The financial services workforce is coming to expect more from employers. The customized consumer experiences available in life outside work have raised the bar for what workers expect in the office. Financial services firms need to create great employee experiences to win the war for talent.

We’ve discussed the foundations of creating a great employee experience and gone over the crucial role that HR must play. Today we’re going to look at the top five objectives of a great employee experience. These are developed from recent research from Accenture Consulting and best practices from Fjord, a design and innovation group that’s part of Accenture Interactive.

Objective 1: Organize around “moments that matter”

The words “employee experience” can bring to mind the most important moments at work: hiring, firing, promotions, and so on. But an employee’s experience will contain more routine moments than dramatic ones. Every moment could be one that matters for someone in the workforce.

Objective 2: Transform HR to become responsive and focused

Revolutionizing the employee experience is a big challenge, which can make it hard to know where to start. Accenture Consulting recommends HR teams focus on just two objectives: make workforce interactions with HR as simple as possible and as agile as possible. This approach is not a silver bullet, but it can free up resources to be invested in what your workforce wants and expects.

We’ve seen this approach work with our financial service clients. For instance, a major European bank with operations in 17 countries has used this approach to find the resources to create a next-level employee experience. Recently, the bank has expanded the scope of its HR analytics data to include social media behaviour and the personal attitudes of employees.

Objective 3: Proactively nurture employees

Many of the digital tools at the disposal of HR in financial services can be used to make the employee experience more human and nurturing. In fact, the best of them make it possible to proactively nurture the workforce, anticipating the workforce’s wants and needs.

Some of these systems are in use right now. For instance, the same client mentioned above is currently experimenting with analyzing employee genomes to provide custom talent management. This data will integrate with the rest of the bank’s robust HR analytics system to meet employee needs faster than ever.

Objective 4: Measure, adjust, repeat

Understanding your employees and creating a work experience they love is not a one-off project. A great workforce experience can only be built and maintained with a commitment to continued observation and tweaking.

We achieve this at Accenture by cultivating a startup mentality in our HR teams. With an emphasis on continuous evolution and improvement, Accenture’s HR workforce is always tracking the behaviours, mindsets, and problems facing our workforce to better anticipate and address them.

Objective 5: Apply service design to HR techniques

The employee experience is a broad concept, involving everything from how a financial services firm sets compensation levels to how maternity leave is handled to what kind of coffee is served in break rooms. Improving the employee experience or creating a new one requires many different new tools and sources of information.

That makes it very easy to get lost in the minutiae. But it is important to keep in mind that a new employee experience requires more than using the cloud, mobile tools, analytics, and other digital techniques. HR needs to use service design to properly listen to the voice of employees and reflect that voice in the employee experience.

Service design is a relatively new idea in organizational theory. The Service Design Network defines it as “the activity of planning and organizing people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service in order to improve its quality and the interaction between service provider and customers.” One of the first textbooks on service design lays out key principals to remember when re-thinking a service. Service design should be user-centered, co-creative, chronological, use evidence to create customer loyalty, and holistic.

What does this look like for HR? It means using techniques like personas, customer journey maps, and service blueprinting when redesigning the employee experience. These tools, which are sometimes seen in the world of market research, bring the voice of the employee into the heart of employee experience redesign. HR teams need to embrace both service design and new digital tools to create the experience that top talent is looking for in the industry.

Financial services firms right now are facing a tremendous opportunity to improve their workforce experience. Transforming how employees interact with a bank at every turn will be a challenge. But firms which that can achieve this will realize benefits in everything from recruiting to operational efficiency to all the other advantages that come from employing top-notch talent with a passion for its work. We’ve seen it work at some of the biggest, most complicated financial services firms in the world, including HSBC, Bank of America, UniCredit, and UBI Banca.

To learn more about making this happen for your organization, please contact me here. Or head here for more Accenture insight on transforming HR.

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