ABSA

Thriving Remotely: Connecting 40 000 heads, hearts and hands in the time of Covid-19

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Project Scope

Culture

Change Management

Digital

THE PERFORMANCE CHALLENGE

12 countries. More than 12 million customers. Over 40 000 colleagues. Imagine the performance challenge on a good day! Now, Absa was facing a continent in lockdown, bare-knuckling against the unparalleled opponent of Covid-19. As an essential service, in care of tens of thousands of people, Absa had to act. The objective was clear: Keep Absa colleagues, their families and communities, safe. Support colleagues physically, mentally and emotionally, ensuring they felt secure, heard, loved and cared for! Flatten the curve and inspire others to do the same. All while motivating every one of their people to get up, dress up and show up — camera ready or otherwise!

How do you mobilise over 40 000 people to keep delivering performance, above and beyond fear? How do you shift mindset from a survival to a thrive context, no matter the odds? How do we keep Absa people living into their boldest purpose of bringing possibilities to life?

THE SOLVE

Crisis reveals character. As the world limbo-ed through frozen animation, Absa’s remote working team and TPA got to work on Thriving Remotely. A rapid, dynamic change piece that not only creates awareness of the incredible change taking place but imparts critical knowledge to operate in the new landscape, stabilising the organisation and building the inherent capability of every individual Absa colleague to lead through change and THRIVE.

The piece consisted of a series of remote working toolkits that communicated guiding principles to ensure Absa colleagues across Africa remained healthy, connected, contributing and future ready. A four-week release readied in half the time.

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Structure-your-work-day
Create-your-workspace
Make-tech-work
Stay-Healthy

Connection in a change landscape

Change is a cycle, not a flat line. The change piece anticipated what colleagues may be feeling and pre-empted the human response of fear and worry with the human response of compassion, honesty, practical and emotional support. Given the rate of change, Thriving Remotely strongly emphasised curiosity, communication and connection. Connection being key to maintain team alignment and offset isolation! Colleagues were encouraged to confront the new normal with deliberation and intention; to acknowledge their uncertainty but face change as a challenge, and to nurture bravery, passion and readiness in a situation that truly called for it.

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Keep-talking
Brave-Passionate-Ready
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Collective commitment

Thriving Remotely toolkits communicated essential information, support and advice, from office protocol to online etiquette to ergonomics and wellbeing practices. Critically, they instilled autonomy, asking Absa colleagues to claim ownership of their contribution. It was up to every individual to make decisions today that would author the story of a collective tomorrow.

Toolkit1
Toolkit2
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Toolkit5

Leadership as difference

Absa recognises that leadership matters disproportionately, so equipping leaders with the practical tools, support and emotional resilience to lead teams — that now looked very different! — was critical. Leaders received dedicated guides on how to navigate their journeys and take their teams through conversations that would ensure deep and meaningful connection. It’s only through people that we bring possibility to life!

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Working with and for one another

Thriving Remotely was peppered with interactive forms that offered colleagues immediate feedback, useful guidance and customised reports. Symbiotically, this engagement provided a deeper understanding of the cross-continental, multicultural workforce, so that Absa could flex and respond suitably.

WORK IS NOT SOMEWHERE WE GO, BUT SOMETHING WE CREATE WHEREVER WE ARE.

THE RESULTS

Unprecedented, as they say. Thriving Remotely was one of Absa’s most consumed pieces of people-support assets, reaching over 40 000 colleagues, with 10 214 downloads. The authenticity of the work continues to create community in a remote landscape and fulfills a powerful intention of connection, feeding a resilient culture. 60% of Absa colleagues continue to bring possibility to life directly from their homes (sometimes in their PJs). Overwhelmingly the feedback has been incomparable: Absa colleagues don’t feel as if they are going through Covid-19 alone. This is one Absa united.

And more! As one of only six banks globally, Absa were awarded the Euromoney 2020 Excellence in Leadership in Africa Award, commending them for their outstanding, integrated response to the pandemic. Read all about it!

42000

Absa colleagues reached

10214

Toolkit downloads

91

Percent utility and value rating

5

Stars, as rated by Absa colleagues!

AND ALL THIS IN

21 DAYS

The heart count

At TPA heart count is our game. The moments that truly matter are when our clients say TPAYAY! Absa, tell us what you thought!

How would you describe
your experience with TPA?

Exceptional

Would you work with us
again?

Absolutely

Would you refer us to your
best friend?

Yes!

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