Dmitry Isaakovich Leus: “How to Motivate Employees”

Any bank with long-term ambitions uses a system of employee motivation. We spoke with Dmitry Leus, Chairman of Bank, and asked him to which motivational techniques he has recourse.

- Dmitry Isaakovich, what do you understand under the concept of “motivation” and what is its application?

- Dmitry Isaakovich Leus: Motivation designates the incentive to act or, more precisely, the activation of motives pre-existing in every human being. Its importance in the world of business, and in particular in the service industry, is to attract and keep the most valuable assets we have - human capital.

Since spring 2011, our Bank has been carrying out an active regional expansion strategy. Within two years, we have created from scratch 40 branches in different regions of the Russian Federation. Accordingly, it was necessary to also create a system of motivation transforming a mere geographical presence into a centre of human excellency. Thus, psychological factors prove to be as important as economic ones in achieving a high return on investment. In general, good motivation systems are a win-win game: they must reflect the interests of all stakeholders of an enterprise - employees, management, and its shareholders.

- What are the components of your motivational system?

- Dmitry Leus: All the employees of our regional front offices have a basic salary, in addition to a performance bonus at the end of each month. The programme further aims at keeping the growth rate of the basic salary under control over time, in favour of the performance bonus.
Such a system of extrinsic (that is, monetary) rewards is based on the principle that financial bonuses indeed encourage an employee to achieve the best results. Although the theory of extrinsic rewards cannot be generalized to all situations, there is a general consensus that in the world of banking, which derives its meaning from the universe of numbers, psychological motivation may be created through, and measured in, monetary terms.
However, rewards must not be attributed based on management’s own discretion and opinion, but according to measurable and verifiable indicators, lest subjective preference give rise to inequality and damage the team’s sense of unity and common interest. In the context of its remuneration policy, the Bank therefore monitors staff performance in three specific business fields.
The first one is business and sales performance. We set quantitative targets for our front office staff measuring the acquisition of net new money and the successful sale of lending products to prime borrowers. In the second field, we set up indicators for quality of service. In fact, customer service must keep track with the Bank’s geographical expansion and the growth of its customer base. Put differently, quantity and quality must grow in tandem. In the third field, we measure the effectiveness and quality of overall processes, which is the key prerogative of our Moscow head office.
Alongside performance rewards, the Bank has recently also come to rely on bonuses for successfully completed project management. As we are currently actively growing in size, some of our products, processes, and structures need to be adjusted to reflect this. Hence, our need for project management has grown in proportion.
- Financial incentive is doubtlessly a very effective means of motivation. Does Bank also offer career growth?

- Dmitry Leus: Yes, we also offer the opportunity of career and professional development, which is a very important consideration for increasing an employee’s self-esteem and his reputation within the bank.

Our corporate Intranet provides an appropriate platform for professional development and the creation of a sense of unity and purpose. For example, a “wall of honour” showcases the achievements of our best talents. In addition, we display sales figures for each branch on-line. This allows regional branches to compare their results with other regional branches and creates a spirit of healthy competition, thereby stimulating outliers to turn into performers and performers into leaders. The Intranet also helps management communicate with staff and spread strategic newsletters; alternatively, it may serve as a forum on which expert communities exchange ideas and innovations.

As part of our motivational programme, we also hold internal competitions for management vacancies within Group. Regardless of his geographical location_, every employee from the Altai Republic to Kaliningrad is eligible and has the opportunity to become the head of a newly opened regional branch. This way we seek to foster a long-term relationship between the Bank and its employees and to strengthen loyalty among our people.

- Dmitry Isaakovich, employee training is the cornerstone in any system of professional development. For example, on-the-job training allows a company to bring new employees up to speed quickly and expert seminars may enhance the skills of senior staff. Today, many banks have their own in-house learning platform. Does Bank have anything similar to offer?

- Dmitry Leus: Of course. We recently launched a project called the “Learning Tool” - a most useful platform whereby the employees of our newly opened regional branches can actively develop their skills. Also, in addition to in-house seminars, we regularly organize external work groups and corporate retreats during which new business processes, product lines, or the Bank’s overall strategy are on the agenda.

- In other words, motivational techniques are a key instrument in the successful development of the Bank?

- Dmitry Leus: Yes, absolutely. Like any bank in full expansion, our heartbeat is always in tune with the challenges of modern life and their financial repercussions on the capital markets. Our system of motivation has been instrumental in scaling up our regional presence and has shown that numbers alone do not add up unless motivated by human effort.

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