduate recruitment campaign includes activations and presentations at universities, and advertising in university career magazines. The campaign has continued to deliver high quality graduates for the Group and is aligned with our key talent segments and the Group’s transformation strategy, both of which aim to ensure that we have the leadership strength to meet future business needs.

There are currently more than 40 graduates placed in various positions across the Group. Sanlam has also participated in several talent engagement events, the most noteworthy being the Black Management Conference, where delegates were exposed to the Wealthsmiths™ experience.

Employee retention

To attract and retain key skills, Sanlam provides competitive remuneration, bonus and benefit packages, aligned to global benchmarks. All Sanlam employees have access to a range of Group benefits. For people who create disproportionate value to the business, a differentiated EVP may be offered which includes, in addition to the universal benefits, the following:


  • Access to the long-term incentive share scheme
  • A suite of structured, functional and/or technical group-wide exposure opportunities depending on individual development needs and areas of interest
  • International exposure
  • Networking opportunities with senior leaders and executives.

Succession planning

Group Human Resources has defined the core principles and philosophy underlying talent management and succession planning for key leadership roles across the Group. The Group Chief Executive, in consultation with Group Human Resources and each cluster’s executive committee, oversees succession planning for key executive and senior roles. This process not only assists us in driving talent mobility and transformation at the highest levels but also serves to improve the depth of leadership across the broader Group.


Each business cluster conducts an annual review of the primary leadership and technical positions within their businesses. Pools of young professionals are identified to feed the succession pipeline. Through regular assessments and targeted training initiatives, these individuals are given special attention to develop the required competencies to lead the business into the future.

A remaining challenge is the positioning of Sanlam’s employer brand to certain external markets where we are not yet making sufficient talent inroads. Efforts in this regard will be stepped up in 2016. Time to fill key vacancies and ensuring business continuity is a critical outcome of this focus area.

Training and skills development

Skills development

Growth is a key pillar of our Employee Value Proposition (EVP). We strive for greater growth – growth that touches more lives and makes a bigger difference in the world. We strive to provide challenging, stimulating work and development opportunities to help our people grow and realise their potential.


Wealthsmiths™ are differentiated by the rigour, commitment and dedication they bring to their work. This way of working has its roots in our approach to learning and development. We build confidence and competence through continual development and individualised training and career plans. Training and development is integral to our high-performance culture and we provide a range of opportunities to employees to ensure our future business requirements are properly aligned to the competencies required.

View Key Performance Indicators

Leadership development

Leadership programmes are driven at both Group and cluster levels to ensure that current and future leaders demonstrate the capabilities to drive accelerated strategy execution in a relevant and distinctive way. Action learning is often used to integrate the learning acquired.


From a personal development perspective, action learning enhances vital interpersonal leadership skills such as questioning, creativity, collaboration, problem-solving and systems thinking. The action learning projects provide the platform for cross-cluster exposure which stretches and challenges participants, who grow in confidence and feel more able to work constructively within a team.

View leadership programmes table 1

View leadership programmes table 2

Sanlam Investments People Management Development Programme

In conjunction with the University of Stellenbosch Business School, Sanlam Investments runs a programme to enable managers to execute on strategy through building their managerial and leadership competencies.

The programme helps managers to develop a core understanding of the different fields of people management in an integrated manner. During 2015, 20 managers successfully completed the programme.

Learnerships, internships and bursaries

We remain focused on offering learnership and internship programmes across the Group. Once learners successfully complete their learnership, they are placed on an internship which allows them to continue their development.

The programme helps managers to develop a core understanding of the different fields of people management in an integrated manner. During 2015, 20 managers successfully completed the programme.

The programme is often used to create a pipeline for persons with disabilities.

View learnerships and internships table

Training of our distribution network

We offer our distribution network a range of training initiatives including sales, skills development, legal and technical training, management and leadership, entrepreneurial and business management, technical product support, and business processes.


Sanlam Personal Finance (SPF) Distribution Academy

The Sanlam Personal Finance (SPF) Distribution Academy plays a pivotal role in ensuring that our tied agents are able to service clients effectively.

The academy is accredited by the Insurance Sector Training Authority (INSETA) for the NQF level 4 and 5 programme in wealth management. This curriculum supports our tied agents to become Certified Professional Planners, endorsing our Sanlam Financial Advisers (SFA) strategy of professionalism and ongoing upskilling.

Sanlam Sky Solutions training of intermediaries
Sanlam Sky Solutions trains intermediaries focused on the entry-level market. The aim is to attract intermediaries with the right profile and invest in their development to ensure that we build a network that can offer appropriate financial advice and products to our entry-level clients.

Employment equity and diversity

Our transformation strategy

Embracing and accelerating transformation is an on-going priority and is one of Sanlam’s key strategic pillars. Sanlam remains steadfast in its approach to drive activities designed to foster an inclusive workplace that is rich in all forms of diversity. Diversity enables creativity and innovation, both of which are fundamental to ensuring success in the fast-paced and complex world of work.

During 2015, we worked on the development of the employment equity (EE) plan for the 2016 – 2018 period.

View Key Performance Indicators

Our employment equity plan

The legislatively mandated employment equity (EE) barrier analysis, which forms the basis of our EE plan, started during June 2015. Forty-two percent of our staff participated in the initial survey and we followed this up with focus group sessions which served to validate survey results. Between 10% and 12% of respondents indicated a variety of concerns ranging from the fairness of the recruitment process within Sanlam, the determination of remuneration, and the application of the language policy within Sanlam, to the issue of sub-optimal communication in some of the EE forums.


View table

Significant consultation then took place within each business cluster, resulting in the development of cluster EE plans, incorporating revised three-year targets and affirmative action measures, both quantitative and qualitative. Measures are specifically designed to address concerns raised by employees in the survey. An overarching EE plan for the Sanlam Group was then finalised, approved and submitted to the National Department of Labour.

Accelerated transformation initiatives have been identified within each cluster to ensure we are able to positively affect the demographics at management levels and ultimately have a positive impact on the Financial Sector Code (FSC) scorecard. Challenges within each business are different, hence the need to drive unique initiatives in different clusters.

Sanlam’s commitment to increasing its diversity, while at the same time embedding an inclusive and embracing culture, is evident in the initiatives being driven in the revised EE plan and the accelerated transformation initiatives. We have targeted plans to ensure progress is made in less transformed areas of the business. We are encouraged by the pipeline of talent evident in the more junior leadership and specialist ranks of the business and look forward to these employees making their mark in the years ahead.

View table

Organisational culture and employee commitment

Our purpose, brand and values form the foundation on which our culture is based. We approach everything we do with determination, with common sense, and with a commitment to always doing things for good and doing them well. Each and every Wealthsmith™ understands that this is what makes us distinctive in our industry.

There are a number of different ways in which the clusters embed and work with their culture. Some look at engagement levels, while others embed key behaviours which support the values and The Sanlam Way. All clusters work with the pillars of our Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and strive to embed our focus on connectivity through encouraging networking, teamwork and volunteering.

View Key Performance Indicators

Employee engagement initiatives


The Sanlam Employee Benefits (SEB) Employee Engagement Survey is aimed at assisting SEB in reaching the next level of business growth. An overall engagement score of 4,81 out of 6 was achieved.


Areas for improvement highlighted in the survey include a better understanding of employee engagement, psychological safety, driving change and personal initiative. Skill sets we need to improve on include innovation, constructive debate, execution, internal service and delivery. Thought leadership, internal brand confidence, corporate service brand and client-centricity were perceived to be business strengths we should communicate.

In response to these results, SEB has embarked on a programme for all employees to address the identified shortcomings. In addition, managers have been trained in leadership practices, thus fostering a culture where innovation and constructive debate can take place in a more conducive environment.



We offer a number of recognition programmes across the Group, the most notable of which include the Chief Executive Awards, the Group Office Kudos Awards, the Personal Finance Activator Awards and the Investments – Living the Values programmes. All of these programmes aim to recognise employees for living the company values and for making a contribution to the strategic objectives of the business.

Fair labour practices

Through our Code of Ethical Conduct, we subscribe to the principles of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC).


While all employees have the freedom to associate and to bargain collectively, Sanlam is not a highly unionised environment. Currently only 154 employees (2014: 175) are members of a union, representing less than 1,19% of our staff complement.

Connectivity opportunities

The Employee Value Proposition (EVP) connectivity pillar aims to unite employees as Wealthsmiths™, encouraging them to get involved in opportunities and experience collaboration.


An exciting new platform has been designed for Wealthsmiths™ to connect with one of our connectivity opportunities. Employees can choose a networking opportunity through the Women’s Network and the Young Professionals Network, get involved in a Sanlam Foundation project or make a sustainability pledge. They have also been encouraged to share their goals as part of our ‘100 days to 100 years’ campaign, which aims to connect all Wealthsmiths™ around a common goal – to make South Africa a better place.

Employee wellness

While we are driven to excel because we’re Wealthsmiths™, we know that balance is crucial to the wellbeing of our employees. But it is about more than flexible working hours and convenience at work – it is about enabling our employees to discover their passion and letting that passion inspire them. We provide employees with a number of avenues to improve their physical and emotional health.

View Key Performance Indicators


The Sanlam bWELL wellness initiative is our key offering in response to this commitment and an important component of the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) balance pillar. Lifestyle issues such as smoking, physical inactivity, weight gain and stress have a significant impact on the development and progression of illness and chronic disease. In addition to health issues, there is also a clear and measurable workplace productivity impact.

The programme focuses on three main modules:

  • bAWARE - This module offers wellness screenings through a hybrid model of onsite, pharmacy based and self-report screenings, personalised weekly wellness emails based on an individual's wellness profile, and a wellness website at More than 100 000 articles were read in 2015.
  • bACTIVE – Based on health risk screenings conducted over the past three years, physical inactivity was identified as one of the Group’s key health risks. The bACTIVE campaign was designed to encourage employees to take steps towards a healthier lifestyle. More than 1 200 staff members participated.
  • bHEALTHY – Building on an ‘all inclusive’ approach to wellness, partnerships have been formed with all relevant Group-wide service providers to extract maximum value for all Sanlam employees. These include Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) providers (Careways and Icas), staff canteens (Fedics) and medical schemes. Success has been achieved in incorporating healthier food options at the Sanlam Head Office canteen and this will be extended to the regions in 2016.

Since 2012, more than 5 000 employees have completed a wellness screening. Of the 37,8% staff members with a wellness profile, we now have a sample of 1 963 that we have been able to track over a three-year period. We are pleased that our statistics reveal a positive trend in wellness data, but acknowledge that more needs to be done to encourage employees to change their behaviour and adopt healthier lifestyles.

Ian Kirk

Sanlam Cape Town Marathon

More than 1 100 employees participated in the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon during September 2015. This was part of a campaign to encourage greater employee involvement in Sanlam-sponsored events, but also to address one of our major health risks – a sedentary lifestyle. In 2016, continued efforts will be made to increase staff participation, with a strong focus on adopting healthy lifestyles.