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Improve the effectiveness of a training

Category: Bank Management

To improve the effectiveness of a training, the first thing to do is to define exactly what its purposes are, and, thus, what needs it is meant to cover.

Knowledge of the needs: needs definition has too often been hastily compiled and defined without active co-operation of the concerned banks’ top management. Thus there have been insufficiencies in the initial problem-definition and a specific improvement is required in this process.

Changing needs: a concrete observation of C.I.S. projects shows that the needs of local banks have changed a lot in the course of the last years, from being very basic, to highly specialised, as of today. Due to the change of the market, the needs of the remaining banks become more specific and their expectations concerning the quality of trainings increases. Consequently, the demand for bank training changes considerably. At present, even during the course of the programs the needs defined in preparatory workshops changed over time. Thus, the profiles of the courses have to be adapted. Ability to provide courses that satisfy the changing needs of the clients is becoming determining.

But, we often observed that the recipient banks had important difficulties in defining what they needed. The C.I.S. banks seeking assistance seldom seemed to be well placed to know precisely what assistance they need. Of course, everybody is often, at once, reluctant to recognize what he or she needs. But, when the objectives are not well defined, the question of acceptability soon arises: the impression that the intervention is unwelcome results mainly from the fact that the local bank is asking for assistance simply because it is available, not necessarily because it needs it.

There is, thus, a recognised need for assistance in identifying, specifying and defining what help/support is actually needed and to whom it should, most beneficially, be provided and how best it might be delivered. This is why we estimate that it is necessary to set up an action plan to improve the identification of problems and the understanding of banks’ training needs, suggesting methods that can be used to inventory and understand the actual needs of the local banks’ personal (skills gaps but also observation of the way the tasks are done, which requires visiting the work places to see what the bankers do and how they do it). For such a purpose, it could be useful for trainers to establish personal contacts within the banks, visiting them frequently and working closely with them, to collect the consciously perceived and expressed needs.

But it would also be useful to ensure that these needs are accurate, by organizing follow-ups or a posteriori surveys of what has been applied or used at the end of the courses, and of what were the difficulties and the achieved results and usefulness’s of what has been learnt.

To improve the training needs definition of C.I.S. banks, Ebtra’s Management Of Change module named « Educational planning » suggests practical approaches to define educational needs, purposes of courses and pedagogic goals: for instance, one must try to adapt employee’s qualifications to the fulfilment of all (future) job requirements, to prepare institutional (technical, legal, structural, marketing,) changes and/or to sustain company’s (new) strategic orientations and plans (in terms of level of ability, or of performance, or of type of job behaviour, etc.), etc.

But, previously, a good problem setting should have been done. Another Ebtra’s Management Of Change module (« How to make the best use of training »), may be useful here. It stresses, for instance, that « at the company level, one can consider an inventory of business purposes, and strategies which has, at least, three different dimensions:

The study of suitability of employees to performance demands through an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, successes and problems. This requires a knowledge of the tasks to be achieved.

The contribution of training to strategic management objectives, or operational objectives (planning, development plans, projects, etc.) and to achieve the desired results, in terms of productivity, quality, etc.

The positive preparation for future change (in products, markets, technology, careers, etc.), or other improvements in the future, which would be assisted by early preparation. »

To complete the bankers’ awareness of their actual (training) needs, it can also be useful to call for the help of:

— advisors (their analysis often highlight the initial requirements),

— Central Banks and national banks associations (even if, nowadays, they are seldom able of providing support, since they are understaffed and lack experience),

— other informal networks of observers.

Thus is it necessary, for instance, to be able to rely on strong Banks Associations. Providing assistance for the development of Banks’ associations, is, therefore, a way to make the required changes of the C.I.S. banks easier:

Many elements of banking systems demand co-operation, for instance credit insurances or stock markets organisation.

Banks’ Associations are also the main mean or instrument for establishing mutual understanding and co-operation between Central/National Banks and the community of commercial banks. They have a major role to play in order to improve lobbying Government/regulatory authorities, in regard to revisions to the regulatory and legal frameworks for commercial banks.

Some Banks’ Associations also intend to build up a consultancy service for their members.

But they first have to develop their own structures and can benefit of cooperation through a kind of twinning arrangement with Banks’ associations from Western countries. We would thus recommend to support the process of institution building of Banking Associations.

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