Best Employee Engagement Practices for Finance Institutions

Best Employee Engagement Practices

Employee engagement has been the hot topic in HR for years and continues to grow in popularity. It has proven to be a key factor in the success of any organization, adding fuel to the fire for positive business outcomes. Research has found that engaged employees are more productive, innovative, and committed to achieving organizational goals. However, employee engagement is a challenge for many organizations, especially those in the finance and banking industries. Long working hours, a fast-paced work environment, and strict regulatory requirements can lead to stress, burnout, and disengagement. With Gen Z entering the workforce and tenured employees hitting retirement, focusing on engagement is more important than ever.  

In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the best employee engagement practices for financial institutions.

Employee Engagement: How We Picked Best Practices 

After over 30 years in the people business helping companies make positive changes through listening to their employees, we’ve learned what really works. We know improving engagement and satisfaction isn’t a one-size-fits-all effort, but we’ve seen many organizations in the banking and financial industries achieve success with the following best practices.

Embrace Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Before your people can be fully engaged, they need to feel comfortable and accepted in their workplace. To do this, start by focusing on enhancing diversity, inclusion, and belonging (DIB). These three topics are similar but have distinct definitions and should be tackled individually. 

Diversity refers to the characteristics that make people unique, such as physical features, elements of personality, and culture.   

Inclusion refers to the behaviors and cultural norms that make people feel welcome. Creating the distinction between diversity and inclusion is important to note because diversity can, and often does exist without the act of inclusion.   

Belonging refers to an individual’s sense of acceptance. Belonging is usually the result of the level of inclusion an individual feels in their environment. 

Focusing on DIB is a best practice for engagement and can also help attract new employees. With much of the financial workforce beginning to move toward retirement, it is important that you are creating an inclusive environment where younger employees would feel comfortable joining the team. Working through generational differences and embracing diversity can benefit everyone.  

Action items:  

  • Educate yourself and your team on the importance of DIB and host training sessions on key topics such as microaggressions, and unconscious bias. 
  • Always strive to offer equal opportunities to all employees and lead with equity. 
  • Embrace and celebrate diversity and individuality within your team. 

Encourage Professional Development & Career Growth 

People love to have the ability to grow and advance within their careers. Investing in your employees, through training and personal development exercises, are great ways to benefit your people and your organization. Finding new ways to help your people grow shows them that you care and value them as individuals. With the tight labor market in the finance industry, it’s important to make employees feel valued through growth initiatives or else they will begin to look elsewhere. 

When employees are excited about the future and are working towards a goal, they are more likely to stay motivated and engaged in their work.  

Action items: 

  • Implement mentorship programs to help younger employees feel supported. 
  • Offer free training and coaching opportunities for employees to sharpen their skills. 
  • Take the time to ask employees what their goals are and create career paths that help them achieve them.

Foster Workplace Culture 

Culture is key to building employee engagement. People want to go to work in an environment that is fun, comfortable, and enjoyable. Each organization’s culture is unique and specific to their internal quirks. You’d be surprised at how much the small things can shape and influence this culture. Whether it be friendly competitions, signed birthday cards, or a fancy coffee machine in the breakroom—people want to feel connected to each other and their workplace. Finance and banking jobs tend to have a reputation for feeling ‘corporate’ so it’s important to humanize your environment when focusing engagement.  

Action items: 

  • Focus on team building through group activities, especially if some of your workforce is hybrid or remote. Mix departments to encourage connections between employees who may not interact often. 
  • Leave room in the budget for culture-related initiatives like catered monthly luncheons, birthday cakes, fun company swag, etc. The little things make a big difference.  

Employee Empowerment & Recognition 

Since the pandemic, we’ve noticed a big shift in employees seeing their work as part of their lives rather than just a paycheck. With this, people are starting to expect more from their employers. They want to feel empowered and recognized for their contributions to the team, which makes sense. Who doesn’t like getting an award or being recognized?  

It may seem too simple but recognizing employees on a set cadence with things like ‘achievement of the month’ or ‘MVP’ awards really does make people feel good. Taking a few minutes to get together as a team to share wins of the week and recognize efforts is a great way to touch base and empower everyone involved.  

Action items: 

  • Try to recognize a standout employee with an award at least once a month. The award can be as small as a certificate or as big as a bonus. Just taking the time to acknowledge their efforts makes a difference.  
  • Have weekly ‘huddles’ or short team meetings to share wins of the week and give shoutouts for hard work. 
  • Make a big deal for birthdays and work milestones. Find reasons to celebrate and honor people, even for the small stuff! 

Key Takeaways: 

  • Embracing diversity, inclusion, and equity in the workplace strengthens a sense of belonging. People want to feel a sense of belonging in order to really engage and participate in their environment. 
  • Always look for ways to provide new career opportunities and strengthen professional development. It doesn’t always need to be related to a promotion, just having someone on the team who supports their goals is impactful. 
  • It’s the little things that create a strong culture. Focus on humanizing the workplace and creating a welcoming environment. 
  • Who doesn’t like getting an award or being recognized for their efforts? Celebrate wins, milestones, and achievements as much as possible.  

Make Data Driven Decisions with Feedback  

To help with employee engagement efforts, People Element offers employee engagement surveys to gather real data on your team. Through employee feedback you can get frequent measurements of your workforce’s engagement level, plus drill down into exactly which areas need improvement. Don’t guess what initiatives will make the biggest impact, use the data to guide your decisions.  

If you’re ready to build a better workplace, get started with a free discovery call.

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