Spotlight Series: Katie Lam
Director of HR and Engagement Management, Theresa Cantwell was recently featured in financial IT magazine where she discussed how financial technology leaders can shape the future of work for the better – and improve the employees experience during remote work.
All companies have an employer brand, even if they do not explicitly work on it. It’s what people say about the business when the boss isn’t around! A well thought out and executed employer branding campaign will distil your business culture into a journey – from the initial curiosity about open roles, to the job application, onboarding experience and right the way through an employee’s entire tenure at the company and eventual exit. The employer brand informs your behaviours, amplifies your values and provides clarity on your employee value proposition. Employer branding must be authentic and congruent with the company culture and values – something the whole company can get behind, not just a broadcast from the HR department.
An effective employer brand should send a clear message to candidates about what the working culture is like at your business. It should encapsulate your values and provide prospective candidates with a good sense of what they may expect when working with your business.
There are a number of practical steps executives can take to continuously improve employer branding. A compelling careers page is a great start. Working together, HR and Marketing can ensure it is distinctive, informative and made real through interesting staff interviews, pictures from meet-ups and news about business wins and awards. At the same time, HR teams should be working with the business to continuously improve recruitment processes, job descriptions and the onboarding and off-boarding experiences.
Surveying staff, and genuinely listening and acting on feedback, is crucial. Doing it regularly, and keeping it anonymous, helps staff stay engaged and speak openly. It enables you to gauge staff sentiment, continuously review employee feedback, course correct where required and celebrate what is going well.
At offboarding stage, it is important to methodologically collect and review exit interview data to identify improvements in the employee experience . A certain amount of turnover is healthy in any business. Keep in touch with people who have left, as they may become returners, or future client contacts, and consider setting up a dedicated alumni group for this purpose.
Not being able to meet in person is a challenge in many workplaces. Being around colleagues and getting cues about their behaviours and sentiment is lost. It’s replaced by more intense, carefully scheduled video meetings – and many of us feel fatigued from non-stop video calls all day.
We find that new hires who were onboarded during the lockdown may need more attention in order to feel like part of the company, compared to staff who joined before it. Focus on improving your onboarding processes to ensure people have the tools and software they need to be productive as soon as possible, with regular checkpoints to help them ease in, know who’s who and meet key people.
Regular meet-ups or townhalls help staff feel connected to each other and the company. Varied formats can keep the experience fresh and interesting – thought leaders speaking to employees, coaches sharing expertise and even quizzes all work well! Themed meet-ups are particularly engaging, with people dressing up and having fun with the backgrounds available on the video conferencing software.
Often used in technology teams, agile ceremonies provide a great cadence in communication, with daily stand-ups and regular planning sessions. In conjunction with regular one-to-ones with staff, they can help managers ensure a collaborative, supportive and productive work environment for everyone.
Employee wellness, and mental health in particular, is top of the agenda right now. Wellness is a crucial area to get right, but it’s also very personal to each employee. This means your strategy, policy and implementation need a caring, thoughtful approach to be successful. It’s crucial to regularly review employee assistance programmes and ensure they include a range of services people can access, at their discretion, if they need help with counselling, GP services or health advice. Engaging mental health and wellbeing professionals is another powerful way to help your staff stay healthy and to share techniques for staying calm and composed during challenging, uncertain or disruptive times.
Financial technology is full of new and exciting ways of doing business. However, at the heart of all successful ways of working is an effective workplace culture – the character and personality of your business. Culture is comprised of your organisation’s values, traditions and beliefs and your employees’ behaviours and attitudes. The culture that leaders create, and nurture amongst their employees, is the biggest driver of the employee experience. Being respectful, and treating people well, is essential to building trust – and trust is the currency of good business. It’s not only common sense, and the decent thing to do, but research has consistently shown that small acts of respect can boost personal and business success. A respectful culture, and a structured, methodological approach to managing employer brand, and employee wellness and retention, means healthy profits – and healthy people.
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