The Banking, Financial Services and T Insurance (BFSI) industry in Sri Lanka is still undergoing the effects of the last three years, dipping and resurging with the waves of the pandemic, shocks to the economy and changes in policy. Nevertheless, the industry appears to have been able to weather the storm, showing overall growth, resilience and adaptability. Naturally, this strength should be attributed to its workforce and leadership who have been able to move with the ebb and flow and maintain a level of stability.
As the nation’s reliance on a strong sector becomes more apparent, Great Place to Work® announces the inaugural list of Best Workplaces in the BFSI Industry in Sri Lanka for 2021. Having surveyed almost 21,000 employees across the sector, the list is compiled through a combination of positive employee perceptions and the policies and practices of the organization in relation to human resources. This article explores the various elements of employee opinion, with in-depth analysis to better understand what makes the Best stand out from the Rest.
Comparatively speaking, the industry performs below the national benchmark, with an average positive perception of 79% and an overriding perception of 84%, the latter being the positive response to the generalized statement “Taking everything into account, I would say this is a great place to work.” However, notable is the 19 and 16-point difference between the Best 10 workplaces and the rest of the organizations surveyed, highlighting the significant range in responses across the sector (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Trust and Overriding Perception
Delving further into the separate sectors of the industry, Figure 1 shows the average results across all surveyed organizations. The banking sector, in general, demonstrates a need for improvement and a culture shift, with the financial services sector coming up with the best performance.
Figure 2 displays employee perception in key focus areas. As per the national trend, pride is the most positive and Fairness the least. However, looking at the difference between the Best and the Rest, the largest gap is that of 22 percentage points in Credibility, closely followed by Fairness, highlighting the areas where the Best Workplaces are serving their employees better.
Figure 2: Key Dimensions
OVERALL HEALTH OF THE ORGANIZATION
In a sector that precariously straddles the traditional and the contemporary, two key areas draw our attention – the need for competent management and the opportunity to innovate. With customers looking for stability, especially in rough times, and global trends toward digitization and high-risk ventures, these two factors play an important role in ensuring the success of organizations in this sector.
As Figure 3 shows, employees in the Best Workplaces have notably higher confidence in their management, with 54% having the highest confidence, compared to only 30% in the Rest. Additionally, twice as many employees in the rest of the organizations have only “some, little or no” confidence in their management as that of the Best.
In the fast-paced world of cryptocurrencies and NFTs, where change happens overnight, the BFSI sector has to carefully balance risk with security, especially with the rapid move to digitization and the resulting increase in exposure to vulnerabilities. Thus, employees should be encouraged to be innovative and find rapid solutions.
Figure 4 – the comparison in this area – shows a similar trend in all organizations surveyed, with the middling responses evening out the difference. This suggests that on average, organizations in the BFSI Industry appear to be on the same level across the board when it comes to allowing for opportunities to contribute to continuous improvement – and therein long-term innovation.
Further exploring some additional Health Indicators for an organization’s success in Figure 5, an average 18 point difference is noted between the Best and the Rest, with the smallest gap of 10 points in the area of organizational pride. However, the significant gap of 23 to 24 points in the areas of Leadership, Agility and Innovation are worth noting as those which put the Best Workplaces ahead of others in the industry.
WHERE THE BEST LEAD
To corroborate the better performing areas from above, In Figure 6, we note the considerable margin of 27 to 30 percentage points between the Best and the Rest in areas mostly related to Leadership, in the areas of fairness, communication and competence.
Analysis of key drivers – the factors which most influence employees in considering theirs a great workplace – also link back to the Leadership and Fairness, along with Camaraderie and Career Growth, emphasizing these as areas to ensure employee satisfaction.
GENDER BALANCE IN THE INDUSTRY
The BFSI Industry has long been one where equal opportunities can easily be afforded irrespective of gender, as restrictive social norms do not usually come into industry play due to the nature of the work and environment. To be specific, it is accepted as a respectable career and industry and there are no limitations due to the physicality or the work or the safety of the workplace. In fact, the organizations surveyed have an average of 38% female workforce, higher than the national average of 34%. As such, we took a closer look at the difference in employee perception among women and men in the Best 10 organizations (Figure 8).
There were only 3 statements where female employees were more positive than their male counterparts, by a difference of 1 to 3 percentage points. These were in the areas of celebrations, safety, and facilities. Notably, with a further 4 statements on par across genders, women were less positive on the majority of statements with those of note (8–10% difference) in the areas of Fairness, Career Development and Opportunity for Recognition. These are areas that have been recognized globally as areas for improvement in working towards gender equality.
With the repeated emphasis on Fairness and Good Leadership, it becomes clear what the workforce of the BFSI industry requires and what makes the Best Workplaces stand out from the crowd. As the global economy evolves and pivots, our organizations in Sri Lanka must be prepared not only to react effectively but also to lead in areas of innovation and inclusion, with huge opportunities in the areas of inclusive finance and climate finance innovation. Naturally, success in these endeavours will depend on a ready and willing workforce – well worth the investment!
To better understand your organization’s standing amongst your employees in general, and to be in the running for the Best Workplaces® Lists of 2022, contact Hasini Abeywardena on +94 770071055 and Hasini. Abeywardena@gptw.com OR Great Place to Work© at +94 11 454 5594 or register at www. greatplacetowork.lk