Retaining talented employees has never been harder
especially in the retail banking sector. Peru Principal Consultant, Ashley Pick
and Head of PSD Banking and Financial Services, Gail Danvers, look at how
retail banks can address the skills gaps they face and become the employer of
People are integral to the performance of every
business, and so in an age when there are many new or different suitors,
securing and retaining talent is always difficult. For the 'traditional'
Retail Banks, with shiny new challengers arriving all the time, making
themselves a desirable place to work to attract the best people is becoming a
According to Peru Consulting's
latest research - Turn
to face the Change conducted with 100 senior retail banking IT
leaders, almost a quarter felt a lack of access to the best skills was the
biggest challenge their industry faced.
So, faced with the task of
securing and retaining the best in the business ahead of the competition,
retail banks need to either up their own recruiting game, or look to fill
these gaps through acquisition, partnering or outsourcing.
Competition for talent
In recent years recruiting and retaining
talent has become even more of a challenge with the growth of new market
entrants, new technologies and the changing needs of potential employees.
Some 41% of IT Directors believe talent will be attracted to the GAFAs
(Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple), with 37% accepting the current crop of
Fintechs will also be a major contributor to the potential skills
But it's more than just the prospect of permanent
dress-down days, 'imagineering' rooms and an unlimited supply of
choccamoccachinos with an extra shot. The legacy of the financial crisis,
and more recent libor and other trading scandals, has led to a loss of trust
in the traditional banks - not just by consumers, but by employees as well.
Combine that with the genuine shift in the working culture demanded by newer
generations of talent, more closely aligned with the types of cultures
offered by Fintechs and GAFAs, and the skills challenge for retail banks
becomes starkly obvious.
“But it's more than
just the prospect of permanent dress-down days, 'imagineering' rooms and an
unlimited supply of choccamoccachinos with an extra
Time to get equal?
agendas have also changed. While the traditional banking world has certainly
come a long way of the stereotyped men in bowler hats look of the 20s and 30s
black and white films, there are new and very emotional agendas in today's
work environment. Sustainability, CSR, and gender diversity are often high
on the list of values influencing a potential employee's decision. Taking
the latter, and with FTSE 350 boards being targeted to change the proportion of their Boards by
2020 to 33% female, retail banks face a major overhaul in their
historically male-dominated cultures, not only to achieve this target but to
attract talent from a wider talent pool generally.
“Sustainability, CSR, and gender diversity are often
high on the list of values influencing a potential employee's
And then along comes Brexit. The UK's exit from
the EU creates a further significant employment challenge to retail banks on
many levels. Location complexities and globalisation has already intensified
the talent challenge. Now Brexit has the retail banks struggling to
understand how they might comply with future regulatory requirements, whilst
at the same time balancing their global operating models to optimise
Help may be at hand
meet the talent challenges of the next five years and beyond, retail banks
have three main options:
- Resolve the talent
challenge within their own organisations.
- Use capability from the
- Acquire businesses which will not only add to their
product portfolio, but inject new skills.
In all three
options, the key will be to create sustainable relationships with the right
people (and organisations), who can help navigate the complexities and
competitiveness of the talent market.
When meeting their own
organisational challenges, Retail Banks should look to create long-term
relationships with highly specialised recruitment partners, who have a good
understanding of their organisation and the issues they face in sourcing the
“Cross-sector market knowledge and
extensive network means agencies such as PSD Group can create a pipeline of
potential candidates with specific skills such as Big Data and
Given the highly competitive market,
these partners will help deliver the right messages to candidates, while
their cross-sector market knowledge and extensive network means agencies such as PSD Group can create a
pipeline of potential candidates with specific skills such as Big Data and
Outsourcing & Acquisition: Opportunities &
Costs savings, a focus on core operations and transformation
of historic estates are some of the main trends driving the current trend for
outsourcing, but these relationships are also often exploited to fill gaps in
capability and skills.
However, along with the obvious benefits,
outsourced relationships also bring pitfalls. According to Peru's research, 40%
of retail banking IT leaders felt performance of outsourced partners - in
particular offshore - was the single largest issue, followed by lack of
innovation (32%) and flexibility (31%).
“Appropriate due diligence should be undertaken at the
start of a complex outsource or acquisition, with the right level of focus then
applied during the sourcing, implementation and ongoing management of these
critical relationships, including regular contract and relationship
In Peru's experience, a strategic sourcing review can often
reveal symptoms early, allowing retail banks and other organisations to
weigh-up the balance of outsourcing issues against an increase in relevant
skills. Appropriate due diligence should be undertaken at the start of a
complex outsource or acquisition, with the right level of focus then applied
during the sourcing, implementation and ongoing management of these critical
relationships, including regular contract and relationship
As with any organisation,
there will be a regular turnover of staff for all the usual reasons. That, in
turn, means a well-developed recruitment and retention process is needed
based on some fundamental principles:
Learn from the competition: The talent you
want the most will also be looking at opportunities from your main or emerging
competitors. Don't rest on your laurels: proactively assess what competitors
are offering and how they are seeking to beat you in the transfer market.
Play to your strengths: You'll probably
already have many great things in place which you can use to help facilitate
the creation and management of a great team. Identify these clearly and
learn how to articulate them to potential employees. These can include
rewards and incentives, training, working environment, collaborative or
remote working structures, etc. Ask your recruitment agencies how your
benefit packages or overall company proposition compare in the wider market.
Identify allies: Whether from an agency
perspective, a potential acquisition target, or through technology suppliers,
ensure you have a thorough approach to securing the best partners to support
you in securing the optimum talent for your business.
Your Relationships Work: Where outsourced relationships are in
place and are underperforming, look to rebuild the relationship through either
a health check or a comprehensive review to ensure their own teams are
fulfilling the potential you originally identified.
And finally -
accept who you are!
The development and implementation of a holistic
approach to managing and retaining great people is hugely important for any
business, but retail banks in particular.
focusing on your own talent, accept that one size doesn't fit
When focusing on your own talent, accept
that one size doesn't fit all. Even with the greatest qualifications and
talents, not everyone will be the right fit for the organisation, and vice
versa. Embrace who you are and the values you espouse as an organisation.
In the longer term this will deliver the right people to the business and
keep them there.