WEB DESK: This is an age of specialisation and those who are not properly specialised or sufficiently trained cannot contribute much in their areas of operations and are generally left behind in their chosen fields.
Feeling the need of upgrading the skill levels of bankers in order to advance their careers, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) asked all banks on 30th September, 2016 to ensure proper training of their employees to meet new challenges, saying it will assess their compliance after 31st December.
In this connection, SBP has issued “Guidelines for Training and Development of Bank Employees” that provide for the continuous learning atmosphere to the bank employees. Banks have been advised to prepare a comprehensive training and development policy duly approved by their boards of directors for all major functional areas. SBP added in its circular that appropriately trained and knowledgeable employees are the most valuable asset of a bank to gain good governance and a competitive advantage in the market.
Banks were also asked that their training and development budgets should specifically be made part of the overall budget document to be discussed and approved by the Board of Directors on an annual basis. Further, this budget may ideally be linked with overall size and complexity of operations of a bank or with certain percentage of administrative expenses. It was also suggested that Human Resource Committee of the Board should be assigned the responsibility of monitoring the utilisation of training and development budget and implementation of approved training policy. Further, focus of training should mainly be concentrated on employees posted at remote/rural areas branches so that they may get appropriate number of trainings during a year.
We feel that the State Bank’s guidelines for training and development of bank employees to the banks are well-intentioned and could play an important role in improving the efficiency and productivity of staff of the banks. If properly implemented and complied with by the banks, the instructions could of course go a long way in promoting financial intermediation by mobilising higher level of savings from the households and channelizing them into productive investment.
Such an effort would be particularly useful when the government is also following the same track and trying to train the labour force of the country in other fields as well. Prime Minister’s Youth Skills Development Programme and Prime Minister’s Youth Training Programme are particularly relevant in this regard.
These programmes have been launched to tap the human resource energy of the younger generation which is blessed with tremendous energy and talent to learn about the latest technologies and innovations but lack the financial resources to venture into their favourite fields. A more knowledgeable and trained workforce in both the banks and other areas of activity in the economy would be able to co-ordinate better for their self-interest and help promote the productivity of the economy in a cool and calculated manner.
State Bank’s initiative to improve the skill levels of bank employees is also welcome because at present, commercial banks are themselves not doing much in this particular area. Some of the major banks have their own training programmes but they are mostly outdated and lack the level of professionalism necessary for the purpose. State Bank itself, with the close cooperation of commercial banks, had set-up Institute of Bankers in Pakistan (IBP) which had initially played a crucial role in imparting the necessary training to the bankers but, of late, is not proving up to the task due to a variety of reasons.
There is, therefore, a dire need to establish training institutions by various banks which could impart the latest knowledge and expertise to the younger bankers who will be required to compete with foreign bankers in the years to come. One way for the banks to promote the skill levels of highly talented and hardworking bankers could be to send them to foreign banks abroad for a certain period for the purpose.
This may be somewhat costly but would be worth the money if the banks could retain these employees through an agreement for a specified period of time. Comprehensive internship programmes could also be promoted by the banks to attract talented students from reputed educational institutions.
Hopefully, State Bank’s guidelines on the subject would induce the banks to make greater efforts for training and development of their employees considered essential in the modern day and age.
Source: Business Recorder