The bank’s senior management conducts virtual visits and engages with the employees in the branches and offices at regular intervals through “i-Studio Live”
The year 2002 was an important year for the Indian Banking industry as well as for ICICI Bank. This was the year when India got one of its first “universal banks” on account of ICICI Bank’s reverse merger with its parent organisation, ICICI Ltd. Over the last decade and a half, three large organisations were amalgamated with ICICI Bank. Each of these three amalgamations viz., Bank of Madura, Sangli Bank and Bank of Rajasthan were critical, espe-cially with respect to integrating the employees of the various entities. These entailed the challenges of managing various stakeholders like industry level employee unions which had reservations against merging with private sector banks and an employee base which was anxious about the impact of the merger. The following 3Cs helped the Bank achieve these integrations:
This was the mainstay of the Bank’s integration process. Chanda Kochhar, MD & CEO of the Bank was at the forefront of the communication initiatives. A personal message from her was recorded and shared with employees from the merging entities. Field teams, comprising senior business and HR colleagues were constituted to visit all the branches and engage with employees of the merg-ing entities. The objective of all these engagements was to build rapport with them and address their concerns, thereby helping them to easily integrate with the Bank.
Given that the Bank has a culture where employees can freely raise issues and discuss their concerns with their superiors or Employee Relations (ER) managers, the same cultural ethos was encouraged in the employees of the merging entities. As a practice every year, the Banks’ senior managers and the ER team visit all the branches and offices to meet all the 70,000 employees of the Bank. During these visits, the concerns and issues of employees are discussed and taken up for resolution. Not only this, the Bank ensures that even the junior most employee in the Bank has a direct connect with the senior management. The Bank regularly conducts “Engage your leader” ses-sions where senior leaders engage with employees on a predetermined theme / agenda and the same is telecasted live to all employees. The Bank has recently developed, a web-browser based, video conferencing application called “i-Studio Live” through which the senior management conducts virtual visits and engages with the employees at regular intervals.
The Bank’s management believes that it can win the trust of its employees by honouring its commit-ments made to them. Wherever possible, the Bank encouraged the employees from the earlier merged entities to share their experiences. Office bearers of employee unions from the previously merged entities were encouraged to meet employees of the newly merged entities and share their experiences. This built an enormous amount of trust between the employee and the management, so much so that they subsequently started inviting the senior management from the Bank to anchor their gen-eral body meetings and discuss employee issues. Usually, employees from the merging entities have concerns about unfair treatment being meted out to them by the organization into which they are going to merge. However in the Bank’s case, the management was clear that the employees from the merged entities will be treated with respect and dignity right from day one. All employees, including the subordinate staff were re-trained by the Bank to equip them with skills and knowledge to take up higher level responsibilities.
Concern for Employees
While the integration exercise was underway, the Bank went out of the way to ensure that interest of the employees of merging entities was protected. The Bank supported these employees by offering them a period of two years to get adjusted to the Bank’s performance management processes and people management practices. Employees with lim-ited exposure to working in a computerized envi-ronment were provided extensive training. Since all the employees from the merging entity were treated with respect and dignity, the Bank was able to earn their trust and affection. In addition, the Bank made its employee grievance redressal sys-tem easily accessible to all employees through the use of technology. The Bank has created an on-line employee grievance redressal portal called I-Care. This portal ensures that all employee queries are handled in an organized and time bound manner and the quality of resolution is tracked.
As told by TK Srirang, Head, Human Resources, ICICI Bank