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Gearing Up the Human Capital – Building for Scarce Skills By Shyamalendu Saha, GM, Canara Bank

Heraclitus, the world renowned Greek philosopher, once said that “No man ever steps into the same river twice, for it is not the same river and he is not the same man”. This riveting proposition, though made thousands of years ago, has got profound connotations in the current context.
It is true that change is the only constant in this world. Nothing is static or permanent. Everything is ephemeral and in a state of constant flux. The only way we can keep up this protean world is to keep changing ourselves. Keep reinventing and reconceptualising our ideas, goals and aspirations. It is a tough task from the perspective of an individual. But it is an even tougher task when we are talking about organisations. Here, Human Resources Management plays a vital role.
Most organisations sustain because of their strong internal HR processes. Organisations which indulge in refurbishing and reassigning the individual roles in tandem with the future challenges thrive because they have the ability to turn individual skills into collective success. Given the prospects for external change and challenges, we anticipate a future governed by human ingenuity and organisational capability which will open new vistas for competitiveness in terms of leadership, talent management and resource mobilisation. The final frontier of competitive advantage is no longer about what we know, but it is about what we create. And our success lies in creating a competent and diverse workforce, ready to take on the challenges posed by a volatile world.
We keep hearing the overused cliché that “People are the most important assets”. But how many of us have taken a step in this direction or have done the basic leg work to create real assets out of these resources? Banking has undergone a “Paradigm Shift” in these recent years. Earlier roles have become redundant paving the ways for new and niche roles which creates value for the business. But have we really proactively taken necessary steps to help our work force to assimilate and get acclimatised with this changing scenario?
If we go through the annals of recent history, it is very interesting to see how the HR competencies have changed over the years. In 1987, the HR competencies mainly emerged from knowledge of business, delivery of HR practices and management of change. In 1992, personal credibility emerged as an important domain for HR professional. 1997 saw cultural management making its debut in HR competency model. In 2002, HR started emphasising its role as a strategic contributor towards business development. In 2007 building organisational capabilities were considered to be the defining feature. 2012 saw the dawn of a host of new HR competencies like Capability Builder, Change Agent, Strategic Positioner, Innovator and Integrator, Technology Proponent – Human Resources Management System (HRMS). We have come a long way from being mere staffing and recruitment agents to the elevated pedestal of strategic business partners. Optimising Human Resource Management is the key to sustainable growth and it can be achieved only through proper work force planning and analytics.
Our job as human resource developers does not just end with creating a competent workforce, but in identifying key and strategic roles within the organisation and developing an efficient second line with specific skill sets to step into these critical roles with finesse when the time demands.
The way forward... 
The future HR is going to become more granular, that is increasingly broken down in to more definitive customized forms, suiting each and every individual. Taking into consideration the emerging business conditions and HR granularity, the main focus will be on 3 demands, Talent, Organisation and Leadership. Without the right organisational culture, capability or processes, talent success is not sustainable. Great organisations outperform great individuals who are coping with ineffective organisations. The competitive challenge is to make the organisation whole more productive than the sum of talented individuals. Leaders have the charge of bringing talent and organisation together.
Talent Management
Workforce, people, human capital, competence – by whatever name it goes Talent will be critical for future. It ultimately results in productivity which reflects in our revenue and financial results. Instead of sporadic investment in talent, we need to be more disciplined and consistent in acquiring and developing talent.
Talent Bank
A unique talent management initiative conceptualised to give opportunities for generalists to acquire specialist skills, helps in ironing out the redundancy and monotony that is evident in a routinised job. This ingenious scheme takes care of developing scarce skill sets amidst the employees and help the bank for effective and efficient re-deployment to critical/specialised functional areas, in the days to come.
Canara Bank has got a pristine recruitment policy which has done wonders to its talent management endeavour. The Long Term Recruitment plan holds good till the year 2017 and has been chalked out taking into consideration the bank’s future business prospects / expansion.
Lateral recruitments are also undertaken to usher in the cream from the market and get that competitive advantage in having a young and competent workforce to strive the organisation towards excellence. Career plans have been designed and developed for each specialist posts, so that there is no redundancy at any point in time and every individual gets equal opportunity to develop their potential and ascend the hierarchical ladder.
Career long investments in learning through training and development, both on the job and through life experience, has been the corporate mantra which has given a fillip to our employee skill upgrading endeavour. Competence clearly matters because brighter people with greater skills generally can do wonders. Commitment also matters because those who work hard yield more results. But, we as an organisation envision a shift towards contribution and meaning. When people find meaning and purpose in their work, they become more committed and demonstrate more competence and they are more likely to stay with us for a long time.
Our unique induction programmes cater to this sense of purpose and helps in developing in these young bloods that much elusive sense of belongingness. Our deployment methodologies address the issue of posting the right talent at the right place and give the employee ample opportunity to hone their skills and talents. The bank facilitates flexible careers. A generalist can any time adorn the role of a specialist, if he / she has got that specific skill set. Once the transformation happens, the bank takes care of that respective individual’s growth and development within the precincts of the chosen area of specialisation.
Organisation Capabilities
Organisations needs to build that strategic effectiveness to sustain growth. A capable organisation should be flexible, should have social responsibility, should be employee oriented, should consistently invest in research and development and should have an effective communication system and a shared vision.
To gear the work force towards a promising future an organisation should satisfy all the above parameters. Canara Bank follows a unique participative culture, where in the organisation learns through its employees and vice versa. The concept of learning organisation is practiced in toto in the bank. The employees are given every opportunity to learn and develop and gravitate towards personal excellence. In return there are opportunities galore for the workforce to give it back to the organisation in every stage of their career.
The bank has got an immaculate training system comprising of one Apex college assisted by 20 Regional Staff Training Colleges. Almost the entire training requirement of the bank is catered to by these training colleges and specific training plans are set in vogue each year to keep abreast with the latest developments in the banking scenario. The HR fraternity of the Bank is in constant collaboration with the industry so that the best in class HR is introduced and implemented.
The Bank has got a Sub Committee of the Board of Directors on HR, which fuels HR value proposition of the Bank. The HR team selects relevant issues pertaining to the Bank / Industry and presents it to sub-committee after making an in depth study. The study includes peer bank exploration, market scenario and analytics. Every month a paper is presented to cogitate on and strategic decisions are taken based on it. Our corporate communication is two way and it greatly helps in the effective dissemination of corporate goals & aspirations.
The shared vision concept is concretised by frequent diffusion of communiqués and messages from the CMDs office to all the each and every employees in the organisation. This helps in having a collective vision and striving towards a collective goal.
Our Research and Development team are the best in the industry, in terms of human capital management, and our inbuilt training programmes have received high acclamation from our competitors and other industry stake holders. 
Leaders have the dual responsibility of sourcing talent and creating organisation capabilities. The ability to create leaders and establish leadership throughout the organisation is a critical competence and role for HR professionals.
There has been a sea change in the concept of leadership. The erstwhile command and control approach has given way to the coach, collaborate and communicate approach. In the current global scenario leaders cannot govern by observing or telling others what to do, they have to get things done through a shared commitment to common goals. Management by mindset needs to be replaced by management by objectives. When leaders can create a shared mindset, or a commitment to a common goal, they get others to do the right things for the right reasons.
Keeping in view the high expectations and flexibility held by the next generation, leaders who impose will lose talent, but those who will engage will gain it. More than just isolated leaders what we require now is leadership. Effective leaders work to optimise their teams and individuals within their teams, leadership seeks to integrate the entire hierarchy of leaders to optimise organisation wide performance. Where importance is given to leadership in an organisation, it will always ensure sustainability over time.
Therefore building Organization’s Talent Pipe line is imperative to sustain long term success and hence there is a need to:

Link our business and performance needs to specific developmental tools and strategies Diagnose individual and team strengths and developmental needs.

Create customized development plans supported by coaching 

Retain and accelerate the development of our top talent

Build internal capacity to sustain Talent Development programs and

Build bench strength and grow the next generation of leaders
The prime objective of the HRD policy of the Bank is

To develop a competent workforce through an effective developmental plan which includes proper selection, effective coaching and training, effective dissemination of knowledge and corporate objectives within the frame work of a well designed service regulations

To evolve a proper career plan and provide opportunities for the employees to scale the organizational hierarchies through a well designed promotion system; and

To revisit & refine HR policies on a regular basis, in tandem with the best in industry, to make the employees feel wanted and motivate them to contribute towards organizational as well as individual excellence.

The following are some of the initiatives which the Bank religiously undertakes to ensure effective leadership development.
Executive Grooming
Executive grooming? is done by the bank to all the officials, immediately on their elevation to higher scales. The promotee executives are sent to institutes like IIMs/ NIBM etc for Executive Development Programme / Management Development Programme, wherein their skills and competencies are fine tuned and care is taken to get them acclimatized with their new roles and functions so as to equip them to shoulder higher responsibilities.

The Promotion Policy has been revisited paving the way for Fast Track and Merit Oriented Promotions. 

Performance Management
The performance management system was reconceptualised to usher in more objectivity in the process. The new APAS ensure identification of real performers and tangible performances.  

A new concept “Mentoring” has been introduced by the bank for the benefit of the newly recruited Officers, who have joined the Bank recently, to help them get acclimatized with the bank’s culture, tradition and ethos. 

Canara Bank has conceptualized its Soft Skill Training Venture, christened as “Jagaran”, for imparting training to its frontline staff at branches – both Officer/Workmen staff. With the HR concepts and practices scaling new dimensions, it is imperative to rekindle and reinforce the HR initiatives of individuals so that it will ultimately add to their productivity and efficiency. The training venture “Jagaran” (earlier known as “Spandan”) has so far touched the lives of over 28,000 Officer / Workmen employees and brought about significant attitudinal/behavioural changes in them. The training delves deep into the human psyche and tries to extricate the negativities pertinent to a routinised job.

In Conclusion 
The whole array of future strategic Human Resources Management would revolve around the fact that the people in the organization should feel wanted and be sought after. It is only then that they will inculcate a sense of belongingness and sense of pride which propels them to give out their best towards organizational prosperity.
Canara Bank follows the doctrines of a “Learning Organization” wherein it learns from its employees and vice versa. The employees contribute towards organizational growth and development and the bank in turn grooms and trains its workforce to make them a formidable force to reckon with. The HR policies and practices of the bank are reconceptualised, time and again, to make it more people centric and to propitiate individual excellence.
The transformation should happen from within and the bank hits the right note in this direction by designing and evolving various employee engagement initiatives to make the employees realize their latent potential and talent. Strong teams make robust organization and the Bank harps on this philosophy through its corporate communication to drive in the mantra of “Togetherness”.
It shall be our endeavour to instill the above ethos among our people and create avenues and opportunities to encourage the blossoming of their individuality and also mould them through our repeated and focused HR Interventions to act as future mentors and motivators for the next generation to follow.

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