Skilly Award winner in the category “Team Project Competence Development”:

Bank Julius Bär

Last year, the Julius Baer Academy launched two innovative and special projects that support employees in their competence development. Both have now been awarded the Skilly Award 2021. Find out which innovative development programme front assistants can undergo, how an interactive app was successfully implemented within one year and what values Bank Julius Baer stands for.

Project 1: A development booster for the front office

Many of today’s job descriptions and job profiles will change more and more in the future. This is a challenge for both, banks and employees. Oliver Ruch and his team tackled this issue in 2020. The result: an innovative development programme for frontline assistants in private banking (“Assistant Relationship Manager”). This not only gave employees the chance to pursue a specific career path, but also launched a tailor-made certification programme. In addition to completing the programme, an online platform offers space for exchange and networking, so that the community of assistant relationship managers can grow even closer together and learn from each other. “It was important to us that we not only focus on the development of the client advisors, but also create new career opportunities for the assistant relationship managers so that they receive the recognition and appreciation they deserve,” emphasises Oliver Ruch, project manager.


Project 2: A Learning & Collaboration App in just one year

Dominique Zweifel and her team have achieved something really impressing. Within one year, they developed and introduced a bank-wide “collaboration app”. In a banking environment characterised by high security standards, this is not a foregone conclusion. Since the beginning of 2021, all employees of Bank Julius Baer have been able to use the app to engage in an intensive and uncomplicated exchange, get support from peers or share best practice examples, ideas and tips on various topics with others themselves.


Why not just LinkedIn & Co?

The app’s functions are strongly reminiscent of the well-known social networks such as LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook. “We wanted to make use of precisely these mechanisms,” confirms Dominique Zweifel. With the app, all employees should be able to network and exchange information in an uncomplicated way in order to strengthen social and informal learning and the various communities within the bank, in a protected space.


First work then pleasure

As well received as both projects have been, there were of course some hurdles to overcome beforehand. Developing and integrating an app into the internal system brought interesting technical and security challenges. “We had to deal with different scenarios, such as the question of what happens if the employee’s smartphone is stolen and how to prevent misuse of the app,” explains Dominique Zweifel. In Oliver Ruch’s case, it was particularly challenging to pick up all the different realities, cultures and teams and to design a programme that would meet all needs as best as possible. “A particular success factor here was that we turned those affected into participants. We focused on maintaining a direct, transparent and continuous exchange with them,” says Oliver Ruch. And even if the launching of the initiatives was sometimes very demanding: both projects have contributed in the sense of “learning culture” to the fact that competence development and informal learning now receive even broader attention. “This is a positive development,” note both HR experts.


Such projects do not come by chance: “Learning culture is key”.

Bank Julius Baer has a history. Founded in Zurich in 1890, it is now the leading Swiss wealth management group. But despite its enormous expansion and business success, one traditional value still stands out. Julius Bär cares about its employees. The once family-like structure of the private bank lives on to this day. Together, they pull together to ensure the success and strategic goals of the company. The Julius Baer Academy acts as a sparring partner for all business units and transports and lives the “learning culture”. The idea behind this is that only if a company actively supports its employees in their development and encourages them to learn can a competitive advantage be created in the long term. “To achieve this, we also want to change the perspective on learning. We want to develop the understanding of learning among all employees to the effect that learning happens much more informally today, while actively doing, while working and in exchange with others, and not just once a year in a course, for example,” explains Dominique Zweifel. The Julius Baer Academy offers innovative and employee-centred programmes so that learning is part of everyday life and everyone can integrate appropriate development steps into their job.

Skilly Award 2021 well deserved

skillaware congratulates Bank Julius Baer on the well-deserved Skilly Award 2021 and wishes them much perseverance and development power for the continuation of the “learning culture” – and hopes for further exciting projects!

Oliver Ruch

Julius Bär Academy, Head Front Development

Dominique Zweifel

Julius Bär Academy, Head All Staff Development & Locations

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