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Adopt the ‘agile’ approach to increase candidate attraction and retention

With the Financial Services sector facing a multitude of alarming challenges in this technology-driven, increasingly competitive, and globally connected market, it’s no surprise that agile transformation has taken a back seat. FS institutions have to constantly prove compliance with government regulations, meet high customer expectations with low risk, consistently manage complex data and delivery platforms and sustain revenue growth despite increasing competition and thinning margins. The demands of such a dynamic market have altered the financial services landscape drastically but working practices haven’t changed to align with this. Historically, transforming the application and portfolio management to a modern approach has been unappealing and off limits for companies weighed down by legacy systems or a reliance on waterfall approaches. Agile transformation in business aids compliance, increases business agility, improves cost management and efficiency and enhances the customer experience.

Can flexible working really improve candidate attraction and retention? Flexibility and agility in the workplace certainly adds value to the business, provides competitive advantage, maximises efficiency, productivity and creativity whilst encouraging a healthy work-life balance. The undervalued benefit of flexible working is talent retention; the ability to attract and retain the best people within the business will undoubtedly improve company culture and employee satisfaction. In the interests of productivity and meeting client and candidate needs, it could be suggested that many work models within Financial Services need to be radically transformed. However, Intercity Technology reported that more financial services companies are now actively encouraging agile working practices, with the average employee spending 39 per cent of their time working remotely.

Embracing agile working practices can actually transform the culture of the firm. How? Put simply, by placing wellbeing at the heart of everything the firm does, contributing to increased engagement, lower turnover and less stress amongst employees; all equating to a more productive, happier and satisfied workforce.

Agility in the workplace can help rebalance demanding professional and personal lives; the practices don’t have to be large-scale formal programmes, they should just make lives a little easier. Deloitte, KPMG and Lloyd’s are all examples of global businesses at the forefront of agile working. Deloitte’s Time Out scheme enables employees to take four weeks’ unpaid leave to walk 800km on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage with the aim of switching off entirely! KPMG have saved £4.7 million by adopting a more agile working approach, reducing working hours in a way that enabled them to minimise the risk of future redundancies. Lloyd’s are a founding member of the Agile Future Forum, a group of leading employers supporting workforce agility in the UK. They are investing £1 billion over the next three years to develop their digital offering to ensure they have a strong technology infrastructure for agile working to be to be embedded into the business and for seamless services to be delivered to their customers.

This emphasises the importance of digital and technology in pioneering change towards agile working practices. Richard Burke, group managing director at Intercity Technology said: “The culture and working practices in financial services companies are changing and technology is the driving force behind it. Remote working is close to becoming the norm, underlining that in this industry work isn’t somewhere you go, it’s something you do. The businesses that adapt quicker to this fact are more likely to see engaged and productive staff, and ultimately greater business performance.”

Organisations that embrace different ways of working aren’t just attracting and retaining the best talent, they are optimising performance, competitive advantage and demonstrating a direct impact on their bottom line.

In a world of challenge and opportunity, how can we make agile working practices the norm?

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