Tell us about what you do as Branch Manager at Halifax
I manage a branch in East Grinstead, West Sussex. The role of a Bank Manager these days is very much on the shop floor. As well as being responsible for everything that goes on in the branch and managing my colleagues I spend a considerable amount of my time in the Banking Hall providing support to my colleagues and customers. The days of a Bank Manager sitting in an office are long gone!
What is particularly challenging about your role, and what do you find most fulfilling about it?
The biggest challenge is running a branch on far less staff than would have been the case three or four years ago. The way customers bank has changed with the huge growth in online and digital banking. Customers still need help and not everyone is able to use a computer or smart phone. The most fulfilling part of the role is when we are genuinely able to help customers. This may be by saving them money by refinancing debts or helping them move or buy their first home.
What made you choose to study Retail Banking Practice at Middlesex?
Life as a Branch Manager is very hectic and there is often little time for personal development or reflection. By taking on this study gave me the opportunity to spend time looking at the banking sector as a whole as well as how my branch operates and to try and find ways of improving this for both my customers and colleagues.
What aspects of the course did you find particularly beneficial and what did you enjoy the most?
The most beneficial part of the course was meeting with other manager's from all over the UK and sharing ideas. Unfortunately there were only two opportunities to do this but they were definitely worthwhile.
Was the course useful in terms of helping you to understand better your own working practices?
The course gave me the opportunity to look at my working practices and how they could be improved. The challenge is implementing these in the real world and finding time to continue to improve and reflect.
How has the opportunity to reflect on your practice affected your work and can you give a concrete example?
The best example of this is the way I changed how I manage the longer serving colleagues working for me. My studies showed that colleague engagement and morale tended to deteriorate decreased with length of service. I now try and spend more time engaging with these colleagues rather than assuming they don't need my help. This can be simply sitting down and talking to them or asking them to take on new responsibilities to make their work more challenging
How do you feel the programme has enhanced your current role?
It has made me try and seek ways to improve and also made me look at other factors outside my own organisation and how they impact on myself and my branch