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How Zappos Adapts New Employees




When Mr. DeVonTae Brown showed up for the orientation for his new job, he virtually knew nothing about the management discipline of Holacracy.

According to him, he was sure it meant nothing, but three weeks into the online shoe retailer’s month long on-boarding slog, Brown has been converted into the avant garde management strategy.

The traditional office top to bottom hierarchy or structure has been replaced with Holacracy, which is a complete system for self- organization. Here employees do not take the usual job titles but, take on roles which helps in creating an autonomy over the work they do.

So far, over 300 organizations have dabbled with Holacracy at one point or the other in the last ten years, included in this list is a part of Washington state government, productivity guru, David Allen’s company as well. The largest and most popular company to embrace this philosophy holistically is Zappos.

After transitioning over the last 18 months, many accounts of this new means of running the company hasn’t been palatable. Not everyone at Zappos, the Amazon owned shoe retailers, shares the enthusiasm of the Chief Executive Officer, Tony Hsieh, of giving up the highly sort after positions on the corporate ladder.

Most of the company’s employees left rather than join the strange order. They were paid off with a severance pay equalling three month’s pay,

Just about 14 percent of the Zappos work force stayed on board, many expressing scepticism about how Holacracy will help their jobs positively.

According to reports, Hsieh, has extended an attractive buyout, which is known as the SuperCloud offer, to a smaller group of workers, giving them till the end of the year to make a decision.
Over 200 employees at Zappos had a taste of Holacracy and chose to opt out. The question remains; what happens to the new Zappos employees opting in?

The old two-week indoctrination orientation has since evolved into a four-week undertaking. After the first week, Zappos offers the new employees a one moth buyout salary if they want to opt out. Employees who came to work later than 7am are fired on the spot and were forced to take a final exam by passing 90 percent of the questions. Those who fell short were sacked.

Standard orientation now involves a two-week mandatory telephone training, even for jobs that are not customer service related.

Megan Petrini, the new-hire trainer said the reason for this training was to understand the culture which aids in understanding real jobs.

A new addition by Zappos to the already long orientation process, Holacracy education, takes place over a three day period. During the first official discussion of Holacracy, a three hour lecture comes up in the second week of orientation.

The word Holacracy at this point for the new employees is not so new. Everything about the process is exposed to the employee’s right from the job selection process.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Union Bank Announces the Appointment of Aisha Abubakar as Independent Non-Executive Director



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Union Bank of Nigeria Plc (“Union Bank”) has announced a change to the membership of its Board of Directors with the appointment of Ms. Aisha Abubakar as an Independent Non-Executive Director effective 9th September 2021, following the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Ms. Abubakar joins the Board of Union Bank following her tenure as Nigeria’s Honourable Minister for Women Affairs and Social Development from 2018 to 2019. Prior to this, she also served as the Honourable Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment between 2015 and 2018. At the start of her career, Ms. Abubakar worked at Continental Merchant Bank Ltd., African Development Bank and African International Bank.

She is an accomplished public sector administrator with over three decades of professional experience in Public Service and Pension Administration, Investment Banking, SME Finance/Rural Enterprise Development and Micro-Credit Administration.

Ms. Abubakar is a Fellow of the International Professional Managers Association (IPMA-UK), and the President of the International Experts Consultants (IEC-UK).

Commenting on the addition to the Board, Mrs. Beatrice Hamza Bassey, Union Bank’s Board Chair said: “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I welcome Ms. Aisha Abubakar to the Board. She brings many years of robust experience which will be invaluable in supporting our efforts to steer the Bank forward and deliver on our strategic objectives.”

Also commenting, Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Emeka Okonkwo said: “I am pleased to welcome our new Independent Non-Executive Director, Ms. Aisha Abubakar to the Board. We look forward to drawing from her wealth of experience and fresh perspectives as we continue to execute our vision to be Nigeria’s most reliable and trusted partner.”

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AfDB Approves $50M Trade Finance Deal with Standard Chartered Bank



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The African Development Bank Group has approved a $50m Trade Finance Unfunded Risk Participation Agreement (RPA) for StandardChartered Bank.

This was contained in a statement titled ‘African Development Bank approves a $50m Multinational Trade Finance Risk Participation Agreement facility for Standard Chartered Bank’ published on the bank’s website on Wednesday.

The statement said, “The board of directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a $50m Trade Finance Unfunded Risk Participation Agreement facility between the African Development Bank and Standard Chartered Bank.”

The essence of this agreement is to promote intra-Africa trade, ensure regional integration and lessen the trade finance gap in Africa.

“The agreement is expected to boost intra-Africa trade, promote regional integration, and contribute to the reduction of the trade finance gap in Africa, in line with implementation aspirations of the African Continental Free Trade Area,”

The bank’s Director for Financial Sector Development, Stefan Nalletamby, stated that “We are excited about finalising this facility with Standard Chartered Bank as it offers us the flexibility to use our strong AAA-rated risk-bearing capacity to increase access to trade finance and boost intra/extra-African trade on the continent, in support of the AfCFTA.

“This partnership is expected to catalyze more than $600m in value of trade finance transactions across multi-sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and energy over the next three years.”

Director-General of the bank’s Southern Africa region, Leila Mokadem, was quoted to have said, “The advent of COVID-19, coupled with stringent regulatory/capital requirements and Know Your Customer compliance enforcement, has seen many global banks reduce their correspondent banking relationships in Africa, while some are exiting the market altogether.

“There is, therefore, an urgent need for financing to reenergise Africa’s trade, which requires more participation of institutions like the African Development Bank.”

The parties in the agreement are expected to share the default risk on a portfolio of eligible trade transactions originated by African Issuing Banks and indemnified by Standard Chartered Bank.

Beneficiaries of this facility are issuing banks in Africa with the ability to grow their trade finance business has been constrained by inadequate trade confirmation lines from international banks.

Other beneficiaries are small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and domestic firms which rely on these issuing banks to fulfill their trade finance commitments.

The RPA facility is aligned with the AfDB’s High 5 priority goals which are: light up and power Africa, feed Africa, industrialize Africa, integrate Africa, and improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

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Standard Chartered Launches Flexible ‘Smart Business Loan’ Product To Support SMEs



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Standard Chartered on Wednesday launched its Smart Business Loan (SBL) product to support Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (SMEs) in Nigeria.

David Idoru, Head of Consumer, Private and Business Banking, of the bank in Nigeria, said in a statement in Lagos that SBL was an unsecured installment/term loan available to SME clients within key target sectors.

“Qualified SMEs would be able to access up to N20million loan, without providing tangible security/collateral to purchase asset, finance business expansion and other capital expenditure needs.

“This loan was designed to help SMEs meet their short to medium-term needs.

“As a Bank, our purpose is to drive commerce and prosperity in the locations we operate in. This is done through offering cash, lending, trade and wealth management solutions that specifically drive economic growth,” he said.

Idoru said that the bank was constantly looking for ways to ensure SMEs get access to the needed support to enable their businesses to thrive, adding that prior to the product launch, clients were required to provide full collateral cover to access loans from the bank, but SBL had been designed to provide the necessary flexibility to the clients.

“It is accessible to new and existing clients of the Bank with no waiting period, including small and medium scale organisations, who can access up to N20million in loans without collateral for a maximum tenure of two years,” he said.

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