Training for successful transformation

Nicolas FEIT

In France and Monaco, the retail banking groups Société Générale and Crédit du Nord have merged to form SG. – reports Monaco for Finance

On 1 January, the merger of Société Générale in Monaco and Société de Banque Monaco (SDBM) became official. The new company, SG Monaco, aims to offer a wider range of services and expertise. We spoke to Nicolas FEIT, Chief Executive, and Farida RIHAOUI, Human Resources Director, about how training helped to ensure the transformation went smoothly.

This year’s Training Plan had to contend with some special circumstances…

Nicolas FEIT
Yes, the merger took place in several stages first legal and then IT – with a large number of staff needing to be enrolled on the new tools.
The initial support phase was obviously about getting to grips with the new tools and processes, to improve the customer experience.
And with the merger, we also had to move staff into new roles, reorganise departments, move to new premises, and adopt new working methods. Some staff moved to a flex desking arrangement during the intermediate phase after the legal merger had been completed, but before the IT systems were migrated. A lot of changes required us to provide different kinds of support. We aimed to offer training and support not just before the merger, but afterwards too, to ensure that all staff were able to keep growing and taking on board new working methods.

How did you prepare the plan?

With the help of managers, we identified what training the different teams would need well in advance. We used every aspect of the learning system deployed in France, including specific training, hands-on experience, and mentoring. We created a training pathway to enable staff to familiarise themselves with the different processes and tools. We also used something called the Skills Academy, which is a set of resources for staff including online classes, self-training courses, information sheets, guides and factsheets… a whole range of tools that are overall very comprehensive.

How did you determine the training period needed?

It was estimated for each role and system, calibrated to give staff time to get ready, by setting aside dedicated times in their schedule for training.
For example, for Business Customer Advisors, the training pathway was estimated at 7.5 days for each staff member (3 days of training, 2.5 days of self-training, and 2 days of hands-on experience).
This meant the staff were able to get used to the working environment, the products, and the tools, so when the IT migration happened it would go smoothly.

Nicolas FEIT
Before and after the migration, we had quantitative and qualitative monitoring data that enabled us to provide additional targeted support where necessary.

In addition to the training sessions, we organised hands-on experience and mentoring.
For the first of those, SDBM staff travelled to our branches to train, and with mentoring, staff from Société Générale went to SDBM to help them get used to using the tools, and to answer questions.

Helping one another…

Nicolas FEIT
Yes, teamwork is one of the Société Générale group’s core values. Hands-on training and mentoring generally go down very well with staff, as they are more practical and less academic. These support measures were just one of the keys to ensuring the migration was a success. Beyond the merger, we continue to be innovative. For example, we have created the Summer Financial Academy, where our asset management teams train new arrivals in our investment products. We aim to be a company where people can learn. The wide range of roles at our company lets us do that, and our employees learn from their fellow staff.

We also work on behavioural and soft skills. Some staff help the bank’s Executive Committee to look at strategic areas for the organisation. They contribute by bringing their knowledge of various issues to do with compliance, credit, workplace well-being… a whole range of areas.

Is training important for making the group an attractive employer?

Nicolas FEIT
Training isn’t just about developing our staff. What they are looking for is an employer who pays the going rate, but also takes an active interest in their personal growth and their employability, and is capable of providing the support they need to develop their skills. That’s our whole philosophy, and we will continue to work on it.

Source: Monaco for Finance

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