The bank published a video on its YouTube account on September 22 to promote graduate career opportunities. Delivered against footage of rolling landscapes, crowded city streets and other inoffensive imagery is a two-minute long poem about the ways in which HSBC staff might be able to respond to the question “What do you do?” with the answer: “I make dreams come true”.
The intention is doubtless well placed, even if the lyricism leaves something to be desired:
“I am a captain and I was put here to lead / In everything we do I make sure we succeed / When it comes to one-on-one I get the job done / I’ll find solutions to the problems everyone else is running from.”
And as HSBC reshuffles its own banking business following the arrival of Goldman Sachs partner Matthew Westerman earlier this year as co-head of global banking with Robin Phillips, the bank has some new ways to look at roles in the group.
“Late night negotiator / Ambition accelerator / You can call me the tailor.”
A spokesman for HSBC couldn’t say whether there was a budding slam poet in the City‘s Canary Wharf headquarters responsible for the piece. Whoever penned it certainly had a rhyming dictionary to hand.
“I am a woman, man, human on a mission / It all comes down to that word: ambition / And regardless of my condition, permission, tuition or position, it is my conviction.”
It is not just HSBC that appears to be adopting more of a lighthearted approach to selling its culture. JP Morgan spent the past week running its first “employee appreciation” initiative with career training workshops, panel discussions and other team events – not to mention free food.
Daniel Pinto, JP Morgan’s London-based investment bank boss, sent a memo to staff on September 19 saying: “Go out of your way to say thank you – not just to colleagues that sit near you, but to colleagues around the world who support you every day. Thank you for all you do.”
Most bank bosses acknowledge that changing attitudes to work, particularly among more junior members of staff, are prompting new approaches to attracting and retaining talent. For its part, HSBC is getting ready to roll out a programme that will let analysts and associates at several offices move departments each six months.
A bank spokesman told FN the programme would hopefully appeal to the millennial generation, who “want a broader range of experience” from their careers. The bank’s latest video says you could describe an HSBC employee as an explorer, captain, tailor, navigator, architect and coach. You don’t get much broader than that.