The Universum Top 100 Ideal Employer Rankings survey is out and it is compiled from 75,000 undergraduate and MBA job- seeking respondents. To be as relevant as possible, six of the Top 100 lists are broken down by the following fields of study: business, engineering, IT, natural sciences, humanities, and MBA. Everyone likes to be ranked now and again, so we checked to see if any of our community bank friends made the cut. Unfortunately, not was on the list. Even worse, the next thing we looked for was whether any large banks were named -- they were. We then thumbed through the 34-page magazine to try and get a better sense of what characteristics some of these companies have to place them on top of the list.
For starters, employees want a sense of ownership and the ability to affect change. They want to feel important and to know that they have a voice and it will be heard. This recognition needs to come from the top down. Many good companies have open-door policies where the rank-and-file employees have easy access to top management. When you don't do this, you end up with a management team that appears Wizard of Oz-like where no one is allowed to look behind the curtain.
Another top ranking characteristic is the tendency of management to push a little. For example, if you have an employee who has shown some aptitude for dealing with difficult customers, let them know you've noticed and offer them a bigger customer-facing role. Employees like challenges, especially when they feel they're being presented with one by management. It is also important that management offer support and makes sure that the push isn't a shove. There's a major difference between encouraging employees to achieve greater heights and throwing them off a cliff without a net.
Career support is also crucial. Every employee is like a seed that needs to be watered and tended in order to grow. This means it's important for career development purposes to offer access to continuing education and mentoring programs. Having a strong mentoring relationship gives employees an outlet to express their fears and frustrations and nip problems in the bud. Employees also need to be kept informed of growth potential within the bank. There should be no dead-end jobs, so weed them out before they sprout.
Teamwork is another hallmark characteristic of a top-ranking company and the saying 'no man is an island' is apropos here. Frequent team meetings, team-building exercises and outings outside of work are great ways to get the creative juices flowing and foster collaboration.
The survey shows the key to good execution is implementation. If everyone were doing all of these things on a consistent basis, there'd be no need to highlight the companies that stand out from the pack. Incorporate best practices into your bank, learn from others, test what works in your environment and roll out practices that have an impact to stay ahead of the competition.
In banking, there is a lot of competition to win customers, but the problem is customers aren't receptive unless you first get to know them. That happens best when your staff is engaged, so create a positive environment and you are well on your way to winning the top spot on the platform.