The surprise key to employee retention

As retention strategies become more important in financial services, financial institutions need to be aware of an underreported factor influencing their movement – technology.

Ron Meyer is a senior business advisor for Linedata’s lending and leasing division. He said many people want to work in “pure technology jobs” for companies like Microsoft and Google and with emerging technologies like blockchain. The commonality in these situations is the technology employed is current, avoids redundancies and promotes collaboration. It allows people to do a better job faster.

And word gets around. The companies using the latest technology become desired employers while those a few iterations behind struggle to attract and retain top talent. Employees at the laggards know they are using inferior technology and if their feedback is not listened to they become demoralized. Lacking the feeling of being a part of moving the company forward, they seek other jobs.

Ron Meyer

“They don’t feel they’re working on a value added activity within the organization,” Mr. Meyer said.

Yet there are fewer of the jobs such people desire, he added. Many of the positions being created are service oriented and less technologically sophisticated. Companies see this and have adjusted their personnel approaches as a result, Mr. Meyer said. America’s biggest banks are seeing fewer applicants for more jobs, so they are looking at more ways to retain the employees they have.

Some are adding performance bonuses designed to reward employees based on how well they complete tasks related to main business objectives. Others are beefing up their benefits packages and offering vacation packages to long-term employees. Some banks offer bubble loans to employees that they may otherwise not receive and accept repayment via payroll deduction.

Many graduates also discover much of what they took in school may only have a peripheral relationship to what they end up doing on the job, Mr. Meyer said. An accounting degree is fine for the back office but people with finance degrees working in lending and leasing find what they learned in school doesn’t nicely apply to the job at hand.

“The majority of applicants in the financial services industry begin in end user roles,” Mr. Meyer explained. “They need the degree to get a foot in the door.”

It’s easier for companies to begin with a model of a successful employee and train new recruits to fit into that mold. Retention strategies are also based on that mold.

And a key factor in any retention strategy should be the use of cutting edge technology, Mr. Meyer reiterated.

“The main thing I am trying to convey is technology is a primary reason why people leave an organization and find new jobs. It is an underestimated component of employee satisfaction.”

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