One sentiment we hear from our partners and colleagues in the financial industry is,“We can’t wait to get our team back together again.”This is a consistentviewfor many CEOs and Presidents, as the migration to remote-work caused by the pandemic has presented unexpected andsignificant challenges to corporate culture.  The reality is, those institutions who prepare for ongoing remote work through employee behavioral assessments and mental health awareness, will have a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Understanding your employees through behavioral assessments

To better understand how an employee might respond to the transition from a stableoffice environment to home, financial institutionsneed the ability to anticipate employee reactions and demeanor. Thisrequiresinvesting in behavioral assessments to understand how an organization’s daily decisions impact company culture. While there are many platforms available – including The Caliper Profile, DiSC, and Meyers-BriggsCulture Indexisour top choice for its accuracy and ability to match personality traits to positions for current and prospective employees.

Culture Indexcan help an institution understand who might thrive in a remote workforce culture.This fit is critical when transitioning financial positions to a remote setting or adding new team members.  A typical Culture Index profile includes two valuable pieces of data for an individual employee:

  1. Personality traits, which provide managers the ability to motivate, teach and foster development in that specific person; and
  2. Job behavior profile, which can be used to assist in the selection, promotion, and reorganization of an employee or prospect.

Culture Indexthen translates these two pieces ofdata into actionable analysis, allowingfinancial institutions to anticipate with effects of corporate decisions on employees.

For example, employees with “low autonomy” and “low sociability” traits may be challenged in a work-from-home model. Additionally, these individuals may have a more difficult time sharing these concerns with supervisors.  Conversely, someone with “high patience” and “high detail” traits combined would likely thrive in a remote setting, given the appropriate amount of management.

Culture Indexis a valuable tool in optimizing a remote workforce but can also be used in strategic relationships. Extending the system to an institution’s vendors and clients providesinformation on how to work more effectively together. Through the implementation of a behavioral assessment platform in your own institution, you will come to the appreciate in the adage “get the right person in the right seat.” This will not only make anemployee’s worklife more enjoyable and productive but will provide the management team confidence their team can get the job done regardless of physical work location.

Mental health as part of corporate culture & communications

In early 2020, team leaders had to quickly adapt and learn to support their teams as they navigated the shift to aremotemodel. Understandably, leaders at financial institutions are hesitant to have employees work remotely due to heightened security risks, reduced oversight, and diminished management capability. While technology remains a vital part of deploying a successful remote workforce, many financial institutions are still not prepared for the impact this change will have on themental health and productivity of their team members.

Financial institutions should be cognizant that some employees will be impacted by isolation and prioritize regular communication throughout the workforce. This means frequent check-ins through team management platforms, social media, and phone calls.  Managers may also want to consider flexible scheduling to encourage a fluid work-life balance.

Mental well-being is increasingly recognized as a key component to employee productivity. However, a recent poll conducted by the American Psychiatric Association has shown that only 50% of employees are comfortable discussing mental health issues. These findings underscore the importance of persistent communication as THE critical organizational factor in determining the success of your remote workforce.

Whether or not the pandemic was the first time you have experienced a work-from-homemodel, your financial institution will need to continue to invest in employee success by keeping them connected and by communicating regularly.

While communication is the single most important organizational factor for a productive work-from-home team, measuring mental health through engagement will have to be an ongoing exercise no matter where the employee is working from.

Overall, we know our partners in the financial space benefit from a better understanding of their employees’ personalities and mental health. Keeping a healthy corporate culture during a pandemic is challenging. Those institutions who prioritize this work will have a healthier, more productive and ultimately more secure environment.

About the Author: Jeremy Baumruk, Director of Professional Services at Xamin