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Leadership Lessons
Work-life balance
Staff Reporter
update on Saturday, July 17, 2010

Malcolm Thompson
Head of wholesale banking and global markets, Asia, National Australia Bank, Hong Kong

Health coverage  

National Australia Bank makes a strong point of investing in its people's well-being and working conditions. We offer better-than-average benefits, including 20 days annual leave for Hong Kong staff and five days leave for new fathers.

Our staff health-cover generally includes medical insurance on hospital and outpatient services, and dental services for employees and their dependants.  

Employees' wellness 

One of the most popular activities we offer staff at the moment is fitness training. On Tuesday and Friday lunch times, our traders and institutional banking people take the time to bond over burpees and push-ups rather than burgers and dim sum.

We pay for two sessions of corporate cardio training at a gym each week. It's voluntary, but the training has been surprisingly popular with staff members of all nationalities and has built a really strong team ethos among those who take part.

We also have mothers working shorter days to suit their children's routines. We give staff paid days leave for volunteer work each year.  


There's the health benefit, with many of our team improving their strength, fitness and attitude to exercise. But there are also the indirect benefits which are more obvious when everyone's back in the office.

Healthy bodies translate to healthy, active minds. Staff energy levels are higher, they are more engaged, and there is a better connection between people from different teams - all because they've shared the adrenaline of a gym session. It's a very positive investment for us.

Lau Ka-shi
Managing director and CEO, Bank Consortium Trust

Health coverage

Apart from having the usual types of coverage relating to medical, accident and life insurance, and compensation for time off work, BCT employees enjoy additional health-related benefits. These include talks on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, flu vaccinations, medical check-ups and plans to achieve better physical fitness. Besides that, we make it possible for staff to have flexible working hours based on individual needs and subject to operational requirements.  

Employees' wellness

We focus not just on the physical health of staff, but also on their mental and social well-being. Our aim is to provide an environment that helps employees perform to the best of their ability and co-operate effectively in achieving corporate goals. To this end, we have an "employee care programme", offering free consultations via a 24-hour hotline. It helps staff deal with stress and emotional concerns resulting from work, social, financial or other issues. We also arrange interviews with expert counsellors and offer training to introduce ways to enhance efficiency, reduce stress and build better relationships in the workplace.  


As an employer, we want staff to understand that we care for their well-being. We hope that when they see and experience that, they will have a greater sense of commitment and engagement, leading to better performance, higher productivity, stronger team spirit and a lower rate of turnover. Some staff who have rejoined the company say the reason was that they missed the sense of team spirit, the constructive coaching and the friendly working environment.

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