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2015 – the year of the (banking) employee?

March 7th, 2015 Best Practices, Business

2015 – the year of the (banking) employee?

Finally, its here. The year that large organisations realise that with as much emphasis they give on customers, without focus on the employees who service these much-feted clients daily, it doesn’t matter how much TLC they shower their clients with – put one peeved, unengaged employee in front of your largest client, and bang – there goes your CEO’s million pound bonus.

We say this as Employee Engagement is very topical, as anyone who was reading the Sunday Times last month would have laughed up their skinny latte with what is happening at a large UK bank:


The article is pretty much an example of how NOT to communicate with staff – most of the posts on this intranet site have not been answered by anyone in middle management or above (and we can say this as we know the organisation well). This isn’t a problem faced by just this bank but by the whole banking industry globally (again, we can say this as we know these organisations well).

So rather than spend these lines explaining the problem (and trying to be witty doing it), we want to focus on how to solve the problem of Employee Engagement in large, global banks. Here are out top three steps to ensuring you’re not creating the next Herve Falciani:

1. Understand who your Engaged Employees are: Do you know the people the come to work everyday fighting to push Change through your business? The people that defend the bank in the pub at weekends? The people who don’t accept the status quo (or drift off) on any of the conference calls they are on, who stay late to deliver more? (Rather than for the face time and subsequent bonus). Use these people to run key projects, to work more centrally in hand to be in pole positions for the promotions they deserve

2. Understand who your Influencers are: the guys that people listen to, that have good knowledge, that people look up to and for who people would walk across hot coals for. Use these people too communicate through, drive change through, to feedback general sentiment and feelings from the ‘feet on the street’ that serve your clients

3. Rewards and Recognition: the HOTTEST topic in banking, every year all year. Having an in-depth knowledge of the industry, many people ARE there for their bonus, but do you know which ones? Some are there to provide for their families and value any security of employment that can be provided. But how are you assessing these people? By objectives being set at the start of the year on how many ‘widgets’ they will deliver?

But how about the other things they have contributed to the organisation? This isn’t about getting people to volunteer for every extra-curricular activity available, enabling them to look good, but about measuring their input to ideas, projects and discussions across their team, directorate and division. Firstly, do they even have the platform and opportunity to do that? (But that’s a whole different conversation).

Lets be clear – the answer to the above is not ‘set up a sharepoint site and allow people to comment’ like many banks have done, and as we can see from the fall out from Lloyds’ attempt at doing this….. the head of HR left because of ‘reasons not to do with the botched staff survey’…..
You cant see us right now, but we’ve got a raised eyebrow and just cough-coughed…

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