Sunday, February 12, 2012


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General Background

Bank Z is the largest domestic private sector bank in India. Since its inception in 10 till date, the bank takes a pride in serving its three million customers through a vast domestic network of seventeen regions consisting of 6 branches and 101 extension counters spread across the length and breadth of country. The total manpower strength of the bank stands at 5877, out of which 780 are workmen. Financially, the bank has been doing moderately well with increasing trend of deposits and profits level. In the face of deregulation (Narasimham Committee Recommendations), stiff competition and volatility in markets, the bank had to opt for reorienting its strategic framework by introducing strategic intents like sustained profitable growth, training/upgradation of human skills, enhanced customers’, shareholders’ and employees’ satisfaction, leverage IT and branch network, focus on retail banking, establishment of strong customer relationships etc to retain the leading position among the private sector banks. These strategies were to be driven by measures such as diversification, joint ventures, customer service, cost reduction, restructuring etc.

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Assessment of Environment

The external environment of Bank Z is undergoing a rapid transformation. Among many of the external environment, the bank is facing the direct implications of following three key triggers

• Government Policy Changes The implementation of liberalized policy by the government has created favorable environment for the banking sector. Such as deregulation of interest rate structure has given flexibility to the banks to fix its own rate of interest. Reduction of government stake to percent has led to opportunity of having more power to the management team of the bank regarding the decision making etc.

• Intensification of Competition The impact of liberalized government reform is seen in the form of intensified competition in the banking sector. The entry of foreign banks and new private sector has increased the competition and complexity in the domestic banking sector. As a result, an extra effort needs to be made by every bank in order to achieve adequate level of growth and profitability in order to survive the rage of volatility due to stiff competition.

• Technological Change In order to move ahead in the competition, one of the strategic responses of Bank Z is leverage information technology and branch network. Introduction of more customized products such as Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs), Tele Banking Counters (TBCs) and Automating Forex services requires development of sophisticated technological packages. Thus, Bank Z needs to prepare well ahead to make necessary move to muddle through the IT jungle to meet the needs of the changing situation.

Corporate Strategies Identification

Corporate Strategy means an overall managerial move/game plan for the whole organization. With the deregulation, the bank has realized the need to reorient its corporate strategy. It has started articulating a theme for every fiscal year to excel in its operations and gain maximum business advantage. As for instance we can see the bank working on the theme of “sustained profitable growth” or “diversified and balanced business portfolio” during two different fiscal years. The bank has responded by evolving three different forms of Strategic Responses lately to retain the leading position among the private sector banks. These three Strategic modes are;

N Strategic responses related to portfolio management

N Strategic responses related to Process management

N Strategic responses related to Structure in the Bank.

Strategic responses related to portfolio management

Diversification By 00 the bank proposes to diversify into the following areas of business

N Consumer Finance

N Mutual Funds

N General Insurance

Joint Venture In order to expand its operations the bank is trying to form joint ventures with some international players.

Collaboration In order to launch insurance operations in India, the bank is negotiating with major European Insurance Company.

Strategic responses related to Process management

Its process related strategies consists of giving increased services to its customers such as introduction of ATM, extension of business hours at Tele Banking Counters (TBCs), Rejuvenation of customer service committee etc. Similarly it also includes marketing strategies like brand building, advertisements, up gradation of skills etc.

It also aims at providing various information technologies like email facility to 00 locations, CMS to 50 locations, Automating Forex Services etc. It also has a cost reduction strategy and the bank also has a quality strategy, which includes good inspection system, adherence to customer service manual and customer satisfaction.

Strategic responses related to Structure in the Bank

The Bank has introduced flat structure in place of its hierarchal structure and also has introduced a profit centre concept, which means that each region is a profit centre and is accountable for its business performances.

Identification and Assessment of HRD Responses

The Bank has a wide array of HRD process and responses provided to its employees which are identified as hereunder;

N Compensation is according to IBA’s guidelines and also consistent with Consumer Price Index rate. A wide range of allowance and perks has been arranged. They are also entitled to receive soft loans, such as house building advance, vehicle loan, various policies and holiday advance. They also get statutory benefits like bonus, social security schemes etc.

N Working Conditions is excellent with no compromise made on any aspect. The bank emphasize on the congenial physical environment in the bank to attract the customers and to provide a comfortable working place.

N Family welfare Employees are well taken care of with the Family Welfare provision The bank provides medical aid to the dependent family member. The employees are also paid education allowance and each employee along with the dependent family members is entitled for leave travel concession and has also introduced a pension scheme.

N No proper written HR Policy inspite of having full-fledged HR Department However it has a few booklets containing rules and regulations governing the sanction of advances and service rules.

N Training policy yet not evolved. But it follows a custom of training every employee a minimum of two or three days in a year and has a full-fledged training infrastructure at Bangalore.

N No written Performance Appraisal System Even though the bank has a performance appraisal format it has no written appraisal policy.

N Job Enrichment The Bank does not have a specific programmes/effort designed or implemented to enhance the job content of the staff except a kind of job rotation system which is yet not clear.

N Career Planning The Bank does not have any formal career planning.

N Communication In order to make the employees aware of various important developments, new policies and business plans, the bank publishes a monthly newsletter. No other communication mechanism is used in Bank Z.

N Employee involvement and empowerment programmes The bank has started a quality circle, which has been adopted by many branches. Except QC, no other employee participation programs are there in the organization.


Analyzing the present policies and practices adopted at the bank and then comparing it to the Corporate Strategy, we can deduce that though the bank seems to be providing wide array of employee perks, allowance and benefits, it does lack in few aspects in alignment of its HR practices to that of Corporate Vision and Strategy.

N According to the Corporate Vision, Employee Growth is taken as a Commitment; however the conspicuous absence of any definite specific HR Policy inspite of having full-fledged HR Department shows the commitment is not very serious. Similarly, the managements apathy for upgrading the skills of clerical staff beyond a certain level in consideration of the fear that the highly skilled workers may leave the bank after they are upgraded is nothing but because of the lack of proper HR and Training Policy. The bank should instead ensure that its employees are skilled and are the best in the industry to provide the seamless service to its customers and better than its competitors are providing.

N One should not forget that the quality service is a core competency of the banks which is only possible when the employees, who come to direct contacts with the clients and customers, give high level of performance. The quality of performance can be ensured by the regular performance appraisal. Performance Appraisal in service sector like Bank Z is something which one cannot afford to ignore because it helps to improve the individual, team and groups performance by identifying the areas needed for improvement and help the organization as a whole to gain its objectives by improved service and performance. But at Bank Z it seems that Performance Appraisal is done just for the sake of doing it. No formal policy, authority or trained officer takes charge of the process. Though the PA system is used for the purposes of training, promotions, and placement in a particular function, due to lack of trained authority, counseling and further improvements required are not taken into consideration seriously.

N There is no formal career planning carried out in the bank. Though there is a scheme to encourage staff to acquire additional qualification and provision that employees acquiring these qualifications will be rewarded with monetary incentive and earn extra credit points for promotion to higher posts, which is just for short run. But no formal development needs of employee for long run are identified.

N The HRD practices where Bank Z is good at; such as Compensation, Working Conditions and Family Welfare can only fulfill the basic physiological needs of an employee. Moreover, it seems that bank had these facilities only because of unions influence to the management. The challenges at work and self actualization needs of the employees cannot be fulfilled by these mere compensation packages. For this, job enrichment and employee participation in decision making is required which the bank seems to be lacking. For job enrichment, they have only job rotation program which still is not coherent. Giving a common designation irrespective of actual job profile with less hierarchical level may give less development ladder to the employees which may act adversely as demotivating factor for ambitious employees. Similarly, the bank has QC program as employee participation and empowerment program which do help the employee to solve work related problems; yet employees are not participated in decision making of the organization.

N Similarly, the bank lacks two way communications between management and employee. Employees are informed only through the newsletter published monthly. There is no way the employee can give their opinion to the management.

Suggestions/ Conclusion

 The bank needs to have a separate HRD Vision and Strategies consistent with the corporate strategy, vision and mission.

 The bank should craft effort to make business strategy and employee resource strategy coherent to each other.

 A push for a more business-driven thrust to HRD at organisational level is needed because HRD Strategy is something, which falls, at functional strategy level. Though it is narrower in scope compared to overall business strategy, it adds relevant details to the overall business game plan. Care should be taken that the HRM Strategy must support the bank’s overall business strategy and competitive approach.

 The bank should Improve HRD not only Employee Development because there are individuals or groups who have some relationship with an organisation but are not in an employer-employee relationship. These external people and institutions have a direct or indirect interest in the business and influence the success of the business.

 The bank come up with formal exhaustive HR Policy including training policy ensuring that the employees are well trained and those on whose training investment is done cannot leave the bank all of a sudden to join competitors bank.

 The Bank is to face a stiff competition from influx of foreign banks and their powerful resources and thus to ensure the retention of its highly qualified executives from joining those foreign banks the bank could provide Employee Stock Options to the deserving workforce of the bank.

 Efforts to increase the client base and to retain the customers should be instilled while formulating the plans and procedures by providing better facilities and products than the competitors. One of the ways of outperforming competitors is to increase performance of employees to give better customer service; for which HR capital should be mobilized efficiently giving them more than compensation in terms of job enrichment, communication and participation at policy level.

 Similarly, attempt should be made to roll out the latest in technology like internet-banking and train the staffs and customers to use it efficiently.

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