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    China Bohai Bank: Developing a Talent Pool to Digitally Transform

Reading guide: The finance sector is profoundly changing: its service, management, and business models are transforming. The widespread application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the finance sector is driving this transformation. To develop the digital talent needed to adapt to these changes, China Bohai Bank has sent many mid- and high-level managers to Huawei for rotational training.

Bohai Bank was the only national joint-stock bank referenced in From Eco-Platform to Remote Banking: Retail Finance Development Report 2021, jointly released in August 2021 by independent new finance knowledge service platform ZeroOne Finance and the China Retail Finance think tank. This recognition is a testament to our substantial digital transformation achievements and the unique smart property management initiative that we have created. These achievements were all enabled by our efforts in recent years to develop digital talent and continuously innovate.

Digital Transformation — a Must for Banks

In the digital world, everything will be intelligently connected: more than 100 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices will create new business scenarios, transforming banking from 'people-centric' to 'thing-centric,' with manual operations being replaced by IoT terminal operations. This bottom-up model, which multiple parties will participate in, will open up the vast potential of the finance industry. Facing both the opportunities and challenges that these changes will bring, the financial services industry must digitally transform to tackle new scenarios and business forms. As one of the youngest joint-stock banks in China, Bohai Bank has long known that digital transformation is a necessity, a key driver for commercial banks to execute their overall strategic transformations. The bank has launched a three-step digital transformation initiative in which services will become increasingly intelligent, transitioning from online to digital to smart services at different stages.

2021 is the first year of Bohai Bank's fourth 'Five-Year Plan Period' — a period, in which we will accelerate our Financial Technology (FinTech) transformation by using technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), and big data. We will also gradually build seven new infrastructure systems: FinTech, innovative Research and Development (R&D), operating system, incentives and constraints, compliance management, risk control, and training and education. Through digital enablement, we will reshape and transform our models of operation, service, channels, and management.

As digital transformation accelerates across industries, how can we eliminate the obstacles that are preventing us from tapping into the potential of data, talent, and mechanisms? We must improve our ability to embrace changes to drive transformation internally.

When it comes to the digital transformation of banks, we believe that senior management should shoulder 80% of the responsibilities, while mid-level management should take the remaining 20%. In other words, digital transformation requires a strong management team, so our first step was to improve the digital mindset of our managers, as we sought to achieve top-down transformation.

Partnering with Huawei to Develop Digital Talent

To develop a management team with a digital mindset, we turned to Huawei. As a world-leading ICT infrastructure and smart device provider, Huawei has been very active in digitally transforming finance in recent years, serving more than 2000 financial clients in more than 60 countries and regions, including 48 of the world's top 100 banks. For us, Huawei has been a reliable ICT partner in various high-end storage, Kunpeng server, and videoconferencing framework projects. With more than three decades of practical experience, Huawei is a world leader in ICT talent development, so Bohai Bank decided to send mid- and senior-level managers to Huawei for training.

We believe digital transformation requires all employees to participate in the process. The key to the success of digital transformation is consensus on the benefits, objectives, and methods among leaders across different departments. With this approach in mind, we sent more than 400 mid- and senior-level managers to participate in Huawei's rotational training from November 2020 to May 2021.

Huawei set up a dedicated team of more than 10 experts and provided customized courses with a select few projects and trainers. The courses covered Huawei's corporate culture and core values, strategic plans and interpretation, business transformation and management system building, digital transformation, process-based organizational building, talent development, and performance management. These training sessions helped Bohai Bank managers reach a consensus on digital transformation and improved our digital leadership.

During the training, Huawei declassified its own operation and management mechanisms, granting us access that provided us with valuable references on enterprise management and innovation. Huawei's special capability methodology enablement improved our strategy execution skills. Huawei also shared its Goals, Roles, Processes, Interpersonal relationships (GRPI) model, which can guide managers in building high-performing teams. Our managers also learned how to formulate future-oriented digital transformation objectives and framework, and how to devise proper business operation models, giving our managers broader visions for FinTech and digital transformation.

As well as conventional teaching methods, Huawei also provided experience-based teaching and workshops. For example, we visited Huawei's Songshan Lake base as well Shenzhen Museum, which includes a lot of information about Huawei's history and development, to experience the company's corporate culture and management philosophy, which helped us better understand the essence of the digital economy. We also understood the digital economy and realized the value of reform. In workshops, Huawei developed bonus point contests, the Objective, Reflective, Interpretive and Decisional (ORID) course review, and a 'World Coffee Workshop' to explore the best digital implementation solution for Bohai Bank from the perspectives of industry perception, enterprise practice, and best industry practices.

Bohai bank employees attend Huawei rotational training

Rebirth Through Innovation

Agility is critical for financial institutions in the process of reshaping and digitally transforming themselves. How can financial institutions achieve technological, business, and organizational agility through digital transformation? How can they quickly perceive and respond to changes?

By participating in Huawei's rotational training and benchmarking with Huawei's strategies, we learned many successful digital transformation practices and established future-oriented digital capabilities. We also learned about Huawei's strategic planning and execution capability, which enhanced our sense of mission and allowed us to implement flattened management by integrating market insight, strategic goals, key tasks, and individual employee performance assessment. We applied Huawei's talent management model to identify pain points and inefficient aspects of our own talent management. Then we restructured it, aiming to inspire individuals to make the most of their potential.

We learned from Huawei's organizational environment construction and structural adjustment to make our own organizational structure more agile.

We also applied lessons from Huawei's corporate culture building to build a culture that can adapt to and support transformation and innovation.

Huawei's rotational training broadened the horizons of Bohai Bank's management and improved their digital management capabilities in terms of research, analysis, planning, and design. Huawei's training also helped Bohai Bank to quickly and agilely iterate and perform technology-based risk control, helping the bank to improve its level of service.

To meet the needs of financial services in the future, Bohai Bank has established a dedicated data academy, which focuses on training junior, intermediate, and senior data analysts and data scientists, aiming to enable all the departments within the bank to communicate fluently in a 'digital language.'

Bohai Bank will continue to develop more digital talent, and by integrating business with talent and technology, we will focus on establishing our enterprise as an agile and self-evolving bank.