Exciting. Interesting. Fun.

Not exactly words we generally use to describe working in financial services, are they?

Let’s face it: banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions have a reputation for being stuffy, boring places to work. When competition for top talent is fiercer than ever and 53% of employees want to work somewhere interesting, that perception is definitely a cause for concern.

It reminds me a little of my own experience in another famously dry industry: the legal field. Whenever people asked me how I liked working as a legal writer, I would joke that it was “about as much fun as you would expect.” I know, it’s not stand-up material, but I always got a laugh.

Unfortunately, you could make the same joke for financial services. To people on the outside, it just doesn’t look very exciting or interesting. Maybe that’s why finance is tanking in popularity as a career choice or why current finance employees are looking to move to other industries like tech.

Understanding the consequences this talent shortage and drain has on business results and profit, let’s dive into a few things financial institutions can do to remedy the issue.

You Should Still Leverage Your Culture to Attract Talent

Sure, the financial industry will never be the most “hip” or exciting industry around – but that’s okay. Plenty of people are drawn to the analytical, formal nature of the industry, and financial institutions can’t pretend they’re something they’re not.

There’s still plenty of room for positive employment branding amid the industry’s stuffy reputation. The same white paper we linked earlier listed a strong company mission as the #2 reason employees love their job – a theme that we hear from candidates all the time.

Let’s not forget that financial institutions perform absolutely vital work in improving the financial situations of individuals and businesses. That’s a mission people can get behind. Furthermore, many financial institutions are involved in wonderful community outreach endeavors and volunteer projects. Emphasizing the ways in which your organization is a positive force for good is an excellent way to attract top talent.

Focus on Retention and Support Work-Life Balance

When unemployment is at record lows, attracting top talent is extremely competitive. That’s why you should double down on retaining the quality talent you already have.

Of course, we could spend 100 blog posts talking about how to retain employees, but I’ll stick to one succinct point here: give your employees the work-life balance they desire. Employees have rated flexible work arrangements as a top benefit, and work-life balance continues to top surveys when it comes to employee priorities.

With a culture that’s positive and supportive of employees, you’ll better retain talent and have an easier time drawing in great new employees.

Utilize Science and Technology to Make Smarter Hiring Decisions

Employee retention and company culture are directly affected by your hiring decisions. In this manner, finding and placing the right people in the right roles is critical to a company’s success. In order to make the right hiring decisions, you have to go past resumes and traditional interviews.

While using modern sourcing techniques or even “outside of the box” tools like recruitment research may help you to find those hard to reach candidates, you still have to worry about selecting the right individuals. Furthermore, you need to be able to predict the success of those candidates with greater accuracy if you want to secure the best talent available.

A study from the Fox School of Business based on 100 years of research showed that traditional interviews are only effective 34% of the time for predicting on the job performance. Other typical performance indicators, such as reference checks, education, GPA, and integrity tests fair even worse!

In comparison, behavioral assessments paired with a structured interview rated as 58% valid for predicting performance. By using a scientifically-proven behavioral assessment, you make decisions with data on-hand as opposed to vague guessing games like your “gut feeling” from an interview.

We’re personally fans of The Predictive Index. Backed by 500 validation studies, PI offers a tried-and-tested method for ensuring a candidate has the behavioral and cognitive abilities required for a role.

It’s Hip to Be Square

Okay, so maybe the financial industry will never be as cool as tech. But like we said earlier, it doesn’t have to be. If you’ve got a great culture, treat your employees well, and have the right people in the right roles, you’ll be a magnet for awesome talent.

Give us a call today to learn more about how financial institutions can gain an edge in the talent and “culture” war, or check out our performance solutions page to see how it works.