Banking & Insurance Sector

Human Resource Management in Banking & Insurance Sector

Sep- 2012: India's largest bank, State bank of India facing 15% of attrition among new employees hired as many new recruits get offers from other banks. Due to the retirement of employees and expansion of branches of banks in the banking sector pressing need to hire hundreds of employees.

Royal Bank of Scotland at London had cut approximately 35000 jobs since year 2008 as the bank has been facing recession in its business consequently lead to lay off its staff. Recently for year 2012, Royal Bank of Scotland had cut approximately 618 jobs.

Construction and banking better hiring trends : Report

Mar, 2012,NEW DELHI: Spurred by increased activities in construction and banking sectors, hiring trends improved across the country in February, says a report.

Leading job portal said that hiring trends were better last month compared to January.

The Naukri Job Speak Index -- an indicator of online recruitment activities -- climbed to 1,209 in February from 1,121 in January. Last month's score is also the highest "ever since the index was introduced".

"Construction, Banking and IT sectors witnessed maximum movement in the employment front with the index moving up by 13 per cent, 12 per cent and 7 per cent, respectively in February 2012 when compared to the previous month," said in a statement.

On layoffs, India Inc still leaves employees in the lurch

Feb, 2012. NEW DELHI: Soon after Citigroup let go of 100 employees across India last month, many functional heads received an unusual brief. They were asked to scout for jobs for those who had been terminated.

Counsellors were also roped in to soften the blow and professional services firms were hired to make the career transition of the terminated employees - some of them star performers - smooth.

At this moment, Citi is not the only company trying to find jobs for the people it has let go. A few others, including Bharti Airtel and DLF, are also doing it right now or have done so in the recent past, officials at these companies said.

India Inc, now in the throes of its second round of layoffs since the Lehman Brothers collapse in late 2008, is slowly learning to treat executives well, even as they are being led up to the exit door.

Job cuts are inevitable. But the cold, insensitive and sheepish way of handing out pink slips is slowly being replaced with responsible and supportive approaches.

HR gurus say how a company parts ways with employees will have a significant bearing on the morale of the remaining workforce and also on the company's ability to attract talent in the future. Managing layoffs well is important for the sustainability of the 'employer brand'.

"Citi provides services of global outplacement firms to employees displaced during any review," says Stephen Cronin, managing director, human resources, Citi South Asia. It helps such employees with coaching on job search skills, interview techniques, placement support and even basic application letter-writing skills. The bank foots the bill.

GE is another example. "In the past, we have either absorbed the affected employees in other GE businesses/roles or engaged outplacement agencies to help them get suitable opportunities externally," says David C Lobo, senior VP-HR at GE India.

Bharti Airtel, which has made hundreds of jobs redundant in recent months after a restructuring exercise, now works with an 'ecosystem of partners to identify suitable placement opportunities' for employees it lets go. "We do our best to facilitate the career transition," says an Airtel spokesperson.

How India Inc is attempting to revive the lost art of meaningful performance appraisals

Coming soon: Up to 2 years' sabbatical for women bank staff

Sabbatical :any extended period of leavefrom one's customary work, especially forrest, to acquire new skills or training, etc.

New Delhi, March 2012 : Come April, and women employees of public sector banks (PSBs) may be able to get sabbatical of up to two years during their career.

The Finance Ministry has asked PSBs to place this proposal before their respective boards for decision and its introduction with effect from April 1,2012, official sources said.

This follows the Government agreeing to the Khandelwal Committee's recommendation to introduce sabbatical for women employees of PSBs. The sabbatical benefit will be available only to employees who have put in a minimum of five years of service. The leave will have to be taken for a period of at least three months at a time and it should not be taken more than once in a year.

But, the Government's decision has somewhat irked trade unions, as they contend that such a move would be unilateral and in violation of the service conditions provided in the bilateral settlement between the Indian Banks' Association (IBA) and the unions.


“We are not against sabbatical for female employees. But we are against unilateral changes in service conditions,” C.H. Venkatachalam, General Secretary of All-India Bank Employees' Association, said. The AIBEA has written to the Department of Financial Services in the Finance Ministry seeking a rethink on the issue and the need to abide by the provisions of law.

He pointed out that leave rules are part of service conditions of bank employees and governed under the bipartite settlement signed between IBA and the unions. Either side cannot change, amend or alter the service conditions, except through mutual discussions or through the due process of law.

As and when the proposal (sabbatical for women employees) is brought before the boards, the workman directors will mark their protest for such a unilateral change in service conditions, Venkatachalam said.

The Khandelwal Committee was set up in October 2009 to study human resource issues in public sector banks. The Committee had made 105 recommendations, of which the Centre has given its green signal for 56.

Exit of 3 lakh agents puts insurance sector at risk

India, in the first three quarters of the financial year 2011-12, more than 3 lakh active insurance agents have quit the profession. Insurance companies such as Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), ICICI Prudential and HDFC Life have seen mass exodus owing to lesser incentive to agents when compare with other similar sophisticated industries.

Individual agents are the traditional channel for selling life insurance products and contribute over 50% of new sales. The percentage of new business premium collection from this channel has dropped from 55 % to 44% as the number of agents has come down to 23.78 lakh in December 2011 from 27.10 lakh last year.

Agents are abandoning the profession after the regulator reduced commissions and introduced a host of stringent norms making insurance products, especially unit-linked insurance plans, or Ulips, less lucrative. Insurance products, including pension plans, have vanished from the market after the new norms were implemented.

"The global average life of agents is 4-5 years. A lot of agents return to their previous jobs, join a broker, start selling mutual funds after leaving the insurance sector," said Anil Jha, an agent with LIC.

Insurance companies are also asking agents to leave if they fail to meet targets. Targets for agents are set on the basis of the number of policies sold and premium earned.

In 2010-11, over 10 lakh agents vacated the space as the business turned less alluring due to the cap on charges on unit-linked insurance plans, which were selling like hot cake. Now, agents earn 5% to 7% commission on Ulips as against 12% to 18% before the changes were introduced.

The total premium collected by the industry has decreased by 3% to Rs 1,80,240 crore from Rs 1,86,396 crore. New business income fell 17% to Rs 71,953 crore from Rs 86,698 crore mainly due to absence of pension products. As per provisional data, the total new premium collected under the individual pension category was RS 1,008 crore in the December 2011 quarter as against Rs 18,417 crore in the same period of the previous fiscal year.

Feb, 2012.:an interesting exercise get started at HDFC Life's offices. Sneak around a bit and you could find an Associate Vice-President having a 'frank chat' with another about how his performance this past year left a lot to be desired and how he needed to get his act together.All this in full view of a few dozen senior managers. No, the insurance major doesn't have a sadistic streak. This is a pre-appraisal training session, one of many that Rajendra Ghag, executive vice-president - HR, HDFC Life will be conducting in the weeks to come. The idea is to train managers in the finer points of conducting an appraisal: from initiating the discussion to giving negative feedback.

This initiative is one of several that have been rolled out at the company over the last three years. Employee workshops showed that most people, irrespective of seniority, saw the existing appraisal process as a mere formality.

"Most people aren't comfortable giving bad news and this workshop serves as both, a training session as well as a confidence-building exercise," says Ghag. "We realised that appraisals were often being done half-heartedly and ratings were assigned without any real discussion."

Now, to make sure that doesn't happen, the manager has to sign an undertaking online saying that he has had a proper discussion with his subordinate about his performance in order to be able to send the appraisal form to his boss.