Wednesday, 23 April 2008

HR Strategies in Dubai - presentations


Lots of interesting sessions around talent management at the conference - particularly outside of the UAE where banking is still an emerging profession.  So for example, Mirza Abrar Baig from National Bank of Pakistan talked about the different strategies NBP are using with their management trainees, including:


  • Management Trainees are offered competitive pay packages plus bonuses, liberal perks and end service benefits.
  • Those selected to the talent pool get an additional 10% increase in the existing Basic Pay

Training & Development

  • Management Trainees are imparted with World Class Training in Banking and Management to groom them as professional bankers.


Career Growth

  • After first 3 years of service promoted to next higher grade.
  • In next 3 years promoted as Assistant Vice President
  • Supported by Dialogue Sessions and Counseling Sessions


NBP slide


Some interesting implementations of the ‘9 box grid’ (performance / potential matrix) too.  So for example, Ramakrishna Movva from Emirates National Bank of Dubai talked about their differentiated approach to managing ‘stars’:



  • Stars:Managers who deliver consistently high performance and demonstrate high potential to take on significant leadership roles in the organization. They clearly demonstrate EBG’s leadership capacities – Strategic Thinking, Business Acumen, Interpersonal Sensitivity, Team Leadership and Self Management.
  • Experts: Managers with high degree of expertise in respective business or support areas (that is not easily replaceable) and who deploy that expertise consistently to deliver strategic value to the organization. They definitely demonstrate a high degree of innovation, initiative and passion.
  • Managers who deliver required performance and their contribution is essential for keeping the wheels moving but are unlikely to make a
    difference to the organization at the strategic level.
  • Underperformers: Managers who need to improve performance significantly who
    otherwise can become a liability to the organization.


In terms of reward, stars receive:

  • An accelerated career path: The “Stars” need job moves once in 2/3 years to grow their careers. The “Experts” careers need to be
    managed based on their aspirations.
  • An upper quartile salary: The “Stars” and “Experts” need to be pegged at the upper quartile (above 75th percentile of the market).
  • Higher performance bonus: The performance bonus for “Stars” and “Experts” need to be significantly higher than the rest – 150% to 200% of the Target Bonus.
  • Higher long-term incentive: The long term incentives for “Stars” and “Experts” must be granted at the “high” to “maximum” levels.


Pro-active retention measures are required for retaining “Stars” and “Experts”

  • Unit Heads to have one-on-one career discussions at least once in six months.
  • HR to have development discussions at least once a year resulting in a development plan.
  • Total reward pegged at a high level making the exit difficult
  • Do what ever is possible to retain talent in the event of resignation.


What impressed me most about ENBD however, in a follow-up meeting with Husam Al Sayed, was the company’s very genuine care and support for its staff.


From National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Tim Knight talked about the difficulties banks have in both recruiting and retaining talent.



The issue isn’t just about reward.  Banks need to ensure they develop the management and HR capabilities to be able to recognise the real issues:

  • Why do we have difficulty in recruiting talented people?  (cumbersome processes, poor recruitment skills, poor image, package, management that resists change)
  • What causes people to leave us? (relationships, hygiene factors, better prospects, package)

In terms of rewards, banks need to think smarter about:

  • Non cash e.g. job sharing, annualised hours, flexible working arrangements, sabbaticals
  • Minimal cash; better allowances e.g. maternity leave & pay, sponsored learning, better use of training
  • Executive coaching
  • Stock plans


It’s not all about cash, but you do need to get the cash right too.


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