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Human Resource Management (HRM) is a relatively new approach to managing

people in any organization. People are considered the key resource in this
approach. it is concerned with the people dimension in management of an
organization. Since an organization is a body of people, their acquisition,
development of skills, motivation for higher levels of attainments, as well as
ensuring maintenance of their level of commitment are all significant activities.
These activities fall in the domain of HRM.
Human Resource Management is a process, which consists of four main activities,
namely, acquisition, development, motivation, as well as maintenance of human
Human Resource Management as that branch of management which is responsible
on a staff basis for concentrating on those aspects of operations which are
primarily concerned with the relationship of management to employees and
employees to employees and with the development of the individual and the group.
Human Resource Management is responsible for maintaining good human
relations in the organization. It is also concerned with development of individuals
and achieving integration of goals of the organization and those of the individuals.

Human resource management as an extension of general management, that of

prompting and stimulating every employee to make his fullest contribution to the

purpose of a business. Human resource management is not something that could be

separated from the basic managerial function. It is a major component of the
broader managerial function.
Human resource management as the recruitment, selection, development,
utilisation, compensation and motivation of human resources by the organisation.


History of HRM is as old and complex as the history of work and organization. HR
is the most important asset possessed by any organization. The strategists talk
about sustainable competitive advantage. It is the HR which helps to hold the
Human Resource management is a process and philosophy of acquisition,
development, utilization, and maintenance of competent human force to achieve
goals of an organization in an efficient and effective manner.
Concept of HRM contains two versions the hard version and the soft version.
The hard version or variant emphasizes the need to manage people in ways that
will obtain added value from them and thus achieve competitive advantage.
On the other hand, soft version is concerned with treating employees as valued
assets, a source of competitive advantage through their commitment, adaptability
and high quality. Todays HRM is a combination of both the versions. HRM is
management of human energy and capabilities.
1. It is an art and a science:
The art and science of HRM is indeed very complex. HRM is both the art of
managing people by recourse to creative and innovative approaches; it is a science
as well because of the precision and rigorous application of theory that is required.

2. It is pervasive:
Development of HRM covers all levels and all categories of people, and
management and operational staff. No discrimination is made between any levels
or categories. All those who are managers have to perform HRM. It is pervasive
also because it is required in every department of the organisation. All kinds of
organisations, profit or non-profit making, have to follow HRM.
3. It is a continuous process:
First, it is a process as there are number of functions to be performed in a series,
beginning with human resource planning to recruitment to selection, to training to
performance appraisal.
To be specific, the HRM process includes acquisition (HR planning, recruitment,
selection, placement, socialisation), development (training and development, and
career development), utilisation (job design, motivation, performance appraisal and
reward management), and maintenance (labour relations, employee discipline,
grievance handling, welfare, and termination). Second, it is continuous, because
HRM is a never-ending process.
4. HRM is a service function:
HRM is not a profit centre. It serves all other functional departments. But the basic
responsibility always lies with the line managers. HRM is a staff function a
facilitator. The HR Manager has line authority only within his own department, but
has staff authority as far as other departments are concerned.

5. HRM must be regulation-friendly:

The HRM function has to be discharged in a manner that legal dictates are not
violated. Equal opportunity and equal pay for all, inclusion of communities in
employment, inclusion of tribals (like Posco or Vedanta projects) and farmers in
the benefits and non-violation of human rights must be taken care of by the HRM.
6. Interdisciplinary and fast changing:
It is encompassing welfare, manpower, personnel management, and keeps close
association with employee and industrial relations. It is multi- disciplinary activity
utilising knowledge and inputs from psychology, sociology, economics, etc. It is
changing itself in accordance with the changing environment. It has travelled from
exploitation of workers to treating them as equal partners in the task.
7. Focus on results:
HRM is performance oriented. It has its focus on results, rather than on rules. It
encourages people to give their 100%. It tries to secure the best from people by
winning the whole hearted cooperation. It is a process of bringing people and
organization together so that the goals of each are met. It is commitment oriented.
8. People-centred:
HRM is about people at work both as individuals and a group. It tries to help
employees to develop their potential fully. It comprises people-related functions





environment, etc.




HRM has the responsibility of building human capital. People are vital for
achieving organizational goals. Organizational performance depends on the quality
of people and employees.
9. Human relations philosophy:
HRM is a philosophy and the basic assumption is that employees are human beings
and not a factor of production like land, labour or capital. HRM recognises
individuality and individual differences. Every manager to be successful must
possess social skills to manage people with differing needs.
10. An integrated concept:
HRM in its scope includes Personnel aspect, Welfare aspect and Industrial relations
aspect in itself. It is also integrated as it concern with not only acquisition, but also
development, utilisation, and maintenance.


Human Resource Management functions can be classified in following two
Managerial Functions, and
Operative Functions.
The Managerial Functions of Human Resource Management are as follows:
1. Human Resource Planning - In this function of HRM, the number and type of
employees needed to accomplish organizational goals is determined. Research is
an important part of this function, information is collected and analyzed to identify
current and future human resource needs and to forecast changing values, attitude,
and behavior of employees and their impact on organization.
2. Organizing - In an organization tasks are allocated among its members,
relationships are identified, and activities are integrated towards a common
objective. Relationships are established among the employees so that they can
collectively contribute to the attainment of organization goal.
3. Directing - Activating employees at different level and making them contribute
maximum to the organization is possible through proper direction and motivation.
Taping the maximum potentialities of the employees is possible through
motivation and command.
4. Controlling - After planning, organizing, and directing, the actual performance
of employees is checked, verified, and compared with the plans. If the actual
performance is found deviated from the plan, control measures are required to be

The Operative Functions of Human Resource Management are as follows:

1. Recruitment and Selection - Recruitment of candidates is the function
preceding the selection, which brings the pool of prospective candidates for the
organization so that the management can select the right candidate from this pool.
2. Job Analysis and Design - Job analysis is the process of describing the nature
of a job and specifying the human requirements like qualification, skills, and work
experience to perform that job. Job design aims at outlining and organizing tasks,
duties, and responsibilities into a single unit of work for the achievement of
certain objectives.
3. Performance Appraisal - Human resource professionals are required to
perform this function to ensure that the performance of employee is at acceptable
4. Training and Development - This function of human resource management
helps the employees to acquire skills and knowledge to perform their jobs
effectively. Training an development programs are organised for both new and
existing employees. Employees are prepared for higher level responsibilities
through training and development.
5. Wage and Salary Administration - Human resource management determines
what is to be paid for different type of jobs. Human resource management decides

employees compensation which includes -

wage administration, salary

administration, incentives, bonuses, fringe benefits, and etc,.

6. Employee Welfare - This function refers to various services, benefits, and
facilities that are provided to employees for their well being.
7. Maintenance - Human resource is considered as asset for the organization.
Employee turnover is not considered good for the organization. Human resource
management always try to keep their best performing employees with the
8. Labour Relations - This function refers to the interaction of human resource
management with employees who are represented by a trade union. Employees
comes together and forms an union to obtain more voice in decisions affecting
wage, benefits, working condition, etc,.
9. Personnel Research - Personnel researches are done by human resource
management to gather employees' opinions on wages and salaries, promotions,
working conditions, welfare activities, leadership, etc,. Such researches helps in
understanding employees satisfaction, employees turnover, employee termination,
10. Personnel Record - This function involves recording, maintaining, and
retrieving employee related information like - application forms, employment
history, working hours, earnings, employee absents and presents, employee
turnover and other other data related to employees.


The main purpose of human resource management is to accomplish the
organizational goals. Therefore, the resources are mobilized to achieve such goals.
Some importance and objectives of human resource management are as follows:
1. Effective Utilization Of Resources
Human resource management ensures the effective utilization of resources. HRM
teaches how to utilize human and non-human resources so that the goals can be
achieved. Organization aiming to utilize their resources efficiently invites the HR
department to formulate required objectives and policies.
2. Organizational Structure
Organizational structure defines the working relationship between employees and
management. It defines and assigns the task for each employee working in the
organization. The task is to be performed within the given constraints. It also
defines positions, rights and duties, accountability and responsibility, and other
working relationships. The human resource management system provides required
information to timely and accurately. Hence, human resource management helps to
maintain organizational structure.
3. Development Of Human Resources
Human resource management provides favorable environment for employees so
that people working in organization can work creatively. This ultimately helps
them to develop their creative knowledge, ability and skill. To develop personality








development campaigns which provides an opportunity for employees to enhance

their caliber to work.

4. Respect For Human Beings

Another importance of human resource management is to provide a respectful
environment for each employee. Human resource management provides with
required means and facilitates employee along with an appropriate respect because
the dominating tendency develops that will result organizational crisis. Hence, all
of them should get proper respect at work. Human resource management focuses
on developing good working relationships among workers and managers in
organization. So, good human resource management system helps for respecting
the employees.
5. Goal Harmony
Human resource management bridges the gap between individual goal and
organizational goal-thereby resulting into a good harmony. If goal difference
occurs, the employees will not be willing to perform well. Hence, a proper match
between individual goal and organizational goal should be there in order to utilize
organizational resources effectively and efficiently.
6. Employee Satisfaction
Human resource management provides a series of facilities and opportunities to
employees for their career development. This leads to job satisfaction and
commitment. When the employees are provided with every kind of facilities and
opportunities, they will be satisfied with their work performance.

7. Employee Discipline And Moral


Human resource management tries to promote employee discipline and moral

through performance based incentives. It creates a healthy and friendly working
environment through appropriate work design and assignment of jobs.
8. Organizational Productivity
Human resource management focuses on achieving higher production and most
effective utilization of available resources. This leads to an enhancement in
organizational goals and objectives.


Human resource management is a process which involves around four basic
functions- acquisition, development, motivation and maintenance of human
resources. These basic elements are the key steps for achieving organizational
goals. The basic influencing factor of these components is organizational goal
because such activities are to be performed within the given constraints in order to


accomplish the task. These four elements or factors of HRM can be described as
1. Acquisition
Acquisition function is concerned with recruitment and selection of manpower
requirement for an organization. It ensures that the company has the right number
of people at the right place and at the right time who are capable to complete
required work. It is the starting point of human resource management function.
Acquisition is primarily concerned with planning, recruitment, selection and
socialization of employees. It selects and socializes the competent employees who
have adopted the organization's culture.
2. Development
Development phase begins after the socialization of newly appointed employees in
an organization. It is concerned with imparting knowledge and skill to perform the
task properly. Moreover, it is an attempt to improve employee performance by
imparting knowledge, changing attitudes and improving skills. It can be done
through teaching, coaching, class-room courses, assignments, professional
programs and so on. The ultimate goal of employee development is of course to
enhance the future performance of the organization by the efficient employees. The
development of employees is not only for newly appointed employees, it is also for
existing employees to develop them according to change in internal and external
3. Motivation
Only training and development do not inspire employees to do better work. For
this, they should be motivated. Here motivation means an activity which induces
and inspires people to perform well in actual work floor. Motivation includes job
specification, performance evaluation, reward and punishment, work performance,
compensation management, discipline and so on. It is important for better work
performance because high performance depends on both ability and motivation.
Maintenance is the last components of human resource management. it is
concerned with the process of retaining the employees in the organization. This
contributes towards keeping the employees who can do extremely better for the
organization. It creates such a homely and friendly environment for those high

performers, and make them to remain in the same organization for a longer period
of time. This requires that the organization should provide additional facilities, safe
working conditions, friendly work environment, and satisfactory labor relations. If
these activities are performed in right manner, we can expect to have capable and
competent employees in the organization. These employees are committed to the
organizational objectives and are satisfied with their jobs.


Training is an essential element of HRM. This develops skills and capacity to
work at higher levels and positions. Training is possible by different methods. It is
useful for self-development and career development.
2.Performance Appraisal:
Performance appraisal is an important area of HRM. The purpose of performance
appraisal is to study critically the performance of an employee and to guide him to
improve his performance. An employee is told about his strengths and weaknesses
and assistance is given to remove weaknesses and make the plus points more
strong. This technique is useful for building a team of capable employees and is
also used for their self-development.

3. Potential Appraisal:
It relates to the study of capabilities of employees. It is useful for proper
placement and career development of employees. Potential appraisal of employees
is useful for developing their special qualities, which can be used fruitfully along


with the expansion and diversification of activities of the company. Potential

appraisal is possible by the superior with the help of different methods.
4. Career planning and development:
Under HRM employees should be given guidance for their self-development and
career development. The opportunities likely to develop in the organization should
be brought to their notice. They should be motivated for self-development, which
is useful to the organization in the long run. Superiors are supposed to provide
information and guidance to their juniors in this regard. Career development is an
integral part of HRM.
5. Employees welfare:
Employees welfare is within the scope of HRM. Welfare facilities are useful for
creating efficient and satisfied labour force. Such facilities raise the morale of
employees. Employees welfare include the provision of medical and recreation
facilities, subsidized canteen, free transport and medical insurance. Such facilities
support training and other measures introduced for HRM.
7. Rewards and incentives:
HRM includes provision of rewards and incentives to employees to encourage
them to learn, to grow and to develop new qualities, skills and experiences which
will be useful in the near future. Reward is an appreciation of good work. It may be
in the form of promotion, higher salary or higher status. Rewards and incentives
motivate employees and raise their morale.
7. Organizational development:


HRM aims at providing conflict-free operations throughout the organization. It

also keeps plans ready to deal with problems like absenteeism, turnover, low
productivity or industrial dispute
8. Quality of work life:
Quality of work life depends on sound relations between employers and
employees. A forward looking policy on employee benefits like job security,
attractive pay, participative management and monetary and non-monetary rewards
will go a long way in improving the quality of work life helps employees to strike
an identity with the organization.
9. Human resource information system:
Such system acts as an information bank and facilities human resource planning
and development in a proper manner. It facilitates quick decision making in regard
to HRM. Every organization has to introduce such system for ready reference to
HRM matters. Updating of such information is also essential.


What is a Bank?


The word bank is derived from the Italian banca, which is derived from German
language and means bench. The terms bankrupt and "broke" are similarly derived
from banca rotta, which refers to an out of business bank, having its bench
physically broken. Money lenders in Northern Italy originally did business in open
areas, or big open rooms, with each lender working from his own bench or table.
The essential function of a bank is to provide services related to the storing of
deposits and the extending of credit. The evolution of banking dates back to the
earliest writing, and continues in the present where a bank is a financial institution
that provides banking and other financial services. Currently the term bank is
generally understood as an institution that holds a banking license. Banking
licenses are granted by financial supervision authorities and provide rights to
conduct the most fundamental banking services such as accepting deposits and
making loans. There are also financial institutions that provide certain banking
services without meeting the legal definition of a bank, a so called non-bank.
Banks are a subset of the financial services industry.
Human resource management (HRM) has long been overlooked in the corporate
sector in the country where a small section, comprising mostly the multi-national
companies was practising the same.
With the growing realization of proper HRM in the corporate sector, it has grown
into an important activity. Now the head of HRM is an important member of the
senior teams of any thriving business.
Although the idea is new for many local businesses where entrepreneurs are at the
beginning of the learning curve yet in reality the theme is getting support from the

organized entrepreneurs.
The banking sector has grown from a few institutions primarily involved in deposit
acceptance and trade finance into a complex multi player markets where large
number of commercial banks, financial institutions and specialized banks are
operating with various products and activities.
The banking has become a complex activity within the financial market linked
directly and indirectly with an over-all national growth and its impact as an integral
part of regional segment of a global banking environment.
Almost every bank and financial institution is involved in various functions in a
day's job and thus requires a highly effective team and appropriate manpower to
run the show. Corporate goals are translated into viable realities and profits only
with human element who play their due role in achieving the desired results.
Thus even the high automation would require proper man behind the machine to
make things happen. This idea has been realized by top managements in
progressive banks.
Like many other organized sectors, banking requires a multi layer manpower for its
various requirements of professionals and support staff. The range may require
reasonably educated security guards on the one end and a highly educated and
trained professional as head of corporate finance at the other.
With liberalization of activities within the banking sector, for example, more


emphasis on consumer and house finance and personal loans, etc. banking has
turned itself into a more market-based business where banks have expanded their
reach more to customers' door steps in a big way making banking more practical.
This has further highlighted the need for proper deployment of man-power to run
banks efficiently.
For many years, HRM banks like other institutions have been handling this
sensitive activity through respective personnel departments. This means human
resources were managed like other physical assets e.g. pieces of furniture,
calculators, equipment and appliances.
Personnel departments were primarily engaged in approval of leaves, handling of
staff loans, issuance of show cause, conducting disciplinary enquiries and
termination from service.
Recruitment was a routine function and was done in a mechanical way to hire
people with specific educational background irrespective of their real value to the
Success stories of large banking companies have been evident of the fact that HRM
is quite different from management of physical assets. Human brain has its own
peculiar chemistry.
Its strong sensory and decision-making capacity has to be greatly emphasized by
the employers. The work force constituting all levels of employees are constantly
thinking in many dimensions.


On the one hand it is the assigned duty and task they are to perform and for which
they are paid by their employer, on the other they think of their long run goals and
By no means, their brains can be controlled to think beyond the current situation of
employment. Managing this educated, skillful and trustworthy work force is not an
easy job. A few of the current challenges faced by the banking industry in terms of
human resource management may be the following:


(1). Effective work force:


A time-consuming and hectic job is to hunt the right talent. Its just sitting by the
river and waiting for the right fish to catch. Higher the professional value of the
vacancy, tougher is the search.
Identifying the right stuff followed by negotiation is the element which makes the
job tough for the employer. Banks are keenly interested to fill up two types of
breads of professionals.
Ones who are outstanding professionals with high job hopping attitude - these are
those who come in - work for some time and then leave for better prospects. Others
are those who are keenly picked-up, trained and are some how retained to be
developed as future management within the bank.
Management trainees are a growing popular phenomenon where freshly qualified
business graduates are engaged by banks and a certain percentage of these well
equipped professionals stay back within the organization to grow into the footsteps
of senior managers.
Banking jobs being apparently lucrative for many, attract a large number of
candidates against advertised vacancies in media creating a large data base
management problem. This has been facilitated by specialised hiring agencies who
may take up the job of hiring in case of large number of vacancies.

(2). Right people:


The most difficult agenda of HRM across the banking sector is to retain the right
people. Sudden growth of retail banking and other services has put pressure on HR
mangers in banks to engage more professionals within shorter span of time thereby
attracting manpower in other banks on attractive packages has made the job market
very competing.
A bank in a normal course invests time and money to hire and train the appropriate
work force for its own operations. This ready-made force is often identified and
subsequently picked-up on better terms by others.

(3). Compensation:
How much to pay to the right employee and how much to the outstanding
performer. Banks have traditionally followed pay scales with predetermined
increments, salary slabs, bonuses and time-based fringe benefits like car and house
advance, gratuity, pension, etc.
The situation is not the same anymore. An increment of Rs500-800 per annum is
no more a source of attraction for a professional anymore. A basic pay with
traditional formulas of linkage with medical and other facilities has no soothing
effect today.
A promise of future growth, learning culture and corporate loyalty is out of
dictionary and does not mean anything to this energetic and competent performer
A waiting period of 3-4 years in each cadre haunts the incumbents who strongly

believe in immediate compensation. There are examples to this. Thanks to the car
financing modalities car is no more a fantasy item any more.
A freshly hired professional requires a brand new car or car loan on resuming
office quite contrary to his previous breed of bankers who would wait for the job
seniority to qualify for a car loan.
(4). Job satisfaction:
Everybody in the bank wants to work in the preferential department, preferential
location, city of his own choice and boss of his liking. An administrative deviation
from any of these results in lowered job satisfaction.
Although hiring is normally based on regional requirement matching the area of
activity with that of employee's nativity yet other elements like appointment in the
department of choice and preference makes the job of HR manager quite
What the HR manger cannot afford is the dissatisfied employee who not only
disrupts the smooth working himself but also spreads the negativity to others by his
de-motivated attitude.

(5). Morale boosting:

What has long been overlooked is the morale boosting of the employees by the
organizations. Human beings even if satisfied of material well being need to be
appraised and encouraged constantly.

Smart banks have realized this need and have taken steps to keep their work force
motivated through proper encouragement like man of the month awards, repeat
get-togethers, conferences, sports events, dinners, company sponsored travel,
reunions, etc. This is the way employees create a feeling of belongingness.
HRD in a Banks can be defined as planning, organizing, directing and controlling
of a programme that has a wide range of activities relating to the development of
employees in termsof enabling them to acquire competencies needed to perform
their present and future jobs with ease and enthusiasm. It is a continuous process
to ensure the development of employee
competencies, dynamism, motivation and effectiveness, in systematic and planned
manner (Rao, 1990). It deals with brining about improvements in physical
capacities, relationships, attitudes, values, knowledge and skills of the employee
required for achieving the purposes of the Banks. If employees are effective, their
contribution to the Banks will be effective, consequently
they will also be effective in accomplishing their business objectives.


Banks utilizes the skills and efforts of a number of widely divergent groups of
professionals, semi-professionals and non-professionals. It also differs from
other large scale organizations, in that, here in this organization, there is

i) extensive division of labour

ii) high interdependence of services
iii) efficiency demanded by the public
iv) complementary expectations among people at work
v) little control over workload and over its key members
vi) Nature of work involves certain amount of risk.
i) Manpower is the most important factor of production of the services in banks
like any other services.
ii) Human resource costs are usually 60 to 70% of the total cost of the Banks.
iii) There is shortage of quality and quantity of human resources in our Banks.
iv) High turnover among professionals and paraprofessionals due to offshore
opportunities. Therefore, how to retain the talent has been a challenging task of the
HR professionals.
v) Underutilization and wastage of human resources in banking organizations due
to lack of professional HRD function.
vi) Low motivation resulting from poor working conditions, top management being
out of touch with the people, inadequate growth opportunities and lack of cordial
relationships among the staff.
vii) Reliance on information technology to reduce errors in work
Personnel selection is the methodical process used to hire (or, less commonly,
promote) individuals. Although the term can apply to all aspects of the process
(recruitment, selection, hiring, acculturation, etc.) the most common meaning
focuses on the selection of workers. In this respect, selected prospects are
separated from rejected applicants with the intention of choosing the person who
will be the most successful and make the most valuable contributions to the


organization. Its effect on the group is discerned when the selected accomplish
their desired impact to the group, through achievement or tenure. The procedure of
selection takes after strategy to gather data around a person so as to figure out
whether that individual ought to be utilized. The strategies used must be in
compliance with the various laws in respect to work force selection.

Application Forms
Application forms are a means of collecting written information about an
applicant's education, work and non-work experiences, both past and present.
Almost all organizations request applicants to complete an application form of
some type. Application forms typically request information on an applicant's home
address, last employer, previous work experience, education, military service, and
other information pertinent to employment, such as names and addresses of
references. The application form also serves as a guide for the employment
Employment Interviews
The employment interview is a vehicle for information exchange between
applicant and interviewer regarding an applicant's suitability and interest in a job
the employer seeks to fill. Information provided in an applicant's application for
employment can be probed more deeply in the interview, and other information
relevant to an applicant's qualifications can be elicited. Since interviews can be
rather flexible, any missing pieces of information about an applicant can be
collected at this time.
As a selection method, interviews are problematic. Research shows that interviews
have good test-retest reliability (same interviewer twice) and good internal
consistency reliability, but low inter-rater reliability (between different raters). The
reason for low inter-rater reliability is that interviews are apt to be unstructured and
subjective. A number of problems result from the unstructured nature of
employment interviews. These include: (1) rater error; (2) talkative interviewer
hampers collection of job-related information; (3) variance in questions asked of
applicants during interview; 4) interviewer asks "trick" questions; (5) interviewer

asks inappropriate questions relating to an applicant's race, religion, sex, national

origin, and age.
Tests of Abilities, Aptitudes, and Skills
Tests used for screening applicants on the basis of skills, abilities, and aptitudes
can be classified as either paper and pencil tests or job sample tests. Both kinds are
scored, and minimum scores are established to screen applicants. The "cut-off"
score can be raised or lowered depending on the number of applicants. If selection
ratios are low, the cut-off score can be raised, thereby increasing the odds of hiring
well-qualified employees.
Tests should be selected only after thorough and careful job analysis. For example,
examination of a job description for an auto mechanic would probably show that
manipulation of parts and pieces relative to one another and the ability to perceive
geometric relationships between physical objects were required. These abilities are
a part of a construct called mechanical aptitude. Various parts of mechanical
aptitude can be measured using either paper and pencil or job sample tests.
Personality Test
People often believe that certain jobs require unique personalities or temperaments.
For example, an accountant may be thought of as conservative, meticulous, and
quiet, while a used-car salesman may be pictured as aggressive, flashy, and smooth
talking. While it is probably true that some "types" of people occupy certain jobs,
there is little evidence that people must have a specific personality type to be
successful at a particular type of job. It is more common that the job itself shapes
the job holder's behavior, and people stereotype others by their job behavior.
Nonetheless, there are two general types of personality test which are sometimes
used in selection decisions. These are self-report personality tests and projective
techniques. These personality measures have been used most often in the selection
of candidates for managerial positions. They are also frequently used as part of
assessment centers, which are a popular method of identifying potential managerial
Management Strategy and Employee Relations
The research is focused on the response of the Bank to changes in the financial
sector which has been experiencing deregulation, increasing competition,

technological innovation and an increasingly discriminating public (Morris, 1986).

It examines both changing business and employee relations strategies and the links
between the two. As greater diversity begins to exist amongst the retail banks the
study explores the Banks attempt to find itself a niche or adopt a focus strategy
(Porter, 1985). This paper is primarily concerned with Human Resource issues.
Changes in the nature of banking clearly have a knock-on effect on employee
relations (defined broadly to include industrial relations, communications, training,
remuneration policy, etc.) as banks move towards being more market driven
organisations with a culture consistent with that, and with staff being regarded
more as a resource than a cost (Wilkinson, 1990).
Historically, it has been the case that employee relations have been regarded as a
second order strategy, purely facilitative and not fully integrated into overall
business strategy (e.g. Timperley, 1980; Purcell, 1983; Wilkinson, 1990). Hence,
there was little consideration of employee relations at the top corporate level
implications unless the level of unrest was such that labour was seen as a problem,
as for instance in the car industry (e.g. Willman and Winch, 1985). Although there
has been a gradual rise in the number of personnel professionals at Board level,
these are still a minority. Lack of serious consideration of employee relations has
also been said to owe something to the dominance of financial control at this level
(Batstone, 1984, pp.70-2) and the lack of union influence (partly because
bargaining tended to focus on the plant.) Research in the 1970s discovered an
avoidance strategy whereby industrial relations were regarded as somehow
external to the enterprise (Winkler, 1974). Certainly many would argue that while
senior, management do think about human resource issues, the degree of
unpredictability in this area pushes it fairly well downstream in corporate planning.
However, there are dangers of looking at HR issues in this way. The importance of
ensuring the active co-operation of employees in industry has been emphasized for
example by Walton (1985), who examined the shift away from emphasising control
to one of commitment, and this can be even more significant for the service sector.
Thus, in retail banking, the banks do not yet provide significantly different
products and hence consumer choice is heavily influenced by convenience and
image, the latter partly created by contact with staff, and there is thus a clear
strategic link with quality of service and staff quality. Yet, in banking traditionally
staff have not been recruited or developed for customer contact skills but for
technical and administrative ability. Mth banks wanting to move away from being
regarded merely as providers of a money transmission service to the selling of a
range of financial products and services with tellers becoming sellers, the
organisation will, need to become more organic and less mechanistic, (Burns and

Stalker, 1961) which will require far greater commitment and co-operation rather
than mere compliance from staff.
The recent emphasis on human resource management, e.g. Storey (1992),
Torrington and Tan Chee Huat (1994), suggests that not only is the management of
labour being given more attention, but that the issues discussed are broader and
more strategic as well as tactical (see also Wilkinson & Marchington, 1994). Miller
(borrowing from Porter (1985)) defines strategic human resource management as
those decisions and actions which concern the management of employees at all
levels in the business and which are related to the implementation of strategies
directed towards creating and sustaining competitive advantage (1987, p.352).
Thus, unlike the traditional peripheral function of many personnel managers, the
newer style of human resource managers attempts to:
relate personnel practices to beliefs, to link each and every process of the
recruitment, induction, training, appraisal rewarding of individuals to an overall set
of articulated beliefs of organisation (Hunt, 1984, p.16)
Human resource management is seen as part of the movement away from
concentration on unions and collective bargaining, to an emphasis on staff as
individuals. Behind all this is a belief that it will release greater commitment from
employees although one has to be careful to examine the extent to which human
resource management is genuinely concerned with creating a new equal
partnership between employer and employed, or are they really offering a convert
form of employee manipulation dressed up as mutuality (Fowler, 1987, p.3).
Hence it is significant that human resource management was, particularly in the
USA, initially associated with non-union companies.
Guest (1987) highlights the different between personnel management and human
resource management inherent in the literature so as to form criteria for the
measurement of change (see Table 1). However, one must be wary of evaluating
HRM simply by the range of activity being undertaken. HRM is about both new
processes new outcomes. The existence of the former does not guarantee the latter.
Many initiatives may be no more than flavour of the month changes; others may
be opportunistic rather than strategic, taking advantage of slack labour markets; in
many uses the gap between the rhetoric and the reality may be wide.

Meaning of training

Training constitutes a basic concept in human resource development. It is

concerned with developing a particular skill to a desired standard by instruction
and practice. Training is a highly useful tool that can bring an employee into a
position where they can do their job correctly, effectively, and conscientiously.
Training is the act of increasing the knowledge and skill of an employee for doing
a particular job.
According to Edwin Flippo, training is the act of increasing the skills of an
employee for doing a particular job.
1. On the job training (OJT)

In this method a trainee is placed on the job and then taught the necessary
skills to perform his job. Thus in this method the trainee learns by observing
and handling the job under the guidance and supervision of instructor or a
supervisor. Thus it is also called the learning by doing method. Techniques
like coaching, committee assignments and job rotation fall under this
method. Job instruction training, (JIT) is also a popular form of the job
training. JIT is used for imparting or improving motor skills with routine and
repetitive operations. While on the job training allows a trainee to learn in
the real environment and handled real machines. It is also cost effective as
no extra space equipment personnel or other training facilities are required
for imparting this training. The employees also learn the procedures and rule
and regulations in this training. There are some limitations also in this
method. The noise at the real work places makes it difficult for the new
employee to concentrate and there is danger that the employee under training
might cause damage to equipment or other material.


It is the oldest and most commonly used method of training in technical
areas and crafts and trades where the skills of the job are learnt over a long
period of time. The industrial training institutes (ITI) provide this kind of
training in India. The apprenticeship act 1962 requires the employers in
certain industries to train a particular number of persons in specific trades.
For trades like mechanist, tool makers, carpenters weaver, Jeweller,
Engraver, this type of training is very helpful. Apprenticeship helps in

maintaining a skilled work force and is a combination of both theory and

practical. It also results in high level of loyalty by the employees and
increases their chances for growth but it is time consuming and extensive
method. Many persons leave this training in between because of the long
training duration.
3. Class room training
It is provided in company class rooms or educational institution through
lectures audio visual aids, case studies and group discussion. It is very helpful
and teaching problems solving skills and new concepts. It is also useful in
orientations and safety training programs. For teaching new technologies to
software professionals, class room training is often used.
4. Internship
It involves training the colleges or universities pass outs about the practical
aspects of their study. This method of training provides a chance to the
students to implement the theoretical concepts that they have learnt during
their study. Thus it balances the theoretical and practical aspects of the study.
Professional likes chartered accountants, MBAs, company secretaries and
doctors are given training through this method.

Employee Relations in Banking


The banking sector has been characterized by apparently harmonious industrial

relations and has not suffered from the British diseases of industrial action and
demarcation issues associated with parts of manufacturing industry (e.g. Bat stone,
1984). Banks have promoted unitarism (Fox, 1966) encouraging an ethos of
teamwork, shared interest and loyalty, wanting commitment beyond the cash
nexus. While banks are generally seen as having a passive approach to employee
relations, paternalism did underpin the system and particularly important was the
system of internal promotion supported by an unwritten agreement between the
major UK banks on no poaching. The internal labour market created two categories
of employees: career and non-career which equated to a male/female divide.
Retail banking is a highly labour intensive industry with labour costs forming 70%
of total operating expenditure and involvement in funds transmission meant that
the majority of clerical staff have not been used as a means of marketing the banks
products nor directly for increasing business but to process existing accounts. They
have accordingly been regarded as an overhead rather than a resource (Morris,
1986, p.22). Until the 1980s competition between banks has been limited, banks
operating as an oligopoly and Governments concern with maintaining economic
stability with limits to lending, and control over interest rates facilitated this. The
oligopoly fed through to the management of staff as national wage bargaining
minimised competition for labour. However, deregulation led to the collapse of the
national system and a questioning of old employment practices.



The Co-operative Bank is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Co-operative
Wholesale Society (CWS). The bank has a network of 90 branches and some 4,000
in-store banking points in co-operative stores. It has seen itself as an alternative
force in UK banking and has a reputation for innovation, in banking products.
While the history of the bank shows development away from the CWS (25 years
ago 90% of deposits came from Movement and 10% from other sources: the
reverse is now the case) it remains the banker to the Co-operative movement and
as its Chief Executive stated in the 1986 Annual Report, our co-operative
philosophy dictates that we approach the bank market in a fundamentally different
way. (See Wilkinson, 1991).
The development of the banks policy on the management of people illustrates the
move from the narrower reactive function towards broader, more proactive human
resource management. Certainly, in its early years as a clearing bank, labour was
seen more as a cost than a resource to be developed. For instance, there was no
formal succession planning process, and training tended to be limited to providing
technical skills for clerical staff, much of which was on the job. With its rapid
expansion in the 1970s, a greater emphasis was placed on recruiting staff from
other banks.
Over the 1970s the Personnel Department was largely concerned with the
administration of salaries and negotiations over pay with a significant input from
the CWS. In the later 1970s, with the rapid expansion of staff in the bank and in
the context of changing legislation and incomes policies, there was a move to
greater specialisation and professionalism. As in other banks, the personnel
department had been staffed by generalists, which tended to prevent the
development of a strong autonomous function; furthermore the highly centralised
nature of management, controlling both procedural and substantive matters (to the
extent that each clerical member of staff appointed would be seen by Head Office)
limited discretion at local level.
However, the Co-operative Bank differed from the major banks because of its
historical roots and the influence of the movement was reflected in various
agreements with the union, most notably the New Technology Agreement, The Job
Mobility and Job Security Agreement and the Union Membership Agreement

which exercised more of a constraint on the management of labour than that faced
by other banks.
Changing Strategies
By the mid 1980s, it became increasingly clear to some senior managers in the
Bank that there was a need to re-examine its entire policy towards managing staff.
There was little point in producing corporate plans with major strategic changes
envisaged unless the staff were committed to achieving these. As one senior
manager put it:
It was beginning to register amongst management that unless the staff were got up
to scratch and on board with change, the bank was not going to get there.
It was felt that the entire bank culture needed to be changed to a more performance
orientated culture, a view which fitted in with the popular trend towards
emphasising the so-called soft aspects of management exemplified by In Search
of Excellence (Peters and Waterman, 1982). With increasing competitive pressure
in the sector, and with stagnant profits and accounts and only a small percentage of
the current account market, there was a clear need to grow the customer account
base by adopting a new focus strategy (Porter, 1985). Furthermore, it was
recognised that any significant differentiation in products was short- lived
especially for small banks with limited resources and to create sustained
differentiation it was necessary to create a favourable perception of the Bank by its
customers. The Bank would emphasise a caring, sharing image, and employee
goodwill as well as technical competence was required to project this.
There were several other reasons for the new approach to the management of staff.
Firstly, infrastructural problems - growth in the Bank had taken place in the
relatively soft markets of the 1970s and had to some extent hidden rising costs
associated with the clearing centre and Head Office which were widely regarded as
being overstaffed. Secondly, the increasing competitive pressure in banking had led
to greater attention to controlling labour costs and increasing labour productivity.
Thirdly, as we have noted, the nature of change had moved the emphasis towards
being a market driven rather than an administratively driven organisation and the
importance of staff quality was being emphasized.
Hence, the need to manage human resources more effectively was formally
recognised in the Corporate plan of 1986 and in particular it was seen as necessary


to change the attitude of staff towards customers, create profit awareness and to
encourage a greater identification with the organisation. As a senior manager put it:
The staff had to see that it was the customer not the pieces of paper which the
bank were concerned with.
However, the Corporate Plan, while recognising the need for changes in the
personnel area, did not explore in any detail what such changes would be, or how
they were to be brought about. Thus references were made to operating with
maximum flexibility and maximum efficiency on optimum numbers of staff
but only broad indication as to how this was to be achieved. Thus a sales culture
was required, but what did this mean in terms of personnel policies and practices?
Rothwell writes that:
The starting point of a company employment policy must be corporate policy: The
employment policy must stem from the business policy and be an integral part of
its implementation. (1984, p.31)
However, the links between business strategy and employment policy are by no
means clear cut: one is not simply able to read off from company objectives a set
of corporate employee relations policies.
Towards HRM: New Policies
As a sign of the new emphasis on the human resource function, a human resources
manager was recruited from outside the Bank and appointed in 1987 to design and
implement changes in this area. Furthermore there was to be a human resources
committee to oversee such developments and discuss human resource issues
(which was one level below the main policy making body of the Bank). It was
highly significant that the Chief Executive recognised that a specialist was required
to make the necessary changes, The Human Resources Manager undertook a
comprehensive review of the employment practices and procedures of the bank and
warned that:
Success can only be achieved however, if staff feel they are being treated correctly
by the Bank and fully understand the Banks objectives and rationale for their
achievement. It is essential, therefore, that we develop an employee relations
climate which facilitates these attitudes without reducing managements ability to
manage the business. The key human resources objectives are therefore:

A motivated and well trained staff geared to performance.

Control and authority of staff by line managers with Personnel
(Source: Employee Relations Strategy.)
What did this actually mean in practice? There were a number of key areas which
needed to be addressed in order to meet the overall strategic objectives. Firstly, a
new remuneration policy relating more to performance, and in the longer term a
new pay bargaining strategy stressing affordability. Secondly, it was necessary for
good union relationships although the union should not be in a position to
obstruct change. Thirdly, it was necessary to have cultural change, a new
management style with greater line management authority and accountability for
staff. Fourthly, greater cost control and headcount reduction was required.
The collapse of the national Federation of London Clearing Banking Employees
(FLCBE) in 1987 caused by competition for staff and disagreement over the
London allowance payment, acted as a catalyst in encouraging the Co-operative
Bank to develop its own employee relations policies more in line with business
objectives. At the centre of the new employee relations strategy was the
remuneration review, which involved replacing both the points based job
evaluation system for managers and the clerical grade structure. There was
agreement that the effective life of both structures had ended and distortions had
set in. Management identified a more flexible system especially at the higher level
which would reflect a more market driven approach: this was to take the form of a
single integrated structure. Performance related py was also part of the review and
the Bank also wished to remove top management from the collective bargaining
procedure. It was thought that this issue in itself would not be controversial,
although personnel managers were concerned lest it be interpreted as part of a
wider process of reducing union influence.
Another new element in the remuneration package was profit sharing, There was a
mix of motives in this. Partly, it was a response to market conditions: the absence
of such a scheme meant that the Bank had to buy out such schemes when
recruiting staff, and this lead to pay imbalances. There was also the attraction of
introducing an element of variable cost in the pay package. However, the main
argument related to motivation. While profit sharing went against the ethos of the

movement and doubts were expressed as to the link between general profit sharing
and the motivation of the staff, those in favour argued that it should be seen as part
of a package of new personnel policies; one senior manager said that he regarded it
as the only way to get staff to see the importance of profit.
The relationship of the Bank with the Union was also to be reviewed. The union
membership agreement (UMA) was of particular concern in the context of recent
UK legislation (1982) on legal action for unfair dismissal, with regard to the closed
shop. Furthermore, the Bank wished to remove senior managers from the pay
bargaining procedure as part of a move to performance related pay. Finally, the Job
Security Agreement which embodied the principle of no compulsory redundancy
was a potential obstruction given the Banks wish to cut staff costs.
Hence the new human resources manager stated in an internal Strategy
We must amend or cease current agreements with BIFU which inhibit our ability to
manage the business effectively; particularly the Job Security Agreement, the
Mobility of Labour Agreement and the UMA. We must however maintain strong
links with the union which is a principle of the co-operative movement.
In terms of the personnel function itself, the Bank aimed to give the Head Office
Personnel function the major strategic role, but to devolve operational issues and
responsibilities to line managers. The Bank introduced team briefing and a new
disciplinary code, both of which were designed to increase the authority and
accountability of line management. This in line with developments in other
industries and reflects the view that many key issues, e.g. performance and
productivity, are best handle4at the operational level (Purcell, 1985) and that the
old style personnel specialists were too distant from line management. The
personnel department would have a strong role in developing and implementing
new structures and procedures, but would then become internal consultants, having
an advisory and supportive rather than fire-fighting role. However, in banking,
staff motivation and development have not generally been regarded as important
aspects of managers jobs and there was certainly suspicion in the Bank that this
was simply another personnel initiative destined for a short life.
The need for cultural change was recognised in the Corporate Plan which noted
In common with others in the industry, the Bank has traditionally recruited and
trained for a single career structure, with a strong technical (or professional) bias.

However,in the changed circumstances not only the recruitment and training, but
the whole culture of the Bank will have to change radically.
However, it was rather ironic that, just when the Bank wished to erriphasise the
development of labour as a resource, the reduction of staff costs was one of the
major tasks in the late 1980s. Low profits in 1985 following on from a poor year in
1984 provided the context, but the catalyst was the pattern of pay settlements in
1987, particularly the increase in the London allowance from 2,000 to 3,000
after the collapse of the FLCBE which affected nearly a quarter of the Banks staff.
The Bank decided it required savings of some 4.5 million which was translated
into the need to achieve a gross reduction of around 500 staff, which as far as
possible would be achieved by natural wastage. concentrating on Head Office and
support functions (the so-called indirect staff).
Towards HRM?: new practices
a) Industrial Relations
A number of initiatives were introduced to re-shape the Union more in line with
the Banks view of its role. Firstly, the union role at Head Office was diminished
by reducing the number of Bank funded union represenatatives. Secondly, the
status of the Negotiating Committee was amended so as to ensure it dealt only with
major items such as pay negotiations, while minor items were to be dealt with by
the grievance procedure, and it was agreed that much of the day to day relationship
with the union would be conducted by less senior personnel. Thirdly, and this also
reflected the new management style, responsibility for personnel issues was
devolved to line managers who would be encouraged to have regular local
discussions with union representatives as part of the consultative process and this
would also prevent them being by-passed with issues going directly to Head
Office. A reduced union role was also apparent in the new remuneration policy,
(see below).
Nevertheless, while significant change could be achieved this is not to say that the
union could simply be steamrollered. Partly, this related to the CWS who while not
being involved in Bank personnel policy on day to day business, did exert pressure
to ensure agreements which linked the Bank to the rest of the movement were not
broken. Perhaps even more importantly, the scope and degree of change which the
Bank was attempting to achieve was deemed to require union co-operation rather
than sullen acquiescence or confrontation.


However, the events described do show how the relationship was being reshaped,
albeit in an incremental fashion. Top managers no longer had to belong to the
union; other managers had a separate bargaining unit; the process of job evaluation
confined the union largely to discussing issues relating to clerical workers. By
devolving responsibility to the line, issues were removed from the union head
office function to the shop floor where the unions were very weak. Team briefings
(see below) were partially designed to cut out the union monopoly on information.
Furthermore, management prerogative was being re-asserted and on issues like job
security the union interpretation over agreements was challenged.
One Personnel Manager admitted that three quarters of the communication was
concerned with passing information, rather than consultation, but maintained
[paradoxically] that there was the full involvement of the union. Of course the
paradox could be explained by the Banks perception of the legitimate role of the
union. The same Personnel Manager admitted that by-passing took place on a daily
basis. It is of course not a new discovery that unions have little detailed
information as to long term strategy, and a limited influence in strategic decision
making. The re-shaping of the union was also facilitated by the collapse of national
bargaining which removed a barrier to enterprise unionism, to which the banks are
by nature of their closed culture, quite susceptible.
However, the union did not turn out to be a major obstacle to change. On some
issues it proved difficult to persuade representatives, as for instance over the closed
shop and job security agreements, but neither of these were major obstacles to the
new Human Resource policies. We saw in the previous section, concern regarding
the cost-resource dichotomy, the attempt to achieve major change on both sides of
the equation. In practice these difficulties did not prove insurmountable. The
communications strategy seemed to do the trick of persuading staff of the logic and
inevitability of management action. Furthermore, at the time of the research there
was little evidence of the fear factor which characterises declining industries. The
Bank was in an industry which had high profits, growth and relatively good pay.
Only on an issue such as job security as arose occasionally, was there strong
enough feeling for the union to bring to bear on management. Undoubtedly also
there was a degree of attitudinal structuring (Walton and McKersie 1965) with
regard to the union.
b) Cost Control
Attention focused on the reduction of unit labour costs. Unit labour costs can be
reduced in two main ways: firstly, an increase in labour productivity, secondly, a

reduction in total labour costs. The first method could be achieved by measures
like better recruitment and training, a new payment system, an improved
organisational structure, a different management style and culture. However, these
are essentially long-term measures and the more obvious and immediately effective
method to reduce unit costs is simply reducing the size of the workforce.
It was appreciated that the squeeze on labour costs would lead to problems with the
union and possible detrimental effects on staff morale, and hence as far as possible
the reduction in staff numbers would be achieved in an unobtrusive manner.
Natural wastage was one method, as the Bank had a turnover of some 500 people
per year. Early retirement was another relatively non-contentious option. However,
if the targets could not be achieved by these measures, the introduction of a new
disciplinary code would provide the Bank with another means to reduce staff
numbers by targeting ineffective performers. The fact that this was being
considered was itself indicative of a new more performance-orientated
management style. The case of the Bank bears out the prediction of Hunt that the
management of exit would be an increasingly important function for the
personnel function (1984, pI7). The Bank was successful in reducing its numbers
and hence costs. This was to be the first step of a longer term examination of cost
structures with work continuing on removing duplication, moving staff out of the
branches into the new administration centres and introducing a model branch
exercise to ensure full efficiency.
However, some of the manoeuverings of the Bank came under fire from the Union.
The major source of contention was the status and interpretation of the 1983 Job
Security Agreement. The Union regarded the issues as under the control of the
Staffing Review Committee, which had been established under the Job Security
Agreement. However, management argued that this related purely to redundancy
rather than merely reorganisation and redeployment, and it was not the intention of
the Bank to force people into redundancy. It became apparent that the managers
concerned, because they were not party to the original agreement did not feel
themselves bound by it; indeed one manager threatened to give notice to cancel the
c) Remuneration - Relating Pay to Performance?
A comprehensive review of policy and practice was also being undertaken in the
remuneration area. There were a number of aims: firstly, to reflect organisational
change and remove outdated remuneration practices, secondly, to safeguard the
Bank from equal value claims and grading issues; thirdly, to integrate the Banks

salary structure into a single continuous evaluated structure to ensure stability and
cost control; and finally to move away from automatic increases, award key
objectives and place a greater emphasis on line management contributions rather
than the central functions.
Hence there were a number of processes that took place in the Bank. There was the
job evaluation exercise for managers and appointed staff upon which trade unions
were consulted, and the clerical and technical scheme where the unions were
involved in the design of the scheme, up to the point where agreement was reached
on the format of the grading structure. With each job in every branch being highly
individual, the task was a long one.
The remuneration review took place separately from the pay round already
discussed; this enabled the Bank to set the scene for change and maintain the
initiative. The Bank insisted upon a separate bargaining unit for managers and then
extended this to the whole management group including assistant managers and
branch administrators in order to keep the whole management team together. By
mid 1988 senior managers had been removed altogether from the negotiating
sphere. The Bank also insisted on freezing salaries for staff whose jobs fell above
the grade boundaries, and no increases of salary for those operating below an
acceptable performance level. It was only then that the Bank would enter into
negotiation on the composition of the scheme including salary ranges to apply to
each grade. The new structures were introduced in 1989.
Profit sharing was also introduced in this period. As one senior manager said about
if that doesnt crystallise their minds and make things easier for them to see how
to help customers, I dont know what will!
The third leg of the new remuneration policy was getting staff to accept a pay
what the Bank can afford principle in annual negotiations. The Human Resources
Committee agreed that it was necessary to show that the Bank had to pay less than
other clearing banks because of the difference in its profitability along with the
fact that possibly the skills in the fields in which it operated were not required to be
the same as the others.
Furthermore, the Bank stressed that if a reasonable settlement was not reached,
head count reduction might be necessary. The eventual settlement of 6% in 1988
was seen as a clear sign of the success of its new HRM policy. Firstly, the

settlement was reached speedily. Secondly, the Banks new open pro-active
communications policy had been seen to deliver the goods. The day after the
settlement a terminal message was sent across the network and faxed to London
and Skelmersdale (the major employing centres). The Personnel newsletter was
hand delivered to managers in Manchester and staff were consequently briefed
within 24 hours, and importantly, before the union had been able to give its
message. Hence, management had taken the initiative. Thirdly, there seemed to be
evidence that something of the argument that the Bank had been trying to put
across concerning profit/head and the dangers of being priced out of the market
had been taken and there was positive feedback from the staff, with regard to the
early receipt of information.
d) Changing Culture
There was little detailed consideration in the HRM strategy papers of issues like
career patterns, recruitment, training etc. This was related partly to little immediate
attention being required, and secondly, to uncertainty as to what was required.
Hence it was not until after the HRM strategy had been adopted and was being
implemented that attention was given to these issues.
In recent years, there had been an increasing belief that the development of human
resources is no longer a luxury to be achieved when other objectives have been
met, but an essential part of the management of strategic change. Hence, the
development of human resources was worthy of a higher priority. This was
reflected in the development of manpower planning and a greater emphasis on
management development and training in a systematic and integrated manner. The
Bank looked to become more pro-active in this area rather than merely respond to
problems. However, much depended on a settled business strategy for the Bank
and each division, so as to identify staffing requirements. Hence a manpower plan
took time to develop given the state of flux in the Bank. One area which needed
examining was recruitment where it was felt that there was a need to have a tiered
policy. In addition, the qualities and personalities of the staff recruited needed to be
examined. There was a move to look firstly to older, non mobile married women as
workhorses and secondly to look for more customer relations skills and sales
These changes were reflected in the training function and management
developnient programmes. There was a trend in the former towards programmes
stressing social skills and customer service training and sales and marketing
training, all designed to educate staff in the new sales culture. Previously, the

training emphasis had been on technical training and supervisory skills for clerical
appointed and junior management staff; the training also reflected a trend in
banking to train for greater productivity rather than preparation for future jobs
(Mosson, 1986).
A new communications strategy was also part of the attempt to change culture. A
paper by the Human Resources Manager emphasised that some of the measures
outlined may be unpalatable (particularly head-count reduction and relocation)
and hence there needed to be a much more pro-active communications strategy. It
was important that this was in place before the 1988 pay round and before many
new initiatives were undertaken. The Human Resources Manager made this clear.
If the Bank was to achieve their Human Resource Strategy goals,
It is essential that we communicate directly with our staff to ensure they are made
aware by the Bank of our position and intentions, and not by any other source. This
is a major employee relations objective for achievement by the Bank to enable
management to communicate directly the rationale for change, thus ensuring that it
is pro-active in managing the business.
We must develop mechanisms which ensure that communications are simple,
consistent and effective. The Bank must communicate to staff on a regular basis,
stating both good and bad news. Inconsistent or sporadic communications are more
harmful than no communications and must be avoided at all costs. The Bank must
not leave communications to BIFU. The Unions role is to negotiate with the Bank
on behalf of its members, not to act as the channel for communication. (Employee
Relations Strategy, 1987).
The old system was largely based on a number of newsletters, and an internal Bank
magazine. It was largely left to the discretion of the managers, some of whom
explained the contents of the newsletters, others merely leaving staff to read it on
the noticeboard. There were also managers meetings but information disseminated
here was not necessarily trickled down.
The Bank introduced a system of team briefings into the existing structure of
employee involvement based on meetings, newspapers and publications. Team
briefings were designed to facilitate a consistent, continuous flow of information
(including feedback), so as to avoid the union or even the grapevine being the
main source of information. The main aim of such involvement appeared to
comprise of persuading staff to accept the benefits of change expressed in terms of


market logic. Hence it was an endorsement of management policies which is

sought, not some form of co-determination. (Roberts and Wilkinson, 1991).
However, there were a number of problems with implementation. Branch managers
showed some cynicism as to the alleged benefits of team briefing and many
regarded it as yet another flavour of the month dreamed up by Personnel. Some
failed to see briefing in terms of ensuring that the union would not be the main
vehicle of communication, and that he who communicates leads. Thus the
Personnel Department felt it was important that the benefits accruing to staff
(including those negotiated with the union) should be announced by managers.
However, in a number of cases, managers were content to let the office (union)
representative handle it, perhaps in itself a reflection of branch managers unitary
perception of employment and/or lack of awareness of personnel considerations.
Secondly, there were practical problems relating to how briefings were to be
transmitted from head office to branches; thirdly, the mechanism for feedback was
regarded as being inadequate and hence team briefings were seen as merely
representing the party line.
e) Changing Role of Personnel and Line Managers
There were a number of methods by which the Personnel Department attempted to
devolve responsibility. We have already noted that team briefings were thought to
reinforce the line role as the chief disseminator of information. Secondly, the new
disciplinary code put authority and accountability in the hands of the line (although
initially Personnel would take a slightly more active advisory role until the system
was bedded in). Thirdly, managers were given accountability within their budget
to replace staff who left rather than leaving it to the Personnel Department to
provide the skilled replacements. As evidence of a more integrated human resource
approach such policies were reinforced by a new performance appraisal system
which took greater account of human resources. Previously, financial targets were
paramount and in the words of the training manager:
If they met financial targets, managers werent criticised even if the staff were
close to mutiny
A series of training courses on human resource management issues were designed
to reinforce this priority.


However, many of the initiatives met with apathy, cynicism or obstruction.

Changes in the disciplinary code were regarded as cosmetic: as one manager said,
Personnel cant bring itself to let hold of the reins.
In so far as staff reflect the values of top management, this was a major cause for
concern (Brewster et al , 1981) One of the key complaints to come out of the
courses being run was the absence of top management. More direct difficulties also
became apparent. One of the themes in the human resource management courses
was reflective of the new management style. This was designed to discuss the
relationship of staff with their managers, and in particular the need for staff to
question their boss in an informal and constructive manner. The course was aptly
entitled How to Manage Your Boss. However, it became apparent that it was
unfortunate that managers had not taken a course on how to accept constructive
The case of the Co-operative Bank sheds light on the issues of human resource
management discussed in the management literature. It was suggested that a shift
from an administrative tO a market driven organisation would lead to a greater
priority for the management of human resources. The Bank case provides examples
of greater attention to this subject at top level management, including the
appointment of a specialist human resources manager and shows a broader range
of issues being considered with an emphasis on management-employee relations
rather than management-trade unions relations and a more pro-active and strategic
role for the Personnel department with operational issues being devolved to line
management. These are in line with the alleged change from personnel
management to human resource management (see Table 1).
Of course, the definition of what HRM involves is itself a matter of debate. As
Guest rightly points out it is a term now widely used but very loosely defined
(1987, p.503). In the Bank we have seen much more than a re-titling of roles which
Guest suggests characterises much of the alleged HRM adoption. We saw earlier
that the policies officially embraced showed many of the characteristics of HRM
but were cautious in our assessment, since the gap between policy and practice is
often a large one. However, we have seen that a great deal of the new policy was in
fact implemented over a relatively short period. If we refer back to the Guest
typology (Table 1) we see that the Bank has moved someway towards HRM but
this is by no means clear cut. While policies introduced appear to be in line with
HRM ideals, this does not necessarily translate into desired outcomes. Thus one

consequence of the Banks HRM policies was probably worsened employee

relations, even if bottom-line performance improved. However, one needs to bear
in mind that the ultimate aim of HRM is better business performance rather than
improved relations with the workforce. This may be something Personnel and HR
managers, whether in the UK or the Pacific need to come to terms with.
Of course it is too early to evaluate the success of introducing HRM. Skinner
(1986) talks of needing a 7-10 year horizon for changes in the human resources
area. However, we can make an assessment of the problems in the short term
which had to be faced. What was striking about this case is the enormous amount
of change which had taken place: some union agreements were re-written;
managerial prerogative was re-established, there was some success in cutting
labour costs without causing disruption; a new pay strategy was implemented; the
new communications strategy was also bedded in and devolvement to line
management was also undertaken. One of the themes of the previous section was
the extent to which stated intent (espoused policy) was reflected in practice
(operational policy), for as Brewster et al (1981, p6) found,
The espoused policies ... may be no more than pious aims or statements, breached
with impunity and unrewarded where followed.
Hence it was necessary for policies to be consistently reinforced; if the Bank
targeted managers on financial objectives and performance appraisal reflected this
and with little emphasis on the achievement of human resource objectives,
managers would realise that the official policy (HR is important) was in practice
given far lower priority. The Bank did attempt to tackle such difficulties with
revised appraisal systems incorporating a broader range of objectives.
One of the values of case study research is that it is able to illustrate how key
actors are crucial to change processes. The crucial role of the CE has been
acknowledged. Furthermore, the appointment of someone from outside the
personnel department as the HR manager was also vital in that such a person began
with credibility, being seen as an expert and in many ways performed the role of an
internal consultant. For several reasons it was unlikely that an insider could have
performed the role. Firstly, the Personnel Department lacked strategic power partly
because the role of general managers in the Bank had inhibited specialist functions;
linked to this was the fact that labour had not been seen as a problem so it had
never attained a high priority; thirdly, the department, albeit partly as a result of the
above two factors and partly because of perceived inadequacies in what it did do,
was a Cinderella department of little status. Hence it would be unlikely even with

C.E. backing that the department without a champion would have the clout to make
the necessary changes. So key changes in personnel were clearly important in
facilitating change.
The attitude of line managers was problematic. The paradox of HRM is that it
raises the status of personnel but gives away responsibility (Guest 1988) and hence
much depends on the attitude of line managers:
Although the personnel department may be responsible for the design of valuable
personnel programmes or systems (e.g. job evaluation, management appraisal,
wage and salary structure), their implementation must not only take place within
other management systems, but largely involve the managers of those systems.
Hence, the success or failure of a personnel programme, even within its own terms,
is often removed from the direct control of the personnel specialists themselves.
While we saw both greater attention being accorded to the management of staff
and a review of employment policies, one of the concerns was the extent to which
this retained priority overtime, for long term commitment is essential to the
development of human resources. As Rothwell points out,
People cannot be acquired, shed or developed as quickly or as easily as other
Hence senior management must be responsible for driving change forward rather
than merely recognising the need for change. Official recognition and practical
neglect is an all too common experience with regard to management attitudes to
human resources. We saw, for instance, that senior management tended to regard
developments in this area as a job for personnel. and failed to relate it to their
own actions. In the long term the key question would be the extent to which the
management of human resources retained its priority. To a large extent human
resources was seen as a problem to be fixed. It is open to question whether it
would continue to receive the same attention and resources over a longer period of
Perhaps the key to managing change over the period was the balancing of
conflicting priorities of cost control and staff development. Morris writes that:
there has consistently been a dichotomy in management policies stemming from
the efforts to control labour costs on the one hand and the desire to sustain
commitment and motivation on the other (1986, p.12).

Such a dichotomy faced the Co-operative Bank, While the Bank emphasised a
more positive approach-to managing employees, with employees as a-resource,
and attempted to increase co-operation, commitment and identification with the
Bank, the policy of reducing staff numbers and assertion of the right to manage
gives the impression of being a more traditional approach to managing labour as a
Some would argue that external shock is crucial in triggering off a reconsideration
of existing strategy but this itself presents a paradox in that firms in competitive
difficulty may not have time, resources or goodwill to effect a change in
relationship between management and employees, yet companies with profits and
the resources may not appreciate the need to move to HRM. The attempt to cut
labour costs at the Bank certainly seemed to threaten the opportunity to create high
trust industrial relations with fear of redundancy and relocation, working against
the Banks attempt to create greater employee commitment and identification.
Trust itself is seen to be a pre-condition for successful change although trust is
generally accepted as being a very fragile concept (Purcell, 1981). In our case, the
competitive environment put pressure on costs and hence clashed with the longer
term HRM emphasis. One school of thought would regard crisis as a catalyst for a
refashioned relationship, but it seems highly likely that in such conditions there
will be unilateral management action and although unions and employees may cooperate in the interests of survival, and change for instance in working practices
may well be achieved, it seems questionable whether attitudes will also change. In
other words when smoother waters are reached the relationship may return to its
previous character


In this method a training centre which is known as vestibule is set up where real
job conditions are created and expert trainers train the new employees with
equipment and machines that a identical with the ones that employees will be using
at their work place. This allows the trainees to concentrate on their training because
there is no noise of the real work place. As the same time the interest of the
employee remains quite high as real work place conditions are simulated in this
training. It also saves new employees from a possible injury or any damage to the
machines at the real work place. Vestibule training is beneficial for training a large
number of employees in a similar type of job. But vestibule training involves the
lot of expenditure as experts trainers along with the class room and equipment are
required to simulate the real work place environment which is very difficult to
3. Apprenticeship
It is the oldest and most commonly used method of training in technical areas and
crafts and trades where the skills of the job are learnt over a long period of time.
The industrial training institutes (ITI) provide this kind of training in India. The
apprenticeship act 1962 requires the employers in certain industries to train a
particular number of persons in specific trades. For trades like mechanist, tool
makers, carpenters weaver, Jeweller, Engraver, this type of training is very helpful.
Apprenticeship helps in maintaining a skilled work force and is a combination of
both theory and practical. It also results in high level of loyalty by the employees
and increases their chances for growth but it is time consuming and extensive
method. Many persons leave this training in between because of the long training
4. Class room training
It is provided in company class rooms or educational institution through lectures
audio visual aids, case studies and group discussion. It is very helpful and teaching
problems solving skills and new concepts. It is also useful in orientations and
safety training programs. For teaching new technologies to software professionals,
class room training is often used.
5. Internship
It involves training the colleges or universities pass outs about the practical aspects
of their study. This method of training provides a chance to the students to

implement the theoretical concepts that they have learnt during their study. Thus it
balances the theoretical and practical aspects of the study. Professional likes
chartered accountants, MBAs, company secretaries and doctors are given training
through this method.


In the present competitive world, the banking sector, especially of the developing
economies like India, is facing lot of tough competition, talent crunch, and skill
shortage. All these have made the banks feel that the internal customer is also more
important equally with external customers, so every bank is trying to devise
innovative HR practices to attract best talent and give them comfortable
environment to work with, that enables the banks to retain talents.
Chakrabarty has highlighted in one of his speeches on HRM in banks that four
key challenges are being faced in the HR management of the banks. Those are
planning, acquiring the right people, retaining/developing the people, managing
peoples separation/exit.
There is no need to emphasize that it is the people, people and people that make an
organization achieve competitive advantage in this tough and competitive world.
The people (human resources) in an organization, when looked after and provided
with enough motivation, will certainly pay back in terms of better results, better
performance and enhanced productivity. Therefore, the main focus of the present
study was on understanding some of the innovative HRM practices that stem from
functionally logical strategic initiatives in response to a hypercompetitive, complex
but opportunity-rich environment, which has opened up in Indian banking sector
due to the economic reforms. These innovative HRM practices are not a random
collection but practices which may be considered as best practices by the HR
department of these banks and which have yielded excellence in performance.