Digital technology innovations have enabled vast amounts of data on work and the workforce to be available to employers. This digitally derived employee information is a new and relatively untapped source of business growth because it reveals valuable insights that can unlock employee potential and improve business results. In fact, according to recent Accenture research, using this information properly has the potential to generate more than a 6% increase in revenue growth. However, using it improperly can be risky. 

It’s also important to mention that within financial services, many employers possess information about their employees as customers too. While this presents an additional opportunity to glean valuable customer insights it could potentially pose the risk of a conflict of interest. Privacy issues around customer data gathering are significant, and those issues could be compounded when the customers are employees as well. Thus, these new capabilities represent both a goldmine and a minefield, with trust at the heart of the effort. 

When performed in an environment of trust, transparency and mutuality between employee and employer, workplace data gathering and analysis, or “decoding organisational DNA, has positive implications. When performed in the absence of trust, the same effort has negative implicationsincluding the erosion of employee morale. 

But there’s another very important consideration when it comes to trust and workplace data gathering. The need for higher levels of trust among the employee population could create a stronger case for including more women in leadership positions within the financial services sector. 

Decoding the organisation’s DNA in an environment of trust

Decoding organisational DNA involves using artificial intelligence (AI), algorithms and myriad tracking technologies to create data flows that can be analysed to drive behaviour and process modifications that create greater efficiencies and spur growthAccenture’s research also indicates that 62% of firms are already taking advantage of these new sources of workplace data to better understand how their workplaces function. 

However, only 30% of leaders are confident these processes are being used responsibly. That’s significant cause for alarm. If this effort is going to be successful, it must be undertaken within an environment of trust. There are indications that women could hold the key to advancing this type of environment. 

Are women the drivers of organisational trust?

Recent PEW research on gender traits and leadership reveals the following key insights: 

  • Roughly six-in-ten adults (59%) think female business leaders are more compassionate and empathetic than male leaders. 
  • Three-in-ten adults (30%) believe female leaders are more honest and ethical than male leaders. 

These results could point to the strategic advantage of having more women in leadership positions as organisations move in the direction of decoding their DNA. Coincidentally, one of the advantages women see in making financial services their career choice is the opportunity to create relationships and make a difference in people’s lives. Thus, the organisational need to create a more trust-based and relationship-oriented workplace dovetails very nicely with many women’s desire to contribute to creating this type of environment.  

As the financial services industry seeks to achieve full gender equality, the need for soft skills such as empathy and compassion could give women a competitive edge and inspire firms to pay greater attention to the many advantages of having more women in leadership positions. In my next post, I’ll take a deeper look at how decoding organisational DNA and bringing more women into financial services leadership could be a winning combination. 

For more information about decoding organisational DNA, please see Accenture’s reportPutting Trust to Work―Decoding Organizational DNA: Trust, Data and Unlocking Value in the Digital Workplace”

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