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ICICI Bank's 'One Bank, One Team' Model Revolutionizes HR, Gains Global Attention

Redefining Banking Excellence: ICICI Bank's Innovative Team Approach Leads the Industry

14 May 2024


Neelesh Bachani

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1.      ICICI Bank's "One Bank, One Team" initiative, inspired by the resilient journey of cricket legend Mohinder Amarnath, emphasizes unity and collaboration over individual performance metrics. By inviting sports icons like Amarnath and former Indian hockey team captain Viren Rasquinha, the bank reinforces the importance of willpower, teamwork, and adaptability among its employees, aligning with CEO Sandeep Bakhshi's vision.

2.      Since Sandeep Bakhshi's leadership began in 2018, ICICI Bank has shifted to a team-based approach in HR policies, significantly enhancing employee cohesion and performance. New HR recruits are initially immersed in business roles, ensuring practical and relevant training. This strategy has earned the bank top rankings in employee satisfaction and effectiveness, even attracting interest from international banks.

3.      ICICI Bank has transformed its branches into multifunctional business centers and established a robust digital academy focusing on critical areas like cloud computing and AI. Employees undergo rigorous skill assessments and improvement plans, while the leadership academy ensures continuous development in data science, design thinking, and adaptive leadership. These initiatives underscore the bank's commitment to a future-ready, data-driven organization.

ICICI Bank's "One Bank, One Team" initiative has proven highly effective and garnered interest even from outside the country. This model draws inspiration from the journey of cricket legend Mohinder Amarnath, who faced repeated doubts and setbacks but triumphed at the 1983 World Cup. ICICI Bank recently invited Amarnath to speak with employees, using his story to illustrate the triumph of will, grit, and determination. This isn't the first time the bank has drawn from the sports world; two years ago, they invited former Indian hockey team captain Viren Rasquinha to discuss the importance of teamwork and adaptability. These initiatives aim to foster a sense of unity and collaboration among employees, aligning with MD and CEO Sandeep Bakhshi’s ‘One Bank, One Team’ strategy.


Since Sandeep Bakhshi joined ICICI Bank in October 2018, the bank's HR policies have undergone significant changes. Moving away from an individual key performance indicators-driven model, the bank now emphasizes a team-based approach. This shift is relatively unique among large organizations and has even caught the attention of a small bank in the UK that follows similar HR practices. According to T.K. Srirang, Group Chief Human Resources Officer of ICICI Bank, the new system has been highly effective over the past four to five years, reinforcing their belief in the strategy. The bank's success across various segments demonstrates the value of working as a cohesive team.


At the core of the "One Bank, One Team" model is the belief that every employee joins the bank to excel. ICICI Bank's role is to support and enable employees, providing them with the right platform to unleash their potential. As a result, the bank's 141,000 employees do not require constant monitoring or individual targets. This approach has propelled ICICI Bank to the top of BT-Taggd’s The Best Companies to Work For in India list. Additionally, many of the bank’s HR managers have business backgrounds, and even newly recruited HR professionals from top management colleges are required to spend the first six months in a business role before transitioning to HR. This ensures that functional training programs, led by internal trainers, are practical and relevant to current experiences.

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ICICI Bank has also reshaped its branch model, transforming branches into business centers that serve as focal points for all products and services. Traditionally, branches focused on serving consumers in the liabilities business, mainly current accounts and savings accounts (CASA deposits). Now, branch managers understand both risk and profit and loss, enhancing the bank’s ability to meet evolving customer needs. As part of its "Bank to BankTech" journey, ICICI Bank continues to skill employees through its digital academy, aligning with the vision of a scalable, future-ready, and data-driven organization.


The digital academy focuses on 15 key areas, including cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI). Technology, product design, risk management, and audit employees undergo internal assessments to determine their proficiency levels (L1, L2, or L3) based on their roles. A skill improvement roadmap is then provided, and this information is shared with board committees to outline the bank's skill requirements. ICICI Bank is among the first in its domain to adopt such practices, common in many IT companies, and collaborates with reputed partners such as the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology, the International Institute of Information Technology Bangalore, Manipal UNext, and NIIT University.


Furthermore, ICICI Bank operates a leadership academy focusing on its 800-member leadership team. The academy emphasizes five key areas: data science, technology, design thinking, project management, and adaptive leadership. Each leader is required to undergo a skilling session every six months, ensuring that they possess at least basic knowledge and awareness in these areas. Over the next one to two years, the bank aims to enroll all leadership team members in these programs, highlighting ICICI Bank’s commitment to evolving and improving alongside its employees

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