Thursday, 6 June 2013

Great culture? Don't bank on it

The CIPD just issued a press release with the news that there is still 'much to be done' in the battle to rebuild trust in the financial sector in the UK.

In other news, water is still wet and penguins have cold feet.

However, the press release is of interest because for the first time I've seen financial industry workers' position quoted. 

"Fewer than one in three financial sector workers outside of senior management say they’re proud to work in the sector, almost two thirds of all workers in the sector believe some people in their organisation are rewarded in a way that incentivises inappropriate behaviour, and three in four financial services workers (eight out of ten workers in the banking sector) say they think some people in their organisations are paid excessively."

While those outside the City have taken a dim view of banker's bonuses and the perceived 'reward for failure' culture in banking for some time now, it's interesting to read the above figures. They are a huge 'tell' when we consider the levels of engagement and connection employees feel in this sector. Those outside senior management level are clearly as frustrated by their culture as those of us outside the industry are.

Can we hope for a sea change in the finacial sector when these people rise through the ranks? Will the retirement of the old guard and the promotion of the bright young things that frown on reward for bad behaviour mean an end to bonuses for those who gambled the biggest? Will they change the culture?

Will we see less fat cat and more lean, mean, purring machine?

Starting from rock-bottom could be the financial sector's greatest opportunity to reinvent itself and become an industry people would be proud to be a part of.

If the industry seizes the opportunity to really change its ways and not just pay lip service to whatever new regulations it may find itself subject to, it could become a beacon, a great thing to be a part of. God knows there is talent within; but it seems it has to become corrupted to be developed.

As it stands at a crossroads, the financial sector has to ask itself if it wants more of the same, and risk remaining the villain forever more, or if it would like to be something that inspires pride, loyalty and a spirit of connection with its staff and customers.

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