HSBC implements new benefits strategy for all employees

HSBC is streamlining its benefit offering as part of plans to protect its talents throughout their careers with the organization and until retirement.

The rationalization project will result in the delivery of a new benefits proposition in 2015 that will provide all employees with a range of competitive advantages, regardless of their role or career.

Maria Strid, Head of Performance and Reward, says: “As with any large organization, there is a degree of complexity, especially as you grow, both through acquisition and development. organic growth.

“We want to try to make sure that we have a cohesive and fair benefits proposition, and slightly simpler than what we have today, that would also help and support the new organizational structure and our overall business strategy.”

New business strategy

Stuart Gulliver, who took charge of HSBC Group in January 2011, announced in May of that year a new business strategy with which he expected to achieve savings of up to $ 3.5 billion (£ 3 billion sterling) within three years, in order to increase shareholder returns.

An investor update announced in May this year reveals that the bank, which reported a pre-tax profit of $ 8.4bn (£ 7.3bn) for the first quarter of 2013, nearly double the of the $ 4.3 billion (£ 3.7 billion) it declared a year earlier, has committed to growing its business and dividends, as well as streamlining its processes and procedures, over the course of of the next phase of its strategy between 2014 and 2016.

With a view to streamlining its benefits, HSBC organized a consultation process with employees and employee representative bodies, including its pension trustees, from January to April 2013. “The most important change we proposed was the pension change,” says Strid.

“Our future proposal will be a very competitive solution Defined contribution (DC) pension plan. We were very clear that this was not a cost reduction exercise at all, and so the principle was also to reinvest any potential annual savings into the overall proposal, and that is what that we did.

The new benefits strategy, which will be implemented between January and July 2015, will introduce a trust-based defined contribution scheme with a primary employer contribution of 10% on the first £ 20,000 of salary. , then 9% of the remaining pensionable salary.

HSBC will also offer matching contributions of up to 7% and pay all annual management fees for the plan, which has different sections for different groups of employees. The bank plans to close its defined benefit (DB) plan at future incorporation.

Employee feedback

HSBC takes pride in its employee feedback efforts, and the benefits consultation process was no exception, says Strid. “The exercise we just did is probably the best feedback we have ever had.

“We really listened and that’s what shaped the new proposition. “

She adds: “Retreats are a complex process. What happened was our people wanted to understand it better and get help to understand it, so one of the things we committed to was a long-term financial education program. We will be launching this in the fourth quarter of this year. “

HSBC recognizes the power of a competitive pension plan to attract the best talent to the business. Strid says, “[The pension scheme] is a key benefit, but it is also a financial product. Taking the time is essential, both through financial education and by providing a very competitive and good pension plan for our employees.

The bank will also present private medical insurance for all its employees and their families as a basic benefit, as well as income protection at 60% of salary, double the current level.

Flexible upgrade

In line with its goal of providing attractive benefits to all employees, HSBC has also upgraded its flexible benefits platform to a new system offered by Aon Hewitt.

The bank has also introduced single sign-on. “One of the things to make it easier for our employees as they go through the year is [flexible benefits] elections, or things they can change every month, is single sign-on, ”says Strid.

“As long as they are connected to the network at their office, they can connect directly without any additional connections. This is one of the things that makes administration more user-friendly.

HSBC uses multiple channels to communicate benefits to staff. In addition to home mailings and its intranet site, it hosts annual benefits tours and uses 600 Benefits Champions to promote the benefits offered.

Champions are also responsible for answering colleagues’ questions prior to the flexible registration window.

The bank is also using screen savers on employee computers to remind them that the flexible enrollment period is approaching. “It’s something we see,” Strid says. “Most people come into the system and make active choices. About 70% [of staff] log in and do it.

Fit for purpose

Strid says the change agenda reflects one of the biggest business issues facing HSBC: “We inherited a number of things through an acquisition, which would have changed the current landscape for the way things are today, ”she said. “But to move forward, we want to make sure [the programme] is made for the future and for the organization.

But Strid understands the limits of a set of benefits to help the company retain talent, no matter how robust it is. “It’s about creating the right culture, which means we have an organization that people want to join and then stay,” she says.

“Sometimes it’s easy for organizations to overstate rewards and benefits. It’s almost like a hygiene factor: if you mess up you’ll have a problem, but it’s definitely not the key thing we would expect people to join or stay on.

HSBC at a glance

HSBC opened its first branch in Hong Kong in 1865. The World Bank is named after its founder, the Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation.

In 1992, Midland Bank of the United Kingdom became a full member of the HSBC group and in 1999 it was renamed HSBC.

The company employs 260,000 people worldwide, including 47,300 in the UK, and has 6,600 offices worldwide, in established and emerging markets. Its network covers more than 80 countries and territories in Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Africa, North America and Latin America.

It serves approximately 58 million customers through four global businesses: retail banking and wealth management; the Commercial Bank; banking and global markets; and the global private bank.

HSBC’s global headquarters are located in Canary Wharf, London.

Main business challenges

  • Capture the growing international financial flows between its business and corporate clients as they move from small businesses to large international organizations.
  • Use its position in higher growth markets to capture social mobility and wealth creation through its wealth management and private banking activities.

Career History: Maria Strid

Maria Strid, Performance and Rewards Manager, has been with HSBC for two and a half years. She joined Santander UK, where she was responsible for awards and international mobility, after working in this organization for six years. She began her award-winning career at a design engineering consultancy firm Ove Arup and Partners.

Strid says one of his biggest career accomplishments has been his role in changing the status quo. “It could be from big things to small things,” she said. “It was a rather unusual period in Santander, [for example], because it was during the financial crisis, so being part of a M&A team, and then the integration and implementation that went with it, was something very special. “

Strid is therefore well placed to manage the changes at HSBC. “We’re basically redesigning the benefits program,” she says, “making sure it’s aligned with a new organizational structure and helping the business operate more efficiently from an employee perspective. employees.

“I would also say that seeing the team members, my direct team, develop and flourish is something that I really enjoy. Sometimes that means they move on and do other things, but to see someone grow and be successful in their rewarding career is something very special. “

Case study:

Hasintha Gunawickrema

Hasintha Gunawickrema, Senior Business Performance Manager, European Retail Banking and Wealth Management, has been with HSBC for seven years.

As a parent who works with a young family, Gunawickrema appreciates vacation days and the flexibility she has to buy or sell vacations, depending on her plans for a given year. This gives him flexibility in the management of family commitments.

It also promotes the bank’s private health service. “It gives me a lot of reassurance about how we can handle unforeseen health issues,” she says. “Last summer, I had to see an ENT [ear, nose and throat] emergency consultant, when the NHS could only welcome me after seven days.

“I was able to see an ENT consultant in less than a day thanks to HSBC health coverage. The incredible support from my employer makes me feel valued.



A new defined contribution agreement based on the trust. From July 1, 2015, HSBC will increase its principal employer contribution from 8% to 10% for the first £ 20,000 of employees’ pensionable salary and to 9% for any remaining pensionable salary over £ 20,000. It will also correspond to employee contributions of up to 7%.

Private medical insurance (PMI)

From January 2015, all employees will be able to benefit from private medical insurance paid by the company for themselves and their families.

Income protection

From January 2015, all employees will be eligible for company-funded income protection up to 60% of salary.


Starting in 2015, vacation leave entitlements will vary from 25 to 30 days (plus statutory holidays), depending on global career range.

Days can be bought and sold for up to a maximum of five days.

Maternity leave

From 2015, HSBC will offer 19 weeks of paid maternity leave.

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