Holistic Approach to Talent Mobility


Mobility is embedded in the corporate DNA of Standard Chartered Bank (SCB). Rather than one approach, SCB has an on-going enterprise approach to talent mobility.

The problem addressed by the campaign: 
  • The financial industry is changing rapidly. Increasingly, clients and customers have transnational banking needs, and non-banking organizations have started to play in the finance space (e.g., Apple has secured a banking licence). To remain competitive, SCB must be creative about how it develops its people.
  • SCB aims to respond also to ageing populations, differently skilled workforces, and other demographic trends.

Talent process:

  • All SCB employees are assigned a talent classification, irrespective of their grade. All HIPOs (high potentials) have a talent profile that details their career and performance history, their strengths and aspirations, and other personal/performance data. Business and HR leadership teams have access to each individual’s talent profile and commit to moving those people recognized as HIPOs, especially when they have been in their role for two or more years.

Succession planning:

  • SCB runs a global process for succession at the senior level. Each of the business/function specific Heads of HR meet to review names and calibrate views across the enterprise. This single view enables cross-fertilization of succession plans and improves bench strength by allowing SCB to access talent in different geographies and functions/business lines to have the right people in the right role at the right time.

Strategic people agenda:

  • SCB runs an annual process called the Strategic People Agenda during which the Group CEO reviews the people agenda of each business/function, which enables cross-bank moves.

Resourcing calls:

  • The global senior HR team run fortnightly “clearing house” style calls to help deploy cross-bank moves of talented individuals, identifying people who want to experience different businesses to ensure the supply meets the business demand. Using this process, SCB recently deployed some experienced wholesale bankers into consumer banking.

Mobility policies:

  • SCB has globally consistent and globally governed policies. SCB managers can move an individual in several ways – short-term vs. long-term moves, permanent vs. international assignment. These are globally governed, and managers cannot amend them. This ensures complete fairness.
  • SCB is an international organization with an international business strategy. This is inherent in its culture and workforce and is a competitive advantage in the industry.
  • SCB considers innate talent rather than previous experience.
  • SCB believes that moving people into jobs is also part of the social purpose of the organization. SCB hires visually impaired people to work in contact centres as part of its brand promise of “here for good”.
Why has it worked?: 
  • Mobility is at the heart of the SCB business – whether it is moving between teams, moving to a different role, or changing location either across town or internationally.
  • The biggest drivers of this culture of mobility are the SCB footprint, operating model and strengths-based philosophy. From graduates to GMC members, there is a consistent story SCB has to tell around mobility: it is a way of life, not an occasional practice.
Conclusions and Recommendations: 

Given the increasingly complex and international nature of banking, it is vital to develop leaders with a breadth of understanding and to operate under a broad definition of mobility.

Foundational Issues: 
Public and private constraints on mobility
Level of Collaboration: 
Level 1: Collaboration within the organization
Global (all of the above)
Economic and political context: 
  • 85% of business comes from outside the United Kingdom.
  • SCB is over 150 years old and never started with a strategy that was home country focused.
  • The SCB client base consists of many nationalities, and the goal is to have the employees represent the client and customer base.
  • SCB has a network of over 1,700 branches and outlets and 5,600 ATMs in more than 70 countries and territories across the globe.
  • At SCB, 125 nationalities are represented among over 80,000 employees, nearly half of who are women.
  • 70 nationalities are represented among SCB senior management.
About the Author(s): 

Standard Chartered PLC is a multinational financial services company headquartered in London, United Kingdom, with operations in more than 70 countries.