By PREMA JAYABALAN
Since its beginnings in 1975 as a merchant bank, the AmBank Group has grown from strength to strength. Today it stands proud as one of the country’s most sought after financial services conglomerates.
The group’s business comprises a wide range of conventional and Islamic financial products and services, with a regional presence.
“We have had a loyal following of customers over the years and I believe that this is due to the importance we give to our customers,” explains AmBank Group chairman Tan Sri Azman Hashim.
“It is very important to be aware of our customers’ needs as they have become much more sophisticated today, with more demanding expectations,” he says.
The group recently launched a brand repositioning campaign with a new tagline, Your Bank. Malaysia’s Bank. AmBank.
This is in line with its refreshed vision of closer connections with customers and to create products and services that meet the diverse needs of modern Malaysians.
The group is active with internal initiatives for its staff and with external campaigns for customers.
In June 2012, the group launched its Employee Value Proposition “I Am Connected” to emphasise the importance of the personal growth of employees underpinning the growth of the group.
A people-focused culture
AmBank Group’s Employee Value Proposition is built on the tenet that employees will have an opportunity to build a successful and rewarding career with the group.
Employees are continuously challenged to develop themselves through the opportunities provided for self-growth.
Furthermore, high performing employees are recognised and rewarded for their contribution.
“I think the people will contribute strongly when they have a stake in the bank, feel that they are growing and feel that the bank cares for them,” explains Tan Sri Azman.
“We have taken pains to continually ensure that staff feel connected – to one another, to customers and to the organisation.”
The bank conducts surveys to obtain feedback from employees on their thoughts and opinions about their work and career.
“Our people initiatives and programmes focus on our engagement drivers as a response to what employees say are important to them. These ensure that employees remain motivated and engaged and can perform well,” he adds.
Development on all fronts
“We believe that our staff must be trained to face the constantly changing and sophisticated demands of today’s business climate. Quality service can only be achieved if all staff are equipped with cutting edge knowledge and expertise,” he says.
The group provides many avenues and opportunities for learning via e-learning, in-house programmes, external workshops and conferences.
“We strongly emphasise that staff should not only be committed to their jobs, but also strive to continuously update and upgrade their knowledge and skills to be able to compete in the marketplace,” says Tan Sri Azman.
Those who seek to improve their public speaking skills can join the Toastmasters Club at AmBank Group.
There is also Kelab AmBank Group, the group’s sports club, which encourages staff to participate in a wide range of activities to promote a healthy mind and body, whilst bonding with one another.
“We also have ongoing employee engagement activities organised by the company and the sports club,” he continues.
“These are important events to create a sense of togetherness and promote interaction amongst employees of AmBank Group.”
Employment opportunities for all
Be it fresh graduates or experienced hires, the group is always on the look-out for professional, vibrant, resilient, agile and ambitious candidates who have a positive outlook, are willing to go the extra mile, and are on the lookout for challenges.
There are opportunities awaiting high achievers through various programmes aligned to specific sectors in the financial services industry.
These programmes accelerate the learning curve of individuals and enable them to shape their careers in the financial services sector. It provides exposure to diverse areas in AmBank Group.
As for experienced hires, high performers are assessed, developed and managed through the group’s talent management programme, which opens up avenues for leadership development and career advancement.
Employees serving the community
As a person who believes in giving back to society and one who has contributed his fair share to the community, Tan Sri Azman stresses the importance the group places on corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
“We strive to stay connected to the community by reaching out to society with compassion and remaining committed to addressing a wide range of issues.
“These include helping the underprivileged, those in distress situations, as well as supporting the development of youth, sports, culture, and the media.
“At the same time, the group continues to contribute to healthy intellectual growth through various initiatives such as educational programmes and industry conferences.”
The group promotes a spirit of volunteerism amongst employees.
Staff frequently give their time to initiatives such as food distribution to the homeless under the Kechara Soup Kitchen programme.
To date, AmBank Group has also spent RM300,000 sponsoring life jackets for fishermen and others in flood prone areas.
The AmKasih Programme – This is the umbrella for the AmBank Group’s CSR initiatives for the community at large, irrespective of race, creed or religion, as it contributes to the sustainable development of the community it operates in.
Charity programmes for homes and schools, and treating less fortunate children to festive shopping and food during major festive seasons are only the tip of the iceberg of the group’s programmes.
Some other prominent activities include:
AmBank-MyKasih Community Programme – This is a joint project with MyKasih Foundation to provide food aid to low-income households. Since 2009, AmBank Group has allocated RM1mil annually to the programme and supports communities in 16 locations nationwide.
Back To School Charity Programme – This annual programme buys school uniforms, backpacks, stationery and shoes for children from selected homes and schools during the year-end school holidays as they are about to enter the new school year.
Annual Countdown Celebration – “AMBANG 2014 PUTRAJAYA” is the ninth in the series of countdown concerts held on New Year’s Eve.In the spirit of 1Malaysia, it brings Malaysians together, with entertainment by popular Malaysian artistes. Attendance at the last few events have averaged more than 500,000.
Supporting Education – AmBank Group’s contribution of RM5mil for the AmBank Financial Services Chair in Universiti Malaya is one example of its initiatives in support of education. Here, a chair holder is appointed to promote academic leadership and knowledge in the field of financial services.
Among the chair’s various responsibiltiies, he or she imparts knowledge and expertise through lectures, seminars and workshops to academics and students. AmBank Group today stands proud as a homegrown entity that has reached many milestones throughout its long history.
Even through tough economic climates, it has managed not only to sustain itself, but to continue to grow.