Financial institutions spend billions on technology, and for good reason: Through updating new systems and automating processes, banks provide their customers with an efficient, friendly user experience. But even as technology evolves, employees remain crucial to a customer’s overall bank experience—whether in a branch as tellers and loan officers or on the back end as customer support representatives.
Yet even as artificial intelligence and machine learning continue to evolve, the human touch will never fully disappear from banking. Customers will continue to interact with a person, especially when they want to discuss sensitive financial information. For this reason, banks with foresight will invest in technology for their employees, just as they do for their customers.
In today’s competitive environment banks must strengthen all systems, including the experiences they provide for their employees. Because employees are integral to an institution’s continued success and growth, it’s paramount to invest in resources that help them stay engaged and motivated. Leading banks take a proactive approach and establish systems that ensure peak performance. When institutions apply that philosophy with their own employees, they lay foundations for a healthy, happy and productive workforce.
Make it personal for your personnel
A personalized, comprehensive benefits plan—available to an employee’s family at any time, from anywhere—plays a major role in engagement. Though most banks offer typical benefits such as medical, 401(k) plans and wellness programs, that’s simply not enough to attract and retain the best people in the midst of a hot job market.
Banks should also evaluate how their employees learn about, enroll in and utilize their benefits and services to develop an easy-to-use experience. For example, financial institutions may discover that employees overlook certain benefits because employees don’t know about them. Or, busy employees may not use benefits they already have because they simply lack time to search through multiple portals or remember various logins to multiple benefits providers.
To overcome these hurdles, banks should provide more mobile-first solutions for their employees, just as they do for their customers. Employees expect the same flexibility with communication modality and personalization when it comes to their benefits and HR services. By combining benefits and services through a personalized app—and thus provide a convenient, easy experience—employees can become more productive and engaged, which can lead to greatly increased work satisfaction. In that sense, developing a strategy to improve employees’ benefits experience can foster a healthy and productive work environment. Millennial employees in particular crave employer resources and programs that can help them manage their lives physically, emotionally or financially—an effort that goes far beyond putting bean bag chairs, ping pong tables and free snacks in the break room.
From stress to success
Consider this: Employees say personal finances constitute their number one source of stress, according to MetLife’s Annual US Employee Benefit Trends Study. Banks that work with employees to understand their finances and achieve their personal financial goals can reap the rewards of a workforce more invested in the company and the work than at a competing firm. A seamless, engaging benefits experience also serves to retain employees: According to the AICPA, 80 percent of workers will keep a job with benefits rather than take one that offers more pay and no benefits. Investing in benefits enables banks to develop loyal and hardworking employees.
This also extends into the mobile realm. Providing a company-branded app helps employers develop multichannel communication strategies to assist employees and their families in their daily lives. This creates the opportunity to promote holistic wellbeing programs, which encourage employees to engage in and discuss benefits with colleagues—creating the added upside of driving additional participation. Employees can live productive lives and save on healthcare costs as they start to take positive steps toward more robust health.
Summing up: The number one return
In this competitive landscape, financial institutions must invest in a healthy staff that will power the company’s performance top to bottom. As the digital age progresses, many banks are already taking measures to provide an integrated user experience for their customers.
But they shouldn’t stop there. A similar commitment to workers that enhances their overall experience allows financial services organizations to build an employee-first culture. It also maximizes a bank’s return on its number one investment: employees. They serve as the public face of the brand. And what they do, or fail to do, will make or break a customer’s experience.
Put another way, As employee health goes, so goes the health of the employer.
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Dinesh Sheth is founder and CEO of Green Circle Life, an employee health and benefits platform.