How Sanlam Developed a Diverse, Engaged, and Future-Ready Workforce

Sanlam, the largest non-banking financial services group on the continent, is a diversified financial services group with operations in 33 African nations and 43 countries globally. Its vision is to become Africa’s leading financial services group – something it can only achieve with an empowered, engaged, and diverse workforce.

Sanlam knows that its company culture significantly impacts employee productivity, performance, job satisfaction, and commitment. Highly aware of the inestimable value its people bring to the company, Sanlam is committed to helping everyone develop their full potential to achieve even more. Its mandate and promise is “We know that your worth is infinite and unique – and want to inspire you to realize this worth.” Sanlam follows through by giving each of its employees the opportunity to make the most of who they are while they gain recognition, respect, and commensurate compensation for their capabilities and contributions.

“Our people are key in enabling the success and sustainability of our business,” says Jeanett Modise, group HR director at Sanlam. “To compete in a rapidly changing world, we need to attract the best people in the market and empower them to learn, lead, and live our shared purpose.”

Delivering a Better Experience for All Workers

Previously, Sanlam’s decentralized business model resulted in a disjointed employee experience and limited talent mobility across the group. Disparate systems and data sources made reporting and analytics inconsistent, complex, and time-consuming.

Sanlam launched a HR shared services model using SAP solutions to embrace a total workforce management strategy. From a single solution, Sanlam has been able to better manage and optimize the experience of all workers – both its permanent employees and contingent workers, who make up 28% of its South African workforce. The solutions make it easier for HR, vendors, and recruiters to find, procure, and manage external talent. In addition, Sanlam has bridged the gap between full-time employees and contingent workers in terms of experience and opportunities, helping to foster an inclusive and equitable workplace.

New insight into the skills and competencies of its employees is helping Sanlam to identify skills gaps and put programs in place to reskill and upskill its workforce for the future. For example, the company anticipates that many underwriting tasks will be automated using robotics. In response, it is investing in equipping underwriters with new competencies, such as forecasting and data analytics skills, so that they can take on new roles.

Sanlam’s reskilling program has proven such a success that the company was selected as a 2022 SAP Innovation Award honorable mention.

Capturing the Voice of the Employee

The importance of making employees feel heard is hard to overstate. By giving people a voice, organizations can create a culture of openness and feedback, build trust, and increase workplace happiness. Sanlam captures feedback from both permanent and contingent employees on a continuous basis, at key points across their life cycle. This insight enables the company to take specific actions to make improvements. For example, when employees commented on the need for better wellness practices, Sanlam reacted immediately, introducing new programs and policies to support employees’ health and well-being.

Meanwhile, group-wide reporting and advanced analytics for HR, finance, and other corporate data empower leaders make better data-driven decisions and help Sanlam to achieve its diversity and inclusion goals.

“Greater visibility into the total workforce and enhanced transparency and reporting have enabled us to set recruitment and succession targets around race, gender, and disability,” says Modise. “SAP solutions are helping us to build a more diverse workforce, which we see as a critical factor for serving our diverse clients well.”


Lara Albert is vice president of Solution Marketing at SAP SuccessFactors.