Makeover of Bankers’ Training—in the transitional phase of Banking Industry

Since the era of globalisation started, banking industry has been in the process of transformation due to introduction of liberalization and later privatisation. Here Information Technology has taken the driving seat owing to which significant paradigm shift has been observed in Bank’s modus operandi and their offerings i.e. Products and services. Customer’s expectation too has evolved over the years and now their financial needs which used to be their desire in the last decade has become the prime objective of the banks to fulfill same within stipulated time frame at their will and comfort.

In the odyssey of changeover from brick and mortar business model of banking to online Banking, greater emphasis, over the years, has been given on IT infrastructure used by banks and Human Capital in order to stay competitive in market and accelerate the pace of organic growth of the organisation. Today we can observe laggards in banking industry are those banks who have not overhauled their modus operandi especially in the area of competitive policy formation and application pertaining to IT and HRM along with other key banking verticals. Gone are the days when personnel were recruited merely on the basis of qualification and work experience, preference is given more on applicants’ exposure to core area or better say KASH (Knowledge, Attitude, Skill and Habits) pertinent to area of vacancy.

Training as a building block for bank’s growth-

Training like never before, has become a building block for the growth of banks from all verticals since having a galaxy of experienced human resources in the organisation has become a very costly affair. It is a process which transforms human capital into performing asset that plays a key role on different cadres while delivering their assigned job profile. Sans innovative and result oriented training process i.e. called TNA (Training Need Analysis) adopted by banks where personnel are analysed before called for training considering their training requirement on the basis of their current set of KASH and the assigned job profile including their core interest area where they want to excel no bank can project or have vision for healthy organic growth over the years.

In India, major Banks has set up their own training centre in order to cater in house training needs in order to curb the burgeoning cost of the same. But due to paradigm shift of the canvas of banking or better say complete makeover of offerings, arrival of new delivery channels and consumer behavior, in-house training centres remain fail to groom new age bankers because of their latent approach or over the year they remain unable to overhaul the way it should be imparted and made result oriented. There is an urgent need to address the cost of training and the yield it has generated over the year and whether it is contributing in the mission and vision of the Bank.

Here a big question mark comes on bank’s followed policies and procedures which need to be reshaped considering current banking practices and trends where processes or alternate delivery channels adopted by various banks are strategic building blocks which decide their market share instead of banks’ geographical outreach when they are offering the same product and services. Even time to time RBI has raised concern over creation of talent pool of staff and creation of back up of experience employees because for small and mid size banks future is bleak instead they remain focused in this area.

Bottlenecks before the Banks-

Challenges before the bank is not only to train personnel as per their requirement considering personnel’s KASH but to make skilled staff loyal too because market statics unearths big banks, who are market leader not only in terms of business mix but also in setting benchmarks for providing staff welfare scheme in order to retain them, are perturbed with the attrition rate at which working and skilled staff is leaving the banks because the same is big blow on their strategies for growth of business in different verticals.

With the passage of time the role of training and the way it is imparted has gone under sea change, resultantly cost of the same has increased manifold like never before. Good amount of time and money is spent In order to transform a recruited bank employee into expert banker having right KASH or assets for bank. Loyalty of quality staff has decreased over the years which is quiet evident among all banks especially. In case of medium and small size banks are struggling with their survival due to accelerated pace of NPAs and slow growth rate even complying BASEL III standards are also a matter of discomfort that why capital infusion by Government in PSU Banks is a matter of discussion and would be in near future too.

Quality of in-house training is another issue which needs to be addressed candidly. We have observed that various banks’ training centre are in pathetic condition, normally administered by officers who are on the brink of retirement or awaiting their retirement age. They have no vision how training centres can contribute in the organic growth of the Bank and how training programmes can be made result oriented. It take years to become a proficient trainer and they are the result of right blend of specific area work experience and KASH but majority of banks are in dearth of galaxy of expert trainers and managing with pedagogues who needs to sharpen yesterdays’ pedagogy. Here top management of the banks needs to groom available in-house trainers’ erudition and embellishment by providing required industry exposure which normally considered as non-yielding investment by various banks.

Reform of Training-Methods and process-

Training should always be targeted to upgrade the knowledge level and to improvise the thought process and behaviors or better say habits of personnel working on different verticals. Here the significance of centralised database of all personnel can’t be neglected which provides thorough information about a employee viz. his KASH, work experience, current job profile, his achievements, extracurricular activities, area of operation where he want to excel or better say in concise what he is & what he want to become considering his capability.

Besides upgrading knowledge levels from various on-line and off-line sources,  trainers have to understand what ingredients participants need to be fed based on information obtained from database instead what they are proficient to offer them and the same should be analysed and improvised over the year considering Bank’s changing needs and challenges.

Lecture based training is a bygone process because market statistics shows person learns most when they are actively involved instead of a passive learners. Here role play, debates, group discussions, presentations case study based teaching is need of the hour. Here project based training could be introduced where participants are encouraged to apply new ideas and their views in Banks’ ongoing issues as a pilot project. It will enhance their sense of belongingness and boost their morale. Top rated management institutes have accelerated the usage of Case studies and Simulation in their pedagogy for producing best management talent so why can’t same be incorporated in grooming best banker. How better simulations can be designed first trainers should be trained in this area.

There is a craze among banks to call for reputed outside trainer but before welcoming bigwigs their contribution in terms of outcome and the cost involved should be analysed. In the fast changing market practices need of the hour is dissection of external trainers’ expertise with our in house participants demand and whether their expertise and ideas could be imbibed at gross root level by the participants. It’s not joke but attention should be given on whether doctors could be taught and trained by engineers or any soccer legend can coach any cricket team and if not then why bankers are at risk? It has been observed in different banks’ training centre that bankers as participants are trained by non-bankers so how far they are effective could be observed from banks annual results and personnel’s current KASH.

In various banking seminars held across India or overseas, active participation has been observed from bankers working under different capacities but rarely found the participation of faculties of different banks so there is an urgent need to address this lacuna and ameliorate this anomaly because if think tanks or knowledge providers are not enlightened or flow with recent developments of banking industry merely bookish knowledge and years of old work experience will not serve the whole purpose of nurturing human capital. Besides seminars industry event usually organised by IBA, IIBF, FIMMDA, FEDAI, RBI etc. should never be missed by faculty of various banks’ training centre and HRD should highlight the top management the cost incurred in these areas are capital expenditure and return would be conspicuous. In the entire process of overhauling training and its wide impacts, besides trainers, participants’ role need to be highlighted and the outcome of training should be linked with APA (annual performance appraisal). Post training, performance of participant should be analysed too in terms of whether training has filled the lacuna between what they were asked to perform their existing KASH. Training needs to be aligned with current demand of participant and what issues they face while serving the customers demand at ground level. Even their feedback should not be mere paper object but should be incorporated in future programmes wherever same is applicable and meaningful.

e-Learning, a web based program where learners can assess learning material of their purpose at their comfort of place and time through network and upgrade their current KASH, should be considered as a welcome step in the area of changing needs of training and its cost effectiveness. But besides being informative it should be objective oriented and timely review is imperative. Feedback from participants should always be asked and incorporated where it is required and the same should be aligned with employees’ APA with the sole purpose of making it more meaningful and increase employees participation.


Due to paradigm shift of intricacies and dynamism of banking industry over the years, Human Capital has become vital ingredient for growth of banks in all dimensions. Considering cost incurred and return from training in terms of KASH upgradation of staff working on different verticals, thorough analysis should be conducted annually and improvised where it is required. Training centres needed to be overhauled and should be treated as knowledge capital than a liability head. Here trainers’ active participation in seminars and industry event should be ensured in order to sharpen their proficiency. Even their participation in policy formation and banks’ strategic decision should be initiated.

Need of the hour is to rejuvenate the training ways and means and analysis is required on pre-training performance and post training performance in order to ensure training effectiveness.

Author : PRAVEEN KUMAR SRIVASTAVA, Senior Manager (Financial Analyst), Dena Bank

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