Human Resources: Engaging People and Facilitating Performance

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Tuesday 11 September


What society wants in a central bank(er) today and tomorrow
Iain Thomson, Managing Director, Squared Circle

The financial crisis led to dramatic changes in what governments, markets and stakeholders expect and demand of central banks. Two conclusions follow: first that the skillsets demanded by central banks will change and second that they as institutions must be better equipped for change itself. The chairman will challenge delegates to think about the roles their central bank plays in the economy and how HR contribute to these, from a strategic perspective. Group discussion will focus on how human resourcing needs have evolved and what qualities and skillsets are required, within the context of changing mandates, governance and roles. The chairman will invite delegates to consider how policies around the relationships between line managers, staff and HR may need to alter as a result.

Customers - who are they, and what do they want?
Workshop led by the chairman

In recent years, developments in the roles and activities of central banks have put a premium on appropriate personnel development and training, manpower planning and the HR function generally. But what do senior executives and governors actually want from human resources? What about the needs of "external" customers? For this session delegates will split into two groups to discuss what they think is expected of them, from the view of senior staff and external customers. The chairman will then invite both groups to present their findings, and consider how competing and changing demands placed on the function can inform a statement of principal strategic objectives, priorities and targets. Discussion will centre on the contribution and value that human resource management initiatives can make to the institution as a whole.

HR capability - What type of people to have in HR and how to attract them
Jane Aamodt Haugland, HR Director, Norges Bank

This session will challenge delegates to make an honest assessment of the services their function provides and how they market these. As the area of the central bank which sources and ensures the welfare of its key asset, HR has a range of offerings beyond the traditional image of a box-ticking bureaucracy. But is it fit for purpose? What type of people and with what background does the HR department need? The speaker will show how a mix of soft- and hard-skilled employees is crucial to building an effective unit. Discussion will focus on how central banks can promote themselves as employers via their website, newspaper articles, their own advertisements and direct contact with young economists.

Wednesday 12 September


How HR interacts with the central bank (heads of departments, board, governor)
Jane Aamodt Haugland, HR Director, Norges Bank

Good interaction is important in any institution and is a key driver for employee engagement. The challenge for HR in central banks is how to successfully communicate with different levels from senior executives and board members to new recruits. Are ‘soft skills' enough when dealing with employees in technical positions? What type of information and how often does this need to be provided to the various parts of the institution? The speaker will show how the HR department can best manage the various demands in both content and frequency of information delivery.

The proposition: how to provide compelling opportunities for the global talent market
Janis Marville, Director of Human Resources, Central Bank of Barbados

Human resource experts in central banks increasingly acknowledge the globalised nature of the market they have to compete in. With professionals in high demand in financial centres around the world, central banks must win against corporates for talent at both national and international levels. In this session, an experienced HR practitioner will discuss how a central bank can rise to this challenge through greater engagement and active recruiting, as well as by developing a flexible approach through, for example, short-term contracts. Lessons will be drawn out on how central banks can present a compelling proposition to recruit the staff they need.

Compensation and sustained contribution

Inez Oliveira, Senior Policy and Program Specialist, Bank of Canada

The unique nature of central banks makes benchmarking at the corporate level difficult. This can be mirrored at the individual level too often rendering pay reviews a formality. This session, in the form of case-study, will look at how the Bank of Canada is restructuring its total compensation scheme to demand more from managers in terms of evaluating employees' sustained contribution and actively including this in pay reviews. The group will discuss lessons that can be learnt from the experience, including work to identify markets of comparison for central banking.

Workshop: rewarding good performance and dealing with poor performers
Led by Inez Oliveira and Janis Marville

The highly charged issues of rewards and appraisal present challenges for central banks, built as they largely have been on a lifetime career model. This extended workshop session will explore frankly the options open to HR. Group discussion will focus on the merits of the tools available to them, and cover job and work security, the public service ethic, what and how to reward, individual performance plans, bonuses and enhancements, leave/holiday policies, and other benefits. It will also raise questions about the confidence and capability of HR to tackle performance issues.

Thursday 13 September


How HR can and should support institutional change
Mugur Dragos Tolici, Director, Human Resources Department, National Bank of Romania

Increasingly, central banks are implementing change programmes aimed at improving efficiency and focusing on core activities. For institutions that have developed with career structures modelled on jobs for life, or are moving from operational to a more "knowledge-based" workforce, this presents many difficult and painful choices. This session will focus on experiences of managing the adjustments in staff profile and headcount, and the role HR can play in advising senior management and implementing such programmes. It will also encourage delegates to consider how HR can help to motivate and manage people's performance during times of change and raised expectations on central banks.

Potential: succession and exit planning
Mugur Dragos Tolici

Changing institutional roles and increasing pressure to demonstrate good governance at central banks as a whole, places more emphasis on how HR can actively manage headcount. This session will look at practical ways that the National Bank of Romania has begun its strategy for the future. An experienced HR Director will explain how a new HR system helps to identify talents, plan career steps and gives all staff the ability to maximize their potential, which in turn will ensure succession.

Training managers - how and how often?
Workshop led by the chairman

As central banks managers are typically highly technically skilled staff, HR plays a crucial role in developing their managing and leadership capabilities. This session will look at how managers can be trained both at the individual and collective level. The speaker will focus on how the HR function facilitates effective people management, and will invite delegates to explore the type of training managers need to be more dynamic in their approach to building and leading a team, and how often managers' performance should be reviewed.

Marketing HR services
Jeremy Ashworth, Senior Partner, wakeup

Tradition dictates that the HR department carries out its duties in the background. Does the central bank know the range of services the function offers? How can HR communicate this? Discussion here will draw on the experience of an industry expert to consider how to present HR offerings across an institution to all staff ranging from senior executives to graduates.

Friday 14 September


HR as the "corporate glue" or "organisational conscience"
Jacquie Findlay, Director and Senior Partner, HR4U

This session will consider the roles HR can play when external shocks or conflict, increasing specialisation and the reduction of staff numbers create tensions, which may call into question the central bank's identity and values. HR is in a unique position to bring together departments which may traditionally have different outlooks. In addition, HR may need to act as the "conscience" for the central bank when ethical, strategic balance, win-lose issues between departments, or group or individual employment law problems arise. As a mediating force there are a variety of tools available, and the speaker will address how these can be effectively deployed.

Human resource audit
Iain Thomson

An HR audit can be a useful tool to achieve organisational goals and find solutions to problems. It also focuses on the needs of individual staff, making them feel valued and helping to bridge the gap between management and employees. This session will invite delegates to discuss how effective their organisation is at maximising the contribution of its staff, and the chairman will outline the auditing process and how this can promote change and creativity within an institution.

Course conclusion: action plans and concrete tips
Roundtable discussion led by the chairman

The day and the course will conclude with a session led by the chairman drawing in the main points of discussion throughout the seminar. The aim will be to compile the elements to build and assess a value proposition for the HR function within the central bank. Delegates will be encouraged to pool their thoughts and prepare action plans to take back to their home institutions.