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Empowering initiative through training and development in banks

Training and development are vital for progressive organizations. It is a fact that poorly trained employees can pose a serious operational risk and threat to very existence of banks. Therefore, banks need to pay due attention to training and development of their employees. Employee development is a joint, on-going effort on the part of an employee and the organization for which he or she works to upgrade the employees’ knowledge, skills, and abilities. Successful employee development requires a balance between an individual’s career needs and goals and the organizations need to get work done. Employee development programs make positive contributions to organizational performance. A more highly-skilled workforce can accomplish more and a supervisor can accomplish more as employees gain inexperience and knowledge.

Given the high rate of knowledge obsolescence, banks are expected to create a culture of learning in their organizations. Towards this end, banks are adopting e-learning methodology for capacity building of their employees and ensure that function specific trainings in critical areas such as AML/CFT, Forex, IT Operations etc., are available to all employees through intranet for learning purposes. It is encouraging that banks are exploring new training channels like mobile based learning, webcasting, video conferencing, virtual classroom services etc. which will ultimately help banks to reach a wider range of employees. Moreover, increased coordination with Institute of Bankers Pakistan (IBP), National Institute of Banking & Finance (NIBAF), and local business management schools/universities directly or through Pakistan Banks Association (PBA) forum helps in developing and designing specific courses that cater to the specific needs of banking industry.

In order to establish a continuous learning atmosphere and encourage the banks to enhance the overall capacity of their employees, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) emphasizes that banks should have a comprehensive training and development policy duly approved by their Board of Directors for all major functional areas. In this connection, top five banks have come up with the following training and development programs for their employees:

MCB BANK LIMITED

MCB has a mix of training methodologies for its employees which can broadly be categorized into five groups; needs analysis, instructional design, validation, implementation and evaluation.

The Bank has the latest state-of-the-art training facilities at its Training & Development Center (TDC) and a dedicated training team to look after most of the training needs of its employees. The training methods used by MCB are on the job training, off the job training, informal learning, apprenticeship and effective lectures. MCB uses following programs for training and development:

  • Management trainee
  • Management associate
  • Cash officers
  • Internships
UNITED BANK LIMITED

Training methods used by UBL are soft skills functional training, on the job training and classroom lectures. In soft skills training, UBL gives training to improve personality traits, social grace, personal habits, friendliness and fluency of language. In on the job training, UBL uses coaching or understudy method in which the supervisor acts as coach and teaches the trainee to perform the task. Job rotation method is used by UBL for those employees who need multi skills to perform their jobs.

HABIB BANK LIMITED

Training & Development function is carefully handled by HBL management. To cater the need of an organization, the bank has a separate system of Management Development Institutes, which are located at Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. These institutes not only serve for their own bank but also provide professional training on request of reputable organizations. Along with this training institute, the training team also deals with reputable and specialized training institute for enhancement of staff skills. This department is continuously working for better future of organization.

NATIONAL BANK OF PAKISTAN

NBP encourages employees to obtain professional courses/certifications relevant to their job requirements by allowing reimbursement of fees, rise in salary or lump sum rewards etc. Trainings and certifications are also linked with performance appraisals, promotions, or other benefits. Further, internal employees are nominated as trainer or part-time faculty for providing adequate internal support to their training and development initiatives. The Bank also has training plans for employees posted at remote area branches so that they do not suffer in getting appropriate number of trainings during a year.

ALLIED BANK LIMITED

Training and development is the most important function of HR department at ABL. The HR managers train the organization’s employees and develop performance culture among the organization’s workers to achieve the organizational goals and objectives.

Apart from conventional banks, training and development in Islamic banking industry is a big challenge. Although there are a number of internationally benchmarked qualifications in Islamic banking and finance offered by a number of training providers in UK, UAE, Bahrain, Malaysia and some other countries and given the leadership role Pakistan has played in the development of global Islamic banking and finance industry, the country needs to exploit it by offering comprehensive training programs from undergraduate and post-graduate degrees to professional qualifications.

The writer is a Karachi based freelance columnist and is a banker by profession. He could be reached on Twitter @ReluctantAhsan

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