Royal Bank of Canada: Transforming Managers (A)

By Kathryn Shaw, Debra Schifrin
2015 | Case No. HR42A | Length 10 pgs.

The 2015 case “Royal Bank of Canada: Transforming Managers (A)” discusses programs that the bank put in place between 2011 and 2013 to improve managerial effectiveness.  The case looks at the traits that make good managers, how to use data to create visibility into managerial effectiveness, the features of a successful intervention action plan, and the challenges with finding ways to reward good managers.  Specifically, the case focuses on a pilot intervention program within the Canadian Banking operations division that was designed by Human Resources thought leaders in collaboration with Canadian Banking operations’ top leaders. The program had multiple parts: 1) Using an analytics model based on the employee opinion survey to rank all managers in the division based on effectiveness; 2) Dividing all managers into four effectiveness cohorts (roughly in quartiles); 3) Identifying the managers most in need of, and most likely to benefit from, manager effectiveness training; and 4) creating and carrying out action plans. The action plans included formal coaching by each of the targeted managers’ managers (the most effective intervention), feedback, and formal training.  The case concludes as the bank waits for the results of the next employee opinion survey to gauge how effective its management improvement programs were. The companion case, “Royal Bank of Canada: Transforming Managers (B),” discusses the results of the programs.

Learning Objective

The objective is for students to learn about the traits that make good managers and evaluate the best ways to measure and reward management effectiveness. The case focuses on a data-driven measurement approach, and students should analyze the advantages and disadvantages of this approach and understand what the unintended consequences might be. Students should also evaluate whether management effectiveness ratings should be part of compensation decisions, and if so, in what way.

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