This report was authored by Senior Behavioural Scientist Jenny Robinson
Following the publication of our Future of Workplaces Report in October 2021, we have continued to meet with a range of our member firms to understand how working models continue to change in financial services organisations.
Working models continue to evolve, even without accounting for recent developments in the pandemic, and our discussions suggest that organisations are largely moving towards more flexible ways of working. In some cases this is part of pre-existing transformations to working arrangements that have been accelerated by the pandemic, but for others it has been a reaction to it, stimulating a process of longer-term change. Although some organisations have instituted large-scale projects, others are still taking an iterative approach. Some such projects have started from the perspective of individual employee choice, others from a ‘where does someone doing this kind of job need to work, from a business perspective?’. Irrespective of change projects or iterative approaches, across most organisations we spoke to the nuts and bolts of changes to contracts, policies and processes continue to lag behind more general changes in working practices and ‘test and learn’ is a common refrain.
Among the organisations we talked to, questions remain around how to support line managers with their increased responsibilities related to employee wellbeing and development, and how to do this effectively either through in-person or virtual interactions. This was considered a key driver of how often employees may need to come to offices in hybrid models. How to manage performance effectively in hybrid contexts remains a largely unaddressed challenge, but certainly one that is commonly recognised. Some organisations saw this as a line management challenge, but for others it was part of a larger picture of understanding what new data collection is required and how to balance organisational needs in a regulated environment with the need for individual employee autonomy and privacy. Further challenges also exist around how to ensure organisations capture and process data to monitor the effects of changed working patterns on a range of cultural issues.
In 2022 we plan to convene a series of discussions, bringing our member firms together to discuss current processes, challenges and best practice. Prospective themes include:
- HR Directors’ Forum: Where we are now – peer-to-peer learning in an evolving context.
- Data and measuring impacts. From organisational listening to big data: best practices for new ways of working.
- Organisational justice and inclusion – making fair decisions in flexible working models, and the impacts of individual choices on cultural outcomes.