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Flexible Work, Elder Care, Sterling Bank and the Rest of US
By Adeola Adejokun
Dr Jones is 70. He should be happy and proud of how far he has come, but this new member of the Septuagenarian gang is worried. The scholar will be retiring in a few weeks and is anxious about paying out of pocket for his health care services.
The jolly good scholar who had looked forward to retirement is also bothered by something else. It is the round-the-clock presence of his youngest son – Tunde – at home. He cannot remember seeing him set out for work in months.
He knows the solution to the two nagging problems – a family meeting. In short, an urgent one. Dr Jones convened the session immediately. After all, distance is no longer a barrier. The new android tablet bought from AltMall and gifted to him by Tunde is the perfect enabler.
‘Yes, Tunde’s older siblings will admonish Tunde to retrace his step career-wise. I will also crowdsource my health care solution from the kids’, Pa Jones mused to himself.
To his surprise, it turns out that Tunde isn’t unemployed after all, and he has been working from the comfort of their home. The family meeting on Zoom was rescheduled twice because it clashed with Tunde’s prescheduled meeting and e-learning session.
Grinning from ear to ear, Tunde calmed the nerves of his anxious dad later that evening. He revealed that his employer, Sterling Bank, has a remote work policy dating back to 2016, which empowers him and many others to work seamlessly from home.
Dr Jones was relieved and joyous. And Tunde took the cue to brag about his unusual employment benefits which surprised his United Arab Emirates, Canada and the United States of America based siblings. Tunde’s perks include a side-hustle grant, gym membership, paternity leave, and Elder Care – a Sterling Bank Health Insurance plan for employees’ aged parents.
Quietly, Dr Jones blessed Sterling Bank’s management when he heard about Elder Care. He did not bother to raise his health care concern with the meeting turning into a pleasant family banter -the first in a long time since the outbreak of COVID-19.
The aged scholar rued the era in which he joined the workforce but was happy that his favourite son is getting a best-in-class deal.
Dr Jones was jolted out of his musings when the son urged his sister and brothers to give the Sterling Management Development Programme (SMDP)a shot. Tunde described it as their opportunity to scale up the management ladder and a visa home to the good life in a great place to work.
According to Tunde, SMDP is an 18-month rotational program for mid-career professionals seeking accelerated career growth in the middle management cadre at Sterling Bank. The program rotates intakes within select departments for eighteen months to prepare them for leadership roles.
In addition to Tunde’s perks, Sterling Bank also works with its women to reduce maternal mortality among its employees. It joins female employees’ pregnancy journey through mandatory online and onsite antenatal classes, 60 days of maternity leave, and an additional 30 days of annual leave. The extended leave days allow new mothers to be with their new-borns for longer. When they return to work. Onsite clinics and creches are available till their children are 18 months old.
Like the world itself, the global work environment has evolved significantly in recent times. Strides in technology, culture, and policy transformations of the contemporary workplace will leave a baby boomer like Dr Jones in awe.
Sterling Bank, for instance, under the leadership of its trendsetting Chief Executive Officer, Abubakar Suleiman, is upsetting the status quo. The bank’s incredible culture transformation journey consistently earned it consecutive national Great Place to Work awards in 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively.
It is not surprising that the bank attracts and retains first-class talents. Those that typically prefer tech firms like Google, Facebook and PayPal for their innovation, purposefulness, and excellent work culture.
More than 50 talents have been part of the bank’s accelerated programme for its high-performing employees called the Sterling Graduate Accelerated Program (SGAP) and the Sterling Management Accelerated Program (SMAP) which cuts across all grades.
Joining Sterling Bank’s Sterling Management Development Programme is the best career move anyone under 32 years of age can make to positively influence their future. And it is only for the best among the rest.
Adeola Adejokun, a Sterling Bank employee, writes from Lagos.