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15 Sep 2023
by Jonathan Parr

Jonathan Parr at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking on why global consistency is key

Managing Director, Head of Performance, Reward and Mobility for EMEA on why the bank eschews taking a local approach to benefits

Jonathan Parr at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking on why global consistency is key.jpg


Sumitomo Mitsui Banking (SMBC) is a Japanese multinational banking and financial services institution employing more than 100,000 people globally. With operations in more than 40 countries around the world, we are focused on delivering a consistent employee value proposition across the region. 

With cross-border teams the norm within the organisation, as soon as employees share their experiences, even minor differences soon become apparent. It’s widely recognised that pay levels differ by location, and our employees accept that local legislation and state provision will dictate what’s appropriate for some benefits. But when designing benefits that align with company values or culture it’s more appropriate to look for direction internally than to benchmark externally. 

Working in the community

For example, we recently expanded our support for employee volunteering across the region. At SMBC, one of our main objectives is to contribute positively to the societies in which we operate, and to support this we give employees up to six working days paid leave per year to encourage them to participate in their community. A comparison of local market practice found that, in some countries, programmes either didn’t exist or, if they did, any paid time off was much less. 

We could have varied our approach by market, but chose to be consistent. The nature of this benefit meant any differences would have been visible. You’ll notice if a colleague is out of the office. But even in the case of benefits that might not be visible, you have to have a compelling answer to the question – that you will be asked – as to why you had applied a difference. Our values do not differ by location, and so it was only logical that neither should this benefit. 

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