BFSI VISION | Human Resources


Alex Augustine

Senior Vice President and Head, Human Resource,
CMS Info Systems Limited

Gearing up for the right Human Resource

What are the HR challenges you face in meeting the business challenges?
Over the last three years, there has been a remarkable increase in the size, spread and activities of financial institutions in India. The service offerings have seen dramatic transformation with banks stretching themselves to provide basic, no-frills banking services on the one hand, while getting increasingly creative in how they layer their premium services. Innovation cycles are getting shorter and changing the payments and transaction landscape on a daily basis. At the same time, banks have the imperative to expand their presence and reach to every nook and corner of the country with either a branch or an ATM, to service an ever growing customer base.

How geared up is the HR organization to meet the above challenges?
The major challenges faced by banks and the related industries today is to protect the falling margins due to rising costs, the need to keep pace with changes in business models brought about by technology and the ever increasing expectation of the customer. One of the ways in which financial institutions started addressing these challenges is by way of large scale outsourcing of non-core activities like the ATM deployments, ATM management, Teller services, etc. at which point companies like CMS Info Systems steps in with its wide reach, trained field manpower and proximity to state of the art technology and infrastructure..

What are the focus areas for HR in the next one year?
There is an imperative for going beyond mere technology up-gradation, to systematically integrating it with the general functioning of banks. All this is possible with the help of efficient human resource management. However, the challenges faced in the HR front are numerous and need to be handled diligently. Providing top class services across the length and breadth of the country with very aggressive service level agreements (SLAs) calls for a series of HR interventions right from talent sourcing, on-boarding, training and maintaining a high level of engagement at all levels.

What would you say are the biggest challenges to the business and what are the key focuses for HR?
At CMS Info Systems, all our actions are guided by the core values of Pride, Passion and Performance (P^3). We ensure our programs are geared towards these values and are experienced by more than 23000 employees in the field, and they in turn live it up in word and spirit. The interventions with blue collared employees can vary depending on the context and situation as long as the core guidelines for execution is always based on Trust, Transparency and Tact. Open communication channels like small group meetings, town halls wherein company performance and challenges are discussed openly, serves as an effective platform to build trust. Driving the required change across the organization for better alignment with business dynamics requires transparency and tact. Systemic interventions through policy amendments and SOP revisions backed by robust training are always preferred to ad-hoc changes.

How do you attract and retain talent?
In the coming years, the HR function would be a major differentiating factor. Experts think that it can be a conscious asset or a liability depending on how it functions for the organization. What is certain is that the transformation of the banking sector will largely depend on how much it keeps people core to the whole process. Changing the mind-set towards customer service, improving skill sets to handle technical up gradation, and converting the human resources into a highly productive and engaged workforce will be predominant concerns for HR leaders. It is the duty of HR leaders to be aware of the changing business scenario, keep modifying the procedures and policies and making employees ready for change. However, it is a fact that the changes will have to be top driven. With a focused approach towards people development, it is possible to overcome the challenges.