The 2019 Financial Brand report showed that ‘removing friction from the customer journey’ is one of the key priorities within retail banking this year. For companies across finance to succeed, this focus on the customer must be matched with a focus on employees. Let me explain.
How do you make yourself attractive to Millennials and Generation Zs?
The digital world is redefining jobs, which leads to a demand for new skillsets and the need to evolve roles from transaction to knowledge-based activities. Research suggests that the job gap may grow to 3 million vacancies globally by the end of 2020 and as much as 10.7 million by 2030. That represents a huge $1.3 trillion in lost revenue annually. The rapid adoption of disruptive technologies such as Big Data, AI and analytics, and fierce competition for talent are driving these changes.
Another important factor is that the Financial Services workforce is aging. According to Accenture, 60-65% of all bank employees are over 40. When it comes to employee experience in Financial Services, the question is how to recruit and retain a younger generation of employees.
Creating an attractive environment for Millennials and Gen Z
While companies still report that Millennials ‘aren’t interested in working at a bank,’ those who succeeded say that establishing a culture that makes younger employees feel comfortable and welcome was the most important factor.
I’d like to give a few thoughts on creating a positive employee experience in Financial Services.
Be the bank they would bank with
- Today, millennials are comfortable choosing tech giants like Apple, Amazon or Google for financial products rather than traditional banks. In fact, over 50% of US Millennials trust at least one big tech company more than banks in general. I’d suggest that this is more than just about new ways of doing things. It’s about digital innovation. Millennials want to bank where they can get the latest products – digital payment, mobile banking, etc – so they’ll expect the bank they work for to be at the forefront of driving innovation.
Digital isn’t everything
- Of course, younger people expect digital channels like social media and instant messaging to be part of their work life. But that doesn’t mean that they want everything digital. Millennials and Gen Z put face-to-face communication top of their list – but they want meetings to be short and informal. And, they want to be armed with the information they need for the meeting. In fact, Deloitte found that Millennials are worried about the new technologies appearing with Industry 4.0. They want to be involved in a digital workplace – with mobile, IoT, AI and analytics – and expect their employer to provide proper training and on-going learning.
Flexibility is the key
- Millennials want to work where and when they want. They don’t see the need to be office-bound and, while they are more likely to stick closely to set office hours, they appreciate features like flex-time. Research has shown that workplace flexibility tops the list of employee benefits – almost rivaling salary and benefits for reasons for joining a company. Millennials need the technical tools and trust to work on their own and away from the office.
A positive, collaborative culture
- That said, Millennials value teamwork and collaboration. They are more likely to work in teams than older generations and that it was very appealing to work with people to solve problems. The modern employee experience in Financial Services requires a digital environment where your staff can quickly and effectively communicate with teammates and share the relevant information.
- Advanced Content Services delivers the right information to the right people across channels offers the platform where collaboration and innovation can occur. However, many Financial Service processes are still broken or inefficient so process re-engineering is likely required to eliminate the bottlenecks and silos that currently inhibit full collaboration–internally and externally.
Replace transaction with cognition
- It’s perhaps not surprising that the employee experience in Financial Services is seen as boring. A junior investment banker is often mired in paperwork. A bank assistant can spend their days simply processing customer transactions. Younger employees want to use knowledge skills and problem-solving to help people.
- The move towards automation is starting to help remove any of the dull and repetitive tasks but digital transformation needs to go further. The bank teller is evolving into the financial consultant that knows the customer and can provide recommendations and solutions. As senior bankers retire, juniors needs sophisticated decision support – such as AI-assisted analytics – that can help them provide the same level of service to customers and clients.
While salary and financial benefits will stay a primary motivator for people selecting a career in a financial discipline, the ability to create a positive workplace culture will be a close second. This doesn’t mean simply having the latest digital technologies. It means applying digital technologies to create the open, collaborative and knowledge-based work environment that Millennials and Gen Z employees will find attractive and rewarding.