Involve Employees in Management

Hindustan Times (New Delhi, India), October 31, 2013 | Go to article overview

Involve Employees in Management


New Delhi, Oct. 31 -- M Narendra, chairman and managing director, Indian Overseas Bank, has a unique way of functioning despite being in charge of a government-run bank. He believes that leaders need to be engaged with their employees while providing them the much- needed appreciation and encouragement. In an interview with HT, Narendra says promoting employees as a method of reward is a mantra he follows. Excerpts:

You have been leading a staterun bank. What according to you are the main challenges that this industry is facing at present?

Preparing people is a major challenge now. In the banking industry, especially public sector banks, recruitment has started taking place only in the past three years after a gap of about 10 years. This poses a challenge in the form of getting the newcomers ready to take over from the seniors who are retiring in large numbers. Despite many initiatives taken by the banks, image-building is another challenge. Coming out with a unique differentiator has become difficult. Leveraging of technology is a challenge. I feel that the capabilities of technology are yet to be fully tapped. Designing products enabled by technology will help not only in better customer acquisition but also reduce the cost of transactions.

As a leader do you find it difficult to steer the ship at a time when the economy is witnessing a sharp slowdown?

We are thankful to the government and the monetary authorities for carefully handling and taking remedial solution in the wake of the present economic slowdown. As such, we are ready to help the affected sectors. At the same time, our focus would continue to be on recovery and upgradation of NPAs (non-performing assets) and continuous monitoring of restructured accounts. I strongly believe that there would be a potential growth when banks help other segments when they are in dire need. In our long banking career, all of us have seen the ups and downs in the economy. It is important that prudent and cautious decisions and actions are taken during this period, so that when the recovery is complete, the banks are ready to lend more.

Has the going been tough?

Credit growth has been satisfactory. We are also focusing on recovery of nonperforming assets. …

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