Photo (above): Management trainees on their first day of training at Alliance Bank.
Graduate development programme is a wise investment for young professionals looking to build a solid career
By SANDY CLARKE
Alliance Bank is committed to cultivating a bright future for graduates in Malaysia through its graduate programme that partners with young professionals to realise their potential.
In recognition of its unwavering dedication to developing tomorrow’s leaders, the bank scooped a number of awards this year including: Excellence in Graduate Development at the Human Resources Excellence Awards; Best Graduate Recruitment Programme at the Asia Recruitment Awards; and Best Graduate Programme at the Retail Banker International Asia Trailblazer Awards.
At the heart of its mission, Alliance Bank aims to grow a core group of well-rounded bankers and leaders through its development initiative to empower and engage employees with the right values.
Last November, senior management were delighted to announce that, within just one year, Alliance Bank had leaped from 78th position on the roster of Malaysia’s 100 Leading Graduate Employers to cracking the Top 30.
“Winning these awards and recognitions has further reaffirmed the Bank’s mission standards to help our employees to achieve their full potential,” commented Chew Siew Suan, executive vice president, head of group human resource at Alliance Bank.
Alliance Bank has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1958, yet it still retains a core set of values that continues to direct the future of the business today. Projecting itself as a “champion team, not a team of champions”, the reality reflects the values held by the bank, which places a heavy emphasis on respect, integrity, teamwork, excellence and ownership.
Its graduate programme leads the way in building competent, reliable and able bankers and leaders. The focus on recognising potential in young professionals and providing a platform for them to grow and develop is testament to the awareness at Alliance Bank of the need to address the concerns of Malaysia’s business community in improving the soft skills of fresh graduates.
Step by step
Alliance Bank not only has a strong sense of how best to cultivate top talent, but its graduate programme also includes a robust employer branding strategy that aims to make sure top talents are retained.
To help ensure this objective is met, the graduate programme is implemented across three key focus areas in order to allow graduates to get a deeper understanding of the bank’s culture, as well as a sense of what they themselves can achieve by learning from the breadth of knowledge and experience at Alliance Bank.
First, the Bank recognised the need to develop employees with the right values, which is done through Alliance Bank Leadership Excellence programmes, which leverages on the strengths of existing teams, while raising the next generation of leaders. Highlighting its acute understanding of how leaders are developed, Alliance Bank offers differentiated programmes for future leaders as well as mainstream employees.
Next is the employer branding strategy used to full effect, enhancing the bank’s talent creation pipeline through organising and active participation in career fairs, career talks, campus and university engagements, as well leveraging on social media to engage and interact with graduates.
Through its focus on providing an experiential learning and development platform to learn and grow, Alliance Bank develops its top talent through the most effective process of learn-by-doing. Two of such programmes are its Management Trainee Programme and Structured Internship Programme.
The graduates benefit from a 12-month structured programme designed with a tailor-made syllabus consisting of experiential learning opportunities, exciting projects, and the opportunity of learning directly from the bank’s senior management team.
There’s no question of Alliance Bank’s determination to provide the best graduate programme within the business community. The bank’s future initiatives see the enhanced and continuous development of graduates – even after they have completed their Management Trainee Programme. These include the Alliance Managers Programme, Alliance Leaders Programme and Senior Leaders Programme, all of which will help to accelerate the leadership potential of these young professionals.
Indeed, there has been widespread and ready acknowledgement of the benefit of Alliance Bank’s graduate programme and the impact it has on graduates’ confidence, self-esteem, and ability to perform to a high standard.
Ruben Kempeneer, regional director of Timetric, is enthusiastic in his praise:
“Over the past three years Alliance Bank has developed a series of excellent initiatives to enhance the learning and development of its graduate employees. With the leadership, internship and a year-long management trainee programme, the bank provides a comprehensive toolbox of skills to its graduates to ensure that they are appropriately prepared to create effective change to the bank.”
Any business that hopes to truly cultivate top talent, and retain them following their training, knows that a solid employer branding strategy is vital. This is an area Alliance Bank has clearly dedicated time on developing.
One key aspect of the bank’s employee value proposition lies in its provision of differentiated learning and development experiences. Alliance Bank recognises that diverging from the one-size-fits all approach to learning not only optimises the ability of graduates to grow and develop, but in applying a differentiated learning strategy, graduates are left in no doubt that this is a bank that cares about their progress – it knows the value of ensuring everyone, from the newest graduate on the programme to the Group CEO, knows that they are valued, respected, and are making a contribution to the bank’s growth.
To help that process along, Alliance Bank’s preference for experiential learning and development once again shines a light on the bank’s astute ability to develop talent, showing that it’s not the practical method of development that matters, it’s how talent is developed that determines how successful graduates will be, as well as their level of commitment to supporting the needs of the bank.
Looking to the future
With growing concerns that young people in Malaysia are experiencing a shortfall in essential life and professional skills, Alliance Bank has been taking, and continues to take, decisive action to bring out the best in the nation’s graduates and transform them into the leaders of tomorrow. In the banking industry, it’s easy to see companies as faceless corporations that are concerned only with their bottom line. It’s evidently clear this is not the case when it comes to Alliance Bank.
The industry-wide recognition, testimonials and success stories thus far go to show that not only is the bank’s graduate programme transforming the careers of young professionals – the bank’s culture of engaged development and values that centre on respect for the individual exemplify the care and attention that goes into ensuring all employees and senior management are valued and provided with opportunities to grow.
It’s not hard to see why Alliance Bank has scooped a number of coveted accolades in 2015, and no doubt there are more awards and recognition to come in celebration of the bank’s tireless endeavour to making a difference across the country, helping graduates to realise their worth and fulfil their potential.
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Sandy is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, and previously enjoyed 10 years as a journalist and broadcaster in the UK. He has been fortunate to gain valuable insights into what makes us tick, which has deepened his interests in leadership, emotions, mindfulness, and human behaviour.