Why should the financial industry consider experience? In general, we have experiences with this industry almost, if not, daily. We rely on them to withdraw and transfer money, not to mention rely on their technology to make purchases. As such a functional and essential part of lives, experience with financial companies is often advertised from the customer perspective. Indeed, good experiences with financial institutions is important for customers. Poor experiences, direct and indirect, can have severe consequences, from stress to malnutrition and potential life-long deficits. Moreover, as such an essential part of our world, and perhaps because of it, more questions and responsibilities are placed towards the financial sector as to their role in world affairs. Many banks in the UK, for example, support local community initiatives and charities.
However, we don't often hear of the employee experience being emphasised in this industry. Without wishing to sound too over the top, should it not be an important consideration to support the experience of those involved, potentially, in working to mitigate the risks of a climate crisis? Exaggerated maybe, but we should still strive to support our employees, our people, as their roles go a long way to support our ecosystem, organisational or global.
We've spoken before of the importance of balance between supporting the customer and employee experience. By enabling the employee to support the customer experience, financial institutions can continue to provide as stress-free and responsive interactions with their customers as they can. But what about said employees? What can be done to support their employee experience, what are the benefits of employee experience measures, and why should the financial industry consider experience in general?
Benefits of Employee Experience in the Financial World
Supporting the Customer Experience
Let's start with our first consideration. A strong customer experience is vital for the financial industry. Banks and financial entities are essential for the customer, but there is also a lot of customer choice. In the UK, banks often offer incentives for prospective customers from joining bonuses, monthly rewards or long-term investment bonuses. Increasingly, we're seeing an emphasis on the customer-facing/ supporting role that bank employees play. Wording to the effect of being supportive of the customer is common now in 'high-street' bank's advertising. It's arguable this may be due to the gradually dwindling number of people who visit bank branches, up to 20% have not visited a bank in the past few years, but it is regardless a positive step. Part of the rationale will be for the bank's benefit, but from emphasising customer support to promoting financial education, the customer can at least receive something valuable and meaningful in return. This is a core concept of the experience economy, investing time for a meaningful experience rather than money for a quick transaction.
Potential for More Banking Customers
As tends to be case, the advantage of strengthening employee experiences in the world of finance can have an effect on the number of customers the institute receives. According to Deloitte, companies that deliver a strong employee experience strategy can receive quadruple the profit when compared to companies that do not. This is likely to be a benefit for any industry let alone for financial institutes.
However, in order to provide these experiences, to provide more business for the financial institution, the employees need to be enabled to deliver them. By this point, it should go without saying, in order to ensure that financial employees are able to offer a good experience to customers, they need to be provided with a good experience first, be it employee, digital and/or both.
How can the Finance Industry Create Good Employee Experience?
Align Customer Visions with Employee Experience
What we mean by this is aligning the messaging going out to customers with employees. By creating a link here, the purpose of the employees' role may go up. For example, we mentioned in the introduction how many banks support charities and local communities. In instances where this is the case, the employees should be offered a role in the support work being conducted. By creating a connection between the company values and hands-on actions, it's possible to build the real-world impression that the role of the employee is valuable, and contributing to the world in the way they're often told or shown.
Invest in Digital Employee Experience
Nowadays, most banks and financial institutions offer online account and services management through apps. What this means is the need for online support has also risen with these apps, and in turn the employees to provide it. Combine this need for current online support with the possibility of physical bank visits declining further and it becomes quite possible that demand for online support with financial institution apps will rise in tandem.
Employees, therefore, need be supported in their ability to provide said support without hindrance from the technology they use to do so. From working to avoid crashes and disruptions to sending out campaigns notifying employees of important technology upgrades, as well as regular sentiment surveys, digital employee experience (DEX) tools can greatly benefit the employees' impression and use of essential technology in their role of supporting customers. By displaying that your organisation cares about employees' ability to use their workplace technology, employees are more likely to feel supported and have their productivity enabled. This, in turn, can help build good customer-employee relationships and go on to increase profitability for the financial company as a whole. This profitability can be as high as 37% for banks when employees feel engaged, according to research by Gallup.
Why Should the Finance Industry Consider Experience at all?
The report by Deloitte we referred to earlier summed up a crucial factor in why any company should consider experience:
'More than half of all gen Z employees do not feel proud of the company they work for'
When we don't feel proud of our company, we're not likely to feel engaged with our work. This may encourage people to quietly quit and conduct the bare minimum required of our job role. This should concern any industry, but arguably more so for the finance industry as a whole. As we mentioned as know, this industry is an essential part of our world. The London Business School points out the need for a sophisticated financial system in order to support the economic growth of a country. It is exaggeration to suggest that not supporting the employee experience in this industry could bring these systems down, but it shouldn't be a stretch to say that not supporting employees of such a vital and customer-centred industry can be a big hindrance, not only to many people's everyday lives, but also to the financial institutions themselves. We need to understand what makes an organisation attractive to prospective employees. This plays a big role in who we apply to. By not tapping into this and acting upon it, as well as the overall benefits of employee experience, regardless of industry, we ensure we're not using all that we have at our disposal to really create improvement for the industry, their customers and their employees.
Brecheisen, J. (2020) A new era of wellbeing for the Banking Industry. Gallup. Available at: https://www.gallup.com/workplace/311324/new-era-wellbeing-banking-industry.aspx
Deloitte. (2021) The Future of Banking: The employee experience (EX) imperative. Deloitte. Available at: https://www2.deloitte.com/lu/en/pages/financial-services/articles/future-of-banking-employee-experience.html
Pitt-Watson, D. (2015) The finance industry: What's its purpose? London Business School. Available at: https://www.london.edu/think/the-purpose-of-the-finance-industry
Shaw, V. (2022) Fifth of people not visited Bank branch since before pandemic – survey. The Independent. Available at: https://www.independent.co.uk/money/fifth-of-people-not-visited-bank-branch-since-before-pandemic-survey-b1991696.html