“Wall Street” – a loaded term that has been both lionized and demonized in movies and the media. Hearing these two words can bring up a plethora of impressions and emotions. The reality of the industry however only begins to unfold with experience within the finance industry.
Here everything revolves around the client; the firm’s quarterly earnings and what you as an employee can do to appease the client and meet their demands to enhance the bottom line.
How is this different than any other industry in the corporate world? The goals and objectives are the same; the focus is on the client. The difference may be that perception is that business is conducted within a very strict, top-down authoritarian environment that has been slow to evolve.
In challenging economic times and recession, these perceptions are that much more pronounced.
Eventually, the job you thought of as your “dream job” and “dream company” becomes just a job and getting through the workday becomes a chore. Any mystique that the industry may have had in our eyes swiftly evaporates.
As with any job, regardless of the industry, we come into the office every day and log onto our PC’s, with a need to feel safe, to feel taken care of, have a sense of purpose and know that we matter and that our voice is important.
The post-Covid era has attuned us to these sensibilities more than before as we are surrounded by uncertainty and forced to re-evaluate our priorities for ourselves and our families.
The next generation in our industry has had some extremely valuable feedback about this topic and the numbers, data and attrition rates are startling.
This following article touches on some of these themes:
What do we need to do to hold onto our next generation, literally and figuratively, as the best and brightest begin to look elsewhere to fulfill their career goals? What if the same focus that organizations place on clients was instead placed on their employees?
What if “Wall Street” and the long-standing perceptions we have held can be transformed and that the reality on the ground changes with it?
I believe that the time for the Great Cultural Wall Street Reset has arrived.
This is a call to action and one that I would like to convey very respectfully to the leaders in our industry who have a tremendous impact on the global economy and the work that we do. Especially as there are layoffs and organizational restructuring during these challenging times where there is fear and uncertainty abound.
It’s truly a chance for our leaders to re-evaluate our traditional approaches to organizational management and leadership.
Where does the Cultural Reset Begin?
It starts at the top. And culture and how it filters down to the rest of the organization is contingent on acceptance and acknowledgement from our leaders that we can indeed change for the better.
How does the Cultural Reset Begin?
- By bringing humanity to the workplace and focusing on our employees and investing in them with the same vigor, if not more, than we do with our clients. Through development programs, education, work life assessments etc….. Make the employees the priority.
- Through investing in leadership development focusing on introspection, self-awareness, emotional intelligence, resilience and overall “soft skills” which truly have more of an impact in these times than “hard skills.”
- With a continued emphasis on diversity and inclusion practices and even more so at leadership levels bringing a “diversity of thought leadership” that can then trickle down into the organization with varying perspectives which can enhance the culture.
The aforementioned is a start and it does not mean that organizations have to compromise performance as a firm or in providing premium services to clients. Every single employee, at any level, must be held accountable for their performance and there are established metrics available to do this.
The belief is that with a cultural reset, employees will feel valued and empowered, thereby organically enhancing engagement which can lead to even higher productivity individually and then ultimately at a team and organizational level. The clients and the bottom line of organizations will, in turn, benefit from this new mindset and approach which truly is about bringing humanity into the workplace so that we can be the best version of ourselves – individually and organizationally.