If you surveyed schools around the country, you'd be hard-pressed to find those that still use the letter E as a grade. Many dropped the letter years ago out of concern parents might associate E with excellence, instead of the subpar performance it was intended to denote. Hence, many schools have chosen to go with a more obvious choice of F for failure. Still other schools, like many associated with the Montessori movement, don't assign grades at all under the theory that grades have little long-term bearing on a child's success.
In Corporate America, companies don't get letter grades either, but their success or failure has a lot to do with how they treat employees and the type of work environment they foster. Employees who aren't happy at work tend not to stick around for long, and they often drag down others around them. Ultimately there can be a trickle-down effect to customers that impacts the productivity of the entire organization.
Nowadays, more and more people want to work for family-friendly companies and those that offer greater degrees of flexibility. Yet, results from the 2104 National Study of Employers highlight some setbacks that have occurred on the flexibility front since 2008, when the previous study was conducted. Though the study isn't specific to banks, the findings should be a call to action for those that are behind in their efforts to promote flexibility and diversity in the workplace.
For instance, it seems many companies aren't doing a bang up job of rewarding managers who make workplace flexibility a priority. The study found that fewer employers are considering how well supervisors and managers manage flexible work arrangements when it comes to appraising job performance and compensation (48% in 2014 vs. 62% in 2008). Only 11% of companies in 2014 said management rewards those within the organization who support effective flexible work arrangements, compared with 20% in 2008.
Meanwhile, employers polled were found to be providing less formal and informal support for diversity and inclusion. For instance, fewer companies are training supervisors in managing employees of different ages (52% of those polled in 2014 vs. 59% in 2008), so there is room to improve here as well.
As for banks, consider doing this type of training to reduce friction in the workplace. There's data to suggest that the generation gap affects office harmony and as more Baby Boomers retire and Millennials rise up through the ranks, understanding the age-based differences in employee behavior will be even more critical.
Another area for banks to prioritize is leadership training for women. The National Study of Employers found that most companies polled don't offer career counseling programs or management/leadership programs for women and fewer are doing it now than were in 2008 (12% in 2014 vs. 16% in 2008). If your bank is on this trajectory, it's a good time to revisit stepping up efforts to offer more leadership training options perhaps.
Many banks do a good job when it comes to promoting flexibility and diversity, but not everyone deserves an A+ for their efforts. Those that have fallen behind the curve should take the opportunity to improve their standing with employees before it's too late. At the very least, you'll get an E for effort.