Expert: Yasmina Siadatan, Sales & Marketing Director. Facilitator: Roderic Rennison, Rennison Consulting
Yasmina began by setting the scene for the discussion. She suggested that there needed to be a focus on what employees want as we ‘build the plane as we fly it.’ In other words, the changes required, must be undertaken seamlessly as firms continue to advise their clients.
Also, hybrid working – where employees work from the office, and remotely, is here to stay and for most employers to think otherwise, is no longer realistic if they want to retain, motivate their existing employees, and recruit the right calibre of new employees.
Yasmina suggested that the following aspects were key in ensuring that businesses succeed going forward.
1. Good work life balance
Global Glint data shows employee happiness fell by 3%, and burn out spiked by 9% in recent months, this was important pre pandemic but has grown in importance. A happier and more balanced workforce is proven to be more productive.
There was general agreement that being able to work from home for at least part of the time is likely to result in employees feeling that they would achieve a better work life balance.
2. Excellent compensation and benefits
Benefits need to reflect the 'new reality' and be relevant particularly in roles where flexible benefits cannot be realised – for example where there is only corporate gym membership at or near the office or subsidised food.
3. Colleagues and culture that inspire employees
There was complete agreement on this point, and one aspect mentioned was the look and feel of the offices.
4. A clear purpose and mission in the world
This is the more human side of teams, and to achieve success, there needs to be the right set of priorities – what is best for the clients, the employees, and the firm, and getting the right balance is crucial.
5. Flexible work arrangements
A recent LinkedIn survey from June 2021 shows over half the workforce want to work from home in the future.
The participants said that age is a factor, with younger employees more likely to want to work remotely i.e., from home.
There was a minority view that working from home was not likely to improve their business effectiveness. Lack of physical interaction and the challenges of training are challenges.
Another point raised, is that the size of the business is likely to have some impact on the ability of the business to offer flexibility to all employees. One example cited was receptionists where if there is only one, this creates a challenge though there are likely to be workarounds.
6. Challenging work with good technology and process
74% of respondents to the Dynamic Planner survey 2021 report delivering a hybrid advice model post pandemic, rising to 80% in respondents under 40.
Financial intermediaries therefore need to continue to invest in both technology and training their employees, to ensure that they can provide an environment which interests employees and one that enables them to deliver to their clients efficiently without them undertaking mundane tasks that can be automated.
7. Effective management
Firm Principals need to know how to create agility, empowerment, and innovation within their businesses, and for some of them, they should consider obtaining external input to complement their skill sets.
One challenge is to manage remote working employees and to be able to recognise and address issues promptly and effectively when they arise, for example, stress, and mental illness.
8. Digital solutions and transformation
These are now being deployed with a long-term viability strategy, across generations. For example, it is now possible to access 360 gallery tours of the MET in New York, this type of solution acts as social leveller and enhancer.
Solutions need to address challenges such as recruiting remotely effectively
9. An inclusive workplace for all
This has grown in importance during the pandemic since George Floyd murder and the resultant Black Lives Matter protest.
There was a debate why there are not more female advisers. Some of the participants cited the small pool of female employees, whilst other have addressed this challenge by growing/developing female advisers internally, rather than only seeking to recruit experiences ones. One other reason some businesses are more inclusive is where businesses take steps to ensure that there is meaningful female representation on the Board.
- Few financial planning firms will either choose to want to or be able to go back to where they were pre-pandemic.
- There will be some element of remote/home working in almost all businesses going forward.
- The challenges of recruiting, motivating, and retaining employees who work remotely will be different from employing employees to carry out a traditional office role.
- There are positive benefits of embracing remote working to some degree, both motivationally, and financially.
- Employers need to ensure that they either have or develop the appropriate skills to manage a workforce that is more disparate, and more demanding.