How the Banking and Finance Industry can Overcome Brexit Communication Challenges
The United Kingdom, specifically London, has built a position as Europe’s primary financial hub, bridging the gap between the European Union and Asia, the United States and other regions. After Brexit comes into effect in March 2019, this once unassailable position will no longer be certain if it becomes more difficult for banks and other […]
The United Kingdom, specifically London, has built a position as Europe’s primary financial hub, bridging the gap between the European Union and Asia, the United States and other regions. After Brexit comes into effect in March 2019, this once unassailable position will no longer be certain if it becomes more difficult for banks and other financial enterprises to provide services to EU clients due to a loss of ‘passporting’ rights – if no contingency plans are made.
Many financial institutions are not waiting to see how Brexit plays out and are seriously considering – or already planning – to move at least part of their operations to remaining EU countries in order to be prepared for any fallout from Brexit. Hiring rates in London’s financial sector have already halved, according to LinkedIn – reportedly due to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and how it will impact the industry. Research from EY shows almost a third of banks and asset managers in the City of London confirmed that they are looking at moving staff to locations such as Dublin, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.
As a result, teams will be scattered across numerous time-zones and locations, with more employees likely to be working from remote locations, including their homes. Connecting a relocated and dispersed workforce is no easy task, and if the process is not well managed, it can cause serious disruption to day-to-day activities. Banking and financial services organisations need to have the right tools in place to ensure far-flung teams can communicate effectively and implement a standardised and coordinated way of working so that employees do not have to flit between numerous applications to complete tasks, collaborate on projects, monitor progress, manage resourcing and track deadlines. Fortunately, disruption can be minimised by utilising tools that nurture joined working environments despite geographical barriers and offer structure that keeps employees at different locations on the same page – in real time.
The challenges of collaborating across borders
Remote working is not new phenomenon – it’s widespread and a hugely popular way of working –
But many businesses are still trying to overcome the barriers it presents to communication and collaboration. Clarizen’s own research has shown that some of the most prevalent issues workers struggle with when working remotely include:
- Struggling to communicate with colleagues;
- Difficulty to remain efficient;
- Limited access to up-to-date documents;
- Finding it difficult to prioritise.
The banking and finance industry needs to ensure that these issues are resolved before Brexit takes place. Otherwise, the serious and negative impact they have on effective collaboration, productivity and business profitability. Having to relocate operations is just one area of business that organisations need to navigate as the UK continues its withdrawal from the EU.
Internal company restructuring, product and services analysis and engagement planning are also elements businesses have to plan and execute, which is why it’s so important that teams have tools that facilitate a coordinated work environment during this tumultuous period.
Equipping employees with the tools to succeed
During Brexit and beyond, banking and financial organisations need to ensure employees are equipped with tools that help promote coordination between dispersed teams, while maximizing efficiency. Recent research from Clarizen found that almost three quarters of respondents said that what they specifically need to boost communication and collaboration among employees is technology, structure and support that enables them to overcome geographical barriers and the gap between time zones to increase productivity, ensure management oversight and foster flexibility.
What can help achieve this is a cloud-based platform that enables real-time collaboration across locations and empowers teams to coordinate workflow, track progress, align goals, allocate budget and meet deadlines from any device and location.
Overcoming communication overload
Ahead of Brexit, businesses need to ensure that they pick the right tool to maximize productive interactions between employees. Some businesses have previously used social media apps to facilitate easy and frequent employee discussion – such as WhatsApp and Facebook – in the belief they would streamline communications between workers and reduce long email chains that cause frustration and confusion. Unfortunately, such applications have often only served to encourage non-work chat and oversharing of irrelevant information that doesn’t bring employees any closer to meeting business objectives.
In a bid to become more focused in their approach, businesses have been turning to business-focussed communication apps. A recent global survey showed that, in the past year, companies deployed one or more of the following apps to improve productivity: Skype (39%), Microsoft Teams (14%), Google Hangouts (8%) and Slack (7%). Yet, even then, efforts to boost productivity proved fruitless as they merely became a place for office banter and overloaded people with numerous notifications and interruptions, which negatively impacts productivity.
It’s a modern workplace malady that has been dubbed ‘communication overload’, which is symptomized by workers struggling under the weight of clusters of unfocused messages, meeting requests and unnecessary interruptions. Clarizen’s research indicates that, in the end, apps that fail to directly link communication to business activities, aims and status updates actually hamper collaboration, effectiveness and efficiency. The survey showed that 81% of respondents said that, despite taking steps to improve communication among employees, they still lack a way to keep projects on track and provide management oversight – and only 16% of the companies surveyed said productivity levels were ‘excellent’ – while a nearly quarter said they were ‘just OK’ or ‘we need help’.
Looking ahead to a post-Brexit world
Brexit presents the banking and finance industry with a number of challenges that could put successful collaboration – and ultimately revenues and profits – at risk. However, by employing tools and methods that encourage an environment that nurtures a truly collaborative environment – where communication is in a business context and reporting in real time – the sector can enhance productivity and business agility, taking some of the sting out of any staff redeployments necessitated by Brexit. Even though it’s not clear what shape Brexit will take, there is no reason businesses in the banking and finance sector cannot minimise disruption and its potential costs by providing their employees with an approach and the tools they need to succeed during Brexit and beyond.