Monte dei Paschi di Siena Bank – Development Assessment Center

Situation

Monte dei Paschi di Siena Bank (MPSB), founded in 1472, is considered the oldest bank in the world.

Today, it is at the head of the third largest Italian Bank Group, and has remarkable market shares in all major business areas. Montepaschi Group is operating at a national and international level, ranging from the traditional banking activity to Private Banking (investment funds, property management, pension funds and life insurance policies), and corporate finance (project finance, merchant banking and financial consultancy), with a special vocation for families and SMEs. In this context, noteworthy is the project carried out in collaboration with Giunti O.S. Human Development Unit (HDU), designed for the MPSB need to enhance the most significant company population for the   business development. It is aimed at: creating conditions for people so they can express their full potential; “recruiting” people into the organization and transferring the “sense of urgency” of this historical moment for the market, to foster a greater commitment of employees towards their work and the company.

Intervention description

The intervention purpose was the assessment and potential’s development of different professional figures (resources belonging to vertical career paths, crafts masters, excellent resources, resources having a new position of responsibility in the Head Office) and the consolidation of their degree of involvement, satisfaction and engagement towards the organization.

The method proposed by the HDU is a Development Asses­sment Center included in a path of growth and training. This method characterizes for its attention to scientifically based tools that, used for self and hetero assessments, are an important opportunity for participants to reflect and develop.

 

The methodology provides a feedback by the assessors to participants during the two days of Development Assessment Center; moreover, models and reference techniques are provided to encourage experimentation and the application of the formative experience in the exercise of one’s role.

Thus, with this methodology, the subject gets more self-awareness besides learning and interiorizing models, theories and behaviors that are necessary to develop the change, aimed at enhancing the strengths and improving the verified weaknesses.

The emphasis on the development is even more pronounced, supposing a greater assumption of responsibilities by the assessed subject both in the preparation and in the implementation of the development plan. The idea of the project is based on the principle (borrowed by positive psychology) to create a “virtuous circle” that, starting from being aware of one’s skills, strengths and areas for improvement, facilitates the motivation for an increase in resources and positive potential, besides strengthening the perception of self-efficacy, allowing a proactive approach for professional growth, up to become ‘entrepreneurial’ in compliance with company values and objectives.

The objectives pursued through this project can be summarized as follows:

  • Strengthening MPSB strategic skills with a view to people development and training
  • Ensuring the fit between the subject skills profile and the profile promoted by the company;
  • Retaining the potential already present in the company;
  • Creating the condition so that people are motivated to give their best at work;
  • Engaging people making them jointly responsible in their growth project so that they are motivated to pursue it;

 

The work process was divided into macro phases:

Planning

It provided for the identification of core skills to be assessed and the arrangement of tests and tools to be administered, including:

Scientifically based tests

Big Five Questionnaire 2 (BFQ2), investigates the five personality features within the organization, according to an internationally recognized scientific model. Knowing those features that distinguish a subject and have a direct impact on the performance, motivation and professional satisfaction, allows the company to consistently define the policies on human resources management.

Motivational Orientation Test, investigates four main motivational orientations in order to assess the intrinsic motivation of the person for different tasks, and work situations.

Situational tests (individual and group)

They were selected ad hoc in compliance with the organizational context and target populations. Giunti O.S. has a wide list of standardized tests (ACS – Assessment Center System; LGD – Leaderless Group Discussion) carried out in collaboration with Italian and international researchers. These tests have been customized according to the roles under investigation and the specific business context.

Observation schemes

Observation schemes have guided the assessors in the recording of the participants behaviors during the process of Development Assessment Center, using the Big Five Competencies Map (BFCmap) as a model for reading competencies, which refers to the same scientific model of BFQ2 personality test, allowing assessors to use a single model for reading behaviors. Assessors are given clear guidelines for observation in order to make a more effective, valid and impartial assessment.

Psychological motivational interviewing

The interview aims at investigating the skills being evaluated but especially exploring personality and motivation characteristics. In order that a subject can hold a new organizational role successfully is important to verify that he/she has the necessary skills, but also the will to have a new role and bear different responsibilities from those he/she bore so far.

Implementation

The DAC have been organized over two days and have provided a full interaction and cooperation between assessor and educators who took turns in the classroom management and worked together to offer participants moments for exercises and tests, as well as feedbacks and reference models and techniques to enhance experimentation and the application of the educational experience in the exercise of their role.

The evaluation time has been followed by a path of awareness development and the acquisition of techniques/tools of self-development. People have been encouraged for a self-assessment of resources, energies and personal motivations, in order to identify development goals in a better way and organize/clarify one’s development plan in the company.

The intervention has facilitated the strengthening of self-development, training people to the awareness of their skills and the arrangement of a professional growth plan through the development of skills and resources, which sometimes are underestimated by people or it is difficult to express them due to rooted habits, limiting beliefs or prejudices of the organizational environment. They assume that, at work, everyone has features, motivations, skills that, if enhanced, may allow a substantial improvement in productivity, professional satisfaction and role growth.

Results

The interventions carried out through the DAC methodology have been effective for their practical implications, both for HR Department in setting management and development actions in compliance with the participants characteristics, and for participants themselves who experienced the opportunity to work on themselves receiving feedbacks for their personal and professional growth. In brief, DAC allowed to:

  • Have a potential mapping of people involved in the project, defining compliant development and management actions to enhance them.
  • Raise awareness of participants on their skills profile, resources, strengths and improvement areas thanks to this experience, feedbacks received by the assessors/educators, and the theoretical insights linked to the activities carried out in the classroom.
  • Build development and improvement plans consistent with the motivations and skills assessment, thanks to the feedback that represents a decisive and valuable moment in terms of self-learning.
  • Increasing the engagement of people in the organization, encouraging them to a continuous improvement.