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TD Magazine Article

Social Transformation via Learning

With the vision of preparing employees for the future, AKBANK’s training and development function is a strategic business partner of business units.


Fri Jun 14 2024

Social Transformation via Learning

AKBANK: 2024 BEST Award Winner, #7

With the vision of preparing employees for the future, AKBANK's training and development function, known as the Academy team, is a strategic business partner of business units. It has transformed expertise programs to focus on capabilities needed today and in the future, which includes implementing Center of Excellence programs to achieve future readiness.


AKBANK is one of the leading private banks in Turkey, providing services to more than 12.5 million customers. A key strategy of the company's learning strategy uses personalized development journeys instead of standardized, curriculum-based programs for a wide audience. Digital learning tools ensure that employees can access quality development solutions when needed, and the Academy team presents those development solutions with differentiated learning methods that cater to each employee's learning needs and preferences.

In addition to transforming its own employees through robust L&D efforts, the company also aims to contribute to the transformation of Turkey through social impact. Between 2021 and 2022, the company launched three social impact academies: Youth Academy; an academy for small and medium-size businesses; and a family-focused academy. The Academy team conducted separate needs analyses, program design, and content design processes using the ADDIE methodology. The bank measures the effectiveness of its social impact academies with the social return on investment metric, a universally recognized measurement for assessing social impact.

To be sure, the academies have positive business implications for AKBANK. One example is the organization's effort to help small and medium-size enterprises adapt business practices to compete in a digital-first world. The bank rolled out a "transformation academy" for such businesses in the spring of 2022.

The company designed that academy to empower small and medium-size companies financially and to promote economic recovery by providing comprehensive training programs focused on financial and digital transformation. Seminars, customized training, networking, and inter-enterprise collaborations provide the companies with practical information to keep their enterprises healthy and in business. The program has a particular emphasis on helping women entrepreneurs.

The transformation academy offers development solutions in three main areas: digital transformation, financial strength, and green transformation. It held 40 events in its first year, reaching nearly 13,000 small and medium-size companies. The investment in empowering those critical enterprises, which drive a significant portion of AKBANK's portfolio, resulted in positive ROI.


When comparing year-end results, AKBANK increased the number of active customers in the small and medium-size enterprise banking segment by 32 percent and the number of digital banking customers by 44 percent. But those increases did not derive only from the transformation academy participants, which shows the positive lift the company received through advertising and the goodwill associated with its social impact efforts.

Of the companies that participated in the transformation academy that were not customers, AKBANK realized a 13 percent gain in active customers in the small and medium-size enterprise market—a significant achievement, the company reports

View the entire list of 2024 BEST Award winners.

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