Recruiting top talent in financial services is a highly competitive and complex arena. In an environment of constant change – with regulatory and technological developments impacting most organisations – businesses in the sector now face sourcing a whole new type of talent beyond the traditional pools and pipelines. However, given the on-going media representation of the industry and a continued caution around public messages from many brands, attracting talent into financial services can prove difficult.

In order to overcome these barriers, TheJobPost hosted an event with hiring managers and HR professionals from leading financial and professional services businesses to identify what is holding talent back and what organisations must do as a result. The insights proved highly interesting.

Create a powerful EVP

According to Claire Molin, Senior Manager – People Development Team, Visa Europe, the first step is to create a powerful employer value proposition (EVP) through a three-stage approach:

  • Identify who you want: It may sound obvious but it’s important to go right back to the drawing board and define just what type of talent you’re looking for. Are you after senior professionals with experience in the industry, technology experts to drive innovation or emerging talent to start on a graduate scheme, for example?
  • Assess what type of people they are: Once you know who you’re looking for, you need to assess what type of person they are. For example, personality types can range from the ‘career-ladderist’ who seeks development opportunities, through to the ‘connectors’ who want nothing more than to build their networks.
  • Tailor your EVP to the above: There is no one-size-fits-all solution to attracting and engaging talent and given the variety of individuals outlined above, any corporate messaging needs to be tailored to the various groups. Each personality will have different drivers, motivators, wants and needs. If a business fails to appeal to these, diversity and innovation will stall and talent attraction will be impacted.

Create a powerful story

OVERCOMING THE TALENT ATTRACTION CHALLENGES IN FINANCIAL SERVICES 1However, it’s not just enough to create an attractive EVP alone, it’s also vital to create a compelling story as well. Henry Davies, Consultant and Founder of communications branding agency, 106 communications, explained that perhaps the biggest flaw in many existing talent attraction strategies is that messages often don’t reflect the truth, or tell the wrong story.

This is particularly so in the case of gender diversity. Many organisations will roll out a successful senior female and outline their successes and progression. However in reality what the audience wants to know is how an individual or group has addressed issues specific to them, not necessarily just how well they’ve done.

So how do we get the right messages out there?

It’s important to look at the stories the business already has. Only by speaking to employees and encouraging them to share their views and experiences will it be possible to build a true narrative that is honest, authentic and avoids platitudes.

According to Henry, employees can reach a 92% wider audience than an organisation’s marketing team. Empowering these individuals to get their message out in the public domain will only aid talent attraction. And, as Henry put it, the reputation of an organisation is founded on stories – whether you like them or not.

Don’t let compliance cost the business good candidates

As Charlotte Barton, Talent Resourcing, EMEA at Towers Watson, highlighted, organisations risk losing candidates as a result of the complex internal compliance process. In order to reduce talent loss at this point, systems need to be streamlined.

However, this doesn’t have to require complex adjustments or costly investments. In fact, it can be done through simply utilising the tools at the disposal of the business. By creating online portals accessible for all stakeholders involved in the on-boarding process, timeframes can be significantly reduced.

Using the example of TowersWatsononboarding.com Charlotte demonstrated that, through an online filing system, the process was simplified for the candidate. An individual can simply log on to complete the relevant forms before they even set foot in the building. And where previously there may have been multiple points of contact for a candidate – from the hiring manager and compliance team to a recruitment agency – this portal allows all involved to access and submit the relevant information, clarifying the process in greater detail for the end-user.

Drive innovation to attract and engage digital natives

Attracting digital natives into financial services is certainly a challenge. However, according to Gorse Burrett, Senior Talent and People Performance Manager at Nationwide Building Society, innovation is key to engaging with, and managing, digital natives. So how can this be achieved?

  • Have champions at the top: there’s often a perception that new ideas don’t rise to the top. By having senior professionals championing change high up in the business, it’s possible to create an environment where innovation can flourish.
  • Create a compelling view of the future: the professionals of tomorrow want to know that they will not only be working for a brand that values them as an individual and invests in their development, but also has a strategic plan that appeals to them.
  • Experiment more, think less: compared to many other industries, the financial services arena is very cautious, which often holds it back in new developments. For the emerging generation, this rigid structure can be off-putting.
  • Less me, more others: in order to support the above points, there needs to be a real team atmosphere. Emerging generations want to have a voice in the business, so demonstrating that employees of all backgrounds are actively involved in strategic planning will be beneficial.

Pay more attention to recruitment supply chains

While there is perhaps a trend in cost cutting and reducing agency expenditure in the industry, utilising supply chains effectively can present a strategic advantage. Developing better assessments of these partnerships can prove vital, as Mike Lander, Executive Director of ProfitFlo discussed at the event.

There are numerous challenges when it comes to agency management, from maintaining a consistent agency briefing and candidate experience, through to delivering cost effective solutions and managing compliance issues. However, these barriers can be overcome by restructuring the process through the use of agency sourcing technology. Whereas the traditional hiring model sees firms directly interacting with the hiring community, internal recruitment teams, RPO and MSPs, as well as the company ATS, agency sourcing technology streamlines the process and improves agency    access and communication duplication.

Talent attraction and management in the financial services sector is clearly a challenge, but one that resourcing teams need to face. However, as the insight from our conference shows, there are a few steps that hiring professionals can take to more effectively compete for the best employees.

Ken Brotherston is Chairman of The Job Post

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