Morale dented as CBE employees left out of structural change benefits

By Brook Abdu – The Reporter Ethiopia

The morale of the employees of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) has been dented for being left out of the benefits package and employees’ reassignment that came after the restructuring of the state-owned bank.


The Bank hired the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management in 2011 to conduct human resource development (HRD) strategy, organizational structure and for external training provision. The organization completed the said projects in 2017 and got a greenlight from the Board of Directors. However, the real implementation of the project was done only a month ago; but with flaws, according to employees and managers of the Bank that talked to The Reporter anonymously.


According to these employees and managers, the implementation of the new HR and organizational structure was not implemented evenly across all districts across the country. Employees with lesser experience have been assigned to higher positions while others remained without any change to their position despite having served the Bank for more than six years.


The employees bitterly complained that the top tier of the hierarchy benefited much out of the newly implemented system and employees at the managerial position have benefited comparatively. But, employees at the lower level of the hierarchy were left without change to their position.


It also surprised one manager of the Bank that acting managers in some branches that became in charge for less than three months have been appointed as managers at the same place they acted without any competition and consideration of their capability for the position.


“It is only employees at the managerial position that benefitted out of the new system,” one employee said.


According to the employees and managers, some of the criteria used to assess the fitness of the employees into the three categories of assignment in branches are not measurable in real terms and they are subject to subjective interpretations.


“The fate of any employee that wants to get appointed falls on the placement committees,” said one manager who works in one of the branches out of Addis Ababa.


Based on the assessment of the eight placement committees established by the CEO/President of the Bank, the employees are appointed to places deemed they are fit for. If not satisfied, they complain to one of the eight committee for their placement to be reconsidered.


According to the placement guideline of the new system that The Reporter obtained, the Bank uses five criteria to place its employees to the business, operation and quality assurance teams in each branch. The criteria are performance, technical capability, attitude, integrity, and experience which will each be rated excellent, very good, good, needs improvement and unsatisfactory.


Although the Bank’s employee performance system is at its infancy, according to the guideline, the performance of the employees will be assessed by observing the system results and with a recommendation from the employee’s immediate supervisor.


The technical capabilities of the employee observe whether the employee has the required education, knowledge, skill, potential and training.


Attitude; admitted to be susceptible to subjectivity by the guidelines, it shows the commitment of the candidate to perform the job.


Integrity; the guideline indicates that it is the critical parameter in a financial institution and, “if the employee is penalized for committing of fraud and if the Bank loses confidence on the integrity of the employee the candidate should not be eligible for promotion in any way.”


Experience deals with seniority.


But, despite the subjectivity of some criteria, a manager at the Bank says, the measurable criteria like experience were not considered well.


Having been disappointed by the results of the new results they hoped would bring any change to their career, employees at the Bank are sending in their complaints filling in a form the Bank prepared.


The Labor Union has also submitted its complaint to the management of the Bank and requested for a quick remedy to the mishaps, especially regarding salary increment which has not happened in the Bank for the past five years.


In an interview with the Amharic Reporter Wednesday’s edition, the president of the Labor Union Haimanot Lemma indicated that the respect the Bank had to its employees has been dwindling from time to time. He also stated that the code of conduct signed between the management and the Labor Union has been eroded many times and he called for the concerned body to give them a solution.


Belihu Takele, the Bank’s Corporate Communications Director said that the Bank has implemented a structure that fits the Bank’s growth and size and as of the agreement reached with the employees, a proposal has been prepared for the salary adjustment. He added that a committee has been established to oversee this implementation.


But, according to a senior manager at the Bank, it is not the organizational structure that is a concern to the employees but the salary adjustment which is already tabled to the Prime Minister for approval. The approval will involve a consultation with the National Bank of Ethiopia and Public Financial Institutions Supervisory Agency.


The task that Frankfurt School of Finance and Management conducted for the CBE is its flagship project which was featured on its website with only one other project for the Bank of Laos. According to the website, the CBE project was implemented in four phases and it completed the fourth phase by the first quarter of the year 2017.

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