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  • Competition from challenger banks and FinTech start-ups means great emphasise placed on employee wellbeing
  • Flexible working (68%), diversity (66%) and development and training (61%) rising up the change agenda
  • Regulators set to increase focus on the risks posed by climate change to financial institutions

The UK’s top financial institutions are placing a greater emphasis on employee wellbeing in the face of strong competition for high quality talent from challenger banks and agile FinTech competitors. According to Bishopsgate Financial’s Change Perspective, 60% of UK banks have made employee wellbeing a key priority, reflecting a broader trend across society.

Mike Hampson

Mike Hampson

Wellbeing covers more than physical and mental health – it’s the work environment, personal growth opportunities, and social aspect. It reflects the growing recognition of the positive link between employee wellbeing and organisational health, as well as being a positive asset when recruiting.

As a result, nearly three quarters (72%) of UK banks identified the need to implement agile working conditions as central to achieving high performing teams. There is also an increased focus on flexible working (68%), developing more diverse teams (66%) and implementing development and training (61%).

Furthermore, the report identifies and increased focus on collaboration, which is a crucial feature of any genuinely agile working environment.

Climate change rising up the agenda

A key element the report highlights as a growing area of focus, particularly after the impact of Extinction Rebellion and other global protests, is climate change. Mark Carney, the outgoing Governor of the Bank of England, has said that all financial institutions should have a strategy in place for climate change.

According to Carney, the global financial system faces an existential threat from climate change and must take urgent steps to reform.

While the message may not have truly sunk through to decision makers yet (only 8% of respondents have significant change activity planned for the year ahead) it is anticipated that financial regulators will begin asking for UK banks to provide details in order to examine their climate change plans in the future.

Driven in part by a desire for candidates to work for strong, ethical businesses, corporate social responsibility (CSR) continues to be significant area of focus across the financial sector (76% of respondents). CSR now makes good business sense for employers looking to hire top individuals, however these initiatives can’t be seen as merely ‘window dressing’ as you’ll soon be found out.

Mike Hampson, CEO of Bishopsgate Financial, comments: “Attracting and keeping the right people and talent has always been at the heart of the UK’s successful financial services sector. More so than ever, there is an increased focus on the employee and their continuing wellbeing within an organisation.

“Our research shows that banks are taking their commitment to diversity seriously, while they also appreciate that their CSR credentials are central to long term business success. Finally, the issue of climate change is only going to rise up the agenda for financial services companies and their employees alike so we fully expect UK banks to have more robust policies in place in the year ahead.”

Now in its second edition, the Bishopsgate Financial Change Perspective speaks to industry leaders at the forefront of change, including COOs, CIOs and Heads of Change and senior programme managers from over 30 prominent financial institutions in the UK. The research took place during the 2019 budgeting cycle, ensuring the critical priorities were identified for the year ahead.

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