Supporting women’s success in the workplace

Tetel Fernandez on developing Security Bank’s next generation of leaders

German theoretical physicist Albert Einstein once said, “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” If everyone chose to be more conscientious and put more effort in providing value to the group they are with, especially when working for a company, then success will surely be next.

Tetel Fernandez understands this all too well. She knew in her heart that it was time to leave her previous company when there was little room for career growth. She wanted to offer more value to the next company she would be working for. “If I wanted more challenging roles, I would have needed to go regional or global, but I'm not mobile because of my mom.”

With over 25 years of banking experience working with local and international banks, she took her time in finding what was next. “I had offers from other banks, but they didn’t have the elements of what I was looking for,” she admits. She was ready to become a consultant because she needed more time at home to take care of her mom.

Security Bank’s Talent Management team, headed by Tetel Fernandez

Accepting the job
When the opportunity arose with Security Bank, she accepted the role of Talent Management Head, and everything fell into place. Tetel said it was an easy decision to make, “First is the nature of the role that was offered, second is work-life balance, and third is flexibility in terms of when and where you work.”

Coming from a global bank, she was pleasantly surprised to find it easy to adjust given the global work ethics, such as flexibility of work. “It felt Glocal, both local and global. Some of the practices and policies that I’ve seen work well for global companies are adopted at Security Bank. I can compare ours to global standards already.”

Tetel Fernandez, the talent management head of Security Bank

Delivering her best
Starting work with Security Bank during the pandemic also came at the right time. Living with her mom who’s now 86 years old, there was always a fear that she may get exposed to Covid-19. She was grateful, “because we could do work from home, she was safe, I was safe, and that gave me a lot of security.” She added, “I didn’t have a caregiver for her because I work from home. She also prefers this scenario more, of course.”

Working at home also meant that Security Bank employees were equipped with the right tools and empowered by the right technological infrastructure and internet bandwidth. “I was working from home almost a hundred percent, but I delivered significant changes in the talent management space.”

She also feels very fortunate to have a very good boss, Human Capital Management Senior Vice President/Head Nerissa Berba. “She’s very supportive and nurturing but she knows how to drive accountability and provide me with the right level of independence.” Having a good working environment and colleagues that value teamwork also helps. “I am blessed to work with highly capable individuals. We all work like a team, like a family.”

Getting right to work
Tetel explains further what her role as talent management head, is all about. It includes establishing policy-making frameworks and working with HR Business Partners for execution. She also collaborates on performance management with upper-level management. She gives them feedback on the employee engagement status of their departments and the whole organization. “We take the pulse of all the employees so that we can respond to their pain points immediately,” Tetel adds.

One of the many things she established was the Security Bank leadership capability framework. “It’s a list of leadership competencies the Bank needs today, and in the future. When you ask what is the DNA of an SBC leader, it's very specific. We've defined this last year, and, this year, we're embedding it into the culture of the organization.”

Tetel was also able to provide a platform for the Bank to listen to the voice of the employees. “Because one our strategic goals is to be the Employer of Choice for Philippine banking, we want to know how our employees are feeling, what's important and matters most to them,” she explains. “We do a bankwide review and deep analysis, in collaboration with our data scientists. Then, we make a “state of the nation” presentation to the senior team, indicating employee sentiments.”

Tetel’s role is to ensure employees are heard and actions are in place, as needed. “I make sure that there’s a feedback mechanism down the line, and an action planning mechanism,” she shares. “My role is to make sure that it's happening, and leaders are working on next steps. This way, we can improve on things that matter most to our employees,”

Performance management is also part of Tetel’s scope. “We’re making sure that people are rated not only based on what they deliver, but also how they deliver and behave? We know performance assessment isn't just about sales, numbers, transactions, or volumes. How did you behave? Did you demonstrate behaviors consistent with our values? These are part of an employee’s performance appraisal, so it's more balanced.”

Then there’s skills assessment. “Whenever you hire people, make sure that they have certain competencies. There’s a list of questions for each leadership skill,” she explains. There’s also a skills gap where they analyze where Security Bank’s leaders are strong, and where they need more development. “We go find the solutions for them to be upskilled in this area.”

Last, but not least, is succession planning. “Because we know what our leaders should be, we can now assess whether this person is fit to move to the next leadership level,” she explains. For those with career goals within the company, the published competencies are very helpful. “You can now choose courses related to those skills, as these will bring you closer to the next level.”

Contributing to Security Bank’s success
Tetel has achieved a lot in Security Bank in the last past three years. She credits much of her contribution to having that emotional quotient, the nurturing and enabling tendencies innate in women. “I happen to be in that function that calls for these qualities. How do you nurture individuals and organizations? My job requires me to listen and understand people, develop, and design policies, programs, and frameworks that will help the company grow.”

It's often said that once you choose a job you love, you will never have to work a day in your life. And this is how Tetel feels about working at Security Bank. “I love what I'm doing here. It’s time to give back after learning a lot from a global company. I'd like to be able to leave a legacy. And when I found out this was what Security Bank needed, I said it was perfect!”