For many in the financial services industry, the pace of change in the world is nearly impossible to keep up with and yet that is the expectation of stakeholders, clients, and employees. These expectations, especially from employees, are putting pressure on the culture of financial services organizations to change in order to mitigate the negative impact on attracting and retaining talent.
According to Quantum Workplace, at a rate of 19 percent, the financial services industry has the second-highest rate of total employee turnover and is nearly three points higher than the average for other industries. Given this, it’s not surprising that recruiting and retaining high-quality talent is a top priority, and one of the most significant challenges faced by companies in the financial services industry.
Therefore, to stay competitive, many financial services teams are looking to build a culture that positively influences the employee experience. If you are one of those teams or will be in the near future, read on to find five ways you can begin to do exactly that.
Create a Culture of Inclusion That Makes Everyone Feel They Belong
The benefits of building a culture of inclusion are plenty; for employees, the organization, and your clients. It will be what separates the good from the great organizations as we move forward in an ever-increasingly connected and conscious world. In fact, 72 percent of surveyed organizations are putting a conscious focus on creating a culture of diversity and inclusion. This is because when organizations actively focus on ensuring that the work environment is inclusive, every individual in the organization feels that they can be their authentic selves and that their input is welcome and valued.
Develop Strong Leaders At All Levels
Every leader in every department has an impact on those they lead, whether it’s for the good or the bad. Leaders have the most direct impact on the day-to-day lives of employees and their roles within the organization. Any number of things - from how the organization is doing, to problems on the team, to the manager’s leadership style - can significantly impact the employee experience and the level of effort they are willing to give their organization. For employees, their leaders are the face of the organization in their world. As such, when they are asked to contribute their best effort, those who have a better relationship or rapport with their leader are more likely to do so and support their leader, thereby leading to better employee experience.
Empower Employees to Improve Their Client’s Experience
Every employee can and should positively influence the client’s experience. By becoming client-centric as a financial institution, you are not only engaging your clients at every step in their journey but also engaging your employees. A culture of customer centricity prompts every employee to continually ask, “How do I impact the client in my role?” This gives everyone a purpose and understanding of how their behavior impacts the client. It also empowers employees to make better choices, take accountability for their role in the client’s experience, and make meaningful, positive change.
Encourage Work-Life Balance
In a study conducted by American Banker during COVID-19, 48 percent of employees surveyed said they were very interested in continuing to do their jobs at home (an additional 30 percent are somewhat interested), even though half of the employees working from home reported working longer hours. In response to this, leaders today have an opportunity to create the type of work-life balance that has not historically been experienced in the financial services industry. This balance has always been a priority for millennials, and 94 percent of those surveyed by PwC in the financial services sector said it is important to them. So while the future of “the office” remains to be seen, financial services organizations should look to create a culture where work-life balance is encouraged by valuing productivity of employees, regardless of the work is completed remotely or in the office.
Develop Opportunities for Growth
Individual desire to learn and grow is nothing new, but research points to a shift in how and when employees prefer to learn. For example, the LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report found that 94 percent of employees said they would stay employed longer with a company that invested in their career, they want a greater say in how, when, and where they learn. Of the employees surveyed in the study:
- 68 percent said they enjoy learning at work.
- 58 percent preferred to learn at their own pace.
- 49 percent wanted just-in-time learning when they needed it.
To address employee learning needs and preferences, you’ll need to look beyond traditional training and incorporate other delivery methods such as virtual learning. In addition to how the training is delivered, the methodology is also a consideration. One popular way of learning is experiential learning, which addresses employee learning preferences because it holds broad appeal for a full spectrum of learning styles and preferences within the organization.
Conclusion: Improve the Employee Experience For Short and Long-Term Benefits
Though there may be a gap between what employees working in financial services today experience and what they expect from their careers and the companies they work for, internal and external forces are making change inevitable. Focusing on the areas of greatest impact on the employee experience can not only benefit employees, but leaders, stakeholders, and clients.