Independent of job or function it is important to keep employees engaged on delivering the bank promise to the customers, and ensuring they comply with all the regulatory requirements.

Employees that are not engaged and motivated will not deliver as expected. It is important for managers and supervisors to understand that it is not just a matter of money! Individuals need recognition and to feel part of the team and the organisation. There are many ways for managers to keep their teams motivated.

Internal Competitions and Gamification

Internal competitions can recognise best-performing employees or teams. Typically, such techniques are used among sales teams, where sales and customer satisfaction targets are set across many sales areas. It can be a company-wide effort or an area effort. It can be a very elaborate event, or just an end-of-day activity where the best performers are recognised by the leaders of the business or the area.

No matter what the manager decides or how recognition is delivered, they should:

  • Set clear targets – linked to what the area or bank is trying to achieve;
  • Have clear dates for evaluating achievements against the targets;
  • Publish a schedule to recognise the winners;
  • Ensure they have a clear source of the performance results, leaving no doubt on the best performers;
  • Periodically remind all the participants via e-mail, posters, WhatsApp messages, SMS of the competition;
  • On the day of the celebration, make sure that everybody involved is there and will see the winners recognised;
  • Ensure that winning is reflected in formal appraisals for bonus and promotion evaluations.

The internal competition will show to the area and the bank who are the best performers. It is natural to expect that they will be the individuals that receive the best bonuses and promotion. It is therefore critical that the targets are linked to the area and bank goals. The bank will benefit as employees focused on beating their targets are recognised.

Presenting staff with trophies, medals, certificates, prizes like TVs and tablets and quality stationery are important tools to ensure that the extra effort is recognised. The most important thing is to show the winners to all participants and the bank as a whole, which will reinforce the willingness of all participants to be there. This exercise may reveal that those not engaged or committed to what the bank is trying to deliver show no enthusiasm for the competition.

Such techniques can apply to many areas, as all areas have their goals and SLAs which will be good parameters for competitions. Any parameter is valid, as long as it is linked to the bank’s goals. We have seen Operations, Legal, Compliance and Finance areas using such tools effectively, as it is simply a matter of setting the right targets and is important to help the bank grow, and to be a better company.

An important point: always include customer service measures in the targets to be achieved to balance its importance across the company.

Common Social Causes

Another very effective motivational technique is to engage the whole bank in a social cause. Any social cause is valid, provided it is aligned with the bank’s values, principles and culture. The bank or an area of the bank may decide to adopt an orphanage or maintain a nature reserve. Such a cause, when embraced by all employees, can be a strong motivational tool.

It is important to have employee participation to decide which cause to embrace. Once defined with the help of Marketing and HR, the creation of a logo and catchphrase to identify the effort is important. It is also important to establish a communications process that informs the whole bank of what is planned, and the results of each action. The bank must also create a committee in charge of all causes that have participants from different areas and management hierarchy.

Workplace Facilities and Activities

Simple things like a cafeteria, a gym, yoga sessions or supporting social events such as a theatre group, or art club can make a difference. The bank can engage its employees to identify which extra activities or facilities will make working more fun. Based on the results the bank can create post-work activities or facilities that will increase motivation and engagement. It is important to have all areas and management hierarchy involved.

Sense of Belonging

Across the bank and in individual areas, it is important to create ways to identify employees. This can be through the usage of uniforms, specific shirts, badges or any external factor that an employee can use and show pride in belonging to the company. Many banks celebrate working year milestones by presenting a gift and different coloured badges the employees wear with pride.

Another tool used to create a sense of belonging are sports or recreational competitions, where different areas compete against each other, and the company provides funding for the event and the prizes for the winners.

Do not underestimate the importance of the workplace. It is essential to ensure that every employee works in a clean and safe environment with proper lighting and ventilation, the correct desks, stationery, computers, and working systems. Whilst these are basic needs, they are essential for creating an environment where people feel engaged.

Open Suggestion Policy

Having an Open Suggestion Policy creates a channel where all employees can make suggestions to the company regarding any aspect of their job or the bank’s products and services. All suggestions must receive feedback even when they are not implemented.

There are many other techniques that can help the bank with motivation and engagement. What is important for a manager of people is to understand that salary alone is not enough for most people to keep motivated and engaged.