Financial services has been named as a sector that has been slow to incorporate flexible work options for its employees, according to financial services HR managers a recent roundtable.
At the eFinancialCareers roundtable held in Sydney earlier this quarter, HR managers pointed to the notorious long hours and weekend work in their sector, and called for a greater take-up of flexibility programs.
According to the discussion, an engrained culture of “getting work done no matter what”, has made it difficult for HR teams to implement a consistent work-life balance culture, despite the widely acknowledged benefits of improved productivity, reduced absenteeism and increased job satisfaction.
George McFerran, head of Asia Pacific for eFinancialCareers, said work-life balance policies are an increasingly important part of the working landscape, and can be an important recruitment and retention tool.
“Smaller, non-bank finance firms may find they need to promote a good work-life balance in order to compete with the banks offering better salaries,” McFerran said.
But according to McFerran, meaningful change for work-life balance must be driven from the top, and “management really need to step up to the plate and lead if work-life balance programs are going to gain legitimacy”.
While many financial services HR delegates reported that their firms have been slow to incorporate strategic flexible work options, several HR directors said they had implemented work-life balance strategies, such as giving employees laptops to complete work at home, and allowed for extra time off in the summer to coincide withschool holidays.
Additionally, one HR manager in attendance said, “We are doing a lot of research first so we can present leadership with something solid, which points out how certain parts of a particular role can be made more flexible.”
There is evidence too that support of work-life balance programs is leaking out into the job market and is helping to motivate some candidates who otherwise may not have applied for new roles.
Another roundtable attendee commented that their organisation was becoming known for offering good work-life flexibility, and commented, “During interviews people are mentioning specific policies of ours they’ve heard about and this has attracted them to applying for a job with us.”