As headlines ask, “Where have all the workers gone?” financial institutions (FIs) find themselves in the battle to attract and retain employees who have changing attitudes about work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a record-breaking 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in August 2021, a trend that’s become known as “The Great Resignation.”
Just as FIs are keen to please their customers with digitally-enhanced experiences, so too should they consider their “internal customers” as equally valuable. I’ve spent more than 30 years in technology management roles, and have come to understand how a tech-forward organizational culture both enhances the workplace and inspires employees.
Organizational culture matters more than ever to the country’s increasingly selective pool of talent, and it runs much deeper than pizza parties and casual Fridays. Don’t get me wrong – you should continue activities that inject fun and inspire camaraderie, but in addition, consider these three transformational, tech-powered strategies.
Gather Data to Enhance Employee Satisfaction
With so much emphasis placed on using data to deeply understand financial consumers, it stands to reason that FI employers will benefit greatly from a data-driven approach that seeks to understand employees.
Regular surveys can be an excellent tool for remaining in touch with what matters to employees. Not a general “rate your satisfaction” type of survey, but strategically engineered data collection that seeks to understand:
The aspects of their jobs and the workplace employees value most.
Specific issues they’d like to change or address.
Adequacy of onboarding and training.
Effectiveness of policies and processes.
What motivates and demotivates them.
Surveys can provide a safe and comfortable outlet for employees to feel heard and give leadership actionable ways to respond. Much like software technology development, it builds an environment of continuous improvement through feedback and response.
Remove Dreaded Chores
It’s inevitable that every job has certain aspects of drudgery, and for many lenders, filling and managing reams of paperwork make a frequent appearance on the list.
Even if that’s the way you’ve always done it, employees expect organizational leaders to find better, more efficient ways of working. When employees feel the approach to technology is outdated, annoying or confusing, it harms the ability to attract and retain top talent.
There’s no reason for employees to dread data entry, duplicate efforts, and shuffling paper when digital lending solutions eliminate these mundane tasks.
Is there any downside to making employees happier and more productive? When they can redirect time away from their least-favorite chores into more meaningful work, those good vibes have a ripple effect throughout the organization – and it gets felt by customers and members.
Automate to Make Life Easier
When employees are bogged down by inefficient processes and heavy workloads, not only does productivity take a hit, but morale does, too. The constant friction leaves employees feeling deflated, disengaged, and unable to do their best work.
Rather than fearing automation, many employees view it as a way to simplify, better manage their workloads, and focus on the more rewarding aspects of their jobs. The introduction of automated workflows into lending has transformed the speed of the process for borrowers, along with the perceived effort for lenders. Not only can they complete the transactions with greater ease, but with fewer errors and greater consistency. In our experience, employing automation helps lenders feel significantly less stressed, and better at their jobs, too.
And it’s not just younger employees who see the benefit – Gen Xers and Baby Boomers are optimistic about the impact automation can have on the workplace.
Happy employees work harder, are loyal, and are shining company ambassadors. As financial institutions weigh the factors that will keep them competitive in today’s changing talent markets, the impact of technology on organizational culture should be an important part of the conversation.