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Training and Development in ICICI Bank

It is the largest private sector bank in India. It has a huge network of 2,528 branches and about 6,000 ATMs in India and a presence in 19 countries including India. It employs around 36,000 employees.

ICICI bank views and values human resource as a key source of competitive advantage. Consequently the development and management of human capital is an essential element of their strategy and an important management activity.

The rapidly changing business environment in banking sector and the constant challenges it poses to organizations and businesses make it imperative to continuously enhance and improve knowledge and skill sets across the organization. ICICI Bank believes that building a learning organization is critical for being competitive in products and services and meeting customer demands and achieving customer satisfaction.

The Bank has built strong capabilities in training and development to build competencies across various sectors. Training on products and operations is imparted through internet-based training modules. Special programmes on functional training and leadership development are conducted to build knowledge as well as management ability at a dedicated training facility.

ICICI Bank also learns from the best available training programmes and faculty, both international and domestic, to meet its training and development needs and build globally benchmarked skills and capabilities.

Its Human Resource base has following prominent features:

Human Resource (HR) practices high leveraging on technology.

HR Development is used as a critical activity for healthy culture building.

It has a fine tuned recruitment process that identifies among other things an individual’s degree of customer orientation.

Training and Development in ICICI Bank is referred to the team of employees in the Human Resource department who are responsible for such activities. Training and Development is headed by a senior-level officer (who is a member of the executive team) - Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO).

Training and Development process in the ICICI bank is considered essential for the progress and growth of the bank. Since, inadequate training and employee errors constitute a major operational risk for the bank.

Methodology used in gathering information

The group prepared a questionnaire which is attached in the Appendix 1. The questions listed in the questionnaire were asked by us to the HR manager of Cochin branch of the ICICI bank Mr. Avinash Chandran.

He very comprehensively answered the nuances of training and development process followed by the bank. Some of the things he described include Criteria for selection of T&D methods, its salient features, new initiatives taken and their results etc. He also pointed out some of the shortcoming of the process. All these points are covered in the report along with the groups’ analysis and recommendations.

Since we can get only regional level of information from Cochin’s branch manager, we referred Internet for the national practise followed by the bank, all over the country and abroad. We also analyzed the reasons for the existing differences between regional level and national level practises. This is described in the sections on levels of authority and role of corporate HR and field HR.

The group also conducted interviews of the employees , of almost all the ranks like cashier, accountant, core banking in charge, maintenance and security personnel etc. present in the Kunnamangalam branch of ICICI bank We have tried to summarise all our findings in the report.

Levels of authority in Training and Development

After interviewing group identified four levels of authority in the human resource practise followed by the bank

Corporate level HR

This is the central level of Human Resource officer. Their main job includes laying out HR policies to be followed by the bank after observing recent trends in the banking industry. They see to it that bank follows standard and acceptable practises and standard of the training and development program is at par with international level

National level HR

National level HR officer studies, modifies and manages the training and development programmes according to various differences prevalent in different parts of the country. He broadly instructs all the regional level HR officer to report to him the issues faced by them in implementing company policies. He then accordingly modifies policies and procedures of the training and development programs to ensure that programme is successfully implemented.

Regional HR

Main goal at this level is to ensure proper implementation of the training and development program and to ensure that methods followed in the program are relevant to the particular region. Also they report to higher authority in case of discrepancy or issues observed during implementation of the program.

Field HR

This is the main level of the hierarchy which directly interacts with the customers. They are in charge of the day to day operations of the bank. They have to interact with a vast diversity of customers from very rich to very poor, therefore it’s important that their training addresses this issue primarily and they must be train to handle conflicts and daily nuances of the service offered.

There are subtle differences between training and development practise followed by various national and regional branches of the bank. These differences are due to different requirements, culture, practises and values cherished by various regions of the country. Also a significant contributing factor is difference in the level of education and economic development of the area, which gives rise to diversity and different requirements for different regions.

Interaction between various levels of HR’s

As mentioned earlier, Corporate HR and Field HR play a very diverse role in the training and development program followed by the company.

Listed are some of the issues on which corporate HR consult field HR and vice-versa:

Feasibility of the implementation of a particular policy

Relevance of the policy at the particular region

Implementation issues faced

Modification needed in the current training and development program

Conversion rate of the learning during the program into practise

Conflicts between various regional and national level goals

Training and Development Process

Lets us discuss about the various external variables influencing for the need of the Training and Development programs in the banks.

Industry and Organizational analysis:

Many banks in India were trying to hire the professionals with higher packages even when the GDP of country was quite high as they were not able to find the ready available talent. Few banks have taken steps to build the talent and one among them is ICICI Bank. They have tried to build the available resources on supply side to billable resources on demand side.

Our country is mainly dominated by medical and engineering colleges where bank industry finds it difficult to locate specific institutes who produce only pool of talents for banks. This made the banking industry to look beyond top cities for talent and moved to small town and rural India that need to be polished on social and corporate skills. ICICI bank wanted to design programs that would transform educated workforce into skilled bankers and turning them to future banking sector leaders. They generally prefer students done their MBA programs and have relevant work experience which is quite longer duration. So they designed the programs for 12 months making productive employees in lesser time.

Task Analysis:

ICICI bank has focused its business strategy on three key areas:

Expansion of Branch network:

the banking regulator demands strict compliance and deployment of trained personnel to engage with customers as retail banking has high regulations and ICICI bank planned to expand its branch network by 45%. Without compromising at service quality ICICI has taken up the challenge to post these new branches with more than 3000 employees. ICICI bank has implemented the enterprise-wide integrated learning function for the planned program to be successful.

Opportunities in Corporate Banking Sector:

Corporate banking is well known for high margin businesses which require resources with specialist skills in credit appraisal, risk evaluation and relationship management. On-the-job training helps employees to develop skills in a period of 12 to 18 months. The challenge for banks was to crash the learning cycle for first-day productivity for growing opportunities.

Productivity Improvement:

It was challenge to bring about significant improvement after knowing that ICICI is commanding the highest levels of operational productivity and profit per employee in industry and to be noted that productivity improvement is always been key focus area for success of ICICI.

Selection of Learning and Training Methods:

ICICI bank has considered two approaches for selection of learning and training methods:

Operational-Reaction decision making:

This approach is required to bridge shortfalls in expected levels of services like quality, customer service, etc. These are identified through Training need analysis, evident through feedback and quality data by using feedback surveys, focused managerial discussion, focus scores.

The design is:

Impact of a problem: Small and localized versus large and representative.

Learning Technology: Best blend of delivery channels such as e-learning, classroom, virtual classroom, gaming, simulation, mobile learning.

Executive: Delivery time-lines and coverage.

Measurement: Results measured on suitable model.

Strategic-Proactive Decision making:

Organizations capitalize on potential and emerging business opportunities by building their capabilities for the long term goals. Indian banking industry as a whole has taken initiatives in this areas to build their capabilities.

Learning and Training Methods:

E-learning courses covering areas of banking, acts as knowledge for every business group.

For building Leadership bench strength of the organization they have introduced Leadership Mentoring Program for all high potential employees.

Behavioural Programs in line with the competency framework (DNA) ensure cultural alignment of all employees. Nearly 275 behavioural courses are conducted every month and every employee has at least one program every year. This shows the Learning Continuum.

Investment in building innovative and cutting edge learning channels like Gaming and Simulation for technology based skill practice and Mobile learning for real time performance support to the sales team.

Banks decided to make structural interventions in education by addressing the issue of supply of skilled manpower:

Vocational Training: To offer vocational training in the financial services domain banks have entered into partnerships with 172 educational institutions. Curriculum and pedagogy development, faculty development and up-gradation of infrastructure help banks to involve in capital infrastructure.

Investment in Higher Education: Bank offered wealth management, risk management and treasury operations by entering into partners.

Bank has also started offering new courses like 6 months banking diploma to increase the supply of trained manpower not just for the bank but also for entire industry.

“Probationary officers Program” has been started to provide employment to young graduates primarily from rural and semi-urban areas by training them through a 9-months course in various specialized areas in building.

New Initiatives taken by ICICI

Winning Hearts:

The uncertainty in the minds of the Indian customers has developed due to global economic environment. The Banks decided to take the lead and reach out to its customer by equipping its employees to address customer queries.

Winning Hearts is a video based training, to engage with customers with sensitivity and solution oriented approach, the frontline bankers were developed within a span of one week. The best practice to approach customers has been designed covering various customer behaviour scenarios and trained them in these programs.

The program was monitored by central head to ensure cent percentage coverage and covered more than 1200 branch banking staff in a week’s time.

Gaming and Simulation Engine:

This is considered to be an innovative learning medium to skilling employees on process and operation skill which had a development lead time of ten weeks and the interesting part is, a fresh training game to be developed for every training process.

I-Voice

The communication with all the company stake holders (i.e. shareholders, customers or employees) is always timely and transparent in ICICI bank. A video magazine called I-Voice is the source of information in ICICI which is published quarterly. This video magazine is 90 mints duration it is screened to employees across banks through town hall meetings facilitated by senior members of bank for two and half hours in duration.

In the last one year, continuous communication with the employees has become difficult due to the global financial crisis and the market turmoil. For this, ICICI has addressed queries and concerns in an informal and timely manner by using the channel of I-Voice extensively to communicate with employees.

The design, development and structure of each edition of I-Voice is the responsibility of Learning and Development team and this also decides the theme for each edition of I-Voice released.

The implementation of I-Voice was very success by ICICI bank and fetched them a Best Corporate e-magazine from Association of Business Communication of India (ABCI).

Ensuring employee participation and success of T&D program

ICICI bank considers T&D programmes very seriously. They think it to be one of the chief regions in the success of the bank. Hence they make sure that every employee who needs training gets it. They also ensure full employee participation and success of T&D programmes .ICICI bank did a number of things to ensure Employee participation and success of T&D programmes

Employee understands the Need of T&D

T&D was developed by ICICI bank by keeping the need and skill analysis of the set of employees who are going to undergo the T&D programme.

Following questions were addressed to identify the need

Does the employee need Technology updation or simple skill enhancement?

Does the Employee suffer from Role conflict?

Does the employee have what it takes to do the job in effective manner

Context of T&D in Employees Career

Employees were made aware of the importance of new skills and skill enrichment. The Inter-linkages between new skills and job were shown to help motivate the Employees. The Employee participation was further improved by showing the importance of skill in the future development of their career and the linkages of the new skill with organization goals.

ICICI bank trained its employee on core banking by showing them the importance of the technology which will help in furthering their own career.

Measurable objectives and favourable outcomes of T&D

The T&D was designed with measurable objectives and favourable outcomes that will be transferred to the job when training will finish. Measurable objectives help to ascertain the skill that will be obtained in the training will help in attaining the objective.

Identifying and Interviewing key Stakeholders

ICICI consulted and conducted interview with customers, trainers and employees to find out the important aspects of training and development practices. They came to know about the importance of core banking, Credit card and debit card issues related training. They also understood the practical difficulties that trainers usually face when they train employees

ICICI followed up with online surveys or evaluations of the training program. They later found it to be very helpful in obtaining feedback from the audience's perspective. They conducted anonymous surveys, to have a better chance of receiving honest feedback

They documented results and analysis of activity – a necessary function for gauging the impact of training.

Evaluation of T&D programme

The ICICI bank came up with different parameters to evaluate its T&D costs. The Following are some of the parameters

1. Customer Satisfaction

ICICI is in the service industry hence customer satisfaction and retention of customers plays a very important role for it. It is measured using a PULSE score. Pulse score is calculated by US based reputation institute which is a very good indicator of customer satisfaction PULSE score basically consists of 4 things

Esteem

Admire

Feeling

Trust

The company checked for the change in pulse score before and after the implementation of training and development programme thereby helping in evaluating the T&D effectively. Customer behaviour was studied in the bank by using the live video recording to understand what improvement the employee has made after training and development and what possible improvement can be suggested in future Training and development activities.

2. Questionnaire

Comprehensive questionnaires were given to all the stakeholders who are getting affected by T&D activities and the feedback is taken so that the T&D activities can be further improved. A copy of the questionnaire for ICICI prudential is given in the Appendix.

3. Interviews

Exclusive interviews were conducted across different divisions’ customers to know whether they have seen any improvement in the behaviours and service of the employee who were trained.

4. Productivity improvement

Productivity Improvement analysis were done to gauge the success of T&D activities. It is one of the most important factors since the T&D is useless if it cannot improve the performance of the employee from the business. The Productivity improvement were looked for in following perspective before and after implementation T&D

1. Average no of employees per branch

2. Average Call holding time of Customer service representatives

3. Customer complaints

4. No of new customers

5. Profit per employee

5. Human Resource factors

T&D activities were also evaluated on the basis of human resources factors so that it can help in redesigning job description and analysing jobs across various departments like Call centres, Wealth management and wealth advisory roles. Human resource factors that were taken into account for evaluation of the T&D programmes. Some examples are Employee turnover, Absenteeism, Employee Grievances, Late comers etc.

Business Results

1. Increase in Average PULSE scores for branch channel from 66% to 81%.

2. Reduction in Customer complaints by 33%, over last two quarters.

3. Profit per employee grown by 10% over previous year.

4. 28% more new customer accounts by each sales officer in bank branches (in last year).

5. 11% more calls handled by each phone-banking officer.

6. Average call handling time reduced by 7 %.

7. Service to Sales-leads of inbound calls increased by 53 %.

8. Number of branches increased from 950 to 1400.

9. While the staff strength constant at 10,800 employees.

10. Average number of people per branch reduced from 11 to 7 (productivity improvement).

Recommendations

Though ICICI Bank has seen stellar growth over the past decade and it is the largest private sector bank in India, it is not without its fair share of problems related to various things. The Bank has focussed on customer satisfaction and productivity of employees, but it has also faced high rates of employee turnover due to lack of employee focus. We present some of our suggestion to improve T&D activities over the coming years:

Leadership potential assessment

Identify the fast-trackers

Nurture the talent so that can take future leadership roles

Provide them the necessary environment to grow

Expand the job so that it increases their overall responsibility and accountability

Cross functional training should be done so that they can be absorbed in other job as well when the need arises

Reassign and redesign responsibilities that the employee does not like or that are routine

Provide more authority for the employee to self-manage and make decisions

Invite the employee to contribute on a department or company level decisions and planning and business level organization goals

Allow employees to pursue training and development in directions they choose and in the way they want, not just in company-assigned directions

On the Job Training and Mentoring by senior employees should be encouraged

Take into account peculiar characteristics of the region

Appendix-1

Evaluating Training and Development Process of ICICI Bank

Questionnaire:

What are the salient features of training program followed by ICICI bank?

How is it different from training and development program followed by other private and public sector banks?

How do you manage to train such a large number of workforce?

What organizational benefits resulted from the training?

To what extent did participants improve knowledge and skills and change attitudes as a result of the training?

How did participants react to the program?

How do you ensure that training program allows employees to realize their capabilities & interest?

How you have designed development programs to provide meaningful, motivating & demanding experience?

How do you utilize group participative management to improve the effectiveness of training and development program?

How do you evaluate success of the program once its completed?

What are the areas in the program, according to you in which the organization lags?

How do you suggest improving and enhancing the program and making it more effective?

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