Action steps for financial services leaders
We undertook this study to understand how financial services employees think hybrid work settings affect productivity, collaboration, inclusivity, and culture.
The findings not only make clear that they prefer hybrid work models, but also suggest that hybrid arrangements, when properly enabled and supported, can improve the overall employee experience.
Action step 1: Mind the UX
Through the pandemic, many of the financial services firms we work with heavily invested in technology to enable flexible work arrangements. But more can be done to streamline the experience of using the systems to enhance productivity.
Case in point: consider the volume of e-mail, chat, and other system messages that cross employees’ machines every day. These tools can be optimized and personalized to help filter through the noise. But many companies haven’t prioritized such work.
The same can be said of the disparate systems for file sharing, collaboration, human resources, and other functions. It’s one thing to have anytime, anywhere access to these tools, but a without single-sign-on capabilities or a dashboard view, simply accessing the systems can squash productivity.
Action step 2: Nurture collaboration
Asked to indicate specific enablers of success for hybrid work models, respondents to our survey suggest an ability to manage their own schedule has the greatest impact.
Hybrid work models enable employees to collaborate across time zones and at asynchronous times. But making a habit of soliciting input from colleagues across time zones or during off-hours likely won’t just happen on its own. It requires expectation setting, modeling, and reinforcement from the top.
Our survey results suggest that leaders who enable this kind of agility may find outcomes of improved collaboration, productivity, organizational culture, and employee satisfaction.
The latter two outcomes, in particular, have been correlated with better recruitment, retention, customer experiences, and revenue growth.
Action step 3: Promote cultural engagement
While hybrid work models are relatively new in financial services, it appears the models have broad appeal. Our respondents do not buy into opinions that remote work destroys corporate culture.
Still, despite respondents’ appetite for hybrid arrangements, the physical separation inherent to hybrid work can complicate the kind of engagement that fuels innovation and advances business initiatives.
Our experience suggests passionate employees can be the glue. One approach may be to formalize and activate a coalition of cultural ambassadors who can coordinate local activities and champion company culture-related activities. (That’s what Kyndryl did.)
An effective employee engagement strategy often is a hallmark of an organization’s digital workplace maturity and ability to make hybrid work… work for their teams.