I’ve been analyzing how this year’s Fjord design and technology trends can be leveraged for the financial services (FS) workforce and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the role of trust and transparency in the digital age.

Among the firm’s seven major trends for this year is “In Transparency We Trust.” Fjord emphasizes how crucial it is for organizations to prepare for the shift from “touch points” to “trust points” in 2018 and beyond, as quality of trust rather than quality of interaction provides competitive advantage. ‘Radical transparency’ is a must, according to the 2018 Fjord Trends report.

Studies show that a five percent increase in employee engagement can lead to three percent revenue growth. There’s a distinct link between employee trust and financial performance, argue Stephen Covey and Douglas Conant in the Harvard Business Review. The authors write that trust is “not a nice-to-have; it’s a must-have”. They say that when employers and employees trust one another, it affects two measurable outcomes: speed and cost.

More specifically, our FS Change Survey 2017 shows how critical the human factor can be to the success of change programs. For banks and insurers undertaking major digital transformation and change efforts, creating trust and a safe, secure and encouraging environment for the workforce is a key to success.

My colleague Andy Young, who has been analyzing our survey findings, put it best in his blog post, “The Human Factor Can Make or Break Growth”, when he wrote: “Simply put, fear and mistrust inhibit change, whereas creating the right space, support and trust enables it.”

He was referring to the findings of our 15-year Change Tracking Survey, which confirmed why the human factor is critical: five of the top seven barriers to transforming and advancing the organization are people-related.

“Among the FS firms showing the best progress, Change Tracking found low levels of fear and frustration,” Young wrote. “Conversely, when there is fear it is very difficult to change behavior. Our Change Tracking data shows that 85 percent of transformations that fail do so because of dysfunctional organization dynamics that were there before the transformation even began.”

When it comes to improving transparency and trust, Fjord has two simple recommendations that FS firms should take to heart:

  1. Simplify complex business processes and demonstrate transparency; and
  2. Open up for collaboration with your workforce and trusted partners.

In my final post examining Fjord trends, I will take a closer look at “The Ethics Economy.”

To learn more, read the full report: 2018 Fjord Trends.

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