Bank of America Case Study
As can be noted from the case study, the Bank of America attributes its success to a multi-faceted talent management program that incorporates several strategies such as selection, performance management, on-boarding, developmental experience, processes in upgrading executive talent as well as compensation. While all these strategies have contributed towards the bank’s success, it is rather apparent that the executive on-boarding program has made immense contributions compared to the other strategies. For this reason, the paper focusses on Bank of America’s on-boarding program as it boasts a proven track record of success spanning seven years.
The On-Boarding Program
As stated in the case study report, the Bank of America experienced only 24 terminations out of the 196 executives hired between the years of 2001 and 2008, translating into a 12 percent turnover rate. This, according to industry experts like (Watkins, 2003), is considered a great milestone considering the fact that most large corporation have a turnover rate as high as 40 percent. Similarly, these talent management approaches have been tested on as many as 500 executives over the course of seven years, making it the most conspicuous talent management program within the bank. In this regard, it is safe to assume that the on-boarding program is Bank of America’s biggest talent management program.
Strengths of the Program
The Bank of America’s on-boarding program was able to realize great success because these on-boarding interventions were focused on attaining three major outcomes. The first strength of the on-boarding program has always been its capacity to reduce the probability of on-the-job derailment. As noted in the case study report, part of the on-boarding objective is to fasten the newly recruited executive’s comprehension of what their new role requires as well as offering the requisite support done in the form of constructive feedback, coaching/mentorship and follow-ups. Essentially this gives the program the capacity to preempt or forestall failures(Carter, 2012).
In terms of accelerating a newly hired executive’s comprehension of job demands, the Bank of America employs the use of orientation forums, tools and processes, as well as coaching and support. For example, the company conducts orientation programs that acquaint the new executive with the company, its history, culture and values (Carter, 2012). As for tools and processes, the company has an on-boarding program that includes the process of integrating new executives to their team as well as leaders. This creates familiarization and promotes team building and cooperation. Similarly, the company offers coaching/mentorship and support to the on-boarded executive through having them work with the in-house Human resource officer, hiring executive and the leadership development partner. Essentially, these three people nurture the talent of the new executive and turning him/her into an asset for the company.
Besides fast tracking the executive’s understanding of the job requirements, the Bank of America’s places emphasis on accelerating the new leader’s performance results. Whereas research indicates that newly recruited senior level managers require up to 6 months to reach their break-even point, the Bank of America, through its on-boarding program, is able to shorten this period significantly. This is attained through assisting the executive in developing a network of relationships deemed to be critical in their new roles (Carter, 2012). Similarly, the bank clarifies both leadership and performance expectations of their new executives. Finally, the bank helps the new executive to formulate realistic and attainable strategic objectives. These give the new executives a definiteness of purpose and a clear insight of what roles they are expected to play. With less confusion, executives are able to focus on their work.
Due to the numerous acquisitions by the Bank of America, there is a need to reconcile the merging companies’ operational models and corporate cultures. In this regard, the bank focuses on facilitating a smoother integration and seamless socialization experience for easier transition of the new executives. For example, this is attained by assisting the executives gain an insight into the bank’s corporate environment, introducing the executives into the bank’s political and cultural environment as well as helping the build networks that would later prove resourceful. Finally, the bank introduces the new executives into the operational dynamics of their team. As noted by experts like Bruner (2011), creating cultural harmony among workers during a merger or takeover is essential to the team spirit and cooperation among workers from both organizations.
Opportunities for Improvement
Learning to enforce the requisite talent management processes can position global corporations like the Bank of America to gain the competitive advantage and compete effectively in a globalized economy while also being able to capitalize on emerging opportunities faster than the competition. As noted by Effron and Ort (2013), having a comprehensive talent management plan could help the bank become more proactive and efficient. For this reason, the Bank of America must start their talent management processes with the end in mind. In this regard, the overall talent management framework has to be consistent with the company’s business strategy.
This means that the bank’s corporate objectives and strategies should determine the quality or quantity needed within the company. In the example of the on-boarding program, the Bank of America should treat business and talent decisions as a single entity. As research indicates, most successful organizations have a 34 percent likelihood of connecting their succession management and corporate strategies (Janson, 2015)In light of its many acquisitions, the Bank of America should address the issue of how to retain the best talent following a redundancy caused by an acquisition.The company must also determine the best team of managers for the newly acquired company.
The Bank of America’s talent management program should go beyond senior leadership succession. Whereas succession planning is critical for any organization, experts believe talent management should entail a broader spectrum of the staff population because the creation of value is not limited to senior leadership. A company’s capacity to compete effectively depends upon all the talents within the firm as well as the company’s capacity to nurture the same talents.
Research indicates that companies seeking to remain competitive are 40 percent likely to develop their leadership pipeline that touches all aspects of the organization compared to others(Janson, 2015). For this reason, the Bank of America must adopt an all-inclusive approach in the management of their talent to enable a smoother career transition. Similarly, the effective management of talent calls for not only the development of workers in their current capacity but also preparing them for future engagements. For instance, people under consideration for senior leadership positions should be able to undergo the transition from perceiving success in terms of their individual performance into collective success resulting from teamwork.
In addition, the company’s executive that is being prepared for senior leadership position should have a mindset shift from that of a business unit to the guardian of the corporate entity. Similarly, it is important to have transitions that are well organized since organizations like the Bank of America prefer the concept of organic growth. The challenge with organizations like the Bank of America is that it lacks a comprehensive succession process at the lower cadres.
Meeting Future Talent Management Challenges
The question of whether every talented individual within the organization should undergo the same mentorship process continues to be contentious according to Ariss (2014). Consequently, most management experts argue that companies must identify the needs of groups deemed to be underrepresented. In this regard, the company must be sincere with such groups in seeking to find out some of the challenges they face. For instance, it is a common occurrence for women to be granted lower scores during assessments, while it is also common for women to show more remorse during board meetings compared to their male counterparts. Having identified these marginalized groups, the bank must find intervention strategies that help to address the issues raised
Alignment of talent to challenges
In this regard, the bank must ensure that is best talents are fully aware of its corporate strategies as well as realities. To attain this, the company can encourage such workers to tackle real challenges facing the business and not some theoretical simulation exercise(Ariss, 2014).Whereas the Bank of America holds that present performances do not necessarily predict one’s future performances, it is important to ensure that the high performing employees are given time-bound goals as this allows them to demonstrate their abilities in different capacities.
Watkins, M. (2003). The first 90 days: Critical success strategies for new leaders at all levels. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
Carter, L. (2012). How Bank of America Develops Leadership Talent Around the World. Retrieved from talentmgt.com: http://talentmgt.com/articles/view/how-bank-of-america-develops-leadership-talent-around-the-world/1
Janson, K. (2015). Demystifying talent management: unleash people’s potential to deliver superior results. Virginia: Maven House Press.
Bruner, R. F. (2011). Applied Mergers and Acquisitions Workbook. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
Effron, M., & Ort, M. (2013). One page talent management: eliminating complexity, adding value. Massachusetts: Harvard Business Press.
Ariss, A. A. (2014).Global talent management: challenges, strategies, and opportunities. Berlin: Springer Science & Business.
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