Organizations in the financial sector face more scrutiny, regulations and oversight than those in any other industry. The parameters around these businesses tightened even more after the 2008 financial crisis, and companies were forced to implement more transparent processes and develop a more accountable workforce.
As a result, banks, hedge funds, trading firms and insurance companies – traditionally conservative organizations – have been pioneers in embracing new, progressive approaches to performance management and engagement.
In this two-part series, we’ll share what makes employee engagement in the finance industry unique, focusing the worker traits that lead to successful careers.
Getting hired is the easy part
With competitive hiring cycles, the barrier for entry into a finance career is already high. But once you’re “in,” employees can’t expect to coast. Long-term success requires employees to vigorously pursue educational and training opportunities that will propel them ahead of the pack.
Companies recruit candidates and greatly value current employees who understand that getting a job at a hedge fund, trading firm or investment bank is just the beginning. In a highly competitive industry, financial professionals can set themselves apart by proactively developing both knowledge-based and interpersonal skills. According to research, knowledge-based skills are acquired through “education, self study and work experience,” while personal skills include “communication, team work and risk taking.”
It takes more effort to find and nurture these types of employees. Tourbillon Capital Partners’ Jason Karp said his firm is “focusing much more time on identifying malleable individuals” in an effort to shape a higher-performing, more accountable workforce. And to develop that type of workforce, firms require more than the status quo engagement process.
According to PWC, “By now, many financial institutions have implemented new policies and removed performance and reward frameworks that, at worst, encourage risky behavior and, at best, fail to penalize it. As old behaviors are stamped out, financial institutions should be clear on what behaviors they want to encourage in a post-financial-crisis world, such as risk awareness, quality assurance, and customer-centricity. Performance management provides the key to presenting these behaviors to employees in a way that goes far beyond lip service—it ‘puts skin in the game’ and holds employees accountable.”
We’ll share more about the strategies and tactics used to mold a high-performing workforce in part two of our series.