Banca IFIS continues to invest in human resources: the number of employees rose from 548 at the end of 2013 to 618 at 31 December 2014. 516 are on open-ended contracts, 62 on fixed-term contracts, 20 on apprenticeship contracts, and 20 are foreign employees. It should be noted that the Bank is committed to stabilising employment relationships, transferring over 80 employees to open-ended contracts in 2014.
This positive growth trend is related to the Bank’s constantly growing commercial presence, the consolidation of an organisational structure oriented to technological innovation, and also the need to support a market where risk management remains a priority.
The new positions were mainly in relationship management with client companies – the Bank's historical core business (sales account managers, credit management specialists, and credit analysts), in the support and management of Distressed Retail Loans (especially Analytical Management, but also Massive Management and Operating Services – especially the Call Centre – were bolstered), and technical support (organisational, IT and legal). The Non Performing Loans Area continues to hire Credit Consultants to strengthen its internal network of financial agents, which will be gradually implemented throughout 2015 and consist of 200 employees.
In 2015, the workforce is expected to grow double-digit once again, and the areas concerned will largely be the same as in 2014.
Recruitment, Training and Development
Recruitment is the Development Service's most resource-intensive activity. Looking for the most qualified and motivated candidates to join the various operating/business areas, in order to ensure the quantity and quality of staff is consistent with the Group's strategic and growth targets, is challenging. However, our managers are driven by the awareness that they are giving employment opportunities to skilled people mired in a stagnant job market.
Spontaneous applications received through our website as well as the various social networks, and especially LinkedIn, have now become the main recruitment channel, reflecting the Bank’s innovative and technological approach.
The selection process for most job openings is conventional (CV screening, management interview, technical interview, etc.). For two specific positions – the Sales Account Manager and the Financial Agent/Credit Consultant – the bank implemented a massive recruitment process consistent with its innovative approach; candidates are invited to a “Web Streaming Open Day” hosted by the Communications Function, followed by Skype interviews and other recruitment stages aimed at screening for a set of important personal characteristics critical for the positions concerned.
During 2014, as in late 2013, the Group continued to recruit Credit Consultants through “Open Days” organised by the competent business functions. This recruiting process, focused on specific geographical areas, will be implemented also during the first half of 2015.
2014 saw several training initiatives and growth opportunities at Banca IFIS, with significant investments in people's development.
Specifically, during 2014 the Group offered important and targeted training opportunities; employees and managers received both technical/operational and management training.
Here below are the main training programmes carried out:
- Experienced Sales People: 5 two-day outdoor sessions organised by the Palo Alto School involving all Sales Account Managers;
- Ambrosetti Communications Course: two 2-day workshops on Communications and Negotiations for high-potential employees (35 participants);
- Ambrosetti Resource Management Course: three 2-day workshops on Coaching, Delegation and Team Management for Service Managers or potential future work team managers (37 participants);
- Soft Skills Training: 22 all-day training sessions on the development of management skills based on performance evaluation findings (150 participants);
- Financial Statement Analysis: 3 sessions involving 45 participants, mainly from the branches' Credit Management units.
As part of the investments and initiatives aimed at providing opportunities to grow to the Group's young employees, in the fourth quarter of 2014 12 deserving young staff members were enrolled in external Master programmes in “legal banking” and “management planning and control”.
Here below are the main recurring training programmes:
- Giovani Leoni (Young Lions): a programme aimed at training and developing the technical/operational/commercial skills of 8 new sales account managers at Banca IFIS; it lasts six weeks and is taught by in-house and external teachers;
- English: the Bank continued to provide English language courses to employees divided according to language proficiency tests. 101 participants attended the courses (involving also 1-1 sessions with managers); in 2014 the initiative was extended to the office in Florence, adding a further 63 participants;
- NPL Academy: technical/behavioural training for prospective agents/Credit Consultants; 7 editions were held, each lasting 2 days;
- Anti-money laundering: refresher courses and regulatory comparisons;
- Security and safety: courses for new hires, refresher courses for all staff, and specific courses for security and safety officers.
As for human resource management, two important changes were introduced in 2014:
- The Bank implemented the new “Performanagement” evaluation system, a tool that will increase employees' awareness of their role.
- In the fourth quarter, it launched the "New-Hire Mentoring" project, aimed at helping new employees joining Banca Ifis by planning a shared training programme involving periodic monitoring throughout their first year at the company.