Our approach to staff
Central to the ProCredit group’s business model is a deeply thought-through approach to our human resources. In cooperation with all of the ProCredit banks, group-wide standards have been established for the entire range of HR-related activities, from recruitment to training to remuneration. Ethical banking can only be successful if we have employees who identify with our values and goals, and actively pursue them. Therefore, we have set strict standards for staff selection and training based on a strong sense of mutual respect and personal responsibility and long-term commitment to the institution.
Our Mission Statement sets the operational framework for all banks in the ProCredit group.
Our disciplined approach to recruitment illustrates our commitment to a certain way of doing business. All potential new recruits are required to go through a rigorous selection process from an online application to a two-week in-house ethics workshop. On average, 2% of the original applicants are recommended to attend the ProCredit Entry Programme. This six-month training programme covers all aspects of our approach to banking as a development-oriented commercial banking group. It is conducted only in English at one of our regional training centres in Sofia, Belgrade and Prizren. The programme challenges participants to take responsibility for the way in which they can contribute to ProCredit and building a fairer financial sector. If you visit the website of any of our international ProCredit banks, you will see this process outlined in detail.
The aim of this process is to attract and select individuals who share our enthusiasm for working with clients in a transparent, professional and friendly manner. The ProCredit approach to recruitment is rigorous compared to the norm in the countries in which we work, where often “who you know” counts more than what your potential is. This fair approach is highly appreciated by potential employees. It is also stimulating reforms in the wider banking sector as competitors see the need to provide more meaningful training for their staff.
Throughout the ProCredit group, we make significant investments to ensure that staff acquire the skills needed to achieve a consistently high level of performance while maintaining their strong sense of identification with our objectives and corporate culture. The ProCredit group dedicates significant resources to training. Top managers are frequently involved in these training activities.
Following the ProCredit Entry Programme, existing staff benefit from advanced training courses. We have invested especially in developing the customer service and communication skills of our Business Client Advisers and Branch Managers as well as of our Client Advisers. As English is the “lingua franca” of the group, there is strong focus on English training. In the ethics course, participants go through intense value-based discussions and ethical dilemmas.
In order to ensure high-quality management training, the group operates a two-tier academy system in Germany, and has developed its own curricula for it. Alongside the teaching of fundamental banking principles and courses on communication and leadership skills, there are courses on philosophy, anthropology and history. The academy curriculum also includes training on contemporary environmental challenges and management.
For the prospective senior managers from the many different countries in which the ProCredit group operates, the Academy is an important platform for intensifying their awareness of the corporate values and preparing them for their role as multipliers of the group’s common principles. It is also the backbone of a strong, cohesive and closely-knit network of highly competent colleagues who are fully engaged in the development of the group.
Our remuneration system does not provide any incentive to pursue short-term advantages. For example, we do not pay bonuses; staff have fixed salaries. Instead, we rely on clear job descriptions and regular feedback from managers to guide the performance of our staff. The group salary structure is communicated and explained to all employees, who appreciate the transparency and the opportunity to pursue a long-term career with the institution. Our staff naturally expect a fair salary, but they also enjoy working in an environment in which they feel they can make a difference and in which they are respected and can develop both professionally and personally. A manager at this level who is simply focused on what he or she could earn “in the market” is not a good fit. At ProCredit, the gap between the lowest and highest salary grades is narrower than usual, the salaries earned by managers are relatively close to those of the other staff, and are also dependent – among other factors – on the successful completion of certain training programmes. All senior managers also have the opportunity to participate in the ownership of ProCredit Holding by purchasing shares via ProCredit Staff Invest.