As a commitment to further increase the nationalization percentage of our executive and middle managerial positions, to be in line with NBK’s vision, we have been making conscious efforts and decisions to attract, develop and retain NBK’s top talents and leaders on these levels as part of our promise and role to encourage the development of local talents.

What are the visible changes in the thought process of HR leaders after the pandemic? What are the new priorities of the HR departments? 

There is no doubt that the pandemic caught us all by surprise and really pushed us to be better & stronger than ever. Every department at NBK contributed successfully to getting us through the pandemic. As Group HR, as we always do, enabled these departments to achieve this success by empowering our human capital & ensuring the health & safety of all employees for the continuity of NBK through the pandemic. Processes such as remote working, shifts, clear communication, and set health guidelines, empowered us as a bank. More than ever, our focus in HR is our employees & ensuring that everyone is in an inspiring & encouraging environment.

Going forward and embarking on a new year, we have set priorities to embrace and create a sustainable culture with innovative solutions that optimize the potential of our human capital. We are aiming to do so through priorities that revolve around:

  • Promoting and contributing to digitalization
  • Building a culture of holistic Employee Experience and Wellbeing
  • Leadership and Accelerated Learning
  • Maintaining a sustainable performance-based culture

The new-age customers want banks to be digital. However, digitalization is often a concern for the human workforce as it might potentially replace jobs. How do you deal with such questions? What is the possible solution?

Even while technologies replace some jobs, they are creating new work in the banking sector, and new ways to generate income. Many new jobs created in the banking sector in the past decade were types that did not exist, or barely existed, in areas including software development, app creation, and IT systems management, they have emerged as a result of a need.

The net impact of new technologies on employment can be strongly positive. NBK’s group HR is dealing with this change by promoting the new jobs requirements and by participating and sponsoring job affairs conducted in educational institutes and universities to share with students, and potential future employees, the majors, and specialties that job markets require and what NBK can offer. 

Additionally, internally we are able to help current employees to adapt to the new job changes by providing the training courses and certificates that deliver the new skills and knowledge required to perform their work using the latest technologies.

How is NBK working towards the national plan to increase employment of Kuwaiti Nationals in the private sector? 

For the purpose of achieving economic security and social inclusion, the National Bank of Kuwait’s vision and mission was to always invest in local talents and emphasize the Central Bank of Kuwait’s requirements of Kuwaitization.

This has resulted in NBK being the main attraction for Kuwaiti talents that as demonstrated by the amount of new Kuwaiti recruits pre-pandemic (2019), which exceeded 600 new recruits within 1 year. 

The strategy focuses on various sources and collaborations with academic institutes, Manpower Authority, and online recruitment portals to target top-tier Kuwaiti talents and establish a skilled workforce, and most importantly ensure sustained efforts to enforce workforce nationalization.

Moreover, to attract, develop and retain national talents, and to prepare the fresh Kuwaiti graduates for a banking career at NBK, we have been providing the opportunity for Kuwaiti graduates to apply and join NBK Academy that has become a successful legacy for us the past 12 years. 

NBK Academy is 4 month introductory training program presented for fresh graduates to prepare them for their lifetime careers. The material in this program is much varied and intense in order to cover all issues that they might face in their career later on including soft and technical skills. 

What advice do you want to give to the HR functions in Kuwait as they plan to build the workforce after the Covid-19 disruption?

Post the recent health crisis, human resources should look at different attributes in their workforce. These attributes vary from being agile to tech-savvy to being able to cope with uncertain situations. The ability to make sound decisions with minimum available information is key for the success of any team in today’s business world and HR functions should be geared to build their workforce around these attributes.