By Chris Walker, Senior Director of People at Praxent
Between the ongoing Great Resignation, quiet quitting and a shift to remote work, companies across all industries are grappling with how to attract and retain top talent, and financial services is no exception. While competitive pay and benefits undoubtedly draw qualified applicants, these factors alone aren’t enough for long-term retention and engagement.
To connect with exceptional talent and keep them, fintechs must determine how to combat the current talent dilemma. Embodying company values, prioritizing recruitment, reimagining performance reviews and strategically designing remote events will provide a solid start.
Infuse company values into the culture – and get creative with it
A company’s values can and should be the foundation of its culture. While values are just words on a wall to some, those who live and breathe those values are more likely to have strong direction and morale.
A strong company culture requires purpose and creativity, integrating company values throughout the organization to anchor and rally employees. Being able to articulate and easily share these values is critical; after all, intentionality fosters effective communication and engagement.
Centering employee shout outs around company values, making decisions based on those values, and using values as primary reasons employees are promoted or rewarded are all ways to create a company culture with values at the center. This is one keyway fintechs can differentiate themselves as an energizing and exciting employer within the increasingly competitive job market.
Prioritize the recruitment and interview process
Recruiting is perhaps the most important way a company can protect and invest in its culture and growth. While each company tends to have their own interview style, there are techniques that are more likely to identify and bring in the right candidates. Aim to create an exceptional interviewee experience; even if the candidate isn’t the right fit at the time, that candidate is likely to share their experience with their network and may even be a better fit down the line.
Start with creating a welcoming environment that reflects the workplace culture and invite current employees on the hiring team to the interview. Take the time to cater the interview process to the individual while highlighting the company’s unique characteristics.
Seek to understand, rather than judge, the candidate. After all, people are complicated, situations are messy, and individual decisions are an accumulation of years of experiences. Encourage the candidate to tell personal stories, which typically allows them to paint the best, most comprehensive picture of themselves while also helping you understand recurring themes and emergent patterns. React to their stories, urge more context, and acknowledge when someone has said something tough or uncomfortable. This will go a long way toward building a strong foundation and attracting top contenders.
Reinvent the dreaded performance review
Performance reviews have earned a bad reputation, largely because they are often treated like a report card with the manager taking the lead. However, if approached from a different lens, performance reviews have the power to act in favor of employee retention – not against it.
First, reviews shouldn’t be held annually or even quarterly but monthly to establish a reliable cadence of feedback. And, these conversations are most impactful when they’re oriented toward the future, not the past, and centered around growth area goals.
Leading companies are flipping the script and putting the employee in charge of the review conversation, not the manager. Suddenly the dynamic is totally different; the employee is empowered to lead the discussion about their career and aspirations instead of spending the time looking in the rearview. This also helps managers act more like a coach, determining how to support and inspire those on their team.
Design remote events with intention
In a post-Covid world, it is more common than ever for companies to embrace a remote-first workforce. What’s more, many employees have come to expect it. Employers are increasingly realizing how crucial it is to offer flexibility and remote options to keep current team members and draw in top talent. This often poses the challenge of how to maintain and promote employee engagement, team development and collaboration, even when physically apart. Virtual events present a strong solution – but only if they’re done right.
Back when everyone was in office, there were plenty of opportunities for serendipity. In a hybrid work world, those opportunities are more limited. So, it’s up to employers to manufacture those moments, intentionally designing virtual events and meetings that are meaningful. Getting together is an important muscle that can atrophy over time if not regularly used.
Although unstructured meetings can be effective, it is often best to pick a virtual activity that will keep everyone involved. Steer clear of overdone activities, like virtual happy hours or coffee breaks, and choose something that will excite or intrigue staff. The goal is to make it feel less like a work call and more like an event. Employees are more likely to continue participating if an element of surprise is added, such as a prize to engage employees or an opportunity to build upon success.
Some ideas for successful virtual events include monthly new team member get togethers where the new hires have the opportunity to present themselves to the rest of the company; new project kickoff events that include activities to bring everyone together, such as a culture or personality indexes; or weekly gatherings where all disciplines come together to give updates and share, promoting accountability and reinforcing culture. Consider assigning a theme to underpin each quarter, something for the events and meetings to connect back to, such as growth, feedback or collaboration.
As the current talent dilemma continues, those fintechs that effectively infuse culture throughout the organization, reimagine how they provide feedback, recruit thoughtfully and make remote events more engaging will be best positioned to find the right people, get them onboard and keep them there.