Future-proofing the Bank’s human capital
2021 was a year that saw Al Rajhi Bank (ARB) setting new benchmarks for employee experiences by investing in the identification and development of talent as much as the technologies that drive each function across the Bank. While introducing digital solutions, automated processes and total migration to online platforms, the Bank also shaped a human capital that was powered by new capabilities and augmented expertise. A number of systems and technological advancements that were initiated during the previous year were completed, piloted and rolled-out during 2021 across the Bank’s Human Resources (HR) Group, empowering a 9,360 -strong workforce, productive and flexible that elevated its benchmark in HR services underpinned by the latest in digital HR technology.
The Bank’s human capital remains central to the success of its future strategy and drives the Bank’s value creation model with clear KPIs set for each employee at the beginning of the year to align with overall Bank and Department goals. During the year under review, HR continued to collaborate with different teams within the Bank in order to ensure that employees remained safe, healthy, positive and productive, efforts that enabled the bank to achieve the challenging targets.
|Numbers for Al Rajhi bank KSA||2021||2020||2019||2018||2017|
|Total ARB number of employees||9,360||9,380||9,683||9,628||10,263|
|Percentage of ARB Bank and KSA subsidiaries female employees (%)||17.18||13.96||14.56||13.37||11.99|
|Percentage of ARB Saudi employees (%)||97.25||97.09||97||95.92||91.76|
|Number of ARB employees departed||786||732||910||1,033||729|
|ARB Turnover ratio (%)||8.31||7||9.62||9.93||7.10|
|ARB Total training hours||538,974||289,566||428,394||391,086||386,772|
Employees working from home by grade and gender
|Grade – Numbers for Al Rajhi Bank KSA||Male||Female|
|Director level and above (Grades 13, 14, 15, 16)||18||136||0||1|
|Managerial Level (Grades 10, 11, 12)||65||499||0||21|
|Staff (Grade 9 and below)||57||612||0||159|
Human Resources in a recovering post-COVID-19 landscape
The health and safety of the Bank’s workforce remained a top priority with the Bank supporting employees based across the Kingdom as well as those stranded outside KSA during lockdowns, adhering to relevant Government directions with regard to work regulations and travel restrictions. Effective internal communications and regular follow-ups ensured that employee morale and productivity remained high.
A COVID-19 vaccination drive organised by HR benefitted many employees at Head Office in 2021, with the Bank continuing to facilitate preventive medical isolation, leave of absence and PCR testing to restrain the spread of the coronavirus. While further strengthening and securing the infrastructure to enable employees to work remotely from home, HR maintained frequent communication with employees to keep them up to date on all procedural changes, including updates on COVID 19 and operational practices aligned with Labour Laws and regulations issued by the Ministry of Health. Apart from COVID-19, HR launched an open health day at all Head Office locations in 2021, and also held a Breast Cancer Awareness Event at the Head Office ladies’ division, focusing on all round health and wellbeing of employees.
Out of the entire employee population, 11% of male employees and 10% of female employees took parental leave during the year under review.
Parental leave by gender
|Numbers for Al Rajhi bank KSA||Female||Male|
|Number of employees who took parental leave, by gender||149||842|
|Number of employees who returned to work after parental leave, by gender||149||842|
|Number of employees who returned to work after parental leave who were still employed 12 months after return, by gender||149||842|
Engagement and inclusivity
While the Bank upholds recognised standards and principles for labour practices, employee wellbeing and occupational health and safety, it also strives to ensure safe and fair working conditions and practices, and to create an environment that allows employees to flourish. Centralisation, automation, and digitalisation enable the Bank to become cost-efficient by facilitating prudent growth. Modernisation reduces the demands and pressures on the Bank’s people, enabling them to work more efficiently and productively, significantly reducing fatigue, while allowing morale and motivation to remain high.
Improving female representation remains a priority with the Bank striving to ensure that the proportion of female employees receiving training, promotion and representation at Senior Management levels keeps increasing. In addition, the Bank continued to work towards ensuring that the ratio of basic salary and remuneration of women and men across all locations of operation and all employee categories remains equal.
Employee policies and communication
The Bank remains steadfast in upholding a number of policies to provide a working environment that is fair and safe for all. The whistle-blowing policy, grievance policy and other modes of communication remain firmly in place for employees to be able to raise concerns about their workplace. The Bank’s formal grievance policy illustrates the Bank’s commitment to hear each and every grievance through a transparent process that protects employee rights and is conducive to fair solutions.
Employee communication channels:
- Employee survey
- Senior management messages
- Employee email updates
- HR newsletters
- Periodic news broadcasts
- Pandemic awareness booklet
- Whistle-blowing policy
- Grievance policy
- HR self-service mobile app
- HR hotline
- HR system
- HR Tawasul
HR Governance was revamped to proactively establish guidelines as well as up-to-date policies and procedures to support the Bank’s transformational HR journey.
To deliver on its commitment to build a world-class compliance framework, the Bank firmly enforces its whistle-blowing policy. While encouraging employees to speak up and report any activity that violates the Code of Conduct or any of the employee policies, procedures and instructions, the Bank ensures that all employees can access whistle-blowing channels through which they can voice concerns anonymously and without fear of repercussions.
The Bank provides employees with market and performance-driven remunerations; in 2021, high performers were rewarded with a fixed salary revision, while other variable incentive payments were significantly enhanced in line with increased sales to promote a strong customer-service-driven sales culture
Salaries and Benefits
|SAR Mn. – for Al Rajhi bank KSA||2021||2020||2019||2018||2017|
|Social security Contributions||151.5||148.3||137.7||135.0||138.3|
|Total salaries and benefits paid||1,864.6||1,805.6||1,742.0||1,791.9||1,749.8|
Celebratory and CEO customised gift
The Bank made celebratory payments to over 5,000 employees during the year under review for special occasions consisting of marriages, birth of a child, Hajj pilgrimages and back to school initiatives. A special CEO initiative was also introduced in 2021 to cover other instances – for employees in poor health, under medication or in recovery. A total of 1,220 employees received a customized best wishes gift from CEO.
|Initiative Type – for Al Rajhi bank KSA||Marriage||New Born||Insurance Upgrade||Back to School||Hajj||Total|
|Number of Employees||350||1,106||465||3,409||33||5,363|
Employee saving scheme
Over 2,500 employees successfully completed Savings Scheme 1, greatly benefiting from the two-year programme designed to encourage and nurture an exemplary culture of saving among Bank employees.
Digital transformation and mobile accessibility
As part of the Bank’s new identity to “unbank the bank”, HR Group worked to automate and enhance HR processes in order to improve efficiencies and strengthen the Bank’s employee value proposition. A number of upgrades were carried out on the HR Management System during the year under review. The Talent Management System was introduced with features such as Succession Planning, Critical Position Evaluation, Talent Review and Talent Assessment while the Performance Management System underwent upgrades in Goal Management, Employee Profile Management, Performance Calibration and Dynamic Eligibility Profiles. An enhanced user-friendly interface with dashboards and rich reporting capabilities rounded up the system upgrades.
An enterprise version of the Bank’s employee self-service HR app SAHL was launched in order to access all service features including customised functions. This in turn enabled the Bank to utilise SAHL as the single point of access to all employees based on evolving HR requirements. The app upgrade allowed for improved efficiencies and user experience across all HR services, addressing accessibility glitches and gaining flexibility through customization.
The employee financing process was also enhanced during the year under review by integrating the SAHL mobile app and the HR Management System to automate several functions including leave utilisation, vendor payments including approval cycles and ex-employee clearance process. An HR Dashboard developed using best in class business intelligence tools was implemented in 2021 to present real-time, priority-driven HR KPIs, support the decision-making process and monitor the performance across all HR functions complemented by an enhanced visual interface.
The Testahl app launched by the Bank was upgraded in 2021, with the number of merchants increased by almost 50% from 2020 and a resulting increase of complimentary offers, promotions and savings opportunities that were enjoyed by employees. With over 8,000 users, the app introduced a new function that enabled users to add their family members and give them access to offers. Over 15,500 discount vouchers have been availed through the Testahl app to date.
Recruitment and onboarding
Following an extensive and very detailed study of the Bank’s existing recruitment and onboarding processes, a comprehensive new digitised system was implemented during 2021. With onboarding considered one of the critical aspects of creating a superior candidate experience with greater chance of retention, the new system aims to improve the efficiency of the Bank’s Recruitment and Onboarding process.
The Recruitment Module is automated from the onset of the process with the automation of hiring requisitions. A dedicated, user-friendly careers website was launched to enable candidates to upload their CVs online, browse and apply for open vacancies. Tools were integrated for Recruiters to communicate with candidates via the system across all steps of the Recruitment process from screening and interview management to offer management and hiring. The module also includes SMART reporting and KPIs to measure efficiencies.
The Onboarding module allows for a seamless follow up process with all onboarding stakeholders, to complete required tasks within an approved time period and identify bottlenecks and points of delays.
An Online Assessment Tool replaces traditional time-consuming phone screenings, enabling HR to learn more about the candidate beyond the resume and automatically filter a large number of applications. The tool includes video assessments and online engagement to ensure candidate authenticity.
During 2021, the Bank hired 830 employees including over 50 Director and above level hires, with the new Recruitment and Onboarding System significantly enhancing overall efficiencies, productivity and candidate experience. The approval workflow was also enhanced to meet service level agreements with the Bank’s various business units.
Total new hires by age group and gender
|Year||18 to 30 years||Over 30 years|
|Numbers for Al Rajhi bank KSA||Male||Female||Total||Male||Female||Total|
Employees by grade and gender
|Numbers for Al Rajhi bank KSA||2021||2020||2021||2020|
Employees by age and gender
|Numbers for Al Rajhi bank KSA||2021||2020||2019||2021||2020||2019||2021||2020||2019|
Service analysis of workforce
|Number of years of service||Male||Female|
|Numbers for Al Rajhi bank KSA||2021||2019||2018||2021||2019||2018|
|Over 20 years||573||496||522||59||40||38|
Employees by category
|Category – For Al Rajhi Bank KSA||2021||2020||2019||2018||2017|
Talent management and development In 2020, Talent Management implemented multiple initiatives that saw the Bank review and revise a number of core talent practices, including the existing competency framework, critical role identification framework and succession-planning framework. The Bank also gathered assessment-based insights into development at leadership level and functional level, all initiatives that laid a strong foundation for the strategic rollout and implementation of a number of new talent practices in 2021:
- Branch network talent assessment
The Bank’s strategic business direction as well as the expectations of customers have significantly evolved over the past few years, and the alignment of the entire Bank network, channels and human resources with this shift becomes key to delivering on the Bank’s strategic goals of 2022 and beyond. Among the key human resources identified were frontline employees who played a significant part in delivering on the Bank’s strategic business goals. To drive business growth and sustainability, 9 pivotal roles filled by over 2000 employees were identified and assessed against the newly revised competency framework as well as other capabilities that support digital agility. Through this assessment, top-tier talent across all nine pivotal roles were identified, following which the development needs to help nurture these identified competencies were defined. These development solutions are scheduled to roll out in early 2022.
- Engagement and communication
Beyond the conventional modes of communication and engagement, a number of new initiatives were implemented with the intent to dial up engagement across identified talent segments, especially following the constraints in COVID 19 the previous year:
- Conversation over coffee with CEO – Monthly sessions with select talent groups across different businesses/functions invited to join the CEO & CHRO for open conversations over a coffee. Beyond the recognition, this gives employees an opportunity to gain deep insight into the Bank’s strategic direction from the CEO, and provide valuable ground level feedback to the leadership.
- Engagement sessions – Post graduation events that facilitate closer engagement and interaction between Talent Management and graduates for better clarity on career progression and development opportunities within the Bank.
- Emerging talent development programme – One of the Bank’s biggest challenges in 2021 was identifying and retaining skilled future talent across niche areas in a fiercely competitive market. This programme, specially designed to appeal to niche emerging talent was reinitiated with the participation of over 70 potential employees in 2021 following COVID constraints the previous year.
- Internal recognition – Leveraging internal communication channels to announce promotions of employees to the Director level and above, while also helping reinforce Talent Management intent of nurturing and growing internal talent towards leadership roles.
- Assessment culture:
With the success of the ‘Leadership Assessments’ for all individuals at Director level and above established in 2020, the Talent team further enhanced the quality of the decision-making process by adopting assessments across other talent groups and talent management functions as a practice in 2021:
- Promotion Assessments – All promotions to leadership positions required a Psychometric Assessment done through a best in class external consultant firm, with reports used as one of the primary data points for decision-making.
- New Recruit Assessment – All potential candidates considered for roles in leadership positions underwent formal Psychometric Assessments, with reports used as one of the primary data points for selection decision.
- Nurturing a healthy talent pipeline
The Bank’s highly successful and in-demand Graduate Development Programmes established to nurture a resilient talent pool of future leaders, took 90 new Graduate trainees on board during the year under review. The programmes, curated by experts for IT graduates in Business Excellence, are part of the Bank’s strategy to attract, retain and develop top young Saudi talent. Over 80 participants successfully graduated from ARB Academy programmes in 2021 to become part of a 350-strong graduate team, further bolstering a talent bench of skilled employees and potential leaders.
The ARB Academy delivered a record performance during 2021 with an 86% YoY increase in learning hours, an accomplishment that also exceeds pre-pandemic numbers. While the move back to physical classes has been gradual, the Academy continued to up-skill and develop employees in a well-balanced and accessible blended learning environment in 2021. The Academy focused on upgrading its infrastructure to provide more digitised programmes that allow high flexibility and accessibility to learning solutions. More programme curricula was redesigned with new content generated for virtual delivery, with a total of 647 different programmes available by the end of 2021.
Over 7,000 employees were certified across three mandatory SAMA certifications during a year that also saw the launch of three new certifications at the ARB Academy under the School of Banking in International Trade Finance, FinTech and PayTech and the Finance Certification Programme.
The Academy also designed and delivered the Qassim Contact Centre Programme within a short time span of six weeks, with an objective of training 200 potential female employees under the Work from Home project. Taleem, the Academy’s Learning Management System (LMS) was made accessible to a wider audience by enabling features such as Programme Curriculums, Self-Registration, Training History, Participation Certificate and Programme Evaluations. The introduction of new features and learning tools resulted in an increased level of LMS traffic during the year, exceeding over 4,300 registered employees.
|Numbers for Al Rajhi bank KSA||2021||2020||2019|
|Number of training programmes||937||420||622|
|Total number of participants||9,552||9,737||11,191|
|Hours spent on training||538,986||289,566||428,394|
|Number of trained staff||9,552||9,737||11,191|
Hours of training by grade
|Grade – For Al Rajhi Bank KSA|| Total hours
Employee training by gender and category
|Type – For Al Rajhi Bank KSA||Number of employees||Number of person hours of training|
|Type – For Al Rajhi Bank KSA||Number of employees||Number of person hours of training|
Hours of training by skill type
|Type – For Al Rajhi Bank KSA|| No. of
Training programme type
|Programme Type – For Al Rajhi Bank KSA||IT Development||Graduate Development|
The HR Policy will continue to be reviewed periodically and aligned with enhancements/revisions made to labour laws of the Kingdom and other countries of operation. With the anticipation of an amendment to labour laws in the near future, the Bank will reflect such revisions and other relevant changes to the HR Policy in the near future.
HR continues to plan, develop and implement necessary upgrades, automations and innovations to the HR Management System in line with HR digital goals and targets.