As a Group, we recognise that we owe a duty not only to our shareholders but to the wider society in which we operate. As a large employer in Georgia, it is incumbent upon us to play a leading role in minimising our impact upon the environment, to be an employer of choice and to drive positive change in society.
We consider sustainability to be integral to the growth of our business. Our sustainability agenda allows us to be profitable as well as environmentally and socially responsible. By implementing a sustainability approach in our activities, we foster long-term relationships with our main stakeholders, providing high return on investment for shareholders, satisfying the financial needs of customers, developing employees and contributing to the economic and social welfare of the local communities, while taking into account our environmental footprint. The Group’s Environmental and Social (E&S) Policy is designed to effectively manage the Group’s direct and indirect impact on society and the environment. This policy describes the Group’s strategy to develop solid management controls to conserve natural resources, minimise health and safety risks, and provide employees with equal development opportunities, fair compensation and benefits. We are pioneering sustainability practices in our operations and are constantly seeking new ways to improve our performance.
The Group continues to be included in the global responsible investment index FTSE4Good. The index is designed to demonstrate strong Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices, measured against international standards.
Our Board has overall ownership of environmental and social matters, and our corporate governance framework process enables Directors to have full oversight on matters relating to ESG. Our Risk Committee reviews risks relating to ESG, and updates the Board on such matters. The Board is also updated on corporate social responsibility matters by management, for example the work the Bank has done within the community, such as helping children in Georgia better understand banking products. In 2020, we will be expanding the Bank’s consideration of climate change issues and risks, and will consider suitable next steps for the Company.
As part of our sponsorship and charitable activities, the Group continues to focus on promoting and enhancing access to education, conserving nature, supporting people with disabilitiesLearn more
SPONSORSHIP AND CHARITY
As part of our sponsorship and charitable activities, the Group continues to focus on promoting and enhancing access to education, conserving nature, supporting people with disabilities and special needs, developing social enterprises and facilitating innovative projects that focus on social goods. The Group’s Sponsorship and Charity Policy encourages partnerships with various foundations and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to deliver sustainable results and bring positive change. Sponsorship and charity funds are channelled through the Bank’s Tree of Life Foundation that, in its turn, distributes funding by means of grant competitions in order to ensure transparent and fair methods of financing. The Group also implements its own social projects.
In 2019, Tree of Life allocated around GEL 1.9 million to support education, nature conservation, people with disabilities and special needs, social platforms, and the development of social entrepreneurship. Bank of Georgia, together with the Tree of Life Foundation, established a charity platform www.donate.ge, which connects the people in need with those who are willing to donate items, clothes, books, etc. The platform offers collection, sorting and delivery of items. In 2017-2019, 84,769 items were collected with help from 963 donors, and www.donate.ge has already supported 2,181 beneficiaries.
Bank of Georgia recognises the impact it can have on the country’s social-economic development. Therefore, the Bank launched a grant programme to support socially driven enterprises in Georgia. In 2016-2019, Bank of Georgia supported 15 social enterprises with up to GEL 650,000 and GEL 50,000 per project. The Bank partners with various NGOs to maximise its role in the social cause.
PROMOTING AND ENHANCING ACCESS TO EDUCATION
Bank of Georgia University has offered a top-quality master’s degree programme since its foundation in 2014. The university welcomed its sixth intake of MBA students in 2019 and simultaneously launched a bachelor’s degree programme in 2017. The cost of studies in 2017-2019 were again largely subsidised by the Bank, with GEL 1,256,866. Up to 20 students study at no cost, while 40 students benefit from a 0% loan with grace period until graduation.
In 2013, the Bank became the first Georgian company to cooperate with one of the most prestigious scholarship programmes in the world – the Chevening scholarship. This cooperation provides Georgian students with an opportunity to pursue education in the UK. In 2019, the Group provided up to GBP 100,000 to finance a master’s degree programme for three students. The partnership with Chevening will continue next year and the Group is looking forward to selecting students who will continue their studies in the UK.
In 2014, the Bank signed a partnership agreement with the prestigious US Fulbright scholarship scheme. Thanks to the Bank of Georgia’s contribution, a selected number of students from Georgia are able to enrol in a two year master’s degree programme at a US university. In 2019, the funding provided to the students for their two-year degrees amounted to US$ 100,000. Since 2014, the Bank has granted US$ 400,000 to the US Fulbright scholarship programme.
Starting from 2018, Bank of Georgia supports San Diego State University (SDSU) Georgia. For 2018-2019 academic years, the Bank financed the scholarships for ten students in the amount of up to US$ 80,000.
In order to honour a Miami Ad School Berlin alumni and Bank of Georgia former employee, Nika Gujejiani, who sadly passed away in 2019, Bank of Georgia and Miami Ad School Europe decided to establish a scholarship in Nika’s name. Co-Founder, Niklas Frings-Rupp, managing director, Sabine Georg, and Bank of Georgia support this initiative wholeheartedly. Starting from 2020, we will grant one Nika Gujejiani scholar with a 100% scholarship in the Miami Ad School Europe.
Over the last five years, the Bank has been supporting a public speaking competition organised by the English-Speaking Union Georgia. The competition allows high school senior year or first-year university students to prepare a speech on a pre-selected topic and present it in front of a competent jury. The winner is granted a fully paid trip to London to attend a global public speaking competition. We aim to support this competition in 2020 as well.
The Bank has been supporting every TEDx Tbilisi conference since it was first organised in 2012. A TEDx conference is a locally organised TED format event, where communities, organisations and individuals join to initiate a conversation and connect with each other on different topics, which are important to society.
In 2018, the Bank of Georgia’s Corporate and Investment Banking team organised a charity auction and exhibition of modern Georgian paintings and invited its top clients to participate in the cause. In 2019, the Bank rounded US$ 75,000 collected from the auction to US$ 100,000 to finance extremely talented children from Georgia’s highlands. Five children have studied English in summer school in the UK. These children gained huge popularity on social media for popularising Georgian regions. Part of the funds raised was used to organise multifunctional libraries in two conflict zone territory villages of Ditsi and Hurvaleti for more than 260 students.
In our effort to spread internet access to financially disadvantaged families in Georgia, we support a fundraising charity platform www.charte.ge. We believe that this project is crucial for access to education. The partnership will continue in 2020.
SUPPORTING PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
Since 2014, Bank of Georgia has focused its efforts on supporting people with disabilities – one of the most vulnerable social groups in Georgia. In 2019, the Bank donated up to GEL 93,000 to the Tree of Life Foundation for this cause. The Tree of Life Foundation distributed the funds through grant competitions – one intended for the relevant NGOs that work with people with disabilities and another with the specific aim of promoting social entrepreneurship. In order to qualify for the competition, the proposals had to focus on the creation of a small enterprise with a social component aimed at improving the livelihood of people with disabilities.
A social enterprise Plasticwatcher.ge Plasticwatcher is a social enterprise, with mission to reduce plastic waste and pollution, and to inspire people to follow a zerowaste lifestyle. Plasticwatcher.ge believes that nearly all rubbish can be recycled and upcycled. By collecting household plastic waste, expired advertisement banners and roll-up materials from the partner organisations, the enterprise creates sustainable fashion items. The enterprise makes handmade recycled plastic bags, raincoats and other sustainable fashion accessories that offer an important solution to reduce plastic pollution by upcycling the plastic for its further use. Bank of Georgia allocated GEL 50,000 for the project. A core principle of Plasticwatcher.ge is to work with people to change their approach
towards waste management.
For more information please visit: Annual Report
We value the views of our employees. We consult with them regularly and have implemented feedback systems, such as regular employee satisfaction surveysLearn more
We value the views of our employees. We consult with them regularly and have implemented feedback systems, such as regular employee satisfaction surveys, which ensure that opinions of our employees are taken into account when making decisions that are likely to affect their interests. Employee feedback also helps us improve our customer focused approach. In 2018, after the Supervisory Board’s initiative, the Bank introduced Employee Voice on Board event, nurturing a culture of sharing, feedback, transparency, equal opportunities, appreciation, trust and respect. In 2019, regular meetings were facilitated under this initiative by the Vice-Chairman of the Supervisory Board Ms Hanna Loikkanen, who is involved in workforce engagement matters, and the Chairman Mr Neil Janin. Other Board members also took part in these discussions, held in an open and informal atmosphere, where the participants were able to discuss the challenges and opportunities, motivators and detractors that they encounter in their current work-life. The initiative encourages the culture of joint responsibility and constant development by showing employees themselves and their role in a bigger organisational context. The next meeting is scheduled for March 2020.
Willing to foster the culture of trust and open dialogue, in 2019, the management held site visits to the Bank’s service centres, which provided another opportunity for employees to be heard, discuss the issues that affect them and empower them to contribute to organisational and workplace development processes. The management demonstrated a strong interest in employee and organisation matters. Each participant was able to express their views, and received encouragement to take responsibility and more actively engage in the Bank’s progress/ development towards becoming a more entrepreneurial growth organisation. Feedback from the visits and a follow-up on respective actions to address the issues was provided to employees by the CEO, Mr Archil Gachechiladze, together with the Deputy CEO and other senior employees overseeing the retail business. It was communicated via Workplace live stream and enabled the employees to interact with the presenters in real-time, ask questions and receive answers to specific issues related to feedback and respective action plan.
Following the Barrett Organisational Values assessment in 2017, we closely monitor employee engagement and cultural factors. In 2019, employee engagement survey using the Engaged Performance™ Framework in cooperation with the Korn Ferry representative office in Ukraine and another wave of Barrett Organisational Culture and Values assessment were conducted. The results of the surveys, along with the information from various initiatives, gave accurate and deep insights regarding the current state and needs on employee engagement, inclusion and other issues related to the employee productivity. With overall engagement of 68% according to the Korn Ferry survey, more focus on employee recognition and teamwork appeared as desired components of culture in Barrett assessment.
Based on this insight, the Bank turned its focus to new aspects of customer-centric culture. Aiming to improve every experience, we integrated the Customer Experience and the Human Capital Management into one comprehensive direction, since it is difficult to sustain high level customer satisfaction without improving and elevating employee experience. The main activities and initiatives for implementing and realising this approach will be introduced in 2020. We plan to review, analyse and reshape the employee end-to-end journeys in order to create the best employee experience on the market, with diverse opportunities for development, and ensure a high level of employee engagement, while attracting and retaining best talent.
Together with the integration of customer and employee experience, 2019 was also the year of agile transformation. The Bank completed the transformation to its agile delivery model. Our major focus is on customer experience and therefore we strive to improve delivery efficiency and reduce time-to-market by empowering self-organised cross functional teams around the products and digital channels, and clearly translating top-level strategy to execution and team-level goals. Our Agile approach ensures technology and the human experience connection by creating real-time, quick and personalised digital services.
In order to measure success and effectiveness of the employee engagement initiatives and monitor their sustainability, we introduced ENPS as a main KPI in our human capital. We use our customer experience online platform Medallia to help employees enhance their productivity by analysing live immediate feedback from our customers and capturing opportunities to improve our performance.
In order to ensure fair treatment towards our employees and their reward, the Bank monitors employee pay tendencies via labour market compensation surveys in the financial sector. The results of the 2019 survey, and its analysis with internal data, confirmed that the Bank remains a competitive employer.
Bank of Georgia and its affiliates are committed to promoting equality and diversity, promoting a culture that actively values difference and recognises that people from different backgrounds and experiences can bring valuable insights to the workplace. We aim to be an inclusive organisation, where diversity is valued, respected and built upon, and has the ability to recruit and retain a diverse workforce.
The Bank aims to ensure that no individual or group is directly or indirectly discriminated against any reason (gender, marital status, ethnic origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, race, and nationality, political or religious beliefs) with regard to employment. The universal rights of all people to be treated with respect, equality and dignity are espoused and declared in our Employee Corporate Handbook and Human Rights Policy. With an Anti-Nepotism Policy, we ensure and support fair and transparent decision-making.
In 2019, the Bank conducted a self-assessment with guidance provided by the Women’s Empowerment Principles, which were established by UN Global Compact and UN Women. The results will enable us to further advance our approach towards gender diversity.
With this outlook, the Bank keeps monitoring a fair balance in its workforce. Please follow the link to the Hampton-Alexander review.
TALENT ACQUISITION AND MANAGEMENT
Our Talent Management system aims to attract and retain the best talent available on the market and make them fully engaged with the Group. Recruitment policy with panel interviews, relevant control procedures and online applicant tracking system (ATS) ensure an unbiased hiring process that provides equal employment opportunities to all candidates with diverse education and experience in line with our business development and respective new job requirements.
Our application process is conducted with a non-discriminative approach and does not request information on age, date of birth, gender, and/or a photo from candidates, thus ensuring inclusiveness and equal access to employment. We also aim to ensure talent development internally, and internal candidates have a priority when filling the vacant positions, especially in cases where there are openings in the top and middle management. Thus, in 2019, 142 Group employees (74 women and 68 men) were promoted to managerial positions.
In order to attract young talent, we actively partner with the leading Georgian business schools and universities and constantly increase the number of our partners, thus fostering the cross-university diversity and broadening a range of degree disciplines that we consider for a talent acquisition. The Bank regularly participates in job fairs and runs extensive internship/student development programmes. Since 2012, we have run a regular student development programme in a special format and constantly advance it. During 2019, 38 participants were involved in our student development programme, of which 15 participants became Bank of Georgia’s full-time employees. The programme currently runs under the name Leaderator and is highly recognised on the Georgian labour market amongst students and recent graduates. In 2019, it was refreshed, restructured and several streams were introduced: corporate and investment banking, including wealth management, IT, SME, data science, financial management, retail banking services and digital products, business development analytics, business efficiency, banking regulations and compliance. The programme participation is rewarded financially and offers flexible schedules in order to support students’ academic activities. The programme attracts promising undergraduates and provides them with the opportunity to see a comprehensive 360° picture of the Bank in action, work on real projects and receive coaching and support from the Bank’s executives and middle managers. Participants take part in professional training and have a chance to become members of the leading financial institution in the country.
The Bank highly values the talent of its employees and provides various talent retention activities by engaging them through leadership development and various professional certification programmes. We are creating an equal opportunity workplace, where people of different cultures and values have an interesting and challenging working environment together. Various development opportunities in terms of career, as well as personal growth, are available for employees. Internal promotions are part of the talent attraction and retention system and create a basis for employee loyalty and retention. Similar to the updates that we introduced in 2019 to the student development programme Leaderator, we plan to refresh and update our top-talent development programme in 2020 – to make them more concurrent and tailored to our top-performing employees. The Bank also offers competitive remuneration and benefit packages to its workforce and supports their work-life balance by providing additional paid days off, on top of those mandated by the Labour Code of Georgia. The Bank encourages engagement and dedication of its talented employees with awards granted to the Best Employee and Team of the Year.
TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT
To manage our employees in a way that best supports our business strategy, we seek to help them contribute to business performance through personal and professional development. Following our aspiration to develop strong leaders, we have developed an extensive leadership development programme.
The Bank’s corporate learning system comprises a wide range of internal and external training sessions specifically designed to meet the needs of front and back office employees. Middle and senior-level employees are given the opportunity to receive external training in well-known training institutions outside of Georgia.
Since 2014, Bank of Georgia runs a Leadership Development Executive Coaching programme which provides an individual approach in developing leadership skills. The programme continued successfully throughout 2019 and expanded to the lower leadership levels, and benefited its participants with a personally tailored development experience.
Employees involved in the programme gain greater awareness of their leadership strengths and opportunities for future growth. Based on its previous years’ experience, the Bank regularly updates and improves its Leadership Development System, together with the 360° feedback process. The last update was delivered for the 2019 360° feedback process.
The Bank has an extensive training programme for front office employees in order to provide them with relevant knowledge and skills such as: banking services, compliance, effective communication, and building strong and valuable client relationship.
In 2018, we partnered with an international consulting and training company Franklin Covey to develop a training programme for our sales force to help them better understand the Bank’s client-centred approach. The participants of this training programme improved their ability to communicate with the clients to achieve common goals, build long-term sustainable solutions and help in their decision-making in buying products and services. An in-house client-centric sales programme has been developed based on this experience by our learning team. The goal of the programme is to enhance our employees’ sales and customer relationship skills for developing mutually beneficial relationship with customers, strengthen the client centric approach and equip them with relevant expertise and techniques.
The Bank’s mentoring programme is also part of front office training. Every new employee is provided with regular advice, guidance and practical instructions from an appointed mentor, who later also evaluates a new employee’s performance. Through this programme we aim to provide individual support to our employees in achieving their professional goals.
Since 2017, the Bank operates an online Learning Management System (LMS) offering employees an easy and comfortable access to corporate learning opportunities.
Agile-related intensive training was part of 2019 learning programmes, providing employees involved in transformation with various technical and soft skills (e.g. Agile Bootcamps and respective professional certifications, delivering effective feedback, coaching in squads, etc.) and ensuring their smooth transition and effectiveness in their new roles.
For more information please visit: Annual Report