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Inside Maybank's Hybrid World: Up close & personal with Datuk Nora Manaf, GCHCO, Maybank

Inside Maybank's Hybrid World: Up close & personal with Datuk Nora Manaf, GCHCO, Maybank


Datuk Nora Manaf answers your questions on how Maybank is helping employees adapt to hybrid work arrangements in this 45-minute video chat. Report by Priya Sunil and video editing by Bridgette Hall. 

It’s worth taking notice when one of Malaysia’s largest organisations decides that the future workplace lies in a hybrid workforce — what it calls, the 'Maybank Hybrid World'. It's also worth learning about the ups and downs of the journey to glean some best practices for your own workforce planning.

So earlier this quarter, HRO's Aditi Sharma Kalra caught up with Datuk Nora Manaf, Group Chief Human Capital Officer at Maybank, who delved into how Maybank is revolutionising the way employees work, engage, collaborate, and live in a new world of work.

Through the 45-minute conversation, we learnt that:

  • Performance management is about outcomes and results. There is no reason to sit in the office if employees are not being productive.

  • Creating a sustainable wellness programme allows employees to continuously to be supported in their jobs. It involves taking away the financial and other pressures of missing work and giving people the tools to feel included and supported in their roles. The right support is not just about external programmes but internal support from the organisation too.

  • Employee engagement is about curating different employee experiences. Diversity and inclusion extend to options of hybrid working, which means offering experiences that are both in-person and online. Don’t need to turn everyone into work from homers allowing the flexibility for people to choose their own management model.

In case you missed the live event on LinkedIn, check it out here:

With such a knowledge-packed session, we had an overflowing amount of questions from our audience — yet such little time! Thus, post the event, Datuk Nora shared her further insights into more questions some of our audience members had:

Q Is Maybank continuously changing its hybrid working strategies from time to time? How do you manage the employees’ participation in those changes?

2022 is the ‘Year of Hybrid Work’ for Maybank. Our hybrid work model comprises a blended arrangement of employees working from home, in the office and from alternate sites. However, we are always looking at ways to adjust our hybrid work strategies to adapt to the ever-changing conditions due to the pandemic.

For example, with the recent news of the Omicron variant rampant in communities worldwide, and the increase in COVID-19 cases in Malaysia – we have chosen to prioritise our employees’ health and safety by changing our hybrid work model to 80% work-from-home (WFH) and 20% of the workforce who are in critical business functions, to continue working in the office and at our alternate sites.

We believe that as the situation evolves, so do Maybankers, who are adaptable and agile in managing changes to ensure all safety needs are met, while continuing to provide our best service levels to our customers and the community.

We manage employees’ participation in such changes by promptly providing clear communications on updates to the Bank’s SOPs and guidelines across the organisation.

Being an organisation that is committed to diversity and inclusion, we acknowledge that hybrid working is not for everyone, as people are motivated in different ways and in different settings. Therefore, wellbeing programmes, financial aid, hybrid/virtual engagements, as well as periodical engagements with our EXCOs and managers are put in place to ensure that Maybankers are supported holistically.

When the nation’s situation gets better, a majority of Maybankers may return to the office following a management model that works for them, for example, alternate days of working in the office and from home.

Q With this hybrid working arrangement, how do you ensure the newcomers, especially fresh grads, get sufficient guidance and do not feel left out – on day-to-day jobs as well as the company cultures?

The hybrid work model is here to stay – even for newcomers in the Bank. Among other benefits, a hybrid workplace can promote wellbeing by providing newcomers with more autonomy over their work, enabling them to carry out their tasks in the way that suits them best.

As a humanising employer, we continue to provide handrails and holistic support to newcomers such as inviting them to join our youth community – MYouth (a Maybank community for young professionals) and other existing informal communities to further support them.

A buddy is assigned to each newcomer, to create opportunities for connection and interaction through frequent formal/informal check-ins – ensuring that they are well supported as they embark on their career path with Maybank.

We also encourage them to get involved in projects and informal engagement sessions, such as 'Happy Zoom'. Formal engagement sessions with line managers and EXCOs are also organised to incorporate and instill company culture into new recruits’ work and relationships with Maybankers Group-wide.

Q You’ve acknowledged the presence of varying work preferences. Will/should these preferences be taken into account by HR in future hiring processes? Perhaps for grouping employees with similar preferences.

At Maybank – we focus on being diverse and inclusive in our hybrid workplace. We welcome the fact that people are motivated in different ways and in different settings, which is clearly aligned to our diversity, equity, & inclusion (DEI) principles. However, while we embrace a hybrid workforce, it is not imposed on employees. We believe in giving employees the flexibility in choosing their preferred work arrangements with their colleagues whilst ensuring that they can still build synergy and perform at their best as a team.

Since 2021, we have found that it is indeed possible for employees to find common ground with their team through a hybrid workforce. Therefore, when it comes to future hiring processes, new hires will be introduced to the Bank’s hybrid world, and informed that having a combination of working in the office and from home will be part of the work arrangement for them.

Q As part of your overall strategy in 2022, could you highlight what’s coming up for you in the future?

This year, the Bank continues to work conscientiously towards a hybrid work environment. Our ‘Maybank Office’ now has a blended arrangement of employees working in the office, from home, and at alternate sites. And one of our highlights for 2022 is Mercu Maybank, which will serve as a permanent alternate location for the Bank. We want to accommodate new work arrangements such as hybrid work considerations for the Bank’s various functions and businesses.

This is also part of our business continuity management (BCM) and resiliency planning to ensure the Bank’s operations and service delivery dates are not disrupted and that employees’ health and safety remain our priority. We will occupy more than 160,000 sq. ft. of space across 14 floors of the new building.

Mercu Maybank was deemed suitable and conducive for the future of work given its premium facial recognition access control, hot-desking arrangements, security features, smart desk system, and Green Building Index (GBI) certification, which bodes well with our sustainability commitments and goals. It will also be a key activation for our hybrid work initiatives in 2022, making the future of hybrid work, now.

Apart from Mercu Maybank, we will also be ramping up our 'Maybank Go Ahead Take Charge' (MGAT) Infrastructure, as well as focusing on the effectiveness of our workforce-type mix to further streamline our workforce as line managers and employees will gain more experience and skills in managing and operating within these key workplace characteristics.

Lead image / HRO's exclusive event

Follow us on Telegram and on Instagram @humanresourcesonline for all the latest HR and manpower news from around the region!  

Follow us on Telegram and on Instagram @humanresourcesonline for all the latest HR and manpower news from around the region!

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