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Your Role: Director, Employee Relations- BankUSA

It’s December of 2021. The pandemic is subsiding. A vaccine has been created, tested, and proven safe and effective. The distribution of the vaccine is being managed well and the government expects the vaccination effort to be nearly complete by early spring.

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This team is the Human Resources leadership at BankUSA – a multi-state bank which has been hard-hit through the pandemic. The majority (almost 80%) of your 12,000 person workforce has been remote since March of 2020. The limited staff that have been onsite are working in one of the 278 branches you operate in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi. The branches have been open by appointment only and the maximum number of customers who can be helped in person on a given day at each branch is capped at 8 to ensure time for cleaning and appropriate social distancing protocols. You tried reopening the branches to more in person traffic throughout the pandemic but each time, your efforts coincided with a surge in virus cases and you were required to restrict access again.

Bank profits are down by double digits. Interest rates are historically low so the profit margin from lending to customers is reduced. Because of the massive unemployment in the country, and especially in the states where BankUSA operates, the loan default rate has skyrocketed. In addition, there are limited opportunities to sell additional products to customers so the sales rates for products are down sharply. The executive team has recently received a report on the growth in consumer confidence in online activities, including banking, due to their recent positive experience with online shopping, bill pay, and other transactions. This is leading to lower traffic in the branches, a required shift in the marketing of additional products, and in the loss of customers who no longer think a brick-and-mortar bank is necessary for their financial safety/security.

The CEO of BankUSA, in response to pressure from the managing board and stock holders, is looking for ways to reduce costs, restructure the business, and increase profits. She has turned to each member of the executive leadership team and asked you to produce a plan that moves BankUSA into the 22nd century from your area of expertise. The executive team has been asked to think creatively and broadly as you think about restructuring the workforce, responding to customers’ online preferences, and reducing overhead costs.

As the HR leadership team for BankUSA, you are aware of the following:

  • Personnel costs represent 75% of the entire operating expense of the business.
  • You have furloughed 15% of the workforce with the full intention of bringing everyone back to work, a position stated publicly by the CEO. Of those furloughed, the majority are bank tellers.
  • Your health care costs are increasing exponentially due to the pandemic. Actuaries have estimated that premiums will increase 18% in the next plan year to keep your self-insured health plan solvent.
  • In a recent survey, 85% of the BankUSA staff expressed an interest in staying at home to work, citing their ability to manage their work well for the previous 20 months, the added benefits of work/life balance, and reduced commute times. You can’t operate the branches with only 15% of your workforce onsite. You are also facing hiring challenges as candidates opt for positions with other companies that guarantee remote work.
  • The branch managers for BankUSA are, on average, much older and less diverse than the rest of the BankUSA team and the customers you serve. Branch Managers are among the highest paid BankUSA employees and are also the most costly in terms of benefits and perks.
  • Because you and your team stay up-to-date with trends and forecasts, you know that traditional banking has already been impacted by significant automation that will continue into the future. What you are unclear about is the impact of blockchain and crypto-currency on your industry.
  • Your HR team is known in the company as being the most creative and innovative team. The other executives are looking to you all for a radical plan to restructure the Human Resources component of the business. Though you have limited resources, you have been given permission to create a disruptive plan that will move the bank into the future.

For the final case study project, your team has the opportunity to put your HR knowledge and expertise to use in planning a strategy for the future. Each member of the team will assume one of the roles described above. You will function as an HR leadership team to craft a plan for the future of BankUSA. Your plan should address the following:

  • Plans for existing employees who do not have the skill set to serve in the coming decade, grounded in HR law and equitable practices
  • Plans for staffing branches and/or allowing remote work with recommendations on what to do with physical locations
  • Plans for compensation and benefits considerations given the changing needs and work force
  • New jobs (that don’t exist today) and how they will fit into the overall structure (you can be really creative here!)
  • Anything else you think helps the CEO lead BankUSA into the future in a financially solvent, consumer-relevant way

 ASSIGNMENT

Based on your role as Director, Employee Relations, write a 3 – 5 page paper analyzing the case and the activity from your perspective. It’s important that you write as the person occupying the role/position and not as a student. Your paper should describe the situation from your perspective, analyze the impact of the proposed solutions on the company and on employees, and describe any concerns or considerations, from your role, that the CEO should be mindful of in implementing the plan presented in the group presentation. Be sure to include your references.

  • You will need to do some research into the business of personal banking to familiarize yourselves enough to make informed recommendations. Be sure to include your references in your presentation.
  • Be creative and explore lots of ideas!

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