Employee attraction and retention models within the financial services sector are outdated and irrelevant to the younger generation. Brands, however well-known, cannot promote their way to employee satisfaction. Offering flexi-time is not agile working. Individuals need to feel valued – and that demands a fundamentally different approach to employee empowerment and trust, explains Adam Kene, Managing Director, Kene Partners.
Attracting top talent is a priority for every financial services organisation, yet too many of the younger generation now face a compromise between realising personal ambition and meeting corporate goals. This is a generation that wants to feel part of something, to make a difference. They do not enjoy the ‘protection’ of the rigid, hierarchical corporate machine, but feel constricted, even lost, in an environment that fails to celebrate individuality, innovation and drive.
The endemic inability to create a motivated workforce is at the heart of the current merry-go-round of staff between companies every couple of years: with limited job satisfaction and enjoyment, individuals can only aim for the offer of promotion and salary boost. The resultant lack of commitment and motivation also has a negative impact on the quality of client services. Rather than focusing efforts on delivering the best outcome for the customer, individuals become caught up in internal power games in a bid to win promotion or bonus. The goals of business, clients and employees are fundamentally misaligned.
This model is broken. Change is required, change that extends beyond the sticking plaster of hot desking or break-out rooms. Adding flexible working models to a dated, hierarchical business model is not creating the truly agile working environment now required.
Redefining Agile Working
At the heart of a successful, engaged and committed workforce is a sense of purpose and excitement – and that means empowering and trusting individuals to do the job, not micromanaging every minute of the day. Redefining agile working means moving away from the constraints of set working hours and holiday entitlement and enabling employees to manage their own time in line with specific targets.
If an individual wants to spend eight hours with a client, for example, to truly understand the opportunity for R&D tax credits and support that business’ drive for innovation, that is fantastic. Drop the children at school every morning? Take every December off? Fine. Essentially, as long as an individual is on target throughout the year to meet specific goals, and following a company code of conduct, then how, where and when the job is done is their choice.
Supporting this truly agile working model with strong, transparent performance and conduct measures is, of course, important. If problems occur, it is essential to be able to step in quickly. It is also important to understand an individual’s goals: not everyone is motivated by promotion. Success should not be defined by the speed with which an individual marches up the corporate ladder – that does not dovetail with a desire to achieve more for clients. Success in an agile working model is defined by matching individual and client goals, not those of hierarchy and speed of promotion.
To create an essential sense of employee purpose demands a company culture that is predicated not just on winning business but on helping UK companies to innovate and succeed globally. Reinforcing this with a trust based working model and a business culture that actively encourages input from individuals at every level, through regular open debates for example, fosters that indispensable feeling of employee value.
Many firms have tinkered with the working environment in a bid to attract and retain staff. But adding remote and flexible working to the existing, micro managed hierarchy makes no substantial difference to a generation of individuals who want to take control, to explore their entrepreneurial spirit within a corporate environment.
If the financial services industry is to truly meet the evolving needs of both clients and employees, it is time to shake off decades of entrenched behaviour. A redefined agile working model creates a positive working environment and employees that are loyal, passionate to drive business values, and deliver the highest value and productivity for clients. It also creates the ultimate knock-on effect of improved client engagement and retention.
Duo glide around world’s largest fountain in Dubai
Paragliders Llorens and Goberna take magical flight above the Palm Fountain.
Horacio Llorens and Rafael Goberna defied gravity to perform The Breaking Pointe flight around the world’s biggest fountain at The Pointe, Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. Here is all you need to know:
– Spaniard Llorens is a five-time world champion and Infinity Tumbling Guinness World Record holder, who has performed a series of spectacular projects during the last five years including paragliding with a flock of starlings and with the beautiful Aurora Borealis as a backdrop.
– Brazilian Goberna was a Guinness Book of World Records winner at only 12-years-old and, in December 2016, he took to the skies above one of the seven wonders of the natural world when paragliding at Iguazu Falls.
– This time around, the duo teamed up in Dubai to showcase The Palm Fountain at the Pointe, Palm Jumeirah. They overcame a tricky preparation period to expertly glide between the fountain’s powerful jets of water.
– Spanning across the boulevard, the Palm Fountain features two giant floating platforms covering 14,000 square metres of sea water. Reaching an impressive 105 metres high and lighting up the Dubai sky with 3,000 LED lights, the fountain “dances” to hit songs from sunset until midnight.
– They undertook training first at Paramotor Desert Adventure on January 12 to test out their brakes and motors with technician Ramon Lopez finally arriving after being held up by the heavy snow in Madrid.
– Training was crucial for the challenge of flying during the night with low visibility as safety director Alan Gayton ensured they had a reserve parachute in case of a technical issue with the main parachute. Llorens and Goberna also had to study the movement of the water with great precision in order not to get caught up in the jets of water
– Flying over water, it was also mandatory to have a lifejacket with rescue boats, jet skis and divers on hand which came handy when Goberna suffered a technical malfunction on the first January 14 practice run.
– After repairs long into the night, they returned to Paramotor Desert Adventure to test out the motors again before completing the stunning flight on January 15 with Llorens and Goberna performing in harmony.
– Llorens, 38, revealed: “As soon as we got the opportunity, we wanted to fly there. We needed to know the area really well beforehand and we needed to know how to ‘play’ with the fountain – this was new for us. Such strong streams of water shooting 100 metres up is a lot, so we had to be really prepared.”
– Goberna, 26, explained: “The motor wasn’t flying so good because, prior to arriving in Dubai, it was last used in Europe at high altitude. I needed to adjust the carburettor in the air inside the motor. In the first practice flight over the water, I broke one propeller. I really couldn’t understand what was happening and then another one broke. Eventually, a backup motor was required. After a long journey, the final result was beautiful! The team worked incredibly hard to make it.”
– Llorens added: “The highlight for me was playing between the super shooters with Rafael, because it’s something we’ve never done before; it felt really new and really powerful.”
EU sets itself jobs, training and equality targets for 2030
By Jan Strupczewski
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission on Thursday announced goals for the 27-nation bloc to reduce poverty, inequality and boost training and jobs by 2030 as part of a post-pandemic economic overhaul financed by jointly borrowed funds.
The EU executive arm said the European Union should boost employment to 78% in 2030 from 73% in 2019, halve the gap between the number of employed women and men and cut the number of young people neither working nor studying to 9% from 12.6%
“With unemployment and inequalities expected to increase as a fallout of the pandemic, focusing our policy efforts on quality job creation, up- and reskilling and reducing poverty and exclusion is therefore essential to channel our resources where they are most needed,” the commission said.
The goals, which will have to be endorsed by EU leaders, also include an increase in the number of adults getting training every year to adapt to the EU’s transition to a greener and more digitalised economy to 60% from 40% now.
Finally, over the next 10 years, the EU should reduce the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion by 15 million from 91 million in 2019.
“These three 2030 headline targets are deemed ambitious and realistic at the same time,” the commission said.
The goals are part of the EU’s set of 20 social rights, agreed on in 2017, to make the EU more appealing to voters and counter eurosceptic sentiment across the bloc.
They say everybody has the right to quality education throughout their lives and that men and women must have equal opportunities in all areas and be paid the same for work of equal value.
The unemployed have the right to “personalised, continuous and consistent support”, while workers have the right “to fair wages that provide for a decent standard of living”.
(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Nick Macfie)
UK aero-engineer Meggitt eyes return to growth after pandemic slump
LONDON (Reuters) – British engineer Meggitt said that it could return to profit growth in 2021 provided there are no further lockdowns, despite a weakening in the struggling aviation market at the end of 2020 and early this year.
Pandemic restrictions halted much flying globally last year and forced plane makers Boeing and Airbus to cut production rates, dragging down suppliers like Meggitt, which makes and services parts for such aircraft.
Meggitt’s underlying operating profit plunged by 53% to 191 million pounds ($267 million) in 2020, it said on Thursday, despite continued growth in its defence business which makes parts for military jets and accounts for about 45% of the business.
Meggitt, however, said it expected air traffic to recover in the second half of the year which would help it return to profit growth over the year, although its guidance for flat revenue disappointed analysts who had expected growth of 6%.
Meggitt’s Chief Executive Tony Wood said in November that he had expected flying to start to recover by Easter, but new variants have led to more restrictions and delayed the recovery.
“It has gone back a couple of months… it’s now very much in the summer,” Wood said of the recovery in an interview on Thursday.
Further in the future, Meggitt is positioning itself for the move to lower emissions flying, and its sensors and electric motors will be used on electric urban air mobility platforms, such as flying taxis, and in hybrid aeroplanes being developed.
But Meggitt said new tax breaks announced in Britain’s annual budget on Wednesday aimed at encouraging investment would not change its plans.
“Yes, it will be a benefit. Are we looking at any acceleration as a result specifically of that? Not really,” Woods said.
Shares in Meggitt were down 1% to 427 pence at 0943 GMT. The stock has risen by 50% since news of a COVID-19 vaccine last November, but is still down 23% on where it was pre-pandemic.
($1 = 0.7165 pounds)
(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Alistair Smout and Susan Fenton)
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