In a newfound world of portfolio careers, Keith Crombie is one of a decreasing number of people who have been with one employer all of their working life, with a longstanding banking career at the Royal Bank of Scotland. This month we chatted to Keith about undertaking the IOEE-accredited Business Growth Enabler (BGE) programme and the importance of adaptability for businesses and employees in a rapidly evolving digital world.
Keith joined the Royal Bank of Scotland straight after leaving school, following the ‘standard banking’ career path from Office Junior to Personal Mortgage Adviser to Business Manager. His current role of Business Growth Enabler was created in 2016, and Keith was one of the first employees to undertake the BGE programme.
Keith says: “My BGE role covers the Scottish Borders along with East & Mid Lothian. At the Royal Bank, we believe it’s our role to help businesses succeed. We want to become more than simply a provider of financial services to small businesses and we’ve been working hard to build trust with customers, by improving our services and doing more to meet their needs. My role, as a Business Growth Enabler is a key part of this ambition. One of the exciting points about this IOEE-accredited programme, is that it helps me to think outside the box and put myself in my customers’ shoes – to see things from their perspective.”
Keith’s role at the Royal Bank of Scotland predominantly surrounds giving his customers direct support and guidance that helps them to take their businesses to the next level, but another part of his role is organising events. These free events are open to any small business, whether they bank with us or not. We give advice and information on subjects ranging from the fundamental, such as Sources of Funding, to Cyber Crime and Making Tax Digital – both current issues for small business owners.
Keith says: “I provide information and help to a variety of businesses throughout the year, from those who retail on the high street, to industrial companies and small businesses in the agriculture sector. I particularly enjoy meeting businesses that are now established and are looking to grow and expand. It’s exciting to be on the journey with them, helping them to achieve their goals. They’re very inspirational – and their commitment and focus never ceases to inspire me.”
“I think it’s particularly interesting to see how the financial sector is changing so rapidly. New technology and processes are being introduced faster than ever these days, so it’s important to move quickly as times change. However, this also applies to us as employees, not just our customers. At the start of 2016 the Business Growth Enabler role didn’t even exist, and I couldn’t have predicted then that I would be undertaking this role now, which shows you just how quickly businesses change and adapt and evolve.”
The ability to evolve is fundamental to helping businesses succeed, and Keith tells us how the BGE programme has helped him to understand the challenges businesses face, at the same time as developing professionally himself. One of the benefits of the BGE programme is that it enables employees to study in small blocks to gain their accreditation, and the qualification is transferrable and can be taken with them if their role ever changes.
Keith says: “The BGE programme has definitely given me a greater understanding of the many challenges that small businesses face on a daily basis. It has allowed me to gain knowledge of how important it is that customers have both the time and tools to allow them to operate efficiently and that they know where to go for help and support. For someone operating their own business they are responsible for so much more than just the standard day to day activities of the business.
“However, it has given me a new qualification too. The BGE accreditation I hold is the equivalent of a diploma level qualification, and it’s great to know that if there was something new that appealed to me or that I wanted to try, having my BGE qualifications would stand me in good stead. I am certain that it enhances my standing in my local business community, and also with my colleagues within the banking sector. It’s a qualification that I worked very hard to achieve, and one that I’m extremely proud to hold.”