How HSBC won the ISE Award for graduate development

Feb 2, 2022 | Development

As the ISE awards 2022 open for entries, HSBC share what it takes with their award-winning graduate development programme.

HSBC run several graduate programmes globally including in the UK. They are all aligned to a global programme framework providing a consistent onboarding, induction and soft skills development experience, which also adapts to the ever-changing needs of a diverse graduate population and businesses landscape.

Their programmes are part of the banks DNA, not a nice to have but a strategic imperative, with a vision informed and continually refined against HSBC’s purpose, strategy and values which places ‘opening up a world of opportunities’ at its centre.

HSBC are passionate about continuous learning through ongoing upskilling and soft skills development achieved through a variety of activities focussing on attitudes/behaviours as well as technical, transferable and workplace skills.

Emerging talent teams work with executive sponsors, business steering groups, HR/learning, and current/alumni graduates to cultivate an environment of innovation and curiosity.

Development initiatives and opportunities

The programme begins with a tailored global keep warm strategy via a pre-boarding platform ‘Timeline – the road to induction’, a digital social feed with engaging HSBC related content and a variety of speaker events. 

This is followed by a global graduate induction and further local inductions to build knowledge/skills, community spirit and connections. Strategic rotational placements and professional qualifications then follow.

The graduate experience is anchored around a development and strengths based programme designed specifically for the graduates, and measured against strengths assessed during the recruitment process.

‘Accelerating your Strengths’ starts before they join the bank and runs throughout the duration of the graduate programme. It is made up of self-evaluation tools and end of year 360-reviews in partnership with line managers. The focus is for each individual to clearly understand, monitor and drive their own development but with the support of carefully trained line managers who understand the programme and can ensure a great lived experience throughout.

HSBC continue to focus on development in a number of ways including a ‘Global Speaker Series’ – a variety of informative sessions led by business leaders on topics such as wellbeing and mental health, international careers and sustainability.

Graduates also have unlimited access to LinkedIn Learning, FitforBanking modules, and bespoke Degreed development pathways carefully curated with relevant content aligned to their programmes.

HSBC provides numerous opportunities for graduates to develop outside of their placements. Practical experience in cross-border remote working and navigating cultural differences can be developed through working in global teams on real-world charity challenges via our Global Giving CSR partnership. One of their most significant opportunities is to be part of running HSBC’s award-winning internship programme. Other examples include a global ‘Hackathon’ run for the technology programme.

Support and guidance

All this is further complemented by instructor-led training, business mentoring and alumni buddies underpinned with quality training to ensure consistency and that our graduates can be themselves and have a positive lived experience.

Our BAME and LGBTQ+ mentoring programmes attract non-white and LGBTQ+ colleagues, where mentors are upskilled to support more challenging conversations such as micro-aggressions and code-switching.  Our BAME Early Careers working group creates a safe space for black and minority ethnic colleagues to talk and shape HSBC strategy. This is further supported by an extensive range of Employee Resource Groups which all graduates are welcome to join.

Opportunities are communicated through GradHub Global – a graduate-run platform designed to connect and innovate internationally, which also offers all graduates the opportunity to be part of its committee.

Stakeholder involvement

Business stakeholders shape programme aims and purpose interacting with graduates pre/during and post-programme. 

Executive Sponsors are heavily involved with running the programme where monthly meetings ensure the best placements and managers are nurturing our graduates.

Regular connection via ‘Exchanges’ and collaboration with recruitment teams for post-programme roles help promote an open and honest two-way dialogue between graduates and senior leadership. 

Programme Impact

The positive impact of the programme is evident in the high employee engagement scores for our graduates where results overall are more than 11% vs HSBC-average.

The majority of our graduates feel they can be themselves at work and that managers actively support their career development.  Performance levels are high and show a differential to non-programme peers and retention rates are outstanding. Post programme our ConnectUs alumni network helps to offer further support to ensure our graduates continue to flourish off programme.

If you think you may have an award-winning programme find out about this year’s ISE Awards

If you run a development programme please complete this year’s ISE Development Survey your responses are invaluable


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