Md. Sayeed Iqbal, Chief Human Resource Officer at IPDC, provides insight into how the leading financial institution acquires and manages talent.
How does IPDC identify and recruit talents who have the versatility to apply themselves across multiple industries?
We try to utilise as many channels as possible to release job circulars. We do this both internally and externally. Internally means we release job circulars within IPDC to give our current employees the option to apply for the vacancy if they feel they fit the job description. Externally, we post job circulars on our website, and on social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook. We use job portals, particularly bdjobs. Career counselling centres of renowned universities are also very resourceful. At times, we do campus recruitment based on the merit requirement of the position.
For critical positions, we opt for headhunting firms. Sometimes we need to highlight our brand and our organisation, in which case newspaper advertisements are a very good resource.
After we receive the applications, we apply a neutral and bias-free methodology in our selection process. The CVs are shortlisted and finalised in coordination with the hiring manager. For fresh employees, it is mandatory that they appear for a written test. A competency-based interview and a panel interview are conducted next.
The hiring process is a bit more robust for management trainee officers – the future leaders of IPDC. They first appear for a written test and then go through the assessment centre where they are given a topic for group discussion. They are also required to make a presentation and then go through a structured interview. Shortlisted candidates then go for a final interview. All these processes ensure that we get the best possible candidates and that the selection process is neutral and free of bias.
‘Jaago Ucchashe’ is more than just a tagline. Rather, this motto acts as a driving force for IPDC. During our recruitment process, we don’t just look at the skills of the candidates, but also place heavy emphasis on whether they are passionate about what they do, and whether they are propellers of innovation or not.
How does IPDC ensure equal working opportunities for women?
IPDC strongly advocates DEI – Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. We accommodate people from all races, ethnicity and gender. Therefore, an equal working opportunity is there not only for women, but the entire demography as a whole.
Every department in IPDC has qualified women who are contributing to the growth of the organisation. In top management, 3 women are working as department heads. We also have 3 female directors who are leading IPDC towards a brighter future.
It’s not only equal working opportunities, but IPDC ensures equal opportunities in all conditions of employment, for example, promotion, increment, transfer, training, etc.
I can proudly say that in 2017, 18% of employees were female, and now, in 2022, we have gone up to 22%, and this will keep growing in the future.
What are the major challenges of human resource management in an organisation as impactful as IPDC?
Of course, there are uncountable challenges, but I would like to highlight 2. The first is human capacity development. Today’s world of work changes rapidly and the HR department has to ensure that our employees are equipped to adapt. We need to understand how customer expectations are changing, identify corresponding skill gaps in our workforce, and incorporate relevant learning and development to train them accordingly. Upskilling and reskilling need to be rapid and at the same pace. IPDC invests heavily in talent development. A few years ago, our employees were able to avail foreign training, but that has ceased for a while. We are covering that gap with in-house training by utilising the resources of the country.
The second challenge is retention. IPDC is doing quite well in the market and our business is growing at an exponential rate. Our brand visibility can’t be matched by other financial institutions. While this is undoubtedly good news, it is a double-edged sword. Our competitors are eager to pick up our employees. Sometimes, competitors offer higher salaries, and it is not always possible to retain employees by matching those offers. IPDC recognises this and we are always trying to improve in terms of employee value propositions and make sure that we do not incur any regrettable loss.
TODAY’S WORLD OF WORK CHANGES RAPIDLY AND THE HR DEPARTMENT HAS TO ENSURE THAT OUR EMPLOYEES ARE EQUIPPED TO ADAPT. WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND HOW CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS ARE CHANGING, IDENTIFY CORRESPONDING SKILL GAPS IN OUR WORKFORCE, AND INCORPORATE RELEVANT LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT TO TRAIN THEM ACCORDINGLY.
Considering the remarkable performance and activities of IPDC, especially in the last 5 to 6 years, will you please enlighten us on how talent management was done at this time?
Talent management covers the total life cycle of an employee – from entry to exit. In 2016, when I joined here, we had 262 employees. Now, in 2022, we have 990. There has been a huge growth in headcount, and concurrently, in business. During that time, there were more new employees and only a few old ones. To ensure everyone works well as a team, we took more employee engagement initiatives to build synergy among all. In 2017, and 2019, IPDC was growing very fast and it was important to do employer branding. We did roadshows at 12 to 14 renowned universities in Bangladesh so that people knew that IPDC was growing, changing, and evolving. We also participated in each and every job fair at renowned universities to increase employee branding.
IPDC also invested heavily in employee training – both in-house and abroad. Several new line managers were onboarded during the growth period, so we developed training programs for them. We also incorporated HRIS through which we could better evaluate employee performance. Several policies were reviewed including employee performance bonus, long term incentive award, insurance policy, leave policy, etc. Additionally, we restructured the entire organisation in collaboration with KPMG to ensure there were no loopholes within our structure.
IPDC also developed several employee rewards and recognition programs. Virtually every month, we would host events to keep the environment engaged and vibrant. All these have contributed to the development of a team that remains very passionate about working in IPDC.
How do you inspire your workforce and create a welcoming work environment for them?
We try to create a work environment that is pleasant and inviting. All doors at IPDC are open to all of its employees. We do not have a sir/madam culture, and everyone is welcome to discuss their problems with the management if they ever feel they are not being heard. The main goal is to ensure that employees at all levels know that IPDC management is always supportive.
We also have a very unique team-building event that is arranged through Employee Recreation Club (ERC). Employees complete activities and participate in competitions outside the office for 2 days. The team members get to know each other and work closely with senior management. This opens up new avenues of communication and alleviates barriers.
IPDC also ensures transparency in communication. Employees are informed about their performance evaluation criteria. They are also aware of the metrics that need to be fulfilled in order to be eligible for promotion or receive a salary increment.
We thrive to create a culture of support and appreciation. We do not want our employees to feel that they are working for an organisation. Rather, they are part of a family.