Our management strategies promote productivity, engagement, and collaboration

Since its inception in 1984, Nabil Bank has been a leading institution in the Nepali banking sector. Nabil is regarded for its people management practices that have set new standards in the domestic banking industry over the years. According to the bank’s Human Resources Head Diwas Karki, efficient people management has been the key to the success of Nabil. In a conversation with the HRM, he talked about the focus of the bank on managing people, strategies, current challenges, and collaboration with educational institutions for human resources development, among other topics. Excerpts:

For the last 38 years, Nabil Bank is going strong as the number one bank in Nepal in many ways. How has people management played role in the success of the bank?
Nabil Bank has been a leader in various aspects for many years in the Nepali banking sector be it in employee satisfaction or way of doing business. Whenever someone thinks of joining the banking sector, invariably they think of Nabil Bank as their dream employer. Moreover, in a situation where the sector has been volatile, we have a strong and dedicated staff member who seldom thinks of leaving the organization. This very strong and dedicated workforce has led to the continued growth and success of Nabil Bank.

We strongly believe that people are the key drivers and managing people has always been our top priority. We have always focused on building a positive work environment, a professional work culture, and the right type of performance culture with robust succession planning in place.

I can proudly say that we as an institution have always been able to attract and retain top talent in the industry which has helped to attain sustainable growth over the period. As an employer, we not only provide a competitive pay package but most importantly, we offer a wide scope for career advancement and development.

Our effective people management strategy has helped us to improve employee engagement and productivity, leading to better customer service, and higher customer satisfaction leading to better parameters on every front despite the scenario being not so favorable. Accordingly, we have been developing next-generation leaders within the bank to take on any challenge.

What changes have been there in people management at Nabil Bank over these years? What challenges has the bank faced in this respect?
There have been significant changes in the way we manage our people over the years. The changes are owing to factors such as increased competition, changes in the economic scenario, technological advancements, access to information from across the globe, changing employee expectations, and people of different generations at the workplace, among others.

When we started our banking operations 38 years ago, we were the only private commercial bank, whereas now have so many competitors which have led to lots of changes in the way we manage our people. For example, being the only private commercial bank helped to retain employees in the past but as the number of private commercial banks increased, the way we have positioned ourselves as a preferred employer to retain and manage people have come a long way. Also, the fact that a lot of banks are going into mergers and acquisitions leads to more complexities in people management.

Not to forget that with the advancement of technologies and managing our branches under the provincial system, the need to manage people at a local level in a more decentralized manner has become the need of the hour instead of everything being managed centrally. Now the line managers have been empowered more and more to take decisions on matters related to their functional area so that decisions could be taken promptly as well as in a more accurate manner.

Above all, we now are more focused on employee engagement, employee development, career advancement opportunities, and employee well-being, among others, to manage these challenges effectively.

Currently, nearly 2,300 people are working at Nabil Bank throughout the country. How is the bank successfully managing its workforce? 
We have been successfully managing our workforce through effective management strategies that promote productivity, engagement, and collaboration. We as an organization have a very strong organizational culture that helps to create a sense of community and belongingness amongst the employees and promotes engagement and productivity.

We have also been implementing an effective communication strategy in the bank through activities such as regular town hall meetings led by the Chairman, CEO and senior executives, team bonding activities, frequent communication through the intranet portal, circulation/issuance of the internal newsletter which has helped a lot in elevating motivation level of employees. We have also realized that due to these kinds of events, all the staff of the bank share a combined vision and shared aspirations. All staff in Nabil have unity of direction and everyone in the organization owns the goal of the organization leading to team success.

The employees are provided with regular opportunities for development such as training and career development programs which have helped them to develop new skills and knowledge, stay engaged, and feel valued by the organization. We also provide staff with adequate training programs related to their job so that they are able to perform their jobs effectively and efficiently.

What are the key focuses of the bank in people management for employee productivity?
Our key focus lies in the engagement of employees at a larger level. If we are not able to have engaged employees where there is no proper coordination of head, heart, and hand then the productivity of employees will always remain an issue. Hence, having engaged employees, where employees are committed both intellectually and emotionally remains a key focus of the bank in managing employees’ productivity in a sustainable manner. Needless to mention the regular training and development opportunities provided by the bank focus on the current and future needs to enhance the productivity of the employees.

How does Nabil Bank ensure that employees are happy and satisfied?
Nabil offers a fair and competitive working environment that helps attract and retain top talent and ensures that the employees feel valued and recognized for their contributions.

Nabil provides opportunities for professional growth and development so that employees feel motivated to achieve their goals. Nabil promotes open communication between Management and Employees so that every employee feels heard and understood.

Nabil has a strong organizational culture that promotes a culture of respect, collaboration, and support that helps employees feel comfortable and engaged in their work. This helps to create a positive work environment and hence helps keep employees happy and satisfied.

Times are challenging for banks as the macroeconomic headwinds are affecting their business. What approach in people management Nabil has to make the responsibilities of staff less stressful?
The current times are really challenging and very crucial and the way macroeconomic headwinds are affecting our everyday life is more than ever now.

The situation is stressful for the employees due to the uncertain and unpredictable environment given the fact that we are a performance-driven organization, and everyone is expected to fulfill their responsibilities.

Given the scenario, making the situation less stressful becomes a truly herculean task. However, we have inducted several programs so as to make the situation as predictable as possible so that the staff are not faced with an unwarranted situation which gives scope for the staff to plan their activities well in advance as well as speculate the scenario.

The most crucial part has been that the bank has always moved ahead as a singular block which allows staff to rely on and take support from each other thus reducing stress. Bank has equally focused on lots of development activities of the staff through the way of training, regular interaction with senior management, etc. which instills self-confidence and hence the courage to move towards with clear vision.

How is Nabil Bank collaborating with educational institutions to provide jobs and other opportunities to fresh graduates?
So far, the bank has provided opportunities for internships to fresh graduates alongside participating in job fairs organized by various educational institutions as much as possible. Nabil Bank has also been enlisted in the “ACCA Approved Employer” directory, the only bank to be enlisted in Nepal.

We are of the strong opinion that we should expand this collaboration with education institutions much further and help create future job-ready students as much as possible which is also part of our larger responsibility as responsible corporate citizens of the nation.

In this regard, we have already made changes in the HR Policy that governs the bank and have received approval from the regulatory authority. Very soon we will expand our scope from internship to be an active learning partner by introducing various opportunities for fresh graduates in collaboration with various educational institutions. I believe the initiative that Nabil Bank is going take will be the first of its kind in Nepal and lay the foundation stones for other institutions too to follow suit.

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