When someone in the corporate world, in his mission, talks about creating a better life, as happened with Home Credit Bank, a bigger responsibility lies on the brand. After all, carrying such a message to the people, first of all, you need to take care of your employees, who will be able to share the same philosophy with customers. We decided to talk with Olesya Semenyak, HR Director of Home Credit Bank in Kazakhstan, and find out how the changes affected the corporate mood of the bank’s team and its values.

HR Director of Home Credit Bank Olesya Semenyak.

After all it is not only about changing the logo and signage of the organization - as a rule, it is associated with significant internal changes that the company wants to demonstrate to the public?

You are absolutely right. One of the most significant events for us was the 20th anniversary of Home Credit Bank and the rebranding of our entire Group around the world. In the new logo you can see a smile. It symbolizes how we want our customers and partners to perceive us, something that all bank employees strive for. We are not just a bank that grants loans, opens deposits and issues cards. For us, the positive emotions that our customers and employees receive are important. We set a goal - to change the way the world shops. This means that with  Home Credit Bank the desired becomes possible. We give our customers and their loved ones the opportunity to be happier. We care about what is valuable to our customers, and we are ready to make their lives better. We work every day to create an environment where employees, can come to work, smile, feel our care, respect and recognition. We know that happy employees means - happy customers. Thousands of our smiles are millions of the same smiles of our customers. Home Credit Bank- for better life!

In your opinion, what challenges do banks face today, if we talk about intra-corporate development?

This is an interesting question. I will name a few external companies that determine the strategies of modern ones, including banks. I believe that nowadays, modern business is global like never before. You must be global to be successful. And at the same time you must prepare your company to be successful globally.

For this, you must find strong local partners and must understand the new features of each market that you want to enter. You have to test products in the certain markets, because what is important in one market may not be so important in others We have seen the world's largest brands, whose products operate in major markets, which are trying to apply the same philosophy and the same principle in order to build a business in a different market. What should they do to become successful? They need to adapt the product to the cultural peculiarities and business characteristics of the new market.

Therefore, if you have created a high- quality product that solves an important universal problem, you may still be forced to adapt it to each market in order to be successful globally.

The second challenge is a rapidly changing, volatile world. Success will depend on whether banks will be able to make a qualitative leap from “From fast to instant”.

The third challenge is the need to create a unified landscape of the software ecosystem, to facilitate the process of attracting new customers, and there is only one way - digital. next in line is… the transformation of the bank into a strategic advisor for the client and the strong analytics. "Everything can be analyzed, even the time spent by the customer in the queue."

The fourth challenge is a steady growth trend in the number of regulatory requirements, standards, procedures, documents that market players now have to work with. It is clear that not all of these requirements are created solely to complicate the life of banks, but are a response to current challenges.

How do you think the challenges I have listed above change the internal corporate life of a modern bank? The answer is obvious.

What is necessary to be successful in such conditions?

Constant development is necessary, which means living every day, learning new skills and knowledge. When I was a high school student, I heard from a teacher that my generation would have to live in a world where constant self-development would be the main competitive advantage. I got hooked on this idea mentally, but I couldn’t even imagine how it would become a guide to action for successful people of my generation X. And how much more relevant it would be for generations Y and Z. 

Today, more and more discussions are dedicated to the importance of creative thinking and innovative solutions, regardless of the field of activity. How do you develop this potential in your team?

What is out-of-the-box thinking? This is a way of finding unusual approaches in all situations, using the assumption that the solution is not obvious and cannot be obtained by following the usual logic. As a rule, when companies come to a dead end in solving a certain problem, it is customary to involve external specialists so that they look at the situation from the outside and offer their decision. We set ourselves a goal to teach our employees to generate creative ideas, as well as to solve problems of an innovative nature, where an upgrade of the usual approaches is required.

To do this, the trainers of our bank’s corporate university have developed special trainings that deal with factors that influence the activation of out of box thinking and the creative environment. Our trainers develop the streaming thinking in employees, and also give them the tools to search for and generate non-standard ideas and solutions. Among them, the method of random objects, the method of random incentives, as well as the reverse method and much more. For example, the essence of the method of random objects is in attaching to one object the attributes of other objects.

What results are you obtaining at last?

Our people understand what is required for out of box thinking activation; learn the methods of generating the creative ideas, get experience in flow of thoughts and constructive thinking.

The participants of our trainings are those people for whom these skills are required for both their work and themselves. From my experience, I can say it works very well not only in the working environment but also in personal life.

In our bank, we stick to 4 values: I am fair, I am innovative, I am entrepreneurial, I am focused on result!

Could you please tell more about the internal culture in the bank? How do you build the training and sharing experience system? What career opportunities do you have? As far as I know, it is possible to rotate your specialists in different countries within your Bank Group.

In our bank, we stick to 4 values: I am fair, I am innovative, I am entrepreneurial, I am focused on result. If we talk about the training and development process in Home Credit Bank, it happens very intensively. It is transparent and continuous through all employee life cycle starting from his first day in the bank.

We definitely have the established training systems for Front Line employees, both Sales and Operators who work in our Call Center. They learn both soft skills and hard skills where soft skills are client service or product sales skills depending on business area and hard skills are products, systems, processes, technologies, etc… In other words, they gain all knowledge and skills required for their work. Certainly, all employees who start working in our bank, during the first three months, have mentors who help them adapt to the bank’s internal life, get the required experience to be successful in their work.

Besides, we train not only Front Line employees but also Experts, Middle Management and Top Management. We have two large projects for them: ‘Odyssey Junior’ and ‘Odyssey Senior’. Odyssey Junior program is for for middle managers and first-time managers.

Odyssey Senior program is focused on talented people with the ambition to be developed in higher managerial positions or in one of the ten countries within Home Credit group. Talking about innovative solutions, in order to be admitted to Odyssey Sr the candidate is required to prepare a project that will contain an innovative solution capable to change our business. Moreover, this is a very interesting task. The project is presented in English inside the country with all Bank Top Management Participating and voting to select the best projects. Afterwards, these projects are presented to Global Top Management during the international selection stage in one of 10 countries within Home Credit Group.

In other words, this is a high standard giving a good start to employees to realize their career expectations within Home Credit Group.

For all I know, your department develops and supports other development programs for employees. Could you please tell more about them?

We have Corporate University that pays much attention to employees’ trainings and development. Our Corporate University was built under the principle of the traditional university. It has training programs oriented for both Front Line employees and Middle Management.  Inside Corporate University, there are different academies that employees select depending on their personal development program requirements. As an example, employees are able to participate in one of the trainings provided by Personal Effectiveness Academy and employees from candidates’ pool program can select the trainings from Development of Manager’s Skills Academy (Team management, Project management, Finance for Non-Finance, Communication skills, etc.). In addition, we have Innovative Academy where we train Design Thinking that I had already mentioned before and other things that help them at work as well as in personal development. Besides, we pay much attention to leadership potential and work to achieve ‘snowball effect’ that includes systematic approach in shaping employees’ understanding of our internal values starting with managers.

As for the future, together with our Corporate University we would like to develop internal coaching. We do not plan to attract external coaches or involve HR specialists; alternatively, we are ensure that every Leader can be a coach and a mentor for his employees. Thus, we can help managers be more effective in the cooperation with their teams.

A source: and.kz