There was a time in the not-so-distant past when banking was seen as an attractive and prestigious career. Banks didn’t take just anybody, and if you were lucky enough to get in, you could spend your whole career moving up the ladder, exploring different role types and dozens of paths.
Over the last 30 years, however, the value proposition of a career in banking has diminished. If we were to poll a group of university students, how many would rank banking as their number one career choice? Not as many as we’d like.
There are a number of reasons for this shift, but the biggest may be the explosion of technology and innovation. Many of the smart, talented people entering today’s workforce want to do something exciting and groundbreaking, with the opportunity for a large payout. Whether or not it’s warranted, banking just doesn’t tend to have that reputation. And as we all know, reputation is everything.
Reputations and perceptions, however, can be changed. In order to recruit and retain top talent in today’s high-stakes and highly competitive landscape, financial institutions (FIs) must find new, innovative ways to rebrand banking as a “destination workplace” and win back the prestige it deserves. For banks to thrive in the digital age, this is a critical imperative. Below are four strategies that can help:
1. Let new employees help guide your strategies and impact your culture.
When you hire a new employee, the first thing you should say to them is, “Don’t become one of us.” You don’t want new talent to simply replicate the old way of doing things. Instead, the existing guard needs to welcome new blood so they can inject their own knowledge into the institution and help create positive change from the inside out.
While change rarely happens from the bottom up, it also can’t be forced from the top down. True transformation happens when all levels of the organization work together. For today’s FIs, while digital transformation is the calling, the need to maintain stability, manage risk and ensure compliance with a fresh mindset is key to bringing in new ideas so these pillars of the industry can be managed effectively in the digital age.
When you’re open-minded and allow new talent to bring their own perspectives, change happens faster.
2. Model your institution on what your talent pool values.
The number one thing many new talents value is their own personal career “equity.” Instead of performing repetitive tasks, most employees want to be constantly learning; they want to understand the company’s value in the market, drive change and create real innovation. Like any investment, there should be a return.
The new generation of workers tends to value ideas like quality of life, work-life balance, sustainability efforts, respect and diversity and inclusion, and so it makes sense they’d want to work for someone who shares those values. FIs have traditionally offered good benefits, discounts on mortgage rates, upsized rates and other perks.
But becoming a true destination workplace is more than simply rethinking compensation structures. It’s rethinking each opportunity at your institution. Rather than just a job, they can experience holistic careers with multiple opportunities. With this mindset, a pathway in banking builds one’s career equity and drives motivation to flourish and be fulfilled.
3. Invest in technology that improves the employee experience.
It’s difficult to provide great experiences when employees are constantly tracking down paper, rekeying data, uploading forms and using legacy tech. To create a destination workplace, you need great technology that simplifies your employees’ work lives and helps them do their best work and deliver on customer and compliance demands.
A new employee shouldn’t have to learn 20 different systems or juggle multiple manuals to figure out how to open a loan. A single, seamless platform that combines key banking needs can help empower employees to become a piece of the solution, rather than just a user.
When choosing which technologies to invest in and implement, institutions should also involve new recruits, established status-quo “challengers” and a mix of power users and novices to truly get a feel for where they should focus. For example, the teams who are closest to the customer know what will enable a better experience.
If you can create a culture that gives employees a voice and values their feedback, you’ll be able to watch them flourish for years to come.
4. Prioritize stronger relationship-based experiences to amplify the human effect.
Most banks call themselves relationship banks, but true relationships are with a human, not an institution. If you want to be a relationship bank or augment the trust that already exists, everything must shift from account- and transaction-centric legacy models to a customer-centric model of understanding needs and transparency. This will create better employee experiences from the ground up.
To prioritize relationship-based experiences, employees in supporting and admin roles must be able to understand customer relationships in context so they can appreciate the customers’ mindset, need, urgency and long-term point of view.
Technology that helps every member of your institution’s team to collaborate, understand customer profiles and deliver on the bank’s promise can create stronger relationships with your customers and among your employees. Technology that serves every member of your organization ultimately serves customers, and this mindset is critical to redesigning the tech approach.
With the enormous opportunity of dozens of paths, career challenges, exciting innovations and a rapidly changing market, a career in banking can help build the “career equity” many are demanding and offer a lifelong career return on investment, both personally and professionally.
By focusing on strong relationships, investing in great technology and creating an inclusive and collaborative culture, banks could once again be seen as a destination workplace that attracts talented people and gives them plenty of reasons to stay, grow and transform both your institution and the industry.
Source: Four Ways To Make Banking A ‘Destination Workplace’
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