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How To Engage Finance Employees Like The Best

Finance employee's engagement is in a downward spiral...
Greg Harris is the president and CEO of Quantum Workplace, a company dedicated to providing every organization with quality engagement tools that guide their next step in making work better every day.
Greg Harris is the president and CEO of Quantum Workplace, a company dedicated to providing every organization with quality engagement tools that guide their next step in making work better every day.

Financial employees are in a constant whirlwind of both positive and negative changes. The challenges they face every day with evolving technology, trusting leaders, and feeling valued directly affect employee engagement. If leaders don’t alter how they approach engagement, these insecurities will continue dragging the number of engaged employees down.

Employee engagement in the finance world is 10th out of 18 industries surveyed in Employee Engagement in the Financial Services Industry, a recent report by my company, Quantum Workplace. However, even among our Best Places to Work, the finance sector has seen a 3.4 percentage point rise in employees who are hostile, disengaged, and merely contributing over the last three years.

With finance employees’ engagement headed in a downward spiral, it’s crucial leaders understand what each team member needs to reach their potential. Here’s what a few of the best places to work are doing to boost employee engagement in finance:

  • Create a Great Place to Work — for Everyone

    From talent shortages to tighter industry regulations, finance employees have been through a lot. As a result, employees are looking for a positive and supportive work culture. So, it’s no surprise they all agree the most important driver for engagement is the organization’s willingness to create the best working environment.

    With a multitude of generations and personalities in the workplace, how do organizations show employees they’re working to make work great again? 1st Global, the largest independently owned wealth management partner for accounting and legal firms, has done this by creating a company culture centered around employees.

    In order to fulfill this goal, 1st Global’s leaders had to first understand employees concerns, ideas for transforming the workplace, and gaps within the organization. Leaders began with employee feedback and surveys to understand employee perceptions and what was needed to retain top talent. 1st Global has an impressive 93 percent of engaged or contributing employees — that’s a 35% increase.

  • Offer a Secure Future

    Financial technology and tightening industry regulations are forcing financial organizations — and their employees — to reinvent and re-educate themselves. Employees need to fully trust that their leaders can help them evolve with these ever-changing advancements. With so many uncertainties, it’s no surprise financial employees ranked trusting management to lead them to a successful future as the second driver for engagement.

    Technology is moving at a fast pace in the financial sector and employees are worried leaders won’t provide the necessary tools to keep up with the quickly evolving finance industry. The2016 Accenture Technology Vision for Banking report found 85 percent of 316 bankers surveyed expect the pace of technology change to increase rapidly or at an unprecedented rate. As employees with differing technological skills fear they’ll be left behind due to quickly advancing technology, company morale and trust in leaders decreases.

    Understanding and addressing employees’ fears is the best way to earn trust and move toward employee engagement. This is where Lammico, a Louisiana-based medical malpractice insurance company, knew they needed to excel in order to begin increasing employee productivity.

    Leaders in the company created a safe place for employees to freely express their concerns and needs. After listening to employee concerns, Lammico was able to effectively implement solutions to improve employees’ work experiences. As a result, the company increased engagement by 21.4 percent.

    Truly hearing what employees have to say and addressing issues — such as learning new technology — instills trust that leaders are willing to make necessary changes for the growth of employees.

  • Make Employees the Most Valued Resource

    A successful company is formed by successful people. When employees feel lost in the shuffle or undervalued, the rates of engagement begin to drop — as does retention. In fact, finance employees have placed leaders valuing their employees as the third leading driver in employee engagement.

    The grim reality is that banking and finance has a lackluster 19.1 percent turnover rate, according to the 28,000 organizations surveyed in Compensation Force’s 2015 Turnover Rates By Industry report. With one of the highest turnover rates, leaders in the financial industry need to start changing the way they look at employees in order to evolve employee attitudes.

    But a lot of organizations attempt solving problems before they know the root of the issue. This tactic not only throws away money, it takes time away from addressing the real issues employees deal with every day. Start by using employee feedback surveys to understand the source of the engagement problem.

    Once you know where your team stands, sit down in a one-on-one setting to discuss mutual goals and expectations. Frequently coming back to these one-on-one meetings allows honest discussions about what employees are doing well and how they’re contributing to the betterment of the company.

    Really making employees feel valued isn’t limited to leaders. Set up a peer-to-peer online employee recognition system where co-workers can acknowledge the hard work and determination of their team. This type of system allows employees to see they’re valued and motivates others to push harder to reach recognition goals.

Keeping up with fast-paced changes is tough, but many financial employees have stuck it out and are willing to continue learning in order to create successful organizations. A bright future is within reach for those who are able to effectively communicate with employees about both the positive and negatives of financial business.

What are you doing to create highly engaged employees? Let us know!

Greg Harris is the president and CEO of Quantum Workplace, a company dedicated to providing every organization with quality engagement tools that guide their next step in making work better every day. You can connect with Greg and the Quantum Workplace team on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

If you don't feel that U.S. culture (and much of the world in different ways) is in turmoil, you are not paying attention.
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