RBS – Unfolding The Change Cycle

RBS – Unfolding The Change Cycle

How change ready is your organisation For organisations to survive in today’s competitive and fast-paced environment, they need to know how to change and adapt quickly. Change management talks about the process, tools and techniques to manage the people side of change for achieving the required business outcome. It incorporates the organizational tools that can be utilized to help individuals make successful personal transitions resulting in the adoption and realization of change.

The Goal of Change: Improving an organization by altering how work is done:

When one introduces a change to the organization, he/she is ultimately going to be impacting one or more of the following:

  • Processes
  • Systems
  • Organization structure
  • Job Roles

“Any change to processes, systems, organizational structures and/or job roles will have a technical side and a people side. ”

Change typically results as a reaction to specific problems or opportunities the organization is facing based on internal or external stimuli. While the notion of becoming “more competitive”, “closer to the customer” or “more efficient” can be the motivation to change, at some point these goals must be transformed into specific impacts on processes, systems, organizational structures or job roles. This is the process of defining the change. Change management focuses on the people impacted by the change. Any change to processes, systems, organizational structures and/or job roles will have a technical side and a people side. The change team outlines the steps needed to help the individuals impacted by the change do their jobs in a new way.

“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.

– Niccolo Machiavelli

Change management engagement depends on the amount of disruption created in an individual employee’s day-to-day work. It also depends on the organization’s attributes, such as culture, value system and history with past changes. Change is a certainty for businesses today, but successful change is not. According to CEB Global, only one-third of organizational change efforts are clear successes: “Instead of realizing the benefits from change initiatives, organizations are faced with declining productivity, stalled or failed projects, and low returns from their change investments. “

The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.

– Charles Kettering.

Change Management at RBS

With the number of electronic payments in the UK market now exceeding cash payments (52% versus 48%), and more than half of digital sales that are now being made through mobile devices, there was a need for RBS to address customer “pain points” and undergo a programme of internal change in order to remain competitive in the midst of sustained disruption.

So, RBS has transformed its organisation to focus on the customer experience. Guided by the promise of “helpful banking”, the company has been building a digitally led culture, overhauling internal structures in a bid to improve its customers’ lives.

Transformations are a big challenge for any organization. Many organizations are struggling to leverage the desired advantages of
a transformation. They frequently fall back to the grouse that their employees were not aligned or committed enough to make it work. A huge amount of money is lost in this battle of change where organizations fail to achieve the complete benefits of a transformation. There are multiple factors like technology, culture, capability or deeper systemic issues which affect transformations and these changes are not directly visible. There is huge complexity involved in transformation and there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Herald Of Business Transformation

In an exclusive interview with All Things Talent, Pankaj Phatarphod, the Managing Director, RBS India, spoke on the transformational journey of RBS India, the impact of technology and analytics on the banking sector and customer focus at the epicentre of the organisation.

Pankaj Phatarphod - RBS (1)

Pankaj Phatarphod is the Managing Director at RBS, India. With an MBA in Finance and Bachelors in Computer Engineering, Pankaj has over 25 years of experience in banking & technology. He is the Executive Sponsor for the Diversity Forum & Co-Sponsor for the Women Network for RBS in India. He is the Chairperson of RBS India Foundation, known for its contribution to the Bank’s Sustainability agenda. He is also part of the National Leadership Team for NASSCOM’s GIC Forum. Under the able guidance of Pankaj, RBS bank was awarded the prestigious IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj National Quality Performance Excellence Trophy. Teaching is his passion and Pankaj is a visiting faculty at several Management institutes. He is on the Board of Studies for NMIMS’ School of Distance Learning.

Q: Having worked in multiple organisations and with a collective experience of over 2 decades, what are the key career aspirations that really shaped you as a leader.

A:  I have always focused on working on roles of the future. And, I think so long as you remain focused on the goals you have set out to achieve, keep thinking and doing what your customer wants, we will definitely get there. Another one that always remains is to ensure our employees work for a great place. And, collectively these two things remain very pertinent to me.

Q: RBS has been through change management and a transformational journey. How does a huge financial institution like RBS stay focused on its customers? Please share a few strategies that have worked well for the bank.

A: When I joined RBS about 10 years back RBS was one of the best banks in the UK. In 2007 the traction changed. I have always believed and told my team, it’s not just about how much revenue you make, it’s not just about how much cost you save but it’s about the number of customers you bring to the bank that in turn vouch for us to be No. 1 Bank for Customer Service, Trust and Advocacy.. Therefore one of our strategies is to invest in our people such that employees find it to be a great place to work for and they, in turn, serve our customers very well.

Q: Change inherently is unsettling for people at all levels of an organization and when it is on the horizon, all eyes turn to the CEO and the leadership team for strength, support and direction. What was your approach as the country head of RBS while the bank was underway its transformational journey?

A: The focus for RBS and me in particular, has been a question that I often ask myself which is Am I going to look at that change and fret about going wrong or am I going to look at it in a way to serve my customers. It’s a shift in perspective from “What do I do” to “What can I do”. We can then instantly identify what can we do better and more for our customers and our people. Changes now are a more constant part of our lives and I am sure that going forward its frequency is going to be even more.

Q: Since millennials and gen-Z, entered the workforce, the concept of the corporate hierarchy has slowly faded away. What are your thoughts on this debate?

A: Yes we don’t work in a hierarchical manner. My personal experience suggests that 85-90% of the time people know the problem and the solution as well, and they are correct. They just need your endorsement. And for the other 10%, you always have an opportunity to give a view and people look up to you for this input that they can then work ‘with’ the people to work on.

Q: With increased globalization, do you think that employer branding has its importance and if yes then how has employer branding enabled you to attract better talent rather than traditional practices.

A: Employer brand on one end means how you want to be valued as an organisation. But on the other more important level, it also means the value you ensure you make to a person’s career aspirations. As individuals from diverse backgrounds, each one of us comes with a diverse set of expectations. We need leaders who can understand these needs, and are constantly able to innovate and improve the opportunities; especially keeping in mind our customer. When we hire our people and as we re-calculate and tell them that these are the policies, the point that we want to achieve is to be the number one bank for customer service, trust and advocacy. The newest member could either be a seasoned leader or someone in his/ her first job, you need to be relevant to both.

We have always aimed at being the number one bank for customer service and trust. We believe in investing in our people such that employees find it to be a great place to work.

Q: What is the way forward for the Banking industry in terms of analytics?

A: Not only for the banking industry alone but our everyday lives will be governed by data that has been crunched and in turn, provides a solution in return. Analytics is about getting information and not data. So it’s not what you hold, but what it means to you and the value you can provide with that!. Analytics has over a period of time helped in ensuring the services itself become more relevant for the customer.

As viewed by the data analytics team here, we work towards getting information and not data.

Q: What are some of the milestones that you have set for the Indian business for RBS in the future?

A We have milestones, which are in sync with the overall global RBS strategy. First is our focus on our customers and being customer fit always. Second, to control risk, for the customer and for the bank. Third, to ensure that from the people point of view we are a great organization to work for.

An Edifice Of A Culture That’s “Determined To Lead”

In an exclusive interview with All things Talent, Anuranjita Kumar, MD Human Resources, International Hubs – RBS, spoke about how a culture transformational journey became a way of life at RBS.

Anuranjita Kumar_Royal Bank of Scotland

Anuranjita Kumar is the MD Human Resources and Head of International Hubs for RBS. Prior to this, she was heading Human resources at Citibank for South Asia region. She has worked across the Asia Pacific (APAC), Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and the USA. She is the Chairperson of the HR Committee at Amcham India, Advisory board member of SHRM India, Member of the South Asia Executive Council Conference Board, Member of CII National Core Committee on Human Resources, Member of the National Human Resources Forum India and the Citi business champion for American India Foundation. She has also been recognized as amongst the ‘Most Powerful HR Professionals of India’, by the World HRD Congress in 2012 and amongst the ‘Most Powerful Woman Leaders’ by Fortune in 2013.

Q: With over 20 years of experience in banking industry & having worked across different geographies, What improvements in HR practices do you think Indian HR leaders should bring to make the processes more robust?

A: Businesses are evolving and so are people processes. Simplify, automate, transform and innovate wherever possible. Especially the HR of the future needs to move from Core process- es to more Advisory roles. The pace at which we move and take decisions needs to become faster not overlooking the risk element.

Q: How can Leaders be explicit about the culture and underlying behaviours that will best support the new way of doing business, and find opportunities to model and reward those behaviours?

A: The only way to be explicit about the culture is to create role model behaviours. Cultures cannot be built bottom-up, leaders have to re-iterate best practices, and be role models each and every minute. In the current economic environment, productivity, innovation and efficiency are the keys.

“Culture cannot be built bottom-up, leaders have to reiterate best practices & be role models each and every minute.”

Q: What are the various practices you employ to keep your workforce motivated and engaged?

A: The Royal Bank of Scotland through its various brands and offerings including NatWest, Ulster Bank, Coutts, Lombard and others serve over 18.9 million customers worldwide. Motivation in today’s workforce is not just financial benefits anymore. It is more in the intangibles, feeling part of an ideation team, being able to own and drive a project, the opportunity to upskill and diversify into newer job roles and functions are motivators and the organisation needs to keep evolving their people orientation to be able to accommodate and nurture ideas and enterprise at all times.

The opportunity to up-skill and diversify into newer job roles and functions are motivators and the organisation needs to keep evolving their people orientation to be able to accommodate and nurture ideas and enterprise at all times.

Q: As we move towards a digital world, what role would people analytics play in the HR function?

A: Data has always been a part of this function, HR has always heavily relied on it, for decision making and future analysis. Big data is about analytics and this space is sidetracking consumer preferences, their needs and business- es, re-orienting their services and offerings constantly based on these inputs to meet the customer preference.

The internal customer is no different. From predictive hiring and predictive attrition that will help HR to be more proactive and plan for the future, evolving tools available to the HR function will help in a meaningful manner. HR of the future in my mind will play an advisory role. People analytics will enable this transition more effectively. Data will increasingly govern the decision-making process. Used effectively, data in HR will help build a more robust process oriented organisation of the future that constantly accepts change.

Q: What are the big change initiatives were taken at RBS and how have been the results? What is the future roadmap for RBS in terms of human capital?

A: RBS, like many other banks, has gone through a massive transformation journey. In the last few years, RBS has rewired its culture by having a simpler purpose and all things related to the simple purpose of serving our customers well. Our Determined to the Lead initiative is revolutionary and has evolved into a culture code and language that is consistently used across the organisation through all our geographies.

Q: How important is the role of a diverse workforce in RBS’s business in India and how diverse is RBS?

A: Building a diverse and inclusive workforce is part of changing our culture and will help us achieve our 2020 ambition of being #1 for customer service, trust and advocacy. Creating diverse teams ensures we develop products, services and a culture that works for all our colleagues and customers. Globally, we have 36% women on our board.

We have multiple work streams that are actively working on the diversity agenda, including:

  • Enabling employees to work from home or closer to home.
  • Providing development opportunities for female talent and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) colleagues.
  • Supporting potential graduates, interns and apprentices from a range of social backgrounds.
  • Launching an accessible credit card, and mobile banking app – these products were the first to be accredited by the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB).
  • Improving processes for transgender customers and colleagues.
  • Educating managers to support mental health and well being in the workplace.

We’ve always been committed to investing in our people and their talent, to ensure they focus on delivering a superlative experience for our customers. Because the better we are for our customers, the better we are as a bank.


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