Incentives are HR’s new currency in the finance industry

BANKING AND FINANCE: The Great Resignation continues to cause HR teams in the banking industry headaches, but at least one report says the answer lies in increasing employee “stickiness”.


Deloitte’s Becoming an Exponential Enterprise paper, released in November last year, urges relevant HR leaders to design more targeted and differentiated employee benefit offerings.

Many incentive possibilities already employed by the banking sector in the US and Europe can be explored locally, including stock compensation, health and wellness schemes, and bonuses for exceptional performance. 

Many larger institutions are already responding by incentivising their employees financially to retain their specific talents. Southeast Asia’s largest lender DBS realised the need to improve its offering by boosting salaries across the board back in 2021. Accounting company KPMG used a similar strategy in May last year, outlining SGD 25 million in annual pay increases for staff.

Higher bonuses, increasing both the size and the occurrences of them, are also becoming a popular strategy. Prudential Singapore, for example, gave each of its employees SGD 1,000 worth of shares in October 2021. Neetha Nair, the company’s Future Ready Workforce Head, says this was a key strategy in the company’s talent retention effort.

New working arrangements can also help retain

Perhaps one of the most common paths at the moment is to follow the trend of other industries, in offering greater access to remote working opportunities. Aggressive pay increases, while welcome, may not be suitable in the long run, according to Lewis Garrad, Mercer’s Singapore career business leader.

“Benefits such as the opportunity to work remotely can send a signal about the company’s culture (and) this is becoming more common in the region,” he says.

This is further evidenced by a recent survey conducted by PwC, which found a mere 29% of financial and banking institution employers had at least 60% of their employees working from home at least once a week prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. The situation is much different now, with almost three in four employers expecting more than half of their workforce to work remotely in 2023 and beyond.Chief of Staff Asia’s own survey noted that finance and banking HR managers were taking the rise of remote work incredibly seriously, with 75% already implementing strategies to ensure it was a typical part of how employees spend their working week.

This is an excerpt from the Future Proof: Overcoming HR Challenges in Banking and Finance

Access the full report here.

Related article:

Rethinking retention and recruitment in Southeast Asia’s banks

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Chief of Staff Asia