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May 2017


Study: Financial Services Industry Needs to Focus on Engagement

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The financial services industry is experiencing a stronger need to prioritize its focus on workplace culture to better attract and retain talent, according to a new survey commissioned by Kronos Inc. and conducted by Future Workplace.

The survey found that 62 percent of financial services employees working in banking, insurance and asset management feel that the 2008 financial crisis still affects how they view the industry, with many desiring more transparency from senior management. Nearly 75 percent of employees also believe that the financial services industry can continue to recovery strongly, and a fourth say it could do so by giving more charitable donations and offering employees time to volunteer.

"The financial services industry may have been in a state of flux over the last decade, but there is no doubt the industry continues to grow," said Malysa O'Connor, senior director, financial services practice group, Kronos. "Today it is important for financial services leaders to take a proactive approach to engaging and retaining employees as the workforce is the key differentiator in this industry. The intention of this survey is to uncover human capital trends that the financial services industry should address to manage evolving consumer demands and stay ahead of the competition."

"The Financial Industry" survey's primary focus is on what the financial services industry can do to attract, engage and retain employees in the current hyper-competitive environment. In this national survey of more than 800 financial services employees, flexibility, philanthropy, meaningful work, transparency and innovation emerge as the defining issues that matter most to this multigenerational workforce.

Some of the findings from the study include:

  • When asked how they thought their company could better engage them in their work, 45 percent of employees said they wanted to be shown that their work made a difference, 39 percent said lessening office politics would help, and another 39 percent said that removing bureaucracy would be an effective tactic.
  • When asked what their employer could do to attract and retain talent, 54 percent of employees said that companies should reward people more than once a year with a bonus, 47 percent said the company should recognize people more often, 38 percent said the company should provide ongoing coaching and development, and 29 percent said their companies should provide more training for managers.
  • In terms of who has the greatest impact on an employee's engagement, 29 percent of employees say their manager had the biggest effect, while 26 percent said it was their colleagues, 22 percent said it was executive management, 15 percent said it was the CEO, and 6 percent said HR was the biggest influencer.
  • 79 percent of financial services employees say that working for an innovative company is important to them. While 75 percent of employees say they view their companies as being innovative, many still see ways for their company to improve, including allowing for the free flow of ideas (53 percent), having a budget for investing in ideas (37 percent), holding idea competitions (35 percent) and hiring entrepreneurial employees (31 percent).
  • Overall, 66 percent of financial services employees say they have sometimes suffered from workplace burnout. Women seemed to feel the burn more, with 74 percent saying they had been burned out, as opposed to 59 percent of men. When it came to the reasons for burning out, unreasonable workload (32 percent), unreasonable performance expectations (26 percent), not being fairly compensated for work (24 percent), poor management (24 percent) and a negative workplace culture (22 percent) were the leading culprits.

"This survey provides valuable insight about how to overcome the residual perception effect of the 2008 bailout among job seekers and employees," said Dan Schawbel, author, and partner and research director, Future Workplace. "Employees today care about competitive pay and benefits, but they also care deeply about flexibility, meaningful work, and choosing an employer that is a good corporate citizen. By promoting flexible environments, investing in philanthropy, and connecting work done to positive changes in the world, financial services institutions can continue to succeed and grow in today's global economy and remain an attractive industry for the younger generations."