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BFSI: Workplace Trends In 2019

High trust with low performance is the zone of complacency or comfort, and not a great place to work

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The financial sector is sure to feel a tremor in 2019, when it comes to digital transformation. We will see big changes where these organisations will be completely revamping their systems and processes to deliver the next level of customer experience.

The industry is now turning its focus toward innovation to prepare for a future that will be increasingly driven by technology. The key trends driving these innovations include ongoing digital transformation, collaboration with fintech, and the increasing role of artificial intelligence and robotics.

Banks and financial institutions are re-defining themselves as agile technology companies to proactively understand customer preferences, demographics and lifestyles change.

The opportunity for growth in this sector emerges by managing the speed of penetration among potential consumers by enabling and equipping employees to proactively engage, understand and deliver on customer needs.

Today, employees in this sector share only a moderately positive perception of the workplace which is distant from the top 100 best companies ranked through Great Place to Work Institute’s study.

Emerging themes
Hiring is done right but given the geographical spread do you ensure consistency in the welcoming experience of employees?

Financial companies may hire about 15,000 employees in FY20, indicating a return of stability in the sector, according to an estimate by recruitment firm TeamLease. Branch additions, information technology and business diversification being some of the reasons for the surge in hiring. However, organisations increasingly will also need to focus on creating a warm and welcoming work environment to ensure a successful hire. The best in the industry have been ensuring a smooth transition for its employees where the perception is 9 points higher. One of the key drivers for ensuring a successful hire is to make people understand how their role contributes to the organisational goals — the best in the sector have been able to drive this perception 6 points over the rest.

Employees are proud to be associated with this sector and want to stay longer provided they are trained and well equipped to handle the ample career opportunities that the sector offers.

The industry sees an average retention of 64 per cent of the talent pool. However, one of the key drivers to sustain this perception is by providing multiple career opportunities and training employees to be future-ready. This is clearly a period of unprecedented innovation in the BFSI segment, and new capital is pouring into the sector with the intent of upturning what for a long time has been a very stable industry structure. Over time, both individual customers and the broader economy will be the beneficiaries of this disruption. In such a period the career opportunities that unfold are abundant, but the challenge lies in equipping your talent to be ready for the change. Eight-four per cent of organisations studied as part of this assessment have already set aside a development budget for each employee.

The industry offers a strong culture of recognition and fair performance evaluation but has scope to share more wealth with its employees. Eighty-five per cent of organisations that we studied in this sector have budgets set aside for recognition. Performance management is also a strength in this sector. However, employees have expressed concern around receiving fair pay and benefits. Employees enjoy the fun and celebratory work environment but would appreciate more balance between work and life

Compared to the best companies in India fun and celebrations are largely a part of the work environment among the best in the sector. However, employees express a need for a more flexible set-up to enable them to manage work and life. Taking sincere interest in employee and understanding him/ her as a person will have a positive impact on the work-life balance.

High-trust, high-performance cultures 
Research has proven that high trust cultures have higher shareholder returns, as much at four times the market. The case for high trust workplaces is well established. Then why many organisations find it difficult to do both? Another question often asked is: “Which comes first — trust or performance?”

The best workplaces can sustain a very high focus on business performance over long periods of time without leading to a high level of burnout. The reason they can do that is because of their emphasis on building trust with their people.

However, high trust with low performance is the zone of complacency or comfort, and not a great place to work.

The average perceptions of BFSI industry with regards to the overriding sentiment (i.e. taking everything into account, do they think their workplace is a great workplace) is 84 per cent.

While 84 per cent feel there is a culture of trust, do all perceive their culture as one where:

* People are willing to go the extra mile to deliver to the customers?
* People have an intent to stay in the organisation in the first place?
From our analysis, we also see a clear difference with regards to the perceptions of best workplaces and the rest.

Building a culture of innovation
An innovative workplace is built not only by having cutting edge technology, design and business practices but also through the day-to-day relationships that employees experience. Employees believe they work for an innovative organisation when they consistently:    
1) Are inspired    
 2) Have a sense of empowerment      
 3) Thrive in an innovative culture

The benefits of such a workplace are numerous. Not only are there technological benefits but employees also feel more comfortable bringing up new ideas and thinking outside the box. This leads to more employee involvement and the sharing of ideas.

It is evident that the future of banking, financial services, and insurance is digital. Some innovations have been more widely adopted by the industry than others, but all these trends are moving towards a contact-less, yet closer relationship between company and customer. A strong focus on employee engagement is therefore imperative. It becomes critical for organisations to continuously measure engagement and align people practices and processes to build a high-trust, high-performing culture that drives motivation and discretionary effort.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Dalreen Patrao

Patrao is co-owner and Practice Head, Great Place to Work Institute, India

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