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The Future World Of Work – Why Personal Development Is Critical To Future Business Success – Part 2

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Julie Pardy

Julie Pardy

With more than 30 years service in the Financial Services industry Julie has spent many years at the coal face undertaking a wide variety of roles in banking from Compliance to Sales, Operations to Training.

Leading on from my last blog, which I was asked to write as part of the IA’s research into the Future World Of Work, I will continue to examine the effects of the global pandemic on the priority firms are giving to the competence and capability of their people.

The results of the recently published CIPD People Profession survey conducted in 2020 provides some insights into these answers in favour of the outbreak of COVID-19 being the culprit!

Prior to the pandemic learning, training & development featured in the top 3 priorities for both business stakeholders and people (HR/L&D) professionals. But surveyed again during the pandemic, it was clear that this has dropped down the list for business stakeholders.

Unsurprisingly, the first priority was of course to establish remote workforces and continue to serve consumers as before, but in a more distanced manner. However, over a year into an extended period of working from home, maybe now is the time for that clear focus to return.

I also want to consider what your firm’s training and development (or lack of it) says about your firm. In a recent report from the PRA, they shared with the marketplace that they have been tracking what they describe as “Unobtrusive Culture Indicators” from a wide range of metrics that banks supplied them with over a six-year period from 2014 – 2020. From these, they were able to draw some high-level conclusions about what the metrics told them. Although this study focused on the banking sector, there is a clear read across to the investment management industry.

The PRA made the management and oversight of culture part of their set of Prescribed Responsibilities for banking, and whilst the FCA chose not to do that, they have a clear focus in the marketplace around “Regulatory Culture Drivers”. And when the FCA talk about the culture, they identify four pillars, one of which is People Policies.

Therefore, regardless of regulator, the way a firm interacts with them and/or presents itself to them, provides a window into your world. With the focus on Senior Manager Accountability, stopping bad apples rolling (to coin a phrase from the FCA) in respect of certified staff and an increasing interest in the competence and capability of all, how might a lack of structure, process and investment look like from a regulatory perspective?

On the job training and personal development doesn’t always need a huge investment, it’s not always about bringing in swathes of very expensive external experts. It is about giving people the time and space in management and oversight roles to support their direct line reports in improving their performance in role. As part of this, don’t underestimate the power of peer-to-peer learning and leadership led development.

If your senior leaders do not have a structured programme of input for their personal development, you might like to ask yourselves why not. If your support functions are taking on ever more complex requirements linked to changing regulatory need, ask yourself, did we plan support for them to explore this before we asked them to step in and provide the operational support to the business.

If you have large numbers of staff that do not have regular developmental discussions with their line managers, i.e. only having scant attention paid in a once-a-year cursory performance appraisal, I suspect that the cultural indicators your firm is giving out are not positive!

The FCA talk about “tone from the top”, now might be the time to ask yourselves what the tone of your focus on people policies says to the regulator? And whilst the pandemic has understandably created a pause in people development, it should not be allowed to be the reason for people development being relegated to being of secondary importance going forward. If it is allowed, the Future Of Work from a competence and capability perspective will not only affect your firm’s business performance, it may well also affect your firm’s compliance with regulatory expectations.

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