‘If my subordinates grow, I grow’Sudesh Khaling started his career three decades ago as a junior assistant at Grindlays Bank.
Sudesh Khaling started his career three decades ago as a junior assistant at Grindlays Bank. In his 25-year journey at Standard Chartered Bank, Khaling worked and led various departments, eventually leaving the bank as its chief information officer.
Since 2011, Khaling has been working with Laxmi Bank, where he first served as the chief risk officer and for the past three years, he has led the bank as its CEO.
In this interview with the Post’s Alisha Sijapati, Khaling talks about the working culture in the banking industry and challenges he has to negotiate with as a CEO, along with some of his management mantras. Excerpts:
Currently, retention is a big challenge in most organisations, particularly the banking sector. How is your bank dealing with this chronic problem?
Not everyone comes from the same of school of thought. Everyone has different aspirations and goals in life.
Some realise it early on, others much later in their lives. Many people do not identify their strength and potential, which can lead to a lot chaos, personally and professionally.
The banking industry is an interesting sector to work in—if there is an honest burning passion, no one can stop you from reaching great heights in this sector. The banking industry has a lot of scope for growth.
You need to be sure and confident about what you aspire to do. This sector is a charismatic place to work in but at the same time, it can get monotonous too. You need to have a positive mindset. In my case, I knew I always wanted to be part of this industry and I worked accordingly.
If you look at the retention level globally, employees don’t work at the same place for too long.
They crave for changes constantly. However, working at the same organisation dilligently will not only help you identify your strengths and weaknesses but will also help you gain a certain amount of trust and respect from your employers.
Currently, talent retention is one of the biggest challenges that everyone from the banking industry is facing.
There is a dearth in quality of resources. In our organisation, we believe that money is not an issue. Our prime concern is the mental satisfaction of our employees.
They need to feel comfortable in their space.
In you long career, you’ve worked with and led many teams at various organisations. What are some qualities that all leaders should have?
Leadership skills differ according to the area you’re working in and the skill sets you have acquired.
As a leader, you are naturally expected to possess at least a few leadership qualities. A leader needs to have a vision—a vision to grow along with their employees.
They need to understand their people both personally and professionally. As a leader, one always needs to be tactful and have proper communication skills.
Without proper dialogue, conflicts are bound to occur at work. A good communicator can automatically solve issues in any kind of situation. I believe in growing along with my people. If my subordinates grow, I grow.
As a CEO of a commercial bank, what are some of the challenges that you have to negotiate with?
A CEO faces many challenges. At times, it is impossible for one person to deal with everything single-handedly.
I understand that challenges are dynamic and without challenges life gets too boring and monotonous.
I like to tackle challenges one at a time. It helps me understand the situation carefully and then, I work accordingly with patience and perseverance.
These two qualities help overcome any difficult challenges.
What are the keys to managing a large workforce like Laxmi Bank’s?
Laxmi Bank has 600 employees across 70 branches all over the country. Our bank believes in equal participation and distribution of work.
At a time when there is low retention in all commercial banks, it is important for us to always come up with something special in order to retain our best employees.
As an employer, it is my duty to give them the assurance that their careers are in safe hands.
Banks work in a system. Every single employee has their own job description and they are required to fulfill their responsibilities.
Employees have their supervisors who are there to constantly guide their department members. We have strong policies that ensures holistic environment at the workplace.
It is critical to have HR departments. In an organisation, anybody and everybody managing HR issues is not possible.
In terms of resources, some expert needs to manage pertinent issues. To maintain authority, rules, and regulations an HR is very important and having a strong HR department is one of theways our bank is able to manage such a large workforce.
What are your management mantras?
My only mantra is to give employees their space to work and to think freely. If you understand their strength and talent quickly, it is easy to work.
What advice do you for fresh graduates aspiring to join the banking industry?
First, the youth need to understand what banking is all about. These days fresh graduates leave their job after two-three months—if it’s not your cup of tea, it’s better not to join.
One should understand that the banking industry is not a glamorous place to work at. Some of the work here can get monotonous.
They need to do some homework about this sector. It is a waste of their time and our time and money as well, if they are not serious.