Case Study: Employee Engagement at HSBC

Career Development

One of the things we constantly hear, through our research with employees, is how important career development is to them. It’s often one of the most important factors that keep people engaged at work. Creating structured career paths and offering career advice are recommendations we often make following our EVP diagnostic work. Career development workshops work well for all employees, as this topic is equally important to people regardless of where they are in their careers. That was the approach taken by HSBC, when they asked us to develop a Career Development Workshop for people between 18 months and 15+ years into their career.

The goal

HSBC wanted us to help them to help their people manage and develop their careers.

For the business
  • Ensure that retention and engagement stays high after critical stages such as the end of the Graduate Programme
  • Make sure that people are developing their career in a way that meets the needs of the business and the individual
For the employees
  • Give them support that is useful and helps them to manage their career within HSBC
  • Help them to more clearly understand their career options and what they need to do to achieve them
  • Give them a clear template that they can use to manage their career
  • Ensure that participants have a clear ‘line of sight’ of their career
  • Give them access  and exposure to some senior leaders
  • Leave them with a boost in enthusiasm, energy and focus

The solution (what we did)

We designed a practical one-day workshop for employees who had between 18 months and 15+ years of service with the bank. To ensure it met the needs of the various different talent groups we interviewed a sample from the group and collaborated with the HR talent team on the design work.

Talentsmoothie co-delivers the workshop with the HSBC HR talent partner. The workshop consists of a mix of expert input, facilitated discussion, self-awareness tools and coaching. The objective is to help participants to understand their strengths, motivators, the context in which they are working, how that might change and practical ways to manage their own career development. Senior leaders spend time sharing their own career development experiences with participants as well as offering speed-coaching slots.

The results (the difference we made)

A key measure of success has been that the business has backed the programme to run for a second year. Results so far are:

  • The workshop is voluntary and has become very popular as the word spreads
  • Participants tell us it has made a big difference to how they think about their careers and how much better equipped they feel to manage their own careers
  • Everyone walks away with new ideas, perspectives, contacts, renewed enthusiasm and motivation

What HSBC employees said

“A fresh approach to career management, provides excellent guidance and exposure.”

“Loved the structure provided for the day, from ‘where am I now?’ through to ‘what are my next steps?’”

“A relaxed and comfortable environment (I don’t usually talk at all when it comes to courses and workshops, so I don’t tend to get the most out of them!). It was hugely helpful to be able to take time out of the day-to-day to have head-space to think about what I want from my career vs where it is at the moment.”

“talentsmoothie… very forward thinking

Talentsmoothie worked with us to develop and implement a series of career workshops for our emerging talent. The workshops enabled participants to take stock of where they are at now on their career journey, where they are going and how they are going to get there. The workshops were delivered jointly between talentsmoothie and internal HR which enabled a blend of internal and external viewpoints. Talentsmoothie has added real insight and totally understand how generational diversity can add value to an organisation. They have supported us with a very forward thinking approach to managing career development. Our emerging talent value honesty and transparency i.e. telling it like it is, and it’s been refreshing to run career development sessions that balance the key organisational messages with a strong focus on understanding the personal motivations and values of the individual.
Andy Birkby, Senior Talent Specialist, UK and Europe, HSBC

If you found this Employee Engagement case study of interest and would like to know more about our work in HSBC or discuss how a similar project might work for your organisation, call Justine James on +44 (0)7710 778961 or email her at

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