Talent & Tech Asia Summit 2024
Winning Secrets: Citi’s employee experience initiatives are crafted intentionally to support its business objectives

Winning Secrets: Citi’s employee experience initiatives are crafted intentionally to support its business objectives

Citi's Singapore Early Career Team looks to foster a more diverse workforce, to be more inclusive of nationality, gender, and academic backgrounds.

Citi is a banking partner for institutions with cross-border needs, a global leader in wealth management, and a valued personal bank in its home market of the United States. Citi does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions, providing corporations, governments, investors, institutions and individuals with a broad range of financial products and services.

At the third annual edition of Employee Experience Awards - Singapore in 2023, Citi won silver in two coveted categories - 'Best Campus Recruitment Strategy' and 'Best Employer Branding'. 

To celebrate this milestone, we catch up with Citi's Singapore Early Career Team on the work this team is undertaking early in order to showcase to students that Citi is an organisation where they can bring their true, authentic self to work, all while building a fulfilling career in banking.

Q How do you ensure your employee experience initiatives are aligned with your business objectives?

Citi’s employee experience initiatives are crafted intentionally to support our business objectives. The early careers team aspires to showcase to students that Citi is an organisation where they can bring their true, authentic self to work, all while building a fulfilling career in banking. Citi’s mission is to enable growth and progress for our clients and communities, encapsulated in our tagline of "For the love of progress". This pushes us to think about how we can foster a more diverse workforce, to be more inclusive of nationality, gender, and academic backgrounds, and this diversity is central to the success of our businesses.

With the businesses recognising that diverse talent forms the backbone of their success, we are able to embed a culture of inclusion & equity into the business and our early careers strategy.

The early careers team also relooks and analyses data and insights on an annual basis to tweak our yearly plan to ensure we continue being industry leaders, delivering the best possible employee experiences to our employees.

Q Can you provide examples of how the organisation has invested in the employee experience?

We invest in our employee experience through a variety of initiatives:

Campus to Citi – Between the end of the summer internship stint and the commencement of their full-time analyst programme, our employer branding & university relations team curates information in newsletters & videos every month to these returning individuals. They include topics such as: tips to do well while on the analyst programme, the journey of our in-programme analysts, etc. These resources provide them with additional sources of information and tools to help them better transit from school to the corporate world.

Early identification programmes – The organisation strongly believes in connecting students at an earlier stage of their undergraduate study to help build a stronger connection and provide them with the necessary guidance and exposure should they want to explore a career within the banking & finance industry. To engage these students, mentors are assigned to support them through the programme, post-programme while back at campus, and in conversion to the summer internship. By providing this one-to-one support and mentorship, we see strong conversation and employer branding on campus.

Team building & volunteering initiatives – To ensure that our summer and full-time analysts get an opportunity to interact across different functions and meet peers from other departments, the early careers team plans team building and volunteering initiatives as part of the programme. This allows the analysts to socialise and share a day in their life with peers from other programmes.

Sense of belonging – To help build a sense of belonging from the get-go, the team prints and distributes functional goodies for our analysts, including laptop sleeve, collapsible cups, umbrellas, travel adapters, etc.

Training programmes – All summer and full-time analysts undergo a series of business training at the start of the programme to ensure they are well-equipped to take on the work in their respective roles.

Support network – While on the program, our summer and full-time analysts have a strong support network, including a buddy, a mentor, a program manager, and a business sponsor. Apart from their immediate line manager, the four other individuals assigned to them are there to aid the assimilation process, all the way to overseeing their progress and development over the entire programme duration.

Q What are some key challenges you faced in implementing your EX initiatives, and how did you overcome them?

Channel mix – We have found that career fairs may not be optimal in reaching our target audience due to time constraints. To counter this, we launched 'Recruiter on Campus' (an initiative where Citi's early career recruiters head to the respective target universities quarterly to meet students and have an exclusive one-to-one consultation on topics like Citi business overview, career goal-setting, resume walkthrough, interview tips and more). This enables more quality time with each student as it allows us to go more in-depth and provide targeted help to students in requested areas

Managers – Interns are here both to learn and contribute to the team. Some managers find it challenging to balance these two priorities, and we often see both extremes – maximum learning but little contribution back or little learning and a strong focus on contribution. Knowing that this may happen, the team has two initiatives in place:

1) a line-manager survey – where managers can provide feedback mid-way through their stint to ensure they have a good balance of learning & contribution,
2) recruiter catch-up with interns – to hear from the interns themselves if they are getting sufficient support and if they are involved in contributing back to the team.

Assessments – Students who apply to multiple positions may have an unfair advantage as we sometimes use case studies with similarities. We have introduced more varied content to ensured everyone is on a level playing field.

Experience – Continually coming up with innovative marketing/teambuilding/learning activities/training

Q Do you have processes to measure the effectiveness of your EX initiatives, and what metrics do you use to evaluate success?

We track metrics such as:

  • Gender diversity
  • Intern conversion rates
  • Offer acceptance rates
  • Summer analyst feedback – both qualitative and quantitative
  • Business stakeholder feedback – qualitative

As an example of one of these metrics, the early careers team will send mailers to inform the businesses on what’s happening in the world of early careers to gather their support from the get-go. We also have a weekly tracker to track important KPIs.

Our EX initiatives have been recognised at the FinanceAsia Awards 2023, with Citi winning for 'Most Progressive DEI' in China, Hong Kong, India, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand

The award is a recognition of  our leadership in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

Q Finally, what role do leaders and managers play in driving a beautiful employee experience, and how are they held accountable for the success of these initiatives?

Leaders and managers are crucial in driving the best-in-class employee experience. They provide daily guidance and support to the analysts but also share the broader business strategy so that the analysts understand why they are doing what they’re doing and how it fits into the broader picture. Our leaders are also heavily invested sponsors of our early careers initiative. They often take time out of their busy schedules to meet with the analysts – to share their career pathways, help connect them to other leaders, or help resolve any challenges the analysts may face.

Our people managers and leaders are assessed via 360-degree feedback to ensure that they are held accountable.

Read more interviews on why organisations have won trophies for their HR practices - head over to our Winning Secrets' section!

All photos / Provided by Citi

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