Training Top 125 Best Practice: BNP Paribas’ Americas Leadership Institute
BNP Paribas believes its people are its most valuable asset and every person plays a key role in helping the bank achieve its strategic business goals. Much of the banking organization’s success rests upon its ability to deliver exemplary results and make a meaningful impact in society. To compete in a changing world, every employee must harness the positive power of the organization’s individual and collective leadership.
Leaders must be able to face the current and future challenges of a global economy, organizational complexity, and the dramatic pace of change with a laser focus on integrity and professional ethics. BNP Paribas needs leaders with strong business skills who can drive transformation and achieve exceptional results. Leaders must partner and influence successfully while role modeling the BNP values. They must demonstrate people care and develop the talent of the organization.
That’s why BNP Paribas created the Americas Leadership Institute (ALI), through which employees have the opportunity to learn how great leaders should operate and achieve excellence.
The Institute delivers dynamic development experiences for all levels, from individual contributor to senior leader, reaching nearly 5,000 employees across the Americas.
Managers are expected to lead positively, demonstrate excellence, role model the BNP Paribas values, and inspire others to conduct business according to the highest standards of ethics and professional behavior. The goal for the program was to create a specific, easily comprehended set of Performance and Impact Drivers that defines successful leadership on the Americas Platform. Those Performance and Impact Drivers are:
- Achieve Results and Impact
- Display Leadership and Collaboration
- Maintain Client/Stakeholder Focus
- Embody Our Culture of Compliance and Conduct
The program further breaks down the “Display Leadership and Collaboration” impact driver into four leadership attributes:
1. Demonstrates People Care and Develops Talent
2. Partners and Influences
3. Drives Change and Transformation
4. Lives Our Values
Development opportunities are focused around those four attributes and are divided into three different categories:
- Milestone Programs
- Targeted Workshops
- High-Impact Modules
Milestone Programs are designed for those making transitions into the next phase of leadership. For example, someone moving from “Leading Self” to “Leading Others” for the first time in their career will need to develop new skills. The Milestone Programs are designed to define and enhance those skills.
Targeted Workshops are nomination-based programs focused on building transversal capabilities. In 2019, BNP Paribas held nomination-based targeted workshops on Collective Leadership and Change Management.
High-Impact Modules are designed with developing a specific skill in mind. Some examples of these are Managing a Multi-Generational Team, Assertive Communication, Managing Difficult Conversations, and Leading Remote Teams. Through the America’s Leadership Institute, the company offers more than 25 different high-impact workshops. With approximately half of the modules, participants have the opportunity for a one-on-one coaching follow-up with the instructor. During these sessions, employees are tasked with putting their learnings from the module into practice on-the-job and then talking through those improvements with the instructor. They also can ask questions and follow up with any ideas they’ve had since attending the module.
The program is reinforced in a variety of different ways. When setting objectives for employees, managers are asked to link directly back to the ALI development opportunities. The bank also linked the Performance and Impact Drivers to the yearly promotion process.
In order to advise and help develop the program, BNP Paribas created a Leadership Advisor Board. This board is composed of a dozen senior leaders (directors and managing directors) from all parts of the organization. The board advised on the creation of the Performance and Impact Drivers, topics of the High-Impact Modules, the development of the leadership attributes, and serve as champions at ALI events.
As a result of bringing leadership development to the forefront, the bank has seen an increase in performance discussions between managers and employees. Through ALI and several other initiatives, 39 percent of employees have a formal performance development plan in place to provide them with career growth and development over the next several years. And 100 percent of BNP’s “Leaders for Tomorrow” (high-potential employees) have a performance development plan in place.
The focus on leadership development has helped the bank increase the interest in attending learning offerings, both virtual and in the classroom. In addition, in the first half of 2019, due in part to the increased demand for learning, BNP has been able to drive costs down by 12.5 percent on a per-learner basis.