MUSCAT, 11 December 2012 - In recognition of outstanding achievements in employment and training programmes for national manpower and compliance with labour-related legislation, Bank Muscat, the flagship financial services provider in the Sultanate, was honoured with two awards at a ceremony organised by the Ministry of Manpower.
AbdulRazak Ali Issa, Chief Executive, received the awards at the ceremony held under the auspices of H.E Dr Yahya bin Mahfoudh al Mantheri, Chairman of Majlis Addawla. Salim al Kaabi, DGM – Human Resources, attended the ceremony in which Aziza Mohammed al Hinai and Nabhan Salem al Dhahabi, employed with Bank Muscat since 1976 and 1986 respectively, were also felicitated for long service with the bank.
AbdulRazak Ali Issa said: “Bank Muscat is proud to be honoured once again for its commitment and achievement in national manpower initiatives. The bank pursues a comprehensive and continuous plan to develop Omani skills. The HR initiatives of the bank are integral to the business strategies, providing a competitive edge."
The bank was recertified this year as an Investor in People (IiP) organisation, affirming its human resources management practices in conformity with benchmark international standards. The bank presently has over 3100 employees with Omanisation level exceeding 93 per cent. The bank appointed 366 Omanis at various levels in 2012.
During the year, over 530 learning programmes were facilitated for 5,922 staff members, besides 25 induction programs attended by 336 staff. Also, 136 in-company courses were attended by 1748 staff to enable business and services functions in the bank achieve their objectives.
The bank provided sponsorships for 97 employees under the educational assistance scheme in 2012 bringing the total to-date to 608 with 206 already graduated. Five employees were also sponsored for postgraduate studies abroad in 2012 bringing the total to 35 with 20 already graduated. This enables executives to develop and assume higher responsibilities.
The bank provided 36 sponsorships for professional certifications in 2012 bringing the total to-date to 284 with 144 already completed. This enables bank's employees to benchmark their functional knowledge with requirements of the respective international awarding bodies.
AbdulRazak Ali Issa added: “Bank Muscat's HR practices focus on creating, nurturing and supporting people to meet the ambitious growth plans of the bank, through a wide variety of initiatives that cover all stages of employee life cycle. Bank Muscat is proud to have set a fine example in continuously building human capacity and creating rewarding career opportunities."
Over the years, Bank Muscat has adopted innovative strategies to equip Omani staff to take up leadership positions in tandem with future challenges. Scripting benchmark human resources development processes, the HRM role primarily revolves around as a planner and change agent.
The bank has developed a comprehensive Learning & Development strategy for skill and knowledge enhancement vis-à-vis the requirement of various departments. The multi-skill development programmes have benefited a large number of staff.
Bank Muscat has a high level of commitment towards its people, encouraging them to take ownership and responsibility and contribute to the growth of the organisation. The bank continuously invests to build human capacity and create career opportunities for highly-qualified Omani nationals. The bank has been able to derive maximum mileage out of its HR processes as most of its middle and senior management cadres are drawn from within the bank.
Salim al Kaabi, DGM-HRM, said: “Bank Muscat has achieved qualitative advance in the human resources sector as it attracts the best Omani cadres for employment at all levels. The bank has succeeded tremendously in this respect as in 2001 there were only six Omani graduates and 150 diploma holders, compared to 1,296 Omanis with Master's Degree, 464 with Bachelor's Degree and 1,131 with diploma certificates, in addition to others with post-graduate certificates."
Women empowerment strategy
The bank's women empowerment strategy is notable as 42 per cent of staff are women holding various positions, including senior management positions. “Bank Muscat is keen to develop its leadership pool from among the young Omanis, thereby contributing to Oman's future by investing in talent which is the real wealth of the nation," Al Kaabi added.
Major HR achievements
Bank Muscat is the first bank in the world to win the prestigious Level 3 People Capability Maturity Model (PCMM) certification by Carnegie Melon University, USA. The PCMM certification groups Bank Muscat with an elite group of global organizations which have achieved benchmark HR standards.
The bank is also the winner of the prestigious Hewitt recognition as the Middle East's Best Employer, based on a study which identified companies that engaged the 'emotional and intellectual energy' of employees.
Bank Muscat was declared an Investor in People (IiP) organisation in January 2007, becoming the first organisation in the MENA region to be awarded the prestigious global recognition. The bank was also honoured for outstanding GCC-level achievement in national manpower initiatives.
Al Kaabi said: “For people looking for a fulfilling career, these recognitions lead to a determining factor for career choices. Bank Muscat's human resources strategy focuses on one major objective — reinforce the bank's position as the employer of choice."
Learning and Development Strategy
The people learning and development strategies of the bank are integrated with its overall strategies. HR and Learning and Development Departments draw up plans and initiatives based on the business plan of the bank.
Al Kaabi said: “Over the past couple of years, the bank has completed the transition into a competency-based organisation. In execution of Royal directives which emphasise the need to pay attention to training and development needs of human resources, Bank Muscat achieved a series of successes in the human resources sector, all of which reflect positively on the performance and development of the bank's operations not only in the Sultanate but also at the regional level. This is the result of the prudent strategy and philosophy adopted by the bank's Board of Directors and Executive Management which focus on the development of employees as a fundamental requirement for achieving success."
Bank Muscat is proud of its co-operation with international training institutes as a result of which it has succeeded in providing first-grade training for employees, which has in turn reflected positively on their performance and developed their skills and capabilities, which essentially forms the basic objective of training and development.
What distinguishes the bank in the field of human resources is the method of assessment and development of capabilities and administrative competence for members of the mid and senior management as it follows the 360 degree programme which requires the assessment of each manager by his colleagues in the same grade, superiors and those working under him in addition to customers. This evaluation system has proved its efficiency and effectiveness in the assessment of performance at higher and mid- management levels.
Support for Society
The bank launches various major initiatives as part of its efforts aimed at providing support for Omani society in the field of education and development. The bank provides summer training opportunities for students in different departments and branches.
Al Kaabi said: “Bank Muscat's ability to sustain achievements and successes over the years is attributable to the efforts and skills of staff who serve with a sense of belonging to the institution as one family. The bank's staff retention strategy stems from its commitment to offer the best opportunities to Omani staff. The bank focuses on refining and upgrading their skills to confront the challenges ahead."
Bank Muscat's HR policies and processes support employees to adopt an entrepreneurial approach in running the business, thereby creating a culture which encourages creativity/innovation, faster decision-making and better utilisation of resources.
The bank remains committed to its national role in shouldering developmental and social responsibilities within the framework of co-operation and co-ordination with all segments of society. The bank will continue to focus on efforts to provide more career growth opportunities to Omani youth and invest in training these cadres. Bank Muscat believes investment in youth will yield continued benefits to the financial sector in Oman.