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Sterling Needs More Polishing



The new year opens with felicitations and resolutions, including the promise of a new image – hence the trend: New Year, New You. I don’t have a problem with that as long as you keep your promise and not lose steam.

Sterling Bank has opened a new chapter with a new identity which is great. I love to see ideas when they’re fine from far and when I take a closer look, I hope they’re not far from fine. Putting on my brand glasses, I noticed a few things that prompted this brand identity review. So let’s jump right in.

The good part. Refreshing the Sterling brand is apt, if not overdue. Being one of the post-Soludo mergers still standing while some have struggled, gone bust or been swallowed up is quite commendable. Positioning the brand for the tech-driven future and competing favorably with other banks and fintech coys is by all means necessary. In execution, towing the simpler, minimalist look and feel is great.

However, my eyebrows are raised to some concerns of strategy, depth and originality.

For strategy, I wonder if there was a proper brief for this project. For a bank that spent most of 2018 playing the underdog and running controversial campaigns attacking bigger bank brands, I expected nothing short of a brand revolution that will shake the industry.

The story of ‘aiming for the moon, then landing on the rising sun’ needs errr…more work. What’s the connection please? This storytelling is not convincing, I’d say. Not even sure Nollywood will buy it. Why force the constellations to align? Is this approach really working? What happened to the brand name (Sterling), has it lost its meaning/essence (excellence, silver lustre) in the redefinition of the brand? Perhaps it needs more polishing.

For depth and originality, I think a few more boxes of Pizza and more brainstorming sessions by the team would have nailed it. After bashing the GTBank brand in previous campaigns, it appears the new Sterling logo is trying to be a circular version of GTBank and the former maroon colour is leaning towards orange. To the colour blind or astigmatic, this new logo might be mistaken for that of GTBank. To make it worse, the new Sterling wordmark remains grey (like GTBank) and the typeface makes it look like a food brand.

These are just my initial thoughts, without any thorough scrutiny or empirical analysis. Well, with Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Blink’ who needs the analysis?

While, I owe no allegiance to any of the brands mentioned and I have simply made my professional reviews on this new brand identity, I hope they are not misunderstood. We wish Sterling Bank all the very best of the new move.



Dapo Onamusi is the Founder/Creative Director at Dafix Company.

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Visibility In The Workplace – The Why and How



Do you believe that out of sight is out of mind? Is remote work affecting your visibility in the workplace? When remote working was introduced, it was perceived as a step in the direction of work-life balance. For many people, it allowed them to combine caring responsibilities and work more easily while others struggled with remaining visible. In this article, I will be sharing the importance of increasing visibility in the workplace and some of the potential ways to achieve this.

The importance of standing out from the crowd at the Workplace

1) Exclusive access to opportunities

If you are constantly hitting those numbers, delivering results and solutions, everyone would want you on their team. Let’s face facts, everyone wants to work with the 5-star performer. It gives you that reassurance of success. If you have exhibited great skills and abilities and other people in the organization are aware of them, there’s a high likelihood that you will be picked for the next opportunity in your company and beyond. I speak from experience when I say, great work reputation travels fast in the job market. So work hard on building that visibility so when next there is a big-money event, you are top of the list, 

2) Continuous learning and improvement

Good work requires that you work with people often. Most times, you might be working across teams with different people and this, in turn, exposes you to more learning opportunities. As you work on something new or take on new projects, you can acquire valuable learning out of it and add this to your experience.  

3) Stellar Appraisal Ratings

When an employee gets very good appreciation and job appraisal after working for the year, the chance of their stability involuntarily increases alongside promotions. People would always advocate for you during those meetings and it will assist your manager to justify your performance. The quality of work comes first i.e. your performance on tasks will get more weighty but an endorsement from other managers in the organization can go a long way in your cause of getting a good rating or promotion.

In summary, the benefits include exclusive access to opportunities, stellar appraisal ratings, and the opportunity to learn. 

Tips on how to go from invisible to visible

Speak up in Meetings

A closed mouth during meetings does not provide recognition or visibility. Do your research well in advance before team meetings, ask good questions, make solid recommendations, push back on ideas that you do not find feasible during meetings. Contribute, speak up, and let your voice be heard.

Participate in Learning Opportunities

Make time to be part of team learning sessions, individual training sessions, and utilize resources that have been made available to the team. Acquiring more knowledge would not only improve your ability to function effectively but improve your expertise in a particular product, service, or process. Once you’re an expert on something, people will always come to you to ask for help in that matter. That on its own is effortless visibility. 

Demonstrate Your Expertise

Most organizations admire employees who can bring something unique to the company. If you have some creative ideas or skills which could improve organizational processes, reduce cost, bring more revenue, increase employee satisfaction, or reduce cycle time, etc. then do not hesitate to bring your skills to bear. If the idea is implemented, you become a star in the organization. There are chances the idea may not be implemented, don’t feel discouraged because management will appraise the fact that you’re making an effort to do something different and unique.

Strengthen your relationship with your boss

A good relationship with your boss is one of the most important parts of your success story. It may be helpful to align on goals and see things from their perspective. Understand their priorities and preferred mode of communication. Focus on the positive, everyone has something worth respecting. Try to get to know your manager on a personal level by engaging them in conversation on topics beyond work.  

Participate in team activities

You might work for an organization where different teams are working on different projects or tasks. Try to find an opportunity to collaborate (on a specific project or task) with other teams than your existing one. You can seize this opportunity to highlight your skills and abilities in different teams. Besides, this will show your drive for initiatives and developing a positive image for yourself.

In the world today, being good at your job isn’t the only requisite for getting ahead in your career. If key people aren’t aware of you, you’ll likely miss out on opportunities to improve your skills and take on interesting assignments, despite your hard work and good performance. This is especially important if you work remotely because people might forget about you if they don’t often see you in person.


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Talent Acquisition vs Talent Management; the Misconceptions



One would say, these two terms are the exact same thing. Many professionals use these terms interchangeably when in fact they have very different yet equally important meanings. In plain terms, Acquisition means to acquire and management means to manage or maintain.  

In this article I will be discussing each of these terms, the elements of each and how both terms function concurrently. 

Talent Management

Talent management in a nutshell involves the processes that make up  finding, assessing, selecting and onboarding a candidate, then setting them up for success within your company by teaching them how to succeed. Building a powerful team entails so much more than equipping new hires with phones, laptops, paperwork, projects and asking them to fill up empty desks. It’s about teaching them to become leaders and encouraging them to grow on the role. This however begins right after talent acquisition has taken place and ends up being the most important aspect of all. 

Elements of Talent Management 
1. Onboarding

This is the process of integrating a new employee with a company and its culture, as well as providing the tools and information needed to become a productive member of the team. This is the most important stage and should be the best time to sell the brand, culture while stating clearly the expectations of new hires. 

2. Performance Management

This process requires setting clear and specific performance expectations for each employee and providing periodic informal and/or formal feedback about employee performance relative to those stated goals. 

3. Learning and Development

This is the training process that forms part of an organisation’s talent management strategy and is designed to align group and individual goals and performance with the organisation’s overall vision and goals by increasing and honing skills and knowledge through courses, onsite learning etc

4. Succession Planning

Here, you are identifying and developing new leaders who can replace old leaders when they leave, retire or die. This process increases the availability of experienced and skilled employees that are prepared to assume new roles as they become available.

Talent Acquisition

Talent acquisition includes all the dynamic processes surrounding recruitment and candidate selection. Once the need for a role is clearly established, a request is made for HR to begin attracting and recruiting top talent through unique branding, social media campaigns, talent searches, and interviews before making their selection.

The talent acquisition period can last from months to even years. Even the wisest of HR executives know that this process is an ongoing loop. It never really ends, and with the constantly changing and growing number of candidates diving into the job market, we can only keep dipping into the pool.

Elements of Talent Acquisition
Talent acquisition is much more than hiring. The elements include:

  1. Employer branding

What makes you stand out from the crowd? How do people perceive your brand on the outside? Cultivating your employer brand is key in attracting and retaining top candidates in today’s talent market. This is what will make you stand out against competitors and help persuade applicants to give you their time by applying. Your brand stands as the first impression you give, the culture behind your company, and will wind up being the main reason a candidate applies or later accepts or declines an offer for a position. The importance of conveying employer brand is not to be overlooked. It communicates an incentive for someone to decide to commit to you.

  1. Sourcing, recruiting and onboarding

During this part of the talent acquisition phase, recruiting managers weed out the unqualified candidates from those that are leaders and will stand out from the rest. Candidate sourcing is a time for employers to collect contacts, make connections, and create a pool/database of potential candidates, for now and for later. 

So, while sourcing creates a pool, recruitment focuses on finding the right candidates to serve as placeholders in an open vacancy. It is a process of searching for candidates who will significantly impact and contribute to the overall organizational success. It takes time and a smart strategy.

Also Read Closing The Gender Gap: An Interview with Dream Girl Global (DGG) Founder, Precious Oladokun

For one process to occur, the other must take place and what exactly do I mean? HR administrators must go through the acquisition stage before the talent management phase begins. Hopefully, we can differentiate both terms and agree that both processes work hand in hand and should not be confused.


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Team Building – A necessity or a waste of time



Team Building (Image source: Marsha Ferrick)

Despite the misconception that team building is lame and barely seen as relevant, did you know that team building is the most important investment you can make for your team? It builds trust, mitigates conflict, encourages communication, and increases collaboration. Effective team building means more engaged employees, which is good for company culture and boosting the bottom line. 

In this article I will be talking about the importance of team building and sharing some valuable tips on how to plan effective team building activities.

Why Team Building?

1. Networking and socializing 

Socializing and getting to know your team in the workplace is one of the best ways to increase productivity in the office. Besides the fact that it increases morale in the office, it also allows for team members to work better at solving everyday workplace issues. 

2. Teamwork and boosting overall performance

Employees tend to understand each other better after completing a team building activity. It becomes easier to identify each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and interests. This collaborative spirit and team effort helps everyone work even better together on future projects vital to a company’s progress. 

3. Fostering of innovation and creativity

Successful team building events not only bring people closer together, but they also contribute to a more successful and creative workplace. Games and competitive exercises become more challenging as people tend to have a larger imagination when they are around people they are comfortable with. 

4. Communication 

To no surprise, communication and working better together is the top reason why people choose team building. Everybody desires a friendly work environment, where people are comfortable and happy to talk to and collaborate with anyone. One of the results of team building is that the activities actually work to improve communication.

Are you looking to improve your team’s communication skills, collaborativeness and performance? Here are some tips.

Also Read: Emalohi Iruobe, An Attorney and Founder of the Tribe XX Lab Empowering Female-led Startups

How to plan an A++ team building activity. 

1. Identify the goal of this event

This includes identifying what you want the focus to be on. It is best to plan an entire team-building session around key objectives. For example, if you want to foster better communication among group members, then your activities should include initiatives that call for various combinations of players taking a leadership role in giving directions, commands or ideas in both verbal and non-verbal mediums.

2. Replace the usual team dinner with something new

Choosing something unique and slightly outside of people’s comfort zones can encourage them to come together in new ways. Take your team paintballing or maybe a boxing ring to let off some steam. A little physically challenging activity might be all you need to get people to destress. 

3. Quit looking at it as a favor but as an investment

This event isn’t a fluff. You don’t have to break the bank for something fancy or to go on expensive trips or experiences, but don’t skimp either. Be willing to make a real investment. Bad experiences stick longer than beautiful memories. 

4. Keep it up

Most team-building events fall flat because it’s a one-time activity that is done and then forgotten. It’s key to find ways to keep organizing these events. The challenge is creating opportunities for people to connect and interact in meaningful ways, outside of regular meetings or presentations. One way we do this is to have a monthly team hurdle. At this event, team members can celebrate achievements and show appreciation to their co-workers.  

5. Assessment/ Evaluation

After team building, one must evaluate and measure impact. For one to measure a team member’s ability to collaborate with other departments on projects, I would recommend that this be evaluated or assessed during performance appraisal. This can be done in the form of questionnaire, survey or during 1-on-1s with other team members. This is the easiest way to track improvement when it involves showing team effort. thanks.

How do you know you’ve gotten team building right? If there was laughter, a sense of excitement and accomplishment, and maybe a few Instagram moments, you’re definitely on the right track! A little adventure and pizzaz can unlock many levels of creativity.

Aurthor: Veronica Alfred, Head of Talent at She Leads Africa

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