Can HR rein in rogue bankers?

With the recent closure of BCI Bank, we asked one HR leader about what HR can do to build proper governance and compliance in a firm

Can HR rein in rogue bankers?
The closure of BCI Bank by the Monetary Authority of Singapore thrust the issues of governance, risk and compliance into the limelight especially since this is the first time a merchant bank has been shut down in thirty years.
We asked Kathy Enros, vice president of talent & HR at ACL, about what HR’s role was in these three critical areas.
“The first and most obvious is that HR plays a role in defining, communicating and training on policies related to things like code of conduct and ensuring new employees are made aware of the policies during the on-boarding process,” she said.
HR should also review and update these policies as needed and communicate these changes to employees on a regular basis.
“The other area of involvement which is equally, if not more important, is the role that HR, along with the organisation’s leadership, plays in influencing and impacting the organisational culture.”
This includes defining and reinforcing the appropriate behaviour through the values, behaviour and actions of HR and the executive team, Enros added.
“The key to the success of cultural influence is that the tone must be set from the top,” she said. “Employees look to their managers and leaders and observe their behaviours, and will emulate those same behaviours.”
Senior HR professionals not only set an example to employees but can also act as a temperature check on the other leadership functions, she added.
“HR finds out through informal check-ins, open communication lines into all levels, and employee satisfaction surveys if employees see their manager living the values and being a good corporate citizen. Things like this help mitigate risk before issues land on the front page of the news.”
As for the tools available to HR for governance, risk mitigation and compliance, Enros mentioned that there were plenty of options available.
“Most on-boarding or HR-related software can track the policies issued by the organisation and the acknowledgement of said policies by employees,” she said.
Other software platforms allow for the automated auditing of employees against policies to make it easier to look for outliers in expense reporting, payroll and other important areas. All of this makes risk mitigation a lot easier, she added.
“For cultural aspects, employee engagement tools are critical, such as software for 360 degree performance feedback and conducting regular employee surveys.”
Ensuring there is more than one communication channel to encourage feedback is also vital, Enros said.
“Confidential email & messaging tools, intranet, forums for face-to-face communication – these are all key and will give HR valuable insight into these areas.”
Related stories:
BSI Bank shut down for “unacceptable risk culture”
HSBC's Asia-Pacific hiring practices being probed by SEC
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