Standard 5a

The provider follows a written human resources policy that protects employees and creates a supportive working environment. 

Creating a supportive working environment means having the policies and procedures in place to guarantee that your institution is a non-discriminatory and safe place to work, and that it remunerates staff appropriately and addresses their grievances. It also involves avoiding child labor. Use these resources to strengthen your support for staff.


Guidance on Standard 5A

Why invest in people? Leveraging talent to reach strategic objectives

This Grameen Foundation publication explores what providers can do to maximize the value of their people. It suggests that providers can maximize staff strengths by hiring right, providing appropriate learning and development opportunities and adopting strategically focused human capital management practices.

ILO Conventions and recommendations on child labour

This convention and recommendations highlight global problem of some forms of child labor, and recommend concrete actions for limiting child labor. Providers can use this resource to understand the issues with child labor and take action to eliminate or limit child labor within the institution.

Treat Your Employees Responsibly - Universal Standard Dimension 5 - Results from the Philippines

This short analysis from MicroFinanza Rating examines a sample of social ratings of microfinance providers in the Philippines—specifically, the social rating data on implementation of Standard 5—Treat Employees Responsibly. Providers can use this publication to understand the strong and weak practices in one market, and apply those lessons to their own institutions.

Encyclopaedia of Occupational Health and Safety

This ILO website is a global knowledge platform for sharing occupational safety and health (OSH) information and good practices. Users can learn about safety issues that face employees in the workplace, as well as how to assess and mitigate these risks.

Pressure on loan officers in microfinance institutions: An ethical perspective

This research paper looks at the effects of workplace pressures on loan officers, as well as how providers experience negative consequences as a result. Section 5, “Practical Recommendations” offers seven concrete ideas for creating a more supportive and productive working environment for loan officers.

Smart Note: Ethical Staff Behavior at Alalay Sa Kaunlaran, Inc. (ASKI)

This short case study details how ASKI developed a system for promoting ethical staff behavior across the organization.

European Microfinance Week 2021 Panel Session on Responsible Human Resource Development

This session shares the results of a global survey among MFIs by the e-MFP Human Resources Action Group (AG) to map current Human Resources Development (HRD) practices in the financial inclusion sector. Before the deep dive into the survey results, Elisabeth NIENDORF introduced the talent management life cycle as a tool for HRD. This life cycle consists of the following stages: attraction and recruitment, onboarding, performance management and appraisal, compensation and remuneration, development, succession planning, retention and exit. The tool can help MFIs to improve their HRD and gain a competitive advantage in the market. It was used to structure the questions asked in the global survey.

Tools and Templates

Grameen Foundation’s Human Capital Management (HCM) Assessment tool

This is an assessment tool for FSPs who want to align their institution’s human capital management practices with its business strategy—including their social strategy. The tool allows FSPs to identify the current state of human capital management practices and the gaps between the current state and what is needed to drive business strategy, and it includes recommendations for strengthening practice.

Organizational Gender Assessment Toolkit

This Women’s World Banking toolkit provides financial service providers (FSPs) with the tools and guidance to conduct a self-assessment of their recruitment, retention, and promotion of female staff.

PowerPoint Presentation on Treating Staff Responsibly

This powerpoint presentation helps to explain an FSP's responsibility to its staff. Prepared by the ILO for the Azerbaijan Microfinance Association.

Human resource policy (Nirdhan, Nepal)

Nirdhan uses this as a legal document to ensure all employees are treated equally. It communicates to staff what is expected of them, what the bank provides and what procedures will be followed. It helps the bank to handle legal issues with the employee; reinforce institutional culture by treating employees fairly and providing benefits that reinforce bank values.

Staff grievance procedure (VF AzerCredit, Azerbaijan)

Good example of a staff grievance policy that aims to resolve issues at the lowest possible level, swiftly and fairly. Importantly, the procedure includes safeguards to protect the aggreived party, and considerations in cases where it is inappropriate to air grievances to a line manager.

Health and Safety Risk Assessment Template
This Excel template can be used (and adapted) to conduct a workplace health and safety risk assessment.

First aid training presentation (VF AzerCredit, Azerbaijan)

This powerpoint presentation was designed to impart to staff key knowledge around applying first aid at work. See also this sample list of supplies available in branch first aid kits, which can be adapted to suit.

Case Studies

Smart Note: Hiring staff with disabilities at AccessBank, Azerbaijan

This interview with AccessBank Azerbaijan details how the bank has hired and retained employees with disabilities.