Monday, January 27, 2020 - Equity Bank is among top tier lenders in Kenya that posts over Ksh 14 billion profits annually.
However, the Dr. James Mwangi led bank is also rated as the one of the worst companies to work for Kenya.
From poor remuneration - almost three quarters of Equity employees earn less than Ksh 40,000 per month, to a toxic working environment, this dossier by a former staff who worked at the bank for 13 years exposes the rot there.
Read the dossier below.
I worked for equity for 13 years until late 2018. After that I decided enough was enough, I had the worst employer life could throw at me. I wasted so much of my time working at equity. Throughout those years’ salary increments and bonuses were shaky and were often missed. This would not have been a big deal if it were not for the fact that the public and shareholders were constantly informed of how well the bank was doing by declaring billions in profit. Profits from my hard work. This put me behind my peers who we joined the job market at the same time and who worked for other banks. Looking back I wasted so much time I should have put into other things like I am doing now.
What I am about to share did not just apply to me; I am not the only one I know. I want no one else to do or make the same mistake I did by joining equity bank. Joining equity was a big mistake don’t make the same mistake I made. Why was it a mistake?
What you are about to read are facts from various units within equity, these facts are spread over a long period of time years even. I wonder how much of what really happens in the bank Dr. Mwangi knows or does not know about. My guess is a lot, he is surrounded by individuals who will blind fold him to the reality. Haya tusonge.
Have you ever imagined working for an employer with a culture that can only be straight from hell? Imagine an employer cooked in the abyss the belly of hell who rises to give you a job only for you to learn that the job was to take you to hell, every day. Coming from the branch it was always my joy to work at HO. Soon the continued pain, torture, and torment the pure discomfort would be too much to shoulder. Yet that is an exact reality for many and for others who will choose to join equity bank.
It is easy to imagine that it is not possible to suffer in a big organization that has a HR department. Well HR was quick to write a disciplinary letter to you for as little as sneezing the wrong way but very slow to act in the case that your boss was the one on the wrong. Even worse if your boss is one of the “protected ones”. In equity several individuals who are referred to in low tones as “founders or protected ones” hold senior positions and did as they wished. To whoever they wanted after all they started the company with the main man Mwangi and now work from the 9th floor with him.
Due to this tormenting work environment in the last twelve months before I left some departments at the bank had seen over 10 members of staff leave because of being mistreated and abused by their bosses. Close to one employee per month per department.
These team leaders have ugly hearts and souls and will destroy anyone who dare cross their path. They also have junior employees in their departments whose job it is to carry on this culture, it earns them biased promotions and consistent salary increments. Look at the payroll. Despite numerous complaints to HR nothing is done after all some of this people have been with the organization for over 20 years they are “founders”. Founders are the CEO’s “friends” not employees like the rest, they tell HR what to do and not the other way round.
This leaves a company that has departments that are run by individual’s feelings other than company policy. The way you would run your store house, equity people know what I am talking about, I once got an issue with one of these “culture carry-ons” a Njangi from Comms but that is for another day.
Bank branches where the money is/should be
What you have read is from head office and it gets even worse at the branches. The next time you visit a bank branch know that the person serving you “the member” is overworked underpaid and psychologically in a bad place. Equity perpetuates the thinking to its staff and to the world that working for equity is a favor to the gods. A brainwashing tool that is used by management and the company’s head, but the truth on the ground is shameful. Did you see that guy who jumped of a building in Westlands the other day? What pushed him to jump is what I am talking about.
After working long hours all year round staff at the branches are lucky if at all they get a bonus or salary increase even if the same happens to HO staff. Despite the huge profits that are announced by the bank. Kenyans have also been brainwashed to believe that equity is a Kenyan icon but what icon fails to pay its staff. More on money later. Yes these branch staff work from 6:30 am to 7 pm daily at times even longer especially during the Wings to Fly season.
Salary increments only happen once every two to three years if Chief, Daktari feels like it. Or if your sector head likes you. Did I mention some of these branch managers are touchy feely BGDM Kariobangi. HR can do nothing if you are discriminately overlooked for a bonus or increment. Or if you are awarded way less than the overall bank set benchmark. Some junior officers do get these increments depending on how good they are at mistreating their fellow staff. The salary increase is mostly peanuts that we were often reminded during staff meetings that you owe him for putting money in your pocket. We were once reminded during a staff meeting that we are able to afford the sofa sets in our homes due to equity bank.
The next time you see an equity bank employee sympathize with them as you have no clue what they are going through. Do not let the banker suites fool you we were all broke with no money.
Did I mention that some of these team leaders are bold enough to shoot insults and bring in your spouse, family, children and relatives into those insults? It is personal and you cannot complain to anyone. Even if you do nothing gets done.
Back to HR, it seems company policy only applies to those at the lower end of the food chain. Rules like as a bank employee you are not to get into a romantic relationship with a fellow colleague. Yet senior employees do it at no cost or risk to their jobs. They pick young boys and girls for themselves as they wish. This shows you that not only are HR policies contravened but so are labor laws. The number of Sundays I worked without any compensation are too many. You probably know someone who works there who is always busy on Saturday on Sunday.
Even worse some individuals will constantly make demining unwelcome remarks about your body and nothing will be done to them.
It is not unheard of to be expected to show up to work on any and every Sunday, Christmas, New Year, Easter, without any compensation. Even worse dare you try and take or ask for a day off. Working odd days and hours has been inculcated in the staff as a way of showing loyalty to their employer. By giving him more than he pays you for or asks of you, dare you say no. From that day on you are a marked soul. For that one mistake you will stay marked until the day you opt to resign. Being marked means hell with your boss or supervisor.
The culture competition indoctrination saw all staff sing the banks anthem by heart everyday sometimes twice in a day for over three months. We would have to report to work as early as 6:30 am to learn and memorize it. It being the banks anthem and inspiration, more like the loyalty pledge. It was very similar to the loyalty pledge pushed by KANU, a symbol of forced loyalty to the…Later bank meetings started with staff standing and singing it, it looked like Halter’s army chanting some Nazi indoctrination rhymes. This is when I started getting enough. After years of this nonsense it only seemed to be getting worse.
I promised to get back to this. Picture this you get a new job and tell your equity boss that you are leaving. Your boss asks you not to leave and they make a counter offer. After that you find the offer better and you decide to stay. What now remains is for you to sign a contract. Shock on you as the contract is delayed. When contracts finally come they do not match the negotiated salary agreement. At that point the other opportunity has left and you are left with no choice but to sign. That is how you end up working at equity for 13 years. #TheEmployerfromhell. These are staff whose money is stolen from them in broad daylight, how then do you expect the same staff to follow up on your stolen money at the branch? They can’t. Even they have been robbed with no one to go to. HR cannot help you.
More Money issues
Word is that the bank has lost millions of shillings in internal with external support systems theft. Attempts have been made to steal billions at a go from the banks servers. This has created a loop hole for staff to get fired, even if they are not guilty. Cases in court. Oh yes they have to take a polygraph test or else get out of the door. Just like in the movies, wires to your heart arm name it. My lawyer friends how legal is this?
Sijamalizana na HR
To date after working for years a good number of the bank staff still do not have their confirmation letters despite successful probation periods. Imagine that, if you are in shock close your mouth. I wonder how much of this the CEO actually knows. This is because their sector head’s have stopped HR from issuing them or HR needs to do their job.
This sounds like I am talking about a straggling upcoming kiosk business in Grogon but no; this is equity bank, the custodian of your finances.
If these are some of the things that happen to adults within the bank then you can imagine what happens to young adults who come to work for the bank on internship.
Sports teams are made up of staff that in some instances are forced to join these teams or else they risk losing something. Once the company discovers you have a gift they will force you into one of their teams, after which all your success goes to the equity gods, who granted you the life that you never had before.
Does your employer provide medical insurance for you? Equity does too. The only difference is that your employer provides it to you for free. Free, free! At Equity staff get inpatient, outpatient, optical and dental combined cover that is partly deducted from their salary. It is not optional the money leaves their accounts before their salaries get in. Those who have questioned the system have found themselves in the HR office answering questions. Also, what the cover entitles you is very little compared to industry standards. I will not bother you with those details.
In conclusion like my introduction
Some many years ago I moved jobs and joined equity, what a mistake this was. For I have wasted many years and much valuable time. Do not make the same mistake I did by sending them your CV. Keep away, hope that something else comes your way. Please listen.