Banking Industry Human Resource Development Models


Human resource development (HRD) entails the development and releasing of human skills through workforce training and organizational enlargement with the aim of improving performance. It possesses the prospective development of employees’ work-based acquaintance, proficiency, efficiency and fulfillment. This can either be for personal, group or for the benefit of a company, community or humanity in its entirety (Heathfield, 2014).

In essence, HRD interventions result in improved productivity, enhancement of employee motivation and increase job satisfaction. This essay seeks to compare two HRD models applied by The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) and Standard Chartered Bank (SCB). The banks implement the international Manager (IM) Programme and ‘Strengths-based’ approach respectively.

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The banking industry is increasingly becoming competitive. There is particularly intense rivalry for extra practicing personnel endowment.

The associated risks for not performing such practices effectively are already high. Risks in the human resource sector in the banking industry have become global and extra complex. It is hence imperative for any financial institution seeking to remain competitive in the market to employ strategies that will enable them to stay ahead of competition, increase market share, gain and retain competitive advantage (Swanson and Holton, 2005).

Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) HRD model

Basically, SCB identifies leadership development as fundamental to the future achievement of its business. The company has a global network of two hundred ‘Strength Coaches’. In fact, the coaches are invited from within the company while working as human resource relationship managers. This is an additional role to their responsibility. The company arranges a four-day mandatory training for those willing to become coaches. Additionally, the prospective coaches must finish ten coaching periods in four months.

Further, they must audio-record one session for reviewing by team coaches. Fundamentally, the prospects must commit to continuing various professional developments. It is the expectation of the company that the team coaches in charge of training the corporation coaches meet every coach for two hours after every three months as the minimum engagement period with the coach.

The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) HRD Model

HSBC sets up the International Manager (IM) Programme to offer its managers diverse career. It was designed to provide the chance to operate in different roles and locations. In this regard, the IM is at liberty to construct a collection of banking and leadership abilities that develop a pool of understanding and familiarity within an enterprise specialization. Consequently, the IM accumulates exposure to developing and established markets (Lee, 2001).


By inviting the existing HR relationship managers to become Strength Coaches, it is an indication that Standard Chartered Bank values personal development of its employees. Similarly, HSBC allows its managers to engage in personal development through its international manager (IM) Programme. However, IMs tend to learn on their own in any area.

The significant investment in technology infrastructure by SBC typically requires parallel training and development determinations in planning and executing such changes. The company utilizes systematically designed training as opposed to a condensed vendor-provided summary presentation.

This not only enables advanced learning for the coaches but also assists in moving the company towards growth as depicted in the technology platform. On the other hand, HSBC does not have an official training infrastructure despite the existence of the IM programme. The company does not invest in training and development hence may curtail personal development of its employees (Hansson, 2001)..

Critique: Purpose of HRD

The main purpose of HRD is bringing to focus the resource that people bring to the achievement equation namely personal and organizational development. The two key threads of HRD are personal and corporate learning, as well as personal and corporate performance. Some quarters view learning and performance as substitutes or rivals.

However, majority view them as balancing in a formula for success. Whichever way one looks at them, the main idea is improvement. In essence, the workforce is continuously assisted to gain new capabilities through a process of planning, response, training and job rotation.

The HRD applied by the SCB significantly addresses the concerns of the purpose of HRD in the context of personal development and organizational performance. Besides, HRD requires formal and practical knowledge. The prospective coaches are required to possess professional interest in learning and human development. Considering that the company management is engaged in training the employees, it can be assumed that the company also focuses on skills and languages that the up-coming coach should learn.

From the perspective of cross culture, both models appear to be effective. The managers in HSBC are expected to understand various cultures that they are likely to interact with during operations. They are expected to learn different languages so that the impact of language barrier is minimized. Additionally, when they are assigned duties in a completely different cultural setting from their own, they will easily adjust. The criterion of flexibility and adaptability in this case works in the affirmative for them to realize their goals.

Coaches at SCB may encounter some challenges if they only interact with a single team coach throughout training. Thus, it is fundamental to have managers in multinational companies being exposed to diverse cultures. In fact, globalization is increasingly making this inevitable.

The situation for SCB becomes particularly complex in view of cultures when one considers the rising complexity of organizations. In developed and developing countries, employees are continuously demanding to work virtually across boundaries and time. This may raise challenges for coaches who may not be very conversant with different cultures yet they will virtually work with others through technologies.

The prospective candidates in HSBC are not essentially evaluated after they engage in the program. Typically, some individuals are driven by the urge that the job looks good. Empirical evidence indicates that some managers in the banking industry continue to lack inspiration or sense of responsibility required for effective workforce training. As a result, they are deemed money-driven.

Potential use of emerging technologies to increase efficiency and effectiveness

In the last two decades, there has been tremendous advancement in technology. This has had an impact in reshaping the methods by which working life is led. In essence, individuals in the contemporary workplace are experiencing emerging management philosophies and practices including learning organizations, team work and demands for the development of individual competencies and knowledge (Nijhof, 1996).

In view of the contents of workforce training through information technology, social behavior, management and managerial skills are fields that are increasingly active. Training in information technology essentially entails programs on how to take advantage of diverse software. In fact, training in social behavior and managerial skills are centrally focused on the development of the company in its entirety.

In recent years, online learning has influenced the delivery of efficiency in HRD. Companies are investing in information technology infrastructure to facilitate learning and sharing of knowledge. The human resource function in competitive companies encourages the employees to engage in online forums. In addition to attending physical training sessions, individuals pursuing HRD further engage in E-learning which has become a tool to afford equal access to learning across companies.

The availability of intranet and internet has boosted these initiatives. Companies are investing in these technologies to create learning societies within workplace. In order for an individual to learn, the sharing of information and knowledge must be in existence. Thus, technologies are essential in facilitating learning by connecting workforce from different departments of the companies both locally and internationally as well as the general public.

Emerging technologies not only save companies financial resources but also advance knowledge sharing and collaboration. For example, a team coach in SCB can conduct a training session for the coaches from his office stationed in New York while the coaches are spread across all continents through video conferencing. The cost for installing these technologies is way cheaper than having such coaches travelling to America every three months. In addition, it will be easier for the coaches to consult with the team coaches frequently.


The practice of HRD is dictated by the intentions to improve knowledge and skills of individuals, groups, operational processes and general organization. It suggests common-sense thinking and actions. Organizations may conduct business in the same sector but apply completely different HRD models as observed in this paper. However, companies anticipate the same outcome namely personal development and organizational performance. Some models aptly capture the needs of individuals and organization while others only articulate the objectives of the company.


Hansson, B. (2001). Competency models: Are self-perceptions accurate enough? Journal of European Industrial Training, 25(9), 428-441.

Heathfield, S. (2014). What is human resource development (HRD)? Web.

Lee, M. (2001). A refusal to define HRD. Human Resource Development International, 4(3), 327-341.

Nijhof, W. (1996). Towards the learning society: Teaching and learning in the European year of lifelong learning. Lifelong Learning in Europe, 1(1), 46-50.

Swanson, R. & Holton, E. (2009). Foundations of human resource development. San Francisco, California: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

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