Developing talent through education and training is at the very center of ICBC’s corporate management. ICBC highlights education and training. Positioned as a precursory, fundamental and strategic task, training has always been at the top of business transformation and reform agenda of the Bank. In recent years, efforts have been put into education and training with emphasis on the needs of the Bank in relation to strategic transformation and business development to accommodate the new normal of economic growth. Pursuant to the spirit of relevant national talent development policies, the Bank focuses on improving six core systems of the ICBC university, namely, professional competence development, e-learning, overseas staff training, Party member training, professional qualification certification and training resources backup systems. It aims at improving the professional competence of its staff and creating a positive, productive learning environment to raise awareness of the importance of learning among employees, to provide them with learning opportunities and to facilitate the learning of every employee. In 2016, the company offered 51,000 training rounds and trained 5,093,200 people, each of whom was trained for 9.63 days on average. Job skills and overall quality of the staff of the Bank have significantly improved, consolidating the HR foundation for the business transition of the entire Bank.
I. Establishing a standardized, multi-layered staff training and certification system
(I) Implementing the Top Ten Special Talent Training Project and promoting the continuous, systematic, and heightened development of core professional talents for the Group. As part of its endeavor to create an incubator of core professional talents, ICBC headquarters launched the Top Ten Special Talent Training Project in early 2015, drawing on the experience of accredited universities in talent cultivation and management. The project also adopted innovative practices in participant selection, academic structure, training models, participant management and other aspects and achieved fruitful results. Firstly, it created an innovative training model which integrated the academic credit system and the “face-to-face training + online training+ practice” model and formed a system that covered all main business areas and provided unified standards for curriculum, teacher qualification, training materials, case study materials, courseware, examinations, graduation criteria, recommendation and other aspects. Secondly, it optimized project management, established a multi-disciplinary, inter-departmental, inter-institution coordination mechanism, and strengthened the integration of resources, ensuring the project was a joint effort by all departments and institutions. Thirdly, the project attached great importance to quality control, strictly managed requirement plans, project proposals, curriculum, teachers, teaching materials, case study materials, selection, examination and other relevant matters and achieved full process control from different project phases to assessment and to feedback. Fourthly, it aligned training programs with corporate needs for talents, strictly implemented examination and assessment policies, gave certificates to qualified students, offered recommendations on how to use outstanding students and achieved effective convergence between personnel training and use. Since 2015, the Bank has launched 90 projects covering ten fields including management, Internet banking, asset management and financial markets, and trained about 25,000 professional talents. It successfully changed the emphasis of its talent development efforts from job adaptation to professional competence.
(II) Improving the professional qualification certification system and the ability of employees to meet the requirements of their jobs. Focusing on improving employees’ professional qualifications and putting the right people in the right jobs, the Bank effectively links professional qualification certification to the actual job requirements of employees and provides a basis for appointment, post adjustment, compensation determination, business authorization etc. of its employees through a continuous effort to improve professional qualification certification standards and content, setting of job categories, connection between different applications, management mechanism, etc. Currently, ICBC has gradually established, on the basis of the existing job classification system of the Bank, a professional qualification management system that covers 19 job categories, including specialized jobs, sale jobs, operational jobs, customer service jobs, heads of outlets of the Bank under the management category and credit-related jobs. The professional qualification management system, covering standardized processes for standard design, training and examinations, qualification certification, records management and continuing education, is clearly defined along both longitudinal and transverse directions. Furthermore, employees can freely choose to participate in professional qualification training programs and examinations for jobs in different sequences and at different levels, and achieve career development goals through channels offered by the Bank. In recent years, the headquarters of ICBC has been implementing strict examination rules and further strengthened the links between professional qualifications and appointment, business authorization, career development and other matters. The importance and authority of professional qualification certification has further increased.
II. High-level and unique training programs
“A first-class bank must have first-class talents.” To this end, ICBC has developed a large number of key training programs to actively promote the cultivation of talents, improve the quality of the staff, and constantly enhance its core competitiveness in human resources.
(I) Training programs offered by Communist Party training schools. In recent years, pursuant to the guidelines of the National Work Conference of the Party School of the Communist Party of China and the National Cadre Education Conference, the ICBC Communist Party training school has been going all out to meet the requirements set out under the Chinese Communist Party School Work Regulations, Cadre Education and Training Reform Program for 2010-2020, National Cadre Education and Training Program for 2013--2017 and other relevant policies. The party school training system has a three-level structure consisting of the Communist Party training school of the headquarters, party schools of Changchun Branch and Hangzhou Branch, and education centers in Hubei, Hunan, Sichuan, Hebei and Shaanxi. ICBC has given full play to the advantages the three-level structure to offer training programs related to theoretical, party spirits, horizon broadening, thinking, leadership skills, governance and other subjects. It has established a complete set of standardized working mechanisms, including coordination mechanism for decision making as well as the “going out and bringing in” experience exchange mechanism, which have played an active role in improving political literacy and the overall quality of leaders and cadres and serving reform and development goals of the Bank. Communist Party training schools have become the main front for training party members and cadres.
(II) Strategic training programs. Strategic training programs are developed based on the Bank's strategic plans in different periods to meet the new talent development demand of the Group and coordinate training programs for different types of jobs across the Group. In recent years, in line with restructuring and annual strategic development priorities in the context of the new normal of economic growth, the Bank has organized and carried out special training programs to improve the quality of assets, training programs for heads of Level-2 branches responsible for credit-related operations, Internet banking training programs, training programs for reassigned employees, training programs for client managers, capability enhancement training programs for heads of outlets, new employee orientation programs and other programs. These programs have laid a solid HR foundation for the reform and development of the Bank.
(III) Training programs for employees of the Bank's overseas subsidiaries. Content requirements, organization, management and supporting measures of overseas employee training programs and related key projects are coordinated and aligned properly in accordance with the globalization and group development strategies of ICBC. Training programs for overseas employees include with limitation training programs offered by the headquarters or overseas subsidiaries, online training programs and on-site training programs organized by the headquarters. Foreign subsidiaries may also send employees to the headquarters for learning experience. Key projects include without limitation international management training programs for executives, training programs for comprehensive talents for jobs in relation to cross-border RMB operations, training programs for overseas specialized professional talents, training programs for employees picked for international assignments, and professional qualification certification programs for key fields. These projects have laid a solid foundation for simultaneous implementation of domestic and overseas staff training programs and integrated business operation.
(IV) International training program. This program was launched in 2011. It offered domestic training as well as foreign study and work experience to about 100 employees each year. The goal of the program is to cultivate a pool of management talents with international vision, strategic thinking skills and excellent leadership skills as well as high-level specialized professional talents armed with core professional competitiveness, strong innovation capacity and market competitiveness. After completion of the training program in more than 10 internationally renowned universities, including Cambridge (UK), Stanford (US), and the University of Toronto (Canada), participants will have opportunities to work in local companies. Since the program was launched, 558 employees have participated in the program which has trained a group of talents that meets the requirements of international integration and group development strategies of the Bank.
(V) Training programs offered by the headquarters. In 2014, in response to the national book reading campaign launched by the central government, the headquarters of the Bank launched a group-wide reading program which recommends books in political, economic, social, management, history, literature, biography, science, health and other fields on a quarterly basis. Employees may read recommended books according to their own needs. A book review competition was carried out and outstanding reviews were compiled into a book. These efforts made by the headquarters have created an environment that encourages people to read more. Since 2015, the program has been carried out across the Bank. The Head Office has launched a reading initiative to encourage employees to read at least one hour every day and one book every month. The Bank also steps up its efforts to promote the sharing of reading materials and has built an e-library system on the basis of the ICBC university, which provides employees with access to 36,000 electronic books, further stimulating ICBC staff to like and share reading, and promoting the development of the Bank into a learning organization.
III. Open and diversified training platforms and channels
Armed with advanced information technology, ICBC has established a series of platforms and channels, including ICBC's online university, examination system, staff training information management system, knowledge-sharing platform and mobile learning platform that integrates ICBC Link official account and mobile learning services providing strong support for the implementation of large-scale and specialized training.
(I) Online university. The online university of ICBC is a one-stop online training platform that offers online learning, training program management, interaction, live streaming and other functions. Boasting a wide range of online courses, teaching materials, digital journals and books and other learning resources, the training platform offers the staff both in and outside China online training programs in marketing, professional training, self-learning, continuing education and other learning services. Well-recognized for its efficiency, convenience, flexibility, and rich and diverse contents, the platform has played a key role in building up the capacity of the staff, supporting business development and serving the strategic goals of the Bank.
(II) Examination system: As the core platform for the Bank to arrange examinations, the examination system has become an integrated examination platform for conducting qualification examinations, competition selection examinations, business quiz, questionnaires and examinations of training programs, and has provided important technology support for the promotion of the examination and certification systems.
(III) Employee training information management system: The staff training information management system is a multi-functional training information management platform that integrates management of staff training records, management of bank-wide training resources and integrated training management functions. Training registration information of employees and records of training received and certificates received by employees can be accessed and analyzed through this platform. The system has effectively promoted scientific, intensive, information technology-based education and training management.
(IV) Knowledge sharing platform: The knowledge-sharing platform of ICBC is a new-generation online learning platform that integrates knowledge management, information push and business support. It was designed on the basis of an e-learning concept of “pooling + sharing + pushing”. It brings together broad professional knowledge across the Bank and creates an encyclopedia for the staff of the Bank. Furthermore, it also pushes out practical information on products, services and systems to staff members in real time and helps them coordinate study and work, increase the efficiency in the use of knowledge and self-directed learning. The system has an important information retrieval tool for employees of the Bank.
(V) “ICBC University” mobile learning platform. “ICBC University” mobile learning platform is a new mobile learning platform developed by ICBC to improve learning experience and efficiency. It provides training, curriculum, tests, evaluation, teaching materials, curriculum sharing, credit point management and other services that can be accessed through mobile device. The mobile learning platform delivers a brand-new e-learning experience by allowing employees learn anywhere, anytime, and has played a positive role in improving the effectiveness of learning and helping employees strike a balance between work and learning.
(VI) “ICBC University” ICBC Link official account. The ICBC Link official account of “ICBC University” is an e-learning education portal that offers system navigation, information dissemination and server push. With an integrated online and offline design, it provides employees with online training navigation, on-site training enrollment, search, H5 micro-class push, promotion and other comprehensive, convenient services, and has played a positive role in promoting education and training, improving the Bank's education and training brand and promoting the integrated online and offline training model.
IV. Comprehensive and systemized training resources
(I) Textbook case development: Currently, ICBC has a system of teaching materials consisting of basic materials (for qualification certification), advanced teaching materials, workbooks and teaching materials using case studies. It also has a system of case studies by subject and another one by type. According to the bank-wide development strategies and training reform program, the Bank has strengthened the development of training materials and courses, provided more support to training programs, stepped up research and development of resources in key areas, and improved quality and efficiency of training products through impact assessment and other means. Moreover, the Bank has optimized the types and forms of teaching materials. Forms such as loose leaves, manuals and digital forms are preferred. The content of teaching materials is pragmatic, with emphasis on practical results. High-quality resources are shared on a bank-wide scale through information push, display in designated places and other means.
(II) Cultivation of the teaching staff: ICBC attaches great importance to the teaching staff. The construction of a teaching team complies with the principles of high quality, appropriate size, rational structure, and combination of full-time and part-time trainers and teachers. The current teaching team is mainly made up of the Bank's employees serving concurrently as teachers, with external high-quality teachers as supplement. In recent years, through implementing “the Development of the Standardized Internal Trainer Training System of ICBC” and other programs, the Bank has unified the criteria used to evaluate internal trainers' competency, and established a series of tiered training courses and related learning resources. It has achieved de-administration of teachers and trainers, improved hiring and evaluation methods on the basis of the quality and qualifications of the existing teachers, and established a teaching qualification certification system. Currently, selection, appointment and remuneration of teachers and trainers are determined mainly on the basis of the ranking of their corporate titles and the Bank is seeking to change this practice, improve the teacher exit mechanism and ensure the overall quality of the teaching staff.
(III) Development of curriculum resources: The Bank is stepping up efforts to develop micro-module courseware. It has produced pragmatic, condensed micro-module courseware according to the actual needs of the front-line staff positions. Micro-module courseware is used to demonstrate product features and transaction process through animation and can be picked up quickly by lower-level employees. The Bank has also made continual efforts to strengthen the systematic development of training courses. It analyzes, extracts, and merges core expertise, skills and competency requirements of different posts, designs and develops training programs and modules for each type and level of job, and strives to create a series of courses with professional competence courses at the very center.
V. Pragmatic, multi-channel training system and mechanism
(I) Training at practice-based learning centers. The Bank is among the first in China to introduce the “Learning + Practice” training model and apply it to the training of executives of subsidiaries. More specifically, it selects a number of subsidiaries that have performed quite well as practice-based learning centers. After receiving instructor-led systematic training, trainees will be sent to these centers to practice what they have learned. To learn how the centers are managed and operated, they will attend morning meetings, carry out field observations, accompany mentors in their customer visits, and discuss some of the core issues with mentors. After the hands-on training at these centers, test scores and assessment results of trainees will be sent to their subsidiaries. This dual training model effectively combines classroom training with hands-on training, improves the work ability of the trainees, and facilitates the sharing of outstanding grass-roots management experience across the Bank at maximum. In 2015, the opening ceremony of the Bank's first headquarters-level professional practice-based training center - Headquarters-Level Professional Private Banking Hands-on Training Center - was held in Hangzhou ICBC Financial Training Institute, further promoting the development of the unique practice-based learning centers and the “Learning + Practice” training model.
(II) Training evaluation feedback mechanism. It is a bank-wide requirement that assessments should be made after an employee receives training, i.e., participants of every instructor-led training course must take an exam at the end of training and the department in charge of related matters will provide exam results to the unit that undertakes the training and the departments of the trainees. The system conducts post-training exams, distributes exam results (not optional), and gives feedback to the departments. These measures stimulate the intrinsic motivation of the hosting departments, training institutions and trainees and maximize training results. Practice has proved that the compulsory examination system is operational and can effectively improve the quality of training in the long run.
(III) Training methods: case studies, interaction and discussion. Training methods, including case studies, interaction and discussion, are selected and used properly in accordance with the needs of trainees and the characteristics of training courses to encourage trainees to actively participate in training and enhance training effects. ICBC attaches great importance to the initiative and participation of trainees. After each training session, a representative of trainees will give feedback on the training. It makes the teaching process more inspiring, motivating, empowering and thought-provoking.
Integrity leads to prosperity. After years of hard work, ICBC's assiduous efforts and constant innovation in education and training have been widely recognized by the industry. Looking ahead, we will continue to focus on institutional reform, adopt innovative approaches to improving the quality of training, continue to explore new on-the-job training methods that are suitable for a modern financial enterprise and use training as a powerful tool to support bank-wide reform and talent development.