With no face-to-face customer contact, Intelligence Finance realised early on that staff development had to be central to its operation
With no high street presence, Intelligent Finance has to work harder than many banks to cultivate the right relationship with its customers. One bad experience on the phone could mean a lost customer in an extremely competitive financial services marketplace.
The telenet bank - customers can access its services online or via telephone - was built 18 months ago and had to recruit and train more than 1,200 employees for launch. Intelligent Finance now employs 2,500 staff, across three sites in Edinburgh, Livingston and Rosyth, and with the inaugural work out of the way, its next priority was to put in place an ongoing development programme.
From the outset the executive management team at Intelligent Finance realised people would be its greatest asset and agreed that learning would play a vital role in the values and vision of the company.
In March 2001 a team was created to research organisations that were already award-winners as a result of their training strategies and best practices were recorded and incorporated within the Intelligent Finance learning model.
The rationale behind the model came from a desire to be an employer of choice as much as from a need to gain a competitive edge. Linda Mortimer, director of HR, says: "People don't come to work just to do a job any more, they come to learn and develop their careers.
"As more players continue to enter the financial services market, the quality of career development opportunities will become more important to those coming in and will play a crucial part in their employment decisions," she adds.
Intelligent Finance's broad aim was to continuously improve customer experience. Drawing from research conducted 12 months ago, it introduced Aspire, an interactive learning centre, based at its Livingston premises, where employees can access a range of learning options within a relaxed environment. Aspire has a set of clear-cut objectives, to:
- Promote a learning culture throughout the company
- Encourage staff to improve their self-development in relation to a range of skills and competencies to the benefit of themselves and the company
- Equip individuals with the necessary tools to facilitate this
- Provide a blended approach to learn