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Al Baraka Banking Group was established Manama, Bahrain during the year 2002, it is basically a Joint Stock Company of Bahrain which is licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain as an Islamic Wholesale Bank. It is one of the leading Islamic Bank in the world that is offering a unique service to almost one billion people around the world. Al Baraka works under the principle and laws of the Islamic Shariah offering services such as investment banking, retail and treasury. It has an authorized capital of worth US $1.5 billion and a total equity amount of almost US $1.8billion.
Al Baraka has a global presence of a subsidiary bank unit and also has it representative office in almost 15 different countries that in return further provide its services through branches that are in number of 400 and increasing. Al Baraka Banking Group is currently located and has strong presence in Islamic States of Sudan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, South Africa, Indonesia, Libya, Iraq, Syria and Algeria.
Al Baraka Bank Group and Al Baraka Bank (Pakistan) is an entirely committed Islamic banking system that is promoting the Islamic Financial System and is working under the principles and laws of the Islamic Shariah that is the core and back bone of this system. All of Al Baraka banking activities within Pakistan is synchronized and watched by the Shariah Advisor in Pakistan and also by the Board of Shariah Advisors Head office in Bahrain to make sure the activities of the bank are in compliance with the standards of the Islamic Banking Principles. Al Baraka Bank Limited (Pakistan) has a total asset of worth 70 Billion Rupees, a workforce of 1400 professional and around 89 branches in 37 cities across Pakistan. Al Baraka Bank (Pakistan) is a fully committed banking industry in Pakistan that has a vision of creating a new and innovative product line and services, increasing network point and working with the Islamic Financial system and promoting its concept within the community. And providing its customers a wide range of Shariah services and Products suitable to their Banking Needs
Al Baraka Bank Limited (Pakistan) is mainly a merger of Emirates Global Islamic Bank (Pakistan) and Al Baraka Islamic Bank (Bahrain) that took place on November 1st 2010. The merger positioned Al Baraka Bank limited to play a vital role in further developing this industry that has witness tremendous growth since the last couple of years. Due to the growing and rapid changing market environment Al Baraka Bank Limited (Pakistan) relies basically on its ability of being an efficient and effective market player and on the flawless concept they follow that is of Financial Banking system that focuses on the Socio Economic Development because of the strict adherence it pays to the Shariah principles and rules. By providing financing products such as Musharakah, Ijarah, Murabaha etc to diverse economy of Customer, Small/Medium Enterprise and Corporate Sector. They also offer numerous Shariah Deposit Schemes to investors to invest their funds in, as well as offer a variety of other well known services of E-Banking, SMS Banking, Utility Bill payment, ATM/debit card and safe deposit lockers and much more.
Al Baraka has also received long term and short term rating of A and A1 from Pakistan Credit Rating Agency, these rating shows the low credit risk that come from its timely payments made under financial commitments. Al Baraka believes in prioritizing customer value at the top and providing them with banking solutions that works under the Islamic belief. Their vision is that today's society needs a fair financial system which rewards effort that contribute to the development of the society
Al Baraka Banking Group basically works under 4 main core values:
Partnership: to create a strong bond that takes place in a long term relationship with its customers and staffs.
Driven: to have an impact in the lives of our customers and to work for the betterment of the society and economy by promoting the concept of Islamic Financial Banking
Neighborly: to welcome all our customers with a warm heart & hospitality, and to resolve all their issues through the service we offer to the community.
Peace of Mind: to assure all our customers that we are managing their financial interest by working towards the Shariah Rules and within the Ethical standards.
Interviewing session with Mr. Asif Lakhani
How do you help motivate your employees?
Al Baraka Bank Limited (Pakistan) keeps its employees motivated under basically 3 terms. Firstly if the employees are performing well up to the mark and standards of the Company an increase in the salary of the employees is given in order to motivate them so that they continue to keep performing within the standards of the company. Secondly the employees are also given specialized training in order for them to improve themselves and their performance standards so that they can apply for new positions within the company and also be eligible to be promoted onto the next level. And lastly by offering the well deserving and well performing candidates promotions within the respected department, which in return leads to an increase in the employee's salary income and other benefits as well, which the company offers depending on the promoted post job. So basically the employees are being motivated on two factors career growth within his respected field and financial well being and status of the employee.
What sources are considered in your Organizations hiring process?
Al Baraka has different recruitment criteria for its different positions within the organization. Al Baraka Bank Limited (Pakistan) has its own Human Resource Database system know as Human Resource Management System (HRMS) that collect and maintains CV`s of the candidates that as well as records and maintains information on all its current working and past working employees within all departments and branches. And if the database does not have the CV`s of the applicants that their departments requires in terms of experience and qualifications etc they move to other sources to generate a pool of possible candidates. The four other sources they use to come up with a pool of candidates are newspaper advertisements and the internet. Al Baraka Bank Limited prefers to use LinkedIn as a source over the internet to generate candidates rather than Face book or other available options. Thirdly they also consider looking into candidate CV`s that has been sent from other banks relative departments. Fourthly they do internal job posting within the company so that employees who are interest for the job can also apply as well for it. So they prefer to search candidate internally within their database system and then move to advertisement and net surfing and so on to the other resource until a well deserved candidate is found that meets the requirements of the job and departments that is in need of them.
What recruitment criteria are considered in your Organizations hiring process?
Al Baraka Bank Limited (Pakistan) also mentions on their websites career portal if there is a vacancy in any positions that is required to be filled within their organizations. So they prefer to first search candidates from their organizations database and then move to the other mentioned prefers sources. : Usually they prefer internal recruiting mostly by checking employee database for who is eligible to be promoted internally in the organization, providing ads in newspaper, linkden, department can handover their CV's to heads if they feel they want to apply for vacant job in the organization, interview is a must criteria for selection And once when a possible pool of candidate are generated the CV`s of the respected candidates are then forwarded to the Department head, who short list the list of candidates by conducting interviews and then forwards to selected candidates CV`s back to the Human Resource management department that conducts their own interview to further shortlist them and come up with a final deserving candidate for the job.
Selection test are conducted towards fresh graduates in order to test their intellectual skills of the related field they are applying for and , take tests related to English, maths and general knowledge for fresh graduates . But for experienced candidates applying for the top jobs within the organizations very rarely highly level test in the form of case studies are carried out for them that the respected department head creates and comes up with in order to check the candidate ability to brain storm and come up with unique solutions under pressures.
Do your`l allow transfer of jobs within the organizations?
Al Baraka Bank Limited (Pakistan) does allow job transfers within its organization so that it employees can improve them self and their performance within the organization so that they can apply for top or new positions within the company and also be eligible to be promoted onto the next level. They prefer internal recruiting rather than external source of candidates. The basic benefit Al Baraka Bank Limited (Pakistan) get from this procedure is that their employees working experience get further broadened and through this they can also indentify the weak and strong point of an employee before they assign him/her any enhanced role within the organizations. And also increases the ability of the employees to work under as a team with different work groups.
How do your`l retain your key employees?
Al Baraka Bank Limited (Pakistan) retains its key employees like department head in terms of financial benefit and other prick and privileges. But if so its key employee in the organization is intent to leave, then the company under the succession planning made by the organization they put the next most deserving person as an acting department head who knows all about the responsibilities and duties he would have to face on the job until the next department head is found and selected. Whereas the currently acting department head can also prove himself worthy enough to be selected as a permanent Department Head.
How do your`l plan on your annual increments?
Al Baraka Bank Limited (Pakistan) conducts and starts its annual appraisal mostly at the end of the year during December and ends it by the mid of January. And announces its results in the organization specifying the increments and promotion given to each employee on the bases of their performance effort, within the month of February to March. So by giving increment, benefits and promotions on the bases of employee performance, all its employees are motivated to working fairly effectively and efficiently so that they too can also be awarded such benefit and hence this increases the organizations productivity.
What are the procedures carried out for resigning staff?
If any of the employees of Al Baraka Bank Limited (Pakistan) wants to leave the organization for what so ever reason he may have regarding the decision of resignation, he has to submit a 3 month`s notice in advance that is specified in the contract he agreed to before joining the organizations. And if he does not or is unable to follow the notice period he has to pay a penalty where he has to pay 2 basic salaries to the organization that is already pre specified in the agreement he agreed to with the organizations.
The resigning staff has to submit his resignation letter to his respected department head, which approves it and forwards it to the Human Resource Department. Then the Human Resource Department confirms it with the department head for the reasons of resignations of the employees and works out with him about the procedure related to the replacement of that employee.
The Human Resource Department then conducts an exit interview with the resigning staff related to his reason for resigning where he can disclose all his problems related to his job to them and then after all this process the resigning employee is given his resignation approval. And the resignation approval is given after a thorough check on the resigning employee liabilities and whether he was not engaged in any fraud activity or what so ever. The exits interview is a mandatory process in the organization even under the 3 month notice period as well on the 2 month salary penalty procedure as well.
How do you take disciplinary actions against employees who fail to meet their objectives or negligent to meet their responsibilities?
All employees at the time of selection and hiring are made aware of their jon description relating to what they are supposed to perform and how they are supposed to carry out their job tasks. If an employee fails to meet the requirement and duties mentioned in his job description or fails to follow the rules and regulation of the organization, firstly a verbal warning is given to the employee and still if the employee fails to correct himself then a "show cause notice" that is a written statement provided to him where he has to provide a written statement stating the reason for his behavior in return within 10 days or else he'll be rusticated. And even if after the show cause notice he fails to satisfy the department or fails to improve himself then he is held reliable for his own termination.
How your HR Department contributes in the growth and satisfaction of the employees?
It is the responsibility of the Human Resource Department to listen and resolves all the issues related to its employees and to keep its employees motivated by having a fair performance appraisal system so that only the hard working a deserving candidates are promoted, incentives and given bonuses. It is also the responsibility of the Human Resource Department to make sure that is employee issues is dealt with and forwarded to the respected department head. It is vital for the Human Resource Department to make sure that the Department head is appraising the employee's performance on the job description of the employee's title rather that any unfair bases. The Human Resource Department has to listen to the opinions of all its employees regarding benefits of the Organizations, all employees must be given a chance to be heard. In case of performance appraisal nothing is been disclose when conducting it.
How HR policies and practices are aligned with the goal of the organization to help achieve the intended objectives and get desired outcome of performance?
The Human Resource Policies at Al Baraka Bank Limited (Pakistan) is made under the light of the goals and objectives of the organization, to ensure that it employees are completing the task on time as well as effectively and efficiently. The policies and practice at Al Baraka Bank Limited (Pakistan) is now at growing stage and are providing 6.75% loan facilities to their employees greater than their competitors and are revised under the benefits of the employees as well, because if their employees are satisfied and motivated at the work place then only they in return will work for the benefits for the organization that indirectly leads to benefits to them self as well. Policies are implemented for all so if any change in rules and regulation it would be aligned fo all because at some point of time all the employee not matter to whichever organizations they belong to expect back from the company as well. And this favor in return of appreciation from the company side is being given to all employees and not only to a selected few.
How do you protect the intellectual property of the organizations?
Al Baraka Bank Limited (Pakistan) protects their key employees by giving their employees promotions and other benefits as well as other peaks and privileges such as transport facilities, fuel expense, insurance expense and many more benefits so that is employees are motivated and are satisfied with their job and the company. And also ensuring that its employee`s appraisal process is done fairly and is not subjected to any sort of discrimination that can cause a dissatisfaction among the employee`s, making them forced to leave the business under the unfair work environment.
Do you play the role of staff manager when it comes to assist other departments employers?
According to the organization charts of AL-Baraka bank, we follow the reporting lines of who reports to whom, but it also depends on the cases. Usually the employee of the respective department conveys their issue with the head of department or their employers, if they are not able to resolve the matter then we are supposed to look into the problem and can be consulted for any sort of approvals regarding employee leaves, payments and benefits and in case of any resigning issue with other departments than through the help of exit interview and word of mouth analysis is done and final decision is taken.
How Strategic Human Resource Management is playing important role in today's world?
HR plays a vital role in the hiring of employees, keeping in mind the goals of the organization and what they want to achieve. If we feel there are need to open more branches, then we have to realize more recruiting needs to be done to fill the vacant positions, therefore we carry out our practices accordingly and HR planning is done effectively to make sure we maintain a budget where we do not increase recruiting cost and apply it according to our need. The HR has to identify all the needs and fulfill those needs keeping in mind the goals and costs, planning is the key component, you can say a vital ingredient when it comes to aligning HR role in todays world. HR is like a pillar of any organization now and always stay up-to-date with the top level management goals and make sure to implement their decisions in an effective way
Does your department use any kind of computerized system to keep and record employee's information?
They use a software by the name of HRMS (Human Resource Management System) which records salaries of them employees that have been paid or they are yet to receive, personal employee information,education, backgrounds, development of job, appraisal records helping to identify candidates likely for promotion or rewards, record total training hours received by the employees and it is very time effective with the help of this software to search for any records compared to the old 'hard file' system. Through records they can individual record of each employee and their performance evaluation.
When there is any vacancy in any department; do you prefer internal pool of candidates or external sources?
It depends what kind of job vacancy we are talking about here, some jobs require experience rather than new blood, when it comes for a high level post, definitely we are looking for experience, and in such cases usually we prefer internal supply of candidates for promotion, but keeping in mind there are possibilities of gaps being created in the job positions, to avoid such hassles we tend to rely on external source of recruiting to fill that gap created in between the jobs, which is done on jobs that can be handled by someone with fair amount of experience.
Do you consider online recruitment and how effective is it?
We mostly prefer linkdin, which is very much into the knowledge of people of professional world looking to apply for jobs and can forward their CV's on the site to us. We do not prefer Facebook as we feel it is not professional practice to post our ads on social network sites.
Do you use background investigation and Reference checks before giving job to a candidate?
They intend to do a background check on the candidate that is hired. The candidate is hired on a 3 months' probation period until his background check and all investigation is being done. It was done randomly before, but since outbreak in news regarding 'fake degrees' we decided to make it a regular practice and verify all information of the job candidate who are in-consideration of getting hired. If any of the background or reference information are found to be incorrect, then the simple outcome is TERMINATION
What type of training do you give to newly inducted employees?
They tend to provide orientation training, where we brief employee about how they have to do their duties, who they report to, information regarding work environment, awareness about company rules and regulations, pay policies, increment policies, leave policies, and work timings. Department head can also recommend employees for training if they feel there is a need, and ask a fresh graduate to attain a masters degree for the job.
What type of selection tests does your company carry out for gathering a pool of possible candidate for the job?
For fresh candidates who just graduated from universities, we opt for general question tests which has sections of English, maths , finance, communication skills and general knowledge. Once they pass the test, the interview type carried out is based on a 'panel interview.' Whereas for experience candidates we give them short case study questions and their interview is also done by panel of interviewers.
How do you forecast companies personnel needs?
Firstly to keep a lot of things in mind regarding personnel needs, this is where HR policies and Business planning comes in effective use. During any product launch of our Takaful scheme, we realized we might require people with expertise skills in field of R&D, advertisement and IT. More people were required then, and therefore we decided to act by creating job offerings, and started doing recruiting according to our business needs for achieving goals of our organization keeping in mind our budget for the process.
How do you advertise for job vacancies?
Firstly they prefer Company portal which is websites; linkdin, Rozee, and the company website. We also blog on ACCA forums to let aware the accountants regarding our job vacancies. From Last 2 years they didn't went to University recruitement because of merger took place.
What type of appraisal methods are being used in your organization?
We basically use graphical scaling ratings and and the results taken out through Bell Curve.
What are retirement plans for your employees?
There are 2 options. Firstly 60 is the official age limit, provided they have atleast served the organization for atleast 20-25 years, to avail the retirement incentive oppurtunities which includes providend fund, car etc, but if a employees who is 60 years old could continue to work as a third party contract in which basic salary is given.
If any task is being given to an employee, so do you check the whether it is being performed on time or not?
Basically task is being assigned through Job Description and department head looks to have a check on it, if in case employee is unable to perform than it would be reported to Human Resource Department.
In case if half of the task is complete or work is done gradually than head of department mainly take control of it. When it comes to have performance rating on task provition period of 3 months is given and mainly appraisal of new candidate is given within that time period and through that incentives are given.
What are your leave policies?
10 days leave is allowed for an employee regarding other personal issues, 15 days of sick leaves is allowed to employee provided they submit a valid medical certificate. Therefore to be on safe side company allows 20 days leave period maximum.
Do you reward employees if they have zero leaves in a year?
No, as per state bank laws, it is compulsory for all to avail a leave of atleast 15 days in a year. Therefore by the new year, the employee will again have basic leave period of 15-20 days max
What is the over-time policy for employees?
Ans: We do not emphasize on making employees work overtime, however if an employee feels he/she needs to stay back then the bank provides dinner to workers sitting after schedule working hours.
Do you provide payments for further education of your employees?
Ans: no usually we do not, we do provide employee with some assistance if we feel it is necessary for the employee growth and promotibility in the organization. But for training we do bear the costs, and send our employees to foreign countries such as Bahrain for experience
Q28) Is there any contract for newly hired employees?
Ans: An employee when hired, has to sign an agreement of working in the bank for atleast 3 years, if they leave before their term then they have to pay triple amount of fine for their salary