ProCredit Bank is not for everyone, because it takes a much broader view of banking. To this end, and for the last 18 years, it has been developing two key qualities among its staff. These are expertise and human warmth, i.e. understanding, empathy and a selfless desire to be of assistance not only to clients but also to colleagues
It is important for us to empower innovation and willingness to look at challenges from a new angle, to reconsider previous solutions. This is the road to progress in which we firmly believe, reveals Dragan Reščik.
Your website says: “ProCredit Bank” is not for everyone… What does this mean? What does the process of selecting candidates to work with your bank look like?
– Indeed, it is true. Although there is a belief that all the banks are the same, ProCredit Bank takes a completely different approach to banking, starting from the selection of new team members. It is commonly believed that banks should employ brutally ambitious people who have graduated in economics, finance or management, but in our team we want to see colleagues of all profiles, from all faculties, with different interests, and above all those who share our values.
Our staff are expected to adopt an all-round and critical approach in reconsidering decisions, to have an attitude towards the dilemmas that surround us and to bring their personal characteristics into the daily life of the institution. Individual differences give us strength and make us unique as an organisation – we have a flat structure guided by direct and clear communication, in which the distinction between formal and informal interaction does not exist and in which everyone makes a selfless contribution.
All ideas are welcome and personal development is a must.
What’s more, we have no problem saying that we are not a bank for everyone. We are here for those who are willing to adopt a much broader view of banking than the one usually taken.
Tell us about your Onboarding process?
– The Onboarding process is a unique programme intended for new members of our team. Over a six-month period, new colleagues have an opportunity to get acquainted with our company and their future colleagues in an international group.
Banking is first of all people, emotions, communication, and only then figures, projections, balance sheets…
They together undergo theoretical and practical training in the field of banking, philosophy, ethics, environmental protection and many other areas. All this takes place at our Training Centre on Mount Avala where, in addition to their salary, the Onboarding participants are provided with accommodation, recreation, food and all they need.
Why is a cover letter important? What does it tell you about a candidate?
– Based on the cover letter, we actually assess the person applying for a job at ProCredit Bank. A CV speaks volumes, but as we have in our ranks colleagues who have graduated in philology, philosophy, mechanical engineering or sociology, the cover letter helps us gain an early understanding of the emotions and motivations that prompted a candidate to apply.
Do you expect employees to fit into a standard profile or do you appreciate differences?
– Our bank promotes, encourages and inspires diversity in ideas, understandings, views and approaches. It is important that these views are based on common sense and clear arguments, that they are not threatening or insulting for people, but are creative, engaging and critical. We live in a time where challenges await us at every turn.
The truth is that education or previous work have not prepared us for many of these challenges. And in order to have different and new viewpoints, it is important not to restrain our employees but to encourage them to differ from market stereotypes, to be free and creative in the work they do.
We are building a team of people whose business backgrounds and personal interests can differ completely. In private life, our colleagues are poets, mechanics, farmers, successful sportspeople, tattoo artists etc. Their different life experiences make us special and bring advantages compared to all others, who demand monotone and almost identical behaviour among their staff.
Both people and companies have high expectations of bank staff. What qualities should a good bank clerk or key account advisor have, in addition to expertise?
– In communication, there are two key qualities that people first recognise in each other. These are expertise and human warmth, i.e. understanding, empathy and a selfless desire to provide assistance. ProCredit Bank has been inspiring these values for almost 18 years. We therefore expect every member of our team to be engaged, open in communication and responsible, both toward the team and the clients with which we work. Understanding the clients’ needs and opportunities is what truly lies behind the figures and all projections. An excellent knowledge of mathematics or spreadsheets is often insufficient for a proper understanding of this. It is important to have the strength and courage to say YES and sometimes NO to clients.
We expect every member of staff to be engaged, open in communication and responsible, both with the team and with our clients
Former HR departments used to deal only with recruitment, salaries and labour disputes, while today’s HR departments and managers have far more tasks and functions. What is your role?
– The role of our HR team is to select the candidates we believe will be satisfied working for ProCredit Bank, and will therefore provide an important contribution to our team. It is important to actively encourage staff to educate themselves, to boost their satisfaction with the bank, to have open discussions about everything that bothers or upsets us, and to always be there for each other. That is the team and that is ProCredit Bank.
HR is an area in which many skills and knowhow converge. Is there any room for improvisation and what do you think about employee leasing?
– Improvisation is not necessarily a bad thing. Moreover, it is very desirable in business, including HR. Of course, here I am speaking about improvisation that is not associated with lacking professionalism. Although employee leasing is still not sufficiently regulated by law, I would not call it improvisation. At our bank, this method of engaging young people through specific tasks and cooperation is an excellent way to meet candidates who have great potential for our Onboarding process. Furthermore, this form of engagement allows many young people to learn the details about our bank and its qualities, and then to apply for the Onboarding process with positive and warm recommendations from colleagues with whom they already work.