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Best Workplaces™ in Financial Services and Insurance – Strong and Supportive Management Practices Make All the Difference

Best Workplaces™ in Financial Services and Insurance – Strong and Supportive Management Practices Make All the Difference

 

The past year has been full of disruption, with many challenges and opportunities emerging as industries across the board reflect on the lessons learned during the pandemic and decide how to drive growth and improve performance. The financial services and insurance industry is no exception, and as they prepare for the uncertainties ahead, the Best Workplaces™ are looking inward as much as outward to establish practices that will build their resilience long term.

These organizations understand that human capital needs are as much of a priority as needs related directly to growth and efficiency. And they have learned a lot from the pandemic as they prepare for pressures facing their industry that have arisen in part from the events of the past year and a half including:

  • Keeping up with regulations and ensuring compliance as the pandemic has advanced the digital agenda and technology advances make more control systems necessary.
  • Addressing security breaches arising from more people working from home, more devices accessing digital banking environments, and more people shopping online.
  • Dealing with increased competition from the Financial Technology (FinTech) industry, which uses technological advances, and increasingly artificial intelligence, to deliver more specific, direct-to-consumer products and services.

Employees are aware of these pressures and the changes that they bring and they are looking for their organizations to provide a sense of stability and support after all of the upheaval during the pandemic. The Best Workplaces™ on our list are doing a great job addressing these stressors, and key to their success is their commitment to ensuring their leaders continue to practice strong, supportive leadership as they move forward.

Strong Leadership

The Best Workplaces™ in Financial Services and Insurance started from a foundation of strong leadership that provides competent management, clear direction, and honest business practices:

My manager is competent at running the business.

92%

My manager has a clear view of where the organization is going and how to get there.

90%

Management is honest and ethical in its business practices.

92%

Clearly these organizations are well managed and employees acknowledge and appreciate the competency of their leaders. During these trying, and unprecedented times, strong leaders make all the difference. And to have 90%+ agreement with statements directly related to leadership competency during a global pandemic is resounding proof that leaders at these organizations know what they are doing and they have the full trust and support of their people. How can you achieve the same? Here are some leadership lessons to be mindful of:

Establish clear priorities – then allow people to implement them

When situations are dynamic, as in a pandemic, or when your industry is facing challenges, effective leaders empower their people to make decisions consistent with the priorities of the organization. With clear and precise priorities everyone knows what needs to be accomplished and they work hard to achieve it.

Be honest – and communicate a clear and simple message

To establish trust you need to be trustworthy and that is often as simple as saying what you mean and following through. The easiest way to do that consistently is to use empathy and be authentic with your messaging. Understand how you will be perceived, don’t withhold information unless absolutely necessary, and even then be honest that you aren’t able to reveal all the details.  Repeat yourself as much as necessary to ensure people fully understand what you are trying to accomplish.

Be bold – and trust yourself to advance with confidence

Making decisions amidst uncertainty is difficult. People need to know that you are willing to make those decisions and that you understand they come with risk. Role modeling that you accept mistakes and potential failure is a powerful example that allows others to take risks as they seek out new ideas and solve problems creatively. When people see you lead confidently, their confidence in you increases exponentially.

Supportive Management Practices

It’s been a tough year and people have faced lots of pressures.  Feeling supported and appreciated by their manager is very important and this is another key area where the Best Workplaces™ on this list have performed remarkably this past year.

People care about each other here.

91%

I can be myself with my team.

91%

My manager shows appreciation for good work and extra effort.

90%

When people know they are cared for by their managers and leaders they have more capacity to work hard knowing their wellbeing is secure at work. In times of stress that sense of security is very important and it’s something that all workplaces should strive to provide. People also tend to mirror the behaviours of those around them so when leaders demonstrate caring, that influences everyone within the organization to care; creating a kinder more compassionate workplace in general. And that is the sort of workplace culture that allows people to thrive and bring their best selves to work everyday. To encourage more caring and supportive acts in your workplace you can practice the following:

Listen first – and then tune into how others are feeling

Listening allows you to be more aware of how others are feeling and it allows you to act with empathy and compassion. These traits are very important for building trust and creating strong team connections. Encourage people to share their fears, stressors and anxieties. Be vulnerable with one another and check in regularly to make sure people are doing ok.

Promote belonging – and make sure everyone feels included

When times are challenging it’s natural to become a bit insular and gather select people around you, particularly those that you feel most comfortable around. This may feel exclusionary to the people who aren’t “chosen”.  Be overly mindful that you need to be inclusive. Actively seek out new voices and perspectives. Ensure all employees have an opportunity to express how they are feeling.

Be appreciative – and make sacrifices if needed

Everyone has been subjected to change, stress and sacrifice during the pandemic and their efforts need to be rewarded and recognized. It’s particularly important for people to see that their leaders are right beside them, making sacrifices and doing what needs to be done to keep moving forward. Quickly deploying resources, covering for people when they need time off, or completing tasks you don’t normally do are all things leaders can take on to show their solidarity with the team and express appreciation.

From creditors to accountants, and insurance advisors to bank tellers, the people within the Financial Services and Insurance industry have been working long and hard to keep their customers satisfied and their heads above water. At the Best Workplaces™ in this industry their leaders have been right there with them – providing solid leadership, communicating honestly, listening empathically and practicing inclusion – all best practices that will take them beyond the pandemic and able to tackle the new set of challenges with resilience and resolve.

About Great Place to Work®

Great Place to Work® is the world leader in building high-trust, high performance workplaces. Whether you are just getting started on your journey or you’re already well on your way, we can help you build more trusting relationships at work and achieve better business results.

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Nancy Fonseca