Tracy Clarke, Standard Chartered Bank
I am delighted to endorse Tracy Clarke’s nomination for HR Director of the Year. Tracy’s drive and collaborative leadership has transformed HR in Standard Chartered, turning it into a powerful agent of change, a guardian of our values and culture, and an efficient delivery mechanism for core HR processes. Our success in delivering successive nine years of record income and profits in a period of extraordinary turbulence in the banking industry owes an enormous amount to Tracy.
With nearly 87,000 people comprising 130 nationalities across 71 markets, and having more than tripled in headcount over the last decade, Standard Chartered represents a huge HR challenge. Yet under Tracy’s leadership we have turned that challenge into a powerful source of competitive advantage. We have a truly distinctive culture, very high levels of engagement, and efficient and effective global platforms and processes for recruitment, reward, training and development.
Making this happen has meant overcoming considerable obstacles. When Tracy became Global Head of HR and member of the Group Management Committee in 2006, our HR function faced considerable challenges, with a patchwork of systems, inconsistent service levels and non-standardised processes. Whilst HR had many skilled professionals, and many good initiatives were being pursued, these were insufficiently aligned with business priorities, and the reliance on manual processes meant that HR staff had inadequate capacity to add value to their business partners.
Under Tracy’s leadership, HR has been transformed on multiple dimensions:
- Service efficiency and effectiveness has improved dramatically through investment in technology and adoption of standardised processes. AskHR, our self-service HR portal executed 6 million transactions in 2011. Our multi-lingual PeopleSoft platform now covers 94% of our staff. Revamped reporting processes allow us to track headcount numbers by business, function and geography accurately and promptly to an unprecedented degree
- Alignment to business priorities has been reinforced by the introduction of HR Relationship Managers that act as strategic partners, coordinating input and support from specialist teams. Strategic thinking about people priorities has been massively strengthened by the introduction of Strategic People Agendas, a mechanism for defining the people priorities for specific businesses, functions and geographies on a 3-5year horizon. These enable us to take a strategic look at our people pipeline, succession gaps, skill development priorities, etc
- Diversity and inclusion have become embedded in business management, through a range of initiatives under the leadership of the Diversity & Inclusion Council. Amongst other things, we have introduced women’s mentors, workplace childcare, flexible hours, working from home, sabbaticals. We have also developed specific approaches to helping people understand and overcome barriers of language and culture
- HR has supported line management in building staff engagement. In 2011, 95% of employees participated in the bank’s employee engagement survey run by Gallup, achieving a score of 4.23 out of a possible 5 and securing the Bank Gallup’s Great Place to Work Award for the second year running.
- Tracy has led the way in reinforcing our values and culture. To reinforce the way we recognise and reward both “what” people do, and “how” people do it, Tracy introduced a 5 point values rating scale to complement the performance rating. This sharpened the focus on behaviours and collaborative leadership. Tracy has also used her dual role as Global Head of HR and Global Head of Corporate Affairs, to ensure our brand promise – Here for good – is not simply a marketing slogan, but infuses the way we interact with each other, and informs the way we treat our clients and customers. Through embedding Here for good in how we run the business in this way we make it much more powerful. Furthermore, at a time when the social legitimacy of banks and bankers is much questioned, when bankers bonuses are often criticised, Tracy has taken the lead in confronting such issues head on leading the debate internally, and engaging externally with shareholders, at forums like Davos, and through the membership of The Good Work Commission. In addition, as co-leader of WORKing for YOUth - a pan business initiative to drive up the number of sustainable entry level jobs available in the UK - Tracy has galvanised her peers in other global businesses to get on board with the initiative and secured commitment to an ‘ethos’ statement on how young job-seekers will be treated.
- Tracy has also played a significant role in providing counsel to me as CEO on a whole array of issues affecting the senior leadership and the shape of the organisation. She has great judgement and insight about individuals, and demonstrates courage and creativity in such conversations. I rely on her enormously.
Tracy joined Standard Chartered aged 18 as a teller. She is a real banker, having worked in both Consumer and Wholesale banking, in Asia as well as the UK. Her career journey is a wonderful example of what talent can achieve in this Bank. Her values and leadership style make her a role model of our values. I am proud to endorse her nomination.
Group Chief Executive, Standard Chartered Bank