How and why financial firms should invest in tech employee development

How and why financial firms should invest in tech employee development

Posted October 2, 2023

Just like a software update, tech workers in financial services need to run an upgrade on their expertise to keep up in a rapidly changing industry. But they can’t do it alone. Financial services companies play a key role in supporting their tech teams’ professional development – think on-the-job training (OJT), mentorship programs, sponsorship opportunities and employee resource groups (ERGs). A supported workforce can also drive innovation and productivity, helping financial services companies get ahead of the competition – it’s a win for all. So, how can you get started? Let’s dive into it.

Why skilled tech workers want upskilling opportunities

Upskilling initiatives provide tech workers with invaluable opportunities for personal and professional growth. By acquiring new skills and knowledge, they expand their career horizons and enhance their market value. This not only boosts confidence but also opens doors to exciting and challenging roles within the company — benefiting everyone involved.

For financial firms specifically, investing in upskilling initiatives offers a wealth of advantages, including:

Enhancing talent acquisition efforts: Top-tier tech professionals actively seek out companies that prioritise employee development and provide avenues for growth. By offering upskilling programs, your financial firm can attract and retain top talent who possess a strong desire to learn and progress.

Boosting morale: When team members feel supported and empowered through learning and development opportunities, they become more engaged and motivated in their roles. This positive work environment fosters innovation, collaboration, and productivity, pushing your company forward.

Building a positive reputation: By promoting a culture of continuous learning and professional development, your company can be perceived as progressive and forward-thinking. This reputation not only attracts top tech talent — 78% of financial services professionals cite that a positive company culture matters to them when looking for a job, according to Talent research — but also potential clients and partners who value innovation and expertise.

Employee development strategies for financial services

There is a plethora of employee development strategies out there, but these opportunities ultimately hinge on the specific goals of your people. Depending on where they are in their career, tech professionals may benefit from one or more of the following strategies:

On-the-job training

With on-the-job training (OJT), your people can gain hands-on experience and practical skills, ultimately improving confidence and job performance. OJT allows mentees to understand specific processes, systems, and tools, while your company can benefit from streamlined processes and enhanced productivity.

To implement effective OJT, your financial services company should develop structured training plans, allow shadowing and observation, facilitate hands-on assignments, and provide structured evaluation. The way that the OJT is set up should be dependent on the nature of the junior’s role. A junior investment analyst, for instance, may benefit from shadowing senior analysts, learning how to conduct market research, analysing investment opportunities, building financial models, and presenting findings to clients. Similarly, if your financial firm is taking on a junior cybersecurity professional, you may provide them with opportunities to observe and analyse real-world cyber threats, gain hands-on experience in implementing security measures, and receive access to relevant cybersecurity tools and technologies.

Mentorship programs

According to research by Talent, over 8 out of 10 surveyed tech employees desire the opportunity for meaningful work. A part of what develops meaningful, exciting work is the ability to learn and work alongside those who are more advanced in their careers: Mentorship programs pair experienced professionals with less-experienced employees to provide guidance, support, and career advice, offering numerous benefits for both mentors and mentees.

Businesses that invest in mentorship programs ultimately outperform those that don’t; mentoring serves as a means of improving productivity and profitability, as well as the retention rates of a company’s people. Given the growing demand and importance of tech skills – like cybersecurity, machine learning, and artificial intelligence in financial services – mentoring junior team members in these areas can foster innovation and boost company performance.

Sponsored educational advancement

If you want to keep A+ talent on your books, education is key. Sponsored educational advancement programs involve providing financial support and resources for your tech workers to pursue further education or professional certifications, demonstrating commitment to investing in their long-term growth and development.

Your financial services company can offer various forms of sponsored educational advancement, such as:

  • Certification programs: Employers cover costs for certifications – including preparation materials, exam fees, and training programs – enhancing skills and expertise. Relevant financial certifications may include designations such as Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Financial Risk Manager (FRM) or Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), among others.
  • Work-study programs: As facilitated by the employer, team members pursue education while working part-time, with flexible hours and adjusted workloads to balance work and studies.
  • Internal training initiatives: Companies provide customised training courses or partner with educational institutions, ensuring employees have up-to-date skills and knowledge.

Through these opportunities and investing in your people’s growth, you can not only attract top talent but also keep the best on board, helping take your company to new heights.

Employee resource groups

Leverage the power of your people. Employee resource groups (ERGs) are employee-led groups that bring together people with shared interests. Through ERGs, employees can expand their professional networks, gain exposure to different perspectives, and access development resources tailored to their needs. ERGs also promote a sense of belonging and engagement, which can lead to higher job satisfaction and retention rates. As Richard Branson once said, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to”.

Your financial services company can encourage and support ERGs by providing resources, funding, and leadership support. By leveraging the power of ERGs, you can enhance employee development, foster a culture of diversity and inclusion, and ultimately drive innovation and success in the industry.

Understanding what top talent want in their employment

Financial services companies may be at risk of losing out on top tech talent to other industries or companies that offer more attractive opportunities. If you want to attract and retain the best, you need to understand what your people want. Hint: facilitating career development opportunities is high on their list.

To help you get ahead of the competition, we can do the heavy lifting in locating tech experts who are the perfect match for your company. Reach out today.