January 3, 2020

Gaining a competitive edge to retain top talent in financial services

Fintechs are enticing top talent to leave your financial services organization and join their innovative, fast-paced culture. Do you have an advanced retention strategy in place to hold on to your best talent for the next decade of work?

To keep up to speed in a digitally-driven world, financial services companies have put emphasis on building next-level digital experiences for their customers. According to McKinsey, out of 50 of the world’s largest global banks, three out of four are investing in customer experience (CX) transformation. However, most CEOs believe the skills gap is undermining their ability to innovate effectively and provide a winning CX.

Heading into 2020, the war for talent persists and has deep rooted implications for long-established financial services organizations. The number of job openings in our industry is increasing as companies struggle to find people to fill in-demand positions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, financial services companies only hired half of the number of job openings they had on average in 2019, which accounts for the lowest job fulfillment rates compared to any other industry. While there’s a substantial monetary cost associated with filling vacant roles, organizations are also at risk of losing access to the skills required for the next decade and beyond.

However, building an engaged workforce is getting increasingly complex. Today’s workforce consists of five generations of talent, and their varied aspirations, needs, and attitudes will continue to shape the world of work in new ways. Constantly evolving employer expectations, intensifying competition, and a tight labor market have created the need for traditional financial services employers to introduce more strategic ways to gain access to the skill needed for tomorrow. Companies must shift focus from reactively filling job vacancies to retaining talent for longer periods of time.

Here are five strategies financial services companies can adopt to build a competitive employee experience and keep their workforce engaged.

1. Map the employee experience to life stages

Meeting employee expectations based on generational motivations and attributes reinforces siloes and stereotypes and can cast a negative perception around certain generations. Research from Deloitte found that generational differences in the workplace arose within, rather than between, generations. In fact, the research found that there is only a 2% difference in generational attitudes. This negligible variance suggests that employers need to rethink the experience they’re delivering for their multi-generational workforce.

Providing a personalized experience is a crucial element of retention, however, companies will need to move away from catering the employee experiences to generations of talent and meet the workforce where they are in their career and personal life. Some methods to accomplish this include leveraging technology to help employees choose the right benefits plan for their specific needs, or providing paid time-off policies for new parents. Breaking down generational stereotypes will help employers address the workforces’ specific needs rather than providing offerings based on age alone, which can lead to greater job satisfaction and a long-term employer-employee relationship.

Read next: Ceridian’s 2020 Future of Work report

2. Support employee financial wellness 

Research findings show that 69% of workers are stressed about their finances, with 72% admitting to worrying about their personal finances at work. While organizations are taking steps to address this problem, we’re still not there yet. According to Bank of America, more than twice as many companies offer workplace financial wellness programs for their employees today versus four years ago, moving from 24% to 53% during that span. Despite these efforts, the proportion of workers who report feeling financially well is declining.

Employees are paying attention to how their employer is supporting their financial wellness beyond just their paycheck. Today, organizations are investing in initiatives ranging from financial literacy programs to retirement plan matching. However, PwC’s 2019 Employee Wellness Survey found that employees are struggling just to cover everyday expenses and pay household bills on time each month. Industry leaders are taking financial wellness a step further and adopting innovative on-demand pay technology that allows the workforce to access their pay on the same day, rather than waiting for the next pay period to be paid out. Employers that move beyond an antiquated one-size-fits-all approach to financial wellness will be in a better position to help employees reduce stress, ultimately leading to increased loyalty and retention.

3. Define clear career paths

Lack of opportunities for career advancement is a top reason for voluntary turnover within a company, yet, many organizations are slow to address this issue. Ceridian’s 2018-19 Pulse of Talent survey revealed that only 54% of respondents had a conversation about career progression in the previous six month period, and only 41% of respondents said they were aware of any form of succession planning at their company.

The problem is that organizations are struggling with understanding where their people are now, and where they want to be for the future. Linking skills development with succession planning and task management will give employees a clear career path within the organization, and can also help managers understand how they can support employees’ success.

4. Build a culture of agility and innovation

Top talent can get restless after working on the same tasks and projects for an extended period of time. According to EY, many younger professionals, including those with in-demand technical specialties, are attracted to an entrepreneurial environment and often find process-driven, hierarchical structures stifling.

Once organizations hire the best talent, they need to keep those individuals interested and engaged. Managers can support agility by providing opportunities for all employees to work on different projects and technologies. Secondly, providing the opportunity to work cross-functionally to collaborate with various teams to solve for different business problems will also challenge employees to think outside the context of their day-to-day activities and also foster innovation and knowledge sharing – both important elements of a high-performing, engaged workforce.

Related: How a team-based model can help build the organization of the future

5. Center employees around company goals

During times of change and transformation, employees can often feel disconnected from the goals of the company. Employees in turn can lose sight of their greater contribution, become disengaged, and leave to pursue a different opportunity. Approximately half of employees across industries surveyed in Ceridian’s Pulse of Talent felt they were making an impact, and 92% of those who responded that way said they were happy in their jobs, and plan to stay 7.9 years more.

Organizations need to help their workforce feel more connected to their work by aligning their people around the businesses’ larger vision. Leveraging talent management technology will help align employees’ performance, learning, and career development to the company’s overall goals and progress. Drawing a direct line to how employees are contributing to overall company success will help boost engagement and improve retention.

Designing a consumerized employee experience

The modern workforce is increasingly favoring more personalized, relevant experiences, and it’s up to financial services employers to deliver on this. Financial services companies can adopt an employee-centered approach by delivering a more “consumerized” experience. This involves deep understanding of how employees interact with technology throughout the entire employee lifecycle, from onboarding, benefits, learning and development, to performance management.

Download the guide, Investing in the Future to learn how to retain talent and gain access to in-demand skills needed for the future of work.

Patrick Luther

Patrick Luther is Vice President and Principal, Financial Services at Ceridian. He has over 10 years of experience in product management and marketing of enterprise software, and 10+ years in consulting for the financial services sector. Patrick is a former U.S. Navy Lieutenant, and has held leadership roles at IBM, Rational, Infosys, Deloitte, and various SaaS startups. Patrick holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Rochester and an MBA from Yale.

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