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Topic: Culture

4 Culture Trends for Financial Companies for 2021

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Building great workplace cultures in financial companies can be challenging, especially with the rapid pace of change in the modern workplace. Here are four of the hottest culture trends that will impact financial organizations in 2020:

Update: The way we work shifted dramatically overnight. In Q1 of 2020, the global COVID-19 pandemic hit. Businesses and their employees are being forced to change how they work in some unprecedented ways. While most employees transitioned to remote work, many are left working on the front lines with new social distancing requirements. Confusion, anxiety, and fear are palpable. How will employees adapt to this change in work environment, process, and roles? How can companies help employees be calm, productive, and healthy?

O.C. Tanner pulse surveys show 40% of employees globally are worried about losing their job, while 60% worry about lost income. 65% of employees report feeling a “tense” work environment, and 46% of employees say they are less productive at work. There’s a 221% increase in fearfulness among employees, and a 135% increase in feeling isolated.

During a time of great uncertainty and change, many companies are struggling with how to take care of their people and keep their businesses operating.

What companies can do: In times of crisis, it is a company’s responsibility to help employees thrive. This includes many things: ensuring employees are safe at work, giving them access to the tools and resources they need to do their jobs, prioritizing employee wellbeing, and communicating honestly, accurately, and frequently. Organizations are taking the necessary steps: 92% of companies took appropriate actions to make sure their employees were safe at work. Video communication from senior leaders nearly doubled. The number of flexible leave policies increased 95%. Now is the time to make employees your most important asset. Take care of their needs, help them stay connected in a time of physical disconnection, and show appreciation for their work and efforts, especially those on the front line. If you take care of your people, they will take care of your business.

This means we need to understand how employees are feeling and what they want from work.  Here the 4 culture trends for 2020 (as they existed before the pandemic):


42% of employees in the financial industry say they feel burned out. It’s no surprise why: companies hire young, top performing candidates and put them in demanding work environments for 80-120 hours a week. Many jobs require an extensive amount of travel, which takes employees away from their families. This, along with the high pressure from ever-changing regulations and increased scrutiny in their day-to-day jobs, causes immense stress and burnout.

According to the 2020 O.C. Tanner Global Culture Report, 54% of employees in financial organisations felt optimistic about their career at the start, but 40% now say their situation at work is hurting their ability to be happy in other aspects of their lives. 36% say their job has a negative effect on their physical health, and 31% dread going to work every day. A University of California study found that burnout for bankers in particular peaks in years 4 to 6 of their jobs.

What financial companies can do: You may not be able to lower the number of hours at the office or amount of travel necessary, but you can help your people manage their stress better. If possible, allow for flexibility in when and where your employees do their work. Focus on improving employee wellbeing—physical, emotional, and social wellbeing. Create positive everyday experiences at work, so employees feel connected to their work, peers, and your organisation. Provide employees with a meaningful purpose that inspires them. Show how their work makes a difference by recognising their accomplishments. Creating a great workplace culture can help mitigate, and even prevent, employee burnout in the most demanding environments.

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