Staff and diversity

Staff development

The banking market is changing. Technological progress alters customers’ behaviour and opportunities, and the bank is experiencing competition from new actors with new business models. Reorganisation, staff development and recruitment of new skills in order to build the bank for the future have high priority. The Group management team express the clear view that staff will be the bank’s most important resource and the most important factor in marking ourselves out from our competitors. That is why the bank attaches such importance to developing competence and skills. Internal training activities are arranged on a substantial scale, and many of the bank’s talented managers and staff are offered opportunities for professional and personal development on external courses and at educational institutions.

Ensuring that the bank accommodates the changes in customer preferences and behaviour is one of the bank’s greatest challenges, and at the same time its greatest opportunity. Being a regional bank means that our staff are close to our customers, and capture new preferences, demands and wishes. Increased communication with customers on digital interfaces must maintain the same high quality as traditional advisory services. The bank seeks throughout to ensure good banking, also in its digital channels, and has a focus on developing customer advisers in both the retail and corporate areas.

The bank’s intention is to follow their customers’ life journey. A journey that in periods is secure and calm, but at times also difficult and turbulent. The bank can in many cases have a role to play in customers’ lives in turbulent periods when difficult choices are to be made. The bank plays an important role in major decisions such as buying one’s first house, saving for retirement, securing distribution of a deceased’s estate or giving advice upon break-up of marriage etc.

For corporate clients the bank is a strategic partner that facilitates establishment, growth, generational shifts and innovation in the region. The bank’s social mission is to facilitate economic development as a basis for our common welfare. This will be achieved through sound and sustainable growth. The competence of our staff has a major influence in relation to society, business and industry and private individuals. The bank’s ambition and objective is that good advisory practices should guarantee the quality of advice and customer treatment, and create predictability and stability for all stakeholders.

Systems for staff development

The SpareBank 1 Alliance shares a common digital teaching platform (LMS), which makes courses and training programmes available to staff. The bank’s own curriculums and the financial industry’s authorisation schemes form the basis for the bank’s objectives and responsibilities for developing staff competence. Together with good advisory practices, the industry’s procedures and rules, and the bank’s staff manual, provide the basis for policies, guidelines and commitments. The bank is affiliated to the authorisation scheme for financial advisers which requires certain programmes to be in place for developing the bank’s staff. Read more about the scheme here. (GRI 404-2a)

The bank conducts each year the talent development programme Developmental Management, in collaboration with the SpareBank 1 Alliance and the BI Norwegian Business School. Three of the bank’s staff members enrolled in this programme in 2018. (GRI 404-2a)

The bank has developed a comprehensive programme of further development for all managers. The programme started early in 2018 with a 360 degree evaluation of all managers. The programme includes both plenary gatherings and individual follow up of each manager based on the evaluation made and the individual’s development plan. (GRI 404-2a)

Appraisal interviews are an important instrument for assuring follow-up and development of employees. The Group’s remuneration policy document, point 4.2.5, establishes that all staff shall have appraisal interviews with their immediate superior on their personal development and performances. This also applies to staff members who are on leave. (GRI 404-3)

The bank also worked on a new process and new tools for competence development and competence management. The project New Workday is designed to ensure that the bank, in parallel with its development and implementation of new systems and processes, develops the appropriate competence. All of the bank’s development projects utilise the new tools to identify competence needs and to develop targeted competence initiatives.


Major changes are ongoing in the banking industry, creating a major need to revise the bank’s competence profile. In the future of the bank will need fewer staff in production, more staff in digital development and more staff in digital sales, analysis and business development. The bank has accordingly carried out a structured staff reduction process over several years, and the proportion of staff that quit in 2018 is therefore significantly higher than the number of new appointments in 2018. Staff that are affected by change, either in the form of reorganisation of work tasks or reduction of capacity, are offered a severance package. A number of employees also build up new competence by participating in development projects that qualify them for other tasks. Those who quit receive financial advice, help in making life path choices and career guidance from well-established external providers in the field. (GRI 404-2b)

The bank ended 56 employment relationships in 2018: 28 women and 28 men. Distributed by age, 3 were below age 30, 30 between age 30 and 50 and 23 above age 50. Total turnover involving severance packages and pension was 9 per cent. (GRI 401-1b) The bank concurrently acquired new skills. The bank appointed a total of 45 persons in 2018: 17 women and 28 men, of whom 20 were below age 30, 22 between age 30 and 50 and 3 between age 50 and 70. (GRI 401-1a)

Diversity and equal opportunity

SpareBank 1 SMN’s aim is that its staff should reflect the region’s population structure. The bank has an active focus on recruitment and promotion in order to fill any gaps and redress any imbalances in this diversity.

The industry in which the bank operates has the widest pay discrepancies in Norway between women and men with higher education. The bank is particularly concerned to grant women and men equal opportunities for development, pay and career. Activities cover recruitment, pay and employment conditions, promotion, development opportunities and protection against harassment. Parental leave does not affect opportunities for career development or pay rises.

The Group’s remuneration policy states that the Group abides by the equal pay principle, i.e. men and women are paid identically for the same work or for work of the same value. The bank employs the digital tool FAKIS to ensure that it assigns positions of the same value to the same pay grade. At the wage settlement in 2018 guides were laid down, and funds made available, for evening out differences in pay levels between women and men. Each year the internal auditor reviews the bank’s report on compliance with the remuneration policy. The equal pay principal is also discussed with trade union representatives in connection with the annual local wage settlement.

The bank is nonetheless not satisfied with the results as regards compliance with the equal pay principle. Despite an increased focus over several consecutive years, excessive differences persist between women and men. Pay equality will accordingly remain in focus in the years ahead.

Whereas the bank has most women in operative management (10 women and 4 men), men are in the majority in middle management positions (17 women and 29 men), and in the Group management team (1 woman and 6 men). (GRI 405-1). The bank is aware of the gender distribution challenge as regards managerial positions and wishes to increase the proportion of women in higher-level managerial positions. The bank has had a particular focus on increasing the proportion of female managers in recent years, but will continue to give priority to improving the gender balance in middle management and the Group management team.

Cases of discrimination are captured by the systems for the bank’s ethical guidelines described in the next chapter. The bank recorded no cases of discrimination in 2018. (GRI 406-1). 85 per cent of the staff are on wage agreements negotiated under collective bargaining etc. (GRI 102-41)

Investor and media contacts

Kjell Fordal
Executive Director, Finance
+47 905 41 672
Hans Tronstad
Head of Corporate Communications
+47 941 78 322