Axis Bank is going the start-up way and giving employees flexible roles and a flexible work environment.
Rajesh K Dahiya, group executive of the country's third largest private sector lender, said from the next financial year, the bank was planning to revise the definition of employment in a bank.
"Does employment mean that you come in at 10 am and leave at 7 pm or is there a different way? Why should one do the same job every time. So is it possible that morning to afternoon an employee can work in the human resources department and then, after that, can work in the marketing team?" he added.
The lender is looking at a shift as it has been inspired by start-ups. "It is similar to a start-up culture and there is no harm in saying that we are leaning from them. These new businesses are telling so called established players a lot and we are trying to put our ears to the ground and pick up every good practice that comes our way from across the industry," he said.
To attract talent, several start-ups have given their employees an option to work from home, or for flexible hours. Now, more banks are also looking at providing flexibility at workplace. Human resources managers have said this can work as an important retention tools. ICICI Bank had, for instance, recently launched an initiative to allow women employees to work from home for up to a year.
Some HR consultants have said it would be difficult to have a start-up-type setup in an established bank. "It can be a good exposure for employees and can also help in grooming future leaders by making them aware of the different functions in the bank and, therefore, help in attracting talent. However, managing it on a large scale can be challenging," said Ajay Shah, assistant vice-president, TeamLease Services.
Recently, Axis Bank had decided to move away from the bell-curve system and had decided to focus on an integrated performance management and capability development system. Typically, the bell curve segregates all employees into distinct baskets — top, average and bottom performers — with the vast majority being treated as average performers.
These measures to ditch the old working environment comes at a time when several large lenders, including Axis Bank, are facing higher attrition with the coming of 21 new small and payments banks.