Bank queue“When was the last time you walked into a retail bank and felt a real buzz of enthusiasm coming from the workers and managers?” A great question, really, since retail and investment banks are well known to be the highest payers of graduates, and are supposedly able to attract the cream of the talent available each year.
In the UK, The Royal Bank of Scotland gets more than 10,000 applications from graduates each year for about 500 positions. Barclays gets about 5,500 jobseekers for less than 100 jobs. The same is true of other banks – and is true the world over. And banks spend a lot of money on their talent, often with dedicated HRD and talent teams.
Of course, most of the emphasis goes onto the “back room” staff – analysts, accountants, actuaries, and the like. But not much emphasis on quality front end. In fact, some banks in South Africa even outsource their tellers to a labour broker. Many banks have relocated their call centers to India (and, increasingly, Cape Town and Ireland). This is all well and good if it improves service and creates stronger connections between bank and customers. In most cases, it doesn’t.

Its all very well having a great talent management programme, but if customers don’t reap any rewards, they’re not going to be impressed.
To read more about this topic of talent in banks, see a great report in Personnel Today: Banking on high-fliers.

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