"You’ve got to have a genuine interest in your work and in the business."
At a time when the financial service industry is going through transformation morphing into a new technology-driven framework peppered by the presence of fintech and innovation such as mobile and virtual banking, Gen Z is also entering into the workplace. “The legendary digital native has a huge role in banking going forward,” says Dato’ Hamidah Naziadin, Group Chief People Officer at CIMB Group. “Not just as our future employees, but also as our future customers.”
Born and raised in the era of touchscreen phones and social media, they don’t know a world without the internet. “For them, life is online via smartphones – be it shopping or dating,” quips Hamidah. “They will be resourceful due to their unlimited access to knowledge via the internet. They need to work in an environment that is highly and technologically connected and social-media enabled. Jobs will have to be multi-dimensional and varied as they are known to apply their intelligence differently, and jobs must be able to cater to their needs for immediate satisfaction and feedback.”
NUTURING FUTURE LEADERS
So what can they look forward to in CIMB? To fulfil the diverse aspirations of today’s graduates and at the same time meet the bank’s business needs, opportunities for growth are offered via two flagship graduate management programmes – The Complete Banker (TCB) and CIMB Fusion.
TCB is a fast-track leadership programme that focuses on diversity within banking and nurturing future leaders. At the end of the 12-month intensive programme, they would have a thorough understanding of the Group’s business, products and services, and also have the opportunity to be in (or even lead) special projects in areas such as digital innovation and data analytics.
The CIMB Fusion is an innovative programme that emphasises diversity beyond banking and focuses on broadening one’s experience and skills by gaining work exposure from another industry in addition to banking. The added industry exposure is through partnership with other global firms from diverse industries such as legal, audit and assurance, strategic management, consulting and technology.
“Going forward, the projects that are identified will be more skewed towards technology and innovation, and CIMB Fusion will also likely partner with fintech companies,” says Hamidah.
Once in the programme, a recruit is assigned a buddy and a mentor. The buddy is typically those who are in the same age group and has a similar background while the mentor is usually more senior and from another department. “The first year is crucial to a recruit’s perception of satisfaction and fitting in,” says Hamidah. “All new recruits get a buddy who makes them feel welcome and a mentor who helps them build confidence.”
Another key attraction is that CIMB is an ASEAN bank. This means opportunities to work in any of the nine countries that CIMB currently operates in as well as to work with colleagues from across the ASEAN region on projects or assignments. “We consciously move our people around and each posting could be a few months or even a few years. We know that the younger generation is excited about the challenge and exposure from working abroad,” says Hamidah.
STANDING OUT FROM THE REST
The demand for places in both the management training programmes is quite intense because of the many attractive features and benefits. So how should graduates differentiate themselves from the many others who are equally academically qualified?
“We want people with integrity, especially more so because of the industry we’re in. Someone who is honest, trustworthy and reliable will succeed not just in the job, but in life,” emphasises Hamidah.
Intelligence is also an important trait. This is assessed with the help of aptitude and personality tests, business case presentations, panel and face-to-face interviews. “In their final interviews with me, I tend to look at clues from their extracurricular and other non-academic endeavours,” says Hamidah. “We also like to know if they are current on issues like Brexit and what their thoughts are. There’s no right or wrong answer but this process reveals how a person thinks and forms opinion.
“We also like people who have an inquisitive mind. Anyone who shows that they examine new kinds of solutions to problems, do new things, challenge norms and are willing to navigate through today’s complex world, is sought after,” adds Hamidah.
Last but not least, energy. “You can be smart, have great ideas but not showing energy or enthusiasm may result in us having the impression that you are not excited or passionate about the job,” remarks Hamidah.