ICICI Bank- Responding to Changing Requirements of Human Resources Climate, Digitisation and Technology Transfer

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Ravindra Sangvai, Dr Rajan Dhamdhere


With the objective of understanding how ICICI Bank Ltd is responding to the wave of changes in technology, competitive digital environment, HR climate and customer behaviours as well as Governance issues arising after regulatory strictures for end of the tenure of its long standing CEO & MD, the author has examined various actions taken by bank’s change leaders for managing the change. The author has concluded that there are many successful change management initiatives regarding digitisation and technology transfer as well as use of artificial intelligence, big data and cyber security etc, done by the bank. These can be considered as learning experiences for other banks and have been quite as can be seen from the financial parameters and KPIs which have been consistently and substantially increasing as compared to many other banks.

There is feeling of positivity, or even change, echoes across the organisation. There were some concerns that although policies have changed, but processes on the ground that impact staff were lagging, and whether team members would differentiate, justly and adequately, between performers and non-performers. Earlier, several employees worked beyond the brief, and put in a lot of hard work to meet deadlines and drive sales and the high incentive led system motivated many, but it was also characteristics of ICICI staff to grow that way. There were signs that the bank pulled off the balancing act, without impacting aggression and ability to be agile in the marketplace. After years of aggressively chasing new customers, asking their managers to focus on retaining them (as opposed to finding new ones) was not easy. ICICI had to do a lot of handholding to accomplish the change.

ICICI is trying to temper the old philosophy of using money to make people perform better. It is, instead, pulling new levers to improve productivity like better planning, efficient processes and more mentoring. It was made clear that at least on 80% of the days, an employee cannot stay beyond stipulated hours, otherwise must explain. The message of customer acquisition and retention has been driven well. S bank’s growth is consistently high. As per HR department head Ramkumar the bank has accomplished only 40% of what we have set out to by 2013. Changes are engineered by an HR council that meets at least once a month and whose members are business/functional heads from nine divisions involving retail banking, corporate banking, treasury, operations, risk management, compliance, finance, customer service and human resources. ICICI Bank Ltd. has set itself on the path to integrate values that conflict with its past and coming years would determine how it fares.

The study explores and establishes how the bank has responded to the changes in the last few years, through several strategic changes initiated in the bank having significant impacts on the performance of the bank and creating convenience and efficiency of customer journeys. The case provides interesting insights into the various forces that trigger changes in an organization, resistance to these changes and interventions adopted to manage the change illustrating either effective or ineffective handling of an administrative or business situations.

The study has amply established that pursuing and monitoring change management is an enabler for survival and retention of marketshare as well as growth of marketshare for the bank in competitive environment. The study has helped in depicting the impact of change triggers and how the bank has been responding by appropriate action has by the change leaders.  The change management strategies regarding technology transformation and developing leadership talent pool have made great difference in banks performance proving the hypothesis that it is the implementation of robust change management strategies which helps banks to survive through troubled financial position and corrective growth path.

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