Disruption is coming at the financial services industry from every angle right now. Digital technology is changing the way established firms do business. New tech is empowering startups to quickly develop and scale their products. Digital tools are also changing the work experience, making it more democratic, more networked, and more human.

Amid these changes, many FS leaders are convinced that treating the workforce right is critical to the future viability of their businesses. The 2017 Accenture Banking Technology Vision survey found that 80 percent of bankers agree that to succeed organizations will need to understand both where people are today and where they want to be.

Already, banks that provide great experiences to their employees display superior performance. A 2015 study from the job search engine Glassdoor found that firms with a great employee experience outperformed the S&P 500 by 122 percent.

The importance of the employee experience is also seen in the economy more broadly. Gallup polls in 2013 and 2016 found that companies with highly engaged employees scored 10 percent higher on customer ratings, enjoyed a 22 percent boost in productivity, and outperformed their peers by 147 percent in profitability.

Results like these are creating more awareness of the importance of a great workforce experience. Recent Accenture research reveals that 80 percent of financial services executives think workforce experience is important, while 56 percent of HR professionals say they’re seeking to improve the workforce experience in the organization.

So what exactly is the employee experience?

It encompasses a firm’s entire relationship with its workforce over time. This includes “big” moments like signing a job offer, getting promoted, or retiring. It also includes “micro moments” like attending a meeting, booking work travel, or mingling with colleagues over lunch. It’s about the physical health and wellbeing of an employee, and more abstract measures of health like a sense of belonging and self-actualization.

Accenture has developed a convenient way of thinking about the employee experience—the Love Index. Originally developed to measure customer enthusiasm for brands, Accenture’s Love Index also applies to financial services employees. It’s built around the acronym FRESH:

  • Fun: does a work activity hold an employee’s attention in an entertaining way?
  • Relevant: does it give employees the informant they want in a clear, accessible way?
  • Engaging: does it relate to the employee and their expectations?
  • Social: does it help the employee connect with others?
  • Helpful: does it simplify the employee’s tasks and organize their lives?

HR teams have a crucial role to play at banks looking to improve their employee experience. Yet many banks take a process-centric approach to meeting the needs of their workforces that does not rise to this challenge. The video below explains why such a philosophy is becoming outdated.

The financial services workforce is coming to expect an employee experience that provides the same customization and satisfaction that customers now enjoy thanks to the digital revolution. Providing such an experience is a competitive advantage for banks. HR needs to become an “experience architect” to drive the change. But making that transition won’t be easy—old habits, as they say, die hard. Come back next week for a look at how to start the change, or head here for more Accenture insight on transforming HR.

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