EMPLOYEE PARTICIPATION: A

STRATEGIC PROCESS FOR
TURNAROUND- K. K. Verma
Presenters:
Anirban Das (MS14A009)
Raktim Paul (MS14A048)

Introduction    This case study describes how employee participation was developed as strategic process for turnaround in Bank of Baroda (BoB) in its Madhya Pradesh zone. the region was turned into a zone (including 2 regions and 82 branches) as its branches had increased and directing the business activity of the vast geographical area of MP from the bank's northern zone headquarters at New Delhi became difficult. when the unions co-operate and get involved. during 1995-96. The region was a part of the northern zone of the bank. In July 1994. It worked on the assumption that in a highly unionized industry like banking. they would positively influence their members towards better effort and greater commitment. .

MP (Union 2). a wing of INTUC. affiliated to the AITUC. .Unions and Associations   The bank had two workmen unions – 1) Bank of Baroda Employees Union. the All India Bank of Baroda Officers Association. was affiliated to INBOC. MP (Union 1). With regards the officers. recognised by the bank as the sole collective bargaining agent of workmen and 2) Bank of Baroda Employees Association.

a new zonal manager took charge of the MP zone. he encouraged the staff to discover their tremendous hidden abilities.  Within 15 days of taking charge. the staff unions and association expected better direction/control of business and career advancement. and assured all support. Since the status of the MP branches was now that of a zone. the new zonal manager wrote to the branch managers pointing out the bright economic growth potentials of MP and bank's excellent business opportunities. The general secretary of the association enquired from the personnel head whether the management had a definite proposal to discuss. . The management-union interaction also began on a positive note. The MP zone's productivity and profitability was much below the bank's average.The New Zonal Manager  Early in August 1995.  The employees acknowledged and reciprocated the good wishes of the zonal manager.

as mandated by the RBI. a joint meeting was called on 20 September 1995 of the two unions and the association with the management representatives.The Corporate Agenda  BoB's corporate office advised the zones to hold meetings with unions/association on regular basis upto March 1996 at the zonal level so that house-keeping arrears could be cleared early. Consequently. .

they would own the bank and. all had responsibility for improving the bank's image. reputation for service. and performance. The zonal manager pointed out that since all employees were going to apply for the bank's equity shares in the offing. Leaders of the unions/ association appreciated the zonal manager's faith in participative management. . therefore.Initiative for a larger agenda   The zonal committee discussed whether collaboration of the unions/association should be sought for business development as well. The presentation stressed that a larger framework involving business performance of the Zone was provided for a general feedback on performance. irrespective of the affiliations.

c. The bank should inform periodically the housekeeping position to the branch staff. The bank should dispose off the pending staff grievances. b.  . Focus should be on improving customer service.Unions’ Suggestions Among the various suggestions offered by the unions the following were noteworthy: a. A draft circular urged the branch managers to take similar measures at their ends.

1995) moved the process of collaboration unexpectedly fast.The Second Meeting  The second meeting (October. The union leaders and branch managers were finding fault with each other's constituency. A confrontation between the managers and the staff saw the gates of co-operation opening up and greater clarity and direction of collaboration emerging. . the management and unions/association needed to work together. The performance of the 18 branches represented in this meeting was also not satisfactory.  All present at the meeting expressed that the half-yearly performance on banking operations was bad.  They agreed that for a positive impact.

It was agreed that such letters would be sent not only to the branch managers but to all employees. the association.  . reduce NPA.Joint Declarations (1/2) Letter of 30 October 1995: Since the responses of the unions. and provide courteous and prompt customer service. increase recovery. and managers were evidently becoming positive and the zonal manager raised the issue of "jointly signed letter" suggested earlier in the September meeting. It stressed the need for staff to take interest in business development and participate in the staff incentive scheme.

followed by:  Letter of 14 December 1995: Focusing on the need for strategic planning. .Joint Declarations (2/2) This letter was the first in the series.  Letter of 11 March 1996: Highlighting customer service upgrade.  Letter of 6 April 1996 : Announcing satisfactory performance of March 1996 and requesting punctuality.  Letter of 6 February 1996 : Expressing concern for the employees’ well being.

.Other Initiatives Other initiatives included: 1) Branch intervention aimed at the zonal level chiefs of unions/association and regional managers to facilitate branch staff and branch managers to sit together regularly to: a) deliberate upon business growth problems. performance targets and how to achieve them. and b) initiate actions to involve more and more staff in the business development process. togetherness. 2) Mega get-together. and joint business actions. which was like an open house to informally promote teamwork.

and promoting team spirit resulted in higher business growth and profits when the financial year ended in March 1996. contributing to decisions.Impact of Participative Initiatives (1/4) The impact of participative initiatives helped: 1) Improve work processes: The joint letter were started to be read and taken more seriously ensuing in prompt actions. strengthening communication about those issues. responsiveness and initiatives from everyone. . the two unions started agreeing with each other on business issues. 2) Business performance: Involving employees in defining business issues.

in January 1996 so that discussions for business development could be continued full-heartedly. This included: a) Fiasco in a branch: An emergency grievance redressai meeting between Union II and the branch manager guided by the zonal chief of personnel was held at the branch. in a branch in Indore. .Impact of Participative Initiatives (2/4) 3) Positive Feedback: The corporate management and the apex level unions/ association expressed their pleasure at the joint efforts and appreciated their counterparts in scripting success for the zone. and the branch manager solved all the pending issues. 4) Problem Solving: Great importance was attached to the early solution of problems so that smooth process continued.

threatening that his union would withdraw from the function. He also telephoned the general secretary in Raipur and said that if the other union. . the boycott would hurt only Union II. The regional manager of Raipur had organized a joint meeting as a mega function at Raipur one afternoon. Everything fell in place after that. misbehaved a senior citizen customer due to which he was suspended. an ex-treasurer of Union II. The zonal manager explained how inappropriate it was to link the joint forum with the gross misconduct. One of the joint secretaries of Union II sought an emergency meeting with the zonal manager. and the management continued their joint efforts. the association. He told him that such suspension could only be settled after the fast track departmental inquiry. a cashier.Impact of Participative Initiatives (3/4) b) Threat of a boycott: In the Gwalior branch.

and promised that he would give top priority to redressing grievances in the zone. the GS of Union 1.Impact of Participative Initiatives (4/4) c) Another bombshell: In the backdrop of a felicitation at the end of the financial year. After thorough persuasion and prodding by the zonal manager. he stated that he proposed to disassociate from the joint forum. in his letter of 9 April 1996. He expressed that his members were criticizing him. The zonal manager stated that he would organise seminars for his branch managers to sharpen their skills for quicker disposal of grievances. and a representative from Union 2. the GS of Union 1 said that the grievances of his staff members at the branches were not being attended by branch managers who were busy in business activity. .

The new zonal manager said at a widely attended function that he too believed in participative management and promised to carry forward his predecessor's effort. A few days later. the zonal manager was transferred to the corporate office in Mumbai. It kept the process on and integrated.The Way Forward  The problem-solving process contributed significantly to institutionalising the process of co-operation and collaboration. .