Financial Planning / Wealth Management
Bank declares aggressive plans to hire and build talents
by Wendy Shair
International banks are progressively investing in attracting and retaining high-performing staff in order to stay ahead of the game in an increasingly competitive environment.
Standard Chartered Bank is one of many forward-looking financial institutions that are actively recruiting to capitalise on business prospects. "We're particularly growing our employees for further developing our business in mainland China," says Winsome Ha, Regional Head of Distribution, Pearl River Delta, Standard Chartered Bank (China) Limited.
Many of the bank's Hong Kong candidates are interested in cross-border career opportunities, and the bank is on the lookout for those with a passion and positive work attitude. "We need these people to help identify customer needs and expectations," Ms Ha says. "Our people focus is to build a strong, supportive team that is best capable in catering to our customers' needs and in nurturing long-term relationships with them."
According to Ms Ha, this is in alignment with the bank's goal to reinforce brand loyalty among its clients, who trust Standard Chartered's products and services. "We therefore offer continuous training to refresh staff's knowledge of developments in this fast-moving industry, to retain high-calibre professionals and to engage our customers," she remarks.
The current labour market is highly competitive, with major banks looking to beef up their frontline teams, says Ms Ha. "Our well-established and strong brand does help to attract high-calibre professionals. Aside from competitive compensation to reward performance and other benefits, we also offer our people the chance of long-term professional development. We have clear focus and commitment on this."
In fact, there are plenty of opportunities for dedicated employees to move internationally within the bank. "We offer global mobility and also draw talent from other countries, increasing Hong Kong staff's exposure," she adds.
The bank targets candidates that can help sustain long-term business growth. Ms Ha stresses: "We help our employees to realise their potential and to make the best of it. We aspire to become the market leader in our sector and therefore need to grow our team to fuel future growth."
In view of the importance of talent sustainability, the bank recruits high-quality young people for its popular international graduate trainee programme. "We schedule talks and seminars at Hong Kong university campuses to recruit students keen on pursuing banking careers," Ms Ha notes.
The Bank puts heavy emphasis investing on people and talent development. Successful entrants, regardless of positions, ranks and previous work experience, are offered formal and informal coaching to enhance their performance and growth. She says, "Consistent and structured training for team members on all levels is important to ensure that they're kept informed and to drive better work performance. This, in turn, enables them to keep their clients abreast of the latest banking trends."
With updated knowledge at their disposal, Standard Chartered employees are well prepared for meetings with important customers needs. Staff members are also encouraged to use the bank's e-learning platforms for self-improvement. "They need to show that they're genuinely interested in the job. People that enjoy their work come to the office every day with a big smile."
Since personal and professional development is now seen as a major incentive and a key element that drives loyalty, Standard Chartered encourages staff to grow, either by advancing to more senior roles or by seeking horizontal moves broadening their exposure. Employee development is monitored on an ongoing basis, Ms Ha says, because growth is vital to balancing the expectations of the bank on the one hand and the workers on the other.
Apart from offering attractive remuneration, Standard Chartered also boosts staff morale through extramural activities such as wine tasting programmes and other interest groups. "We believe people that maintain a good work-life balance perform better and are more productive. We also want our employees to be proud of what they do, and line managers play an important role in making their teams feel valued."
She emphasises that it is important for banking professionals to be resilient and have initiative, be good team players and maintain a positive attitude towards learning: "They should welcome challenges and seize every opportunity to expand their knowledge base. The market is constantly changing, so our staff must keep up with changes and client needs."
The biggest challenge ahead will be to provide the products and services demanded by high-net-worth customers, Ms Ha believes. "Consumers are increasingly knowledgeable and our employees must be equipped and capable of providing prompt and suitable solutions."
Taken from Career Times 18 February 2011, A3
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