Here are the top news stories in talent & organization from this week.

How to improve employee satisfaction

A key driver of engagement is how employees feel about their prospects for career training, advancement and growth. When the Swiss banking giant UBS ranked below industry standards in employee satisfaction with learning and career opportunities, its executives jumped in to action. Stefan Seiler, group head of HR at UBS, shares the five lessons they learned in this Fast Company op-ed. 1. It starts with the manager. “We’ve found that employees who rate their line managers positively are more likely to say they plan on staying with UBS,” he writes. 2. Prioritize internal mobility. UBS uses a tool to identify internal candidates for open roles, as well as making it available to all employees. 3. Give feedback. Get feedback. Repeat. “Companies need multiple tactics to ensure the flow of feedback is frequent and strong,” Seiler writes. 4. Up your learning game. UBS created a digital curriculum, featuring curated learning playlists on specific topics and for specific roles. 5. Go big or go home. “Sometimes trying to make changes in a large company can feel like trying to make a cruise ship as agile as a kayak,” Seiler writes. “But our journey since 2017 has shown that organizations of any size can shift employees to greater engagement in a short time.”

Three ways AI is improving EX

Artificial intelligence (AI) is making the employee experience better than ever, claim two leading HR experts. First, more organizations are in the process of voice-powered AI to create a better EX. “People want to use a conversational style to engage with their application,” Emily He, senior vice president of marketing, human capital management, at Oracle, told TalentCulture. “For example, expense reports approval is a really cumbersome process. Now, with the AI app, I can say, ‘Approve all expense reports below a certain amount.’ ” AI is also driving internal talent mobility by creating a platform similar to LinkedIn, where employees can share credentials and other information that allows AI to match them with potential promotions. “Sometimes it’s jobs that the individual may not have thought about themselves,” Jeanne Meister, founder of Future Workplace says. “This gives the employee working inside the company the opportunity to understand how their skills plus their aspirations can lead to a new internal position.” Both Meister and He also highlight AI’s track record in streamlining the hiring process with chatbots. “Hilton began using chatbots in 2015, and the program has shown marked results,” Meister says. “They have increased their net promoter score for the candidate experience to 80 percent—and also increased the diversity of the talent pool.”

Taking employee perks to the next level

The state of the American workplace is strong and employee engagement is at an all-time high, according to a new survey from Inc. and Quantum Workplace. Inc.’s 2019 Best Workplaces list identifies the top employee-perk trends: 1. An overwhelming majority (99 percent) of top employers provide health insurance, and four percent offer onsite medical care. 2. A surprising 16 percent offer paid sabbaticals to reward length of service. 3. Almost half of the Best Workplaces (49 percent) allow employees to bring a pet to work. 4. Sixty-five percent of the Best Workplaces hold regular stress-relief breaks at the office and 65 percent take employees to offsite retreats to relax and recharge. “It’s a different playbook from a decade ago, when too many firms used the same template: free meals, open work environments, and artifacts of fun,” says Greg Harris, president and CEO, Quantum Workplace. “Unusual employee perks today include: free farm-fresh eggs and vegetables, paid newspaper subscriptions, table-tennis training with a former world champion, and a pay-it-forward allowance to show kindness to strangers.”

Bank of England aims to be a diversity role model

Improving gender diversity in UK financial services is about deeds, not words, argues the Bank of England’s COO Joanna Place. Speaking at the Women of the Square Mile event in London last week, she said the central bank was making significant progress toward its own diversity targets and hoped to lead by example. “We have made progress but recognize there is more to do, not only in respect of gender diversity but also in ensuring that people feel able to join and thrive in the Bank of England regardless of their identity,” Place said. “We know that advancing gender diversity and wider inclusion requires a cultural change and that this takes time, but we can say that we have started the journey and are well down the road.” The bank’s regulatory arm, the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), requires banks and insurers to have a policy to consider a broad set of qualities and competencies when recruiting board members, and to promote diversity among them.

For more news on gender equality in the workforce, see our page here.

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