Leading Kuwaiti Bank Realises Positive Returns on Talent Management

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Since opening its doors in 1960, Gulf Bank has grown into an industry-leading financial services provider complemented by a large network of 58 branches in key locations across Kuwait.

With a mission to provide customers with the best and fastest banking services in Kuwait, Gulf Bank offers its employees the development, training and tools to help them deliver on this promise.

“In order to provide the best and fastest banking service to our customers, we need to offer the same level of service to our internal customers — our employees,” says Marian Sanad, Senior Manager, Leadership Development and Succession Planning, Gulf Bank. “The Halogen TalentSpace™ suite helps us do that. In fact, since implementing Halogen’s solutions we’ve been able to greatly accelerate our talent management processes.”

With Halogen Performance™ and Halogen Learning ™, Gulf Bank has realised several benefits, including:

  • A high-performing workforce that is more aligned with the bank’s mission, vision and values
  • Increased employee motivation and engagement through a more consistent, transparent and fair review process
  • Enhanced ability to easily meet the Central Bank of Kuwait’s mandated training requirements
  • Stronger link between employee performance and training and development in support of improved business outcomes
  • Significant time savings for managers, employees and HR by replacing its manual paper-based talent management processes

Ease of use and accessibility

Prior to choosing the Halogen TalentSpace Suite, Gulf Bank used a paper-based appraisal process that fell short in several ways. The process was not only time-consuming for managers, employees and the HR team, it also yielded inconsistent appraisals, making the perception of fairness and consistency over the rating system a significant challenge. Paper forms were also misplaced or postponed in delivery, which led to other issues like delayed employee promotions and pay increases.

To address these challenges, the Gulf Bank HR team began to research online performance management systems. Their search led them to Halogen Software.

“From an end-user perspective, Halogen’s solution is so easy to learn and understand that when new employees come onboard all they need is a short briefing and they’re ready to navigate easily through the system,” says Sanad. “They can access the system securely online from anywhere, which is a real benefit to our managers who need to work from outside their offices.”

Halogen’s ease of use also extends to HR and super users. “I don’t have an IT background, and for me to be able to run a system and process reviews for all 1,700 employees so easily, without the need of an IT specialist, is remarkable,” says Sanad.

Support for the Arabic language within the system is another noted plus. “Although most employees use the English appraisal forms, there are some people who find it easier to use them in Arabic. The Halogen Arabic language pack means we can give our employees a choice,” says Sanad.

Focusing on employee learning and development

Employee development is key to the bank’s success, so the HR team continually seeks new and innovative ways to enhance its learning and development programs. 

With Halogen Performance, every Gulf Bank employee has a voice in determining their development needs. For example, come performance review time, each employee has the opportunity to choose two development activities they believe will support them in achieving next year’s goals and help them address skill or knowledge gaps.

The Halogen Learning module takes the process one step further by linking learning to performance, so that every employee has visibility and access to the vast range of training opportunities available to them through Gulf Bank.

As with any financial institution operating in Kuwait, Gulf Bank must ensure that every employee completes training programs mandated by the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK). 

“Through the Halogen Learning module, we can make CBK-mandated training compulsory for each and every employee,” says Sanad. “From one convenient tool, we can also see a history of who has completed training and who has not. If we didn’t have a system like Halogen to track this information for our employees, it would be a nightmare. Now, we can track it with the click of a button.”

Time savings: From days to hours 

For most banks, administering talent management processes across 58 branches might pose a challenge, but with Halogen TalentSpace, Gulf Bank is able to do so efficiently and fairly, which has resulted in a more motivated and engaged workforce. 

“Every employee receives talent-related information at the same time, whether they are located at head office or at a remote branch, which makes them feel like they’re being treated fairly and in the same way,” says Sanad.

“Through the Halogen system, everyone can also see how what they do matters to the organisation and how their individual goals are linked to the big picture. Everyone is aligned and working together to achieve success.”

Having an integrated online system in place has led to an accelerated performance management cycle. “It used to take days create and send employee appraisal forms to every branch. Now, it takes only a couple of hours,” says Sanad. “There is no risk of forms being lost in delivery.”

Information to support annual salary increases can also be sent directly from Halogen Performance to Gulf Bank’s compensation and benefits team, saving time and eliminating delays in remuneration.

Gulf Bank is also leveraging the reporting capabilities in Halogen Performance to extract employee data into a one easy-to-read report for managers and leaders. Spending time and energy to manually sift through data and create reports is no longer necessary since the solution can automate the process in a fraction of the time.

Getting the most out of Continuous Advancement services

To maximise the value of the Halogen suite, and continually align its talent strategy to its business strategy, Gulf Bank is using Halogen’s Continuous Advancement Services.

“Working with the Halogen consultant, we can learn about new ways of doing things, including tips and tricks for getting the most out of our Halogen investment. The consultant helps us determine what we need as a business from our talent processes and how to refine them within the system to get there, which is immensely helpful,” says Sanad. 

A look at the future

In the future, Gulf Bank plans to roll out Halogen Job Description Builder™ to further integrate its talent management processes. “We are currently completing our competency library, which will be uploaded into Halogen Performance. Then we’ll map these competencies to Halogen Job Description Builder, ensuring that every description we create contains key core competencies that reinforce our culture, support our organisation’s mission and drive continued business success,” says Sanad.

This past spring, Gulf Bank was honored with the “Best Domestic Retail Bank” and “Best Human Resources Development” awards for 2014 from Banker Middle East, the region’s leading banking industry magazine. 

This recognition is a testament to the bank’s investment in developing the skills of its management, staff, and HR department. Having the ability to link learning and performance has helped employees improve the necessary skills required to help the bank meet its annual goals and enabled Gulf Bank to experience first-hand the resulting improvement in customer service.