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Reserve Bank's biggest HR audit gets
February, 16th 2010

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has embarked on its biggest ever human resources (HR) audit programme to take a complete re-look at its man management practices.

The central bank, which is facing challenges on the manpower front from various directions such as retirement and skill upgradation, has hired Hewitt Associates for the exercise during its platinum jubilee year.

HR audit, regarded as a diagnostic tool rather than a prescriptive instrument, is a process which examines the organisations HR policies and procedures to reveal the strengths and weaknesses of employees and suggests solution wherever required.

The initiative, first of its kind in many years for the 20,000-odd central bank employees, is aiming to seek feedback from its employees about job satisfaction and future prospects.

Internally, RBI faces a huge challenge with a large number of its Grade-A officers, who were designated as assistant managers due for retirement in the next few years. The 5,553-strong Grade-A officers of the bank form the largest chunk among all categories and are responsible for core operational areas such as clearing operation and cheque processing. As on December 31, 2008, the central banks total staff strength was 20,952.

In the backdrop of the global financial crisis, the central bank has decided to hire specialists in areas such as derivatives and risk management from the private sector. To start with, it plans to fill up vacancies with outside professionals.

According to RBIs internal estimates, employee attrition, apart from retirement, is around 10-15 per cent. HR management dominated RBI discussions during the three-day re-treat in November. It was attended by more than 50 top officials of the central bank, including the governor and deputy governors.

The global HR consultant firm, which started the process with a detailed questionnaire of over 100 questions, however, got a lethargic response from RBI staffers.

The queries for feedback were divided into four chapters, ranging from employees satisfaction level regarding remuneration, housing facilities, job environment, relationship with peer groups and subordinates, job-related facilities such as office infrastructure and promotion policies.

The most critical aspect of the survey was the feedback on immediate bosses and about the top management. They wanted to know how supportive and motivating are the immediate bosses and whether the top management provides the leadership, said an RBI official.

The feedback form, which was circulated electronically in November with a one-week deadline, got only 15 per cent response. The deadline, was later extended four times, but sources said only 50 per cent of the employees responded.

Some central bank employees explained the poor participation to a lack of communication between the top officials and their juniors.

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