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Can internal communicators save the banks, our economy and maybe the world? August’s InsideOut – the free magazine for IoIC members – investigates.

The global financial crisis of 2008 saw the collapse of banks prevented by taxpayer bailouts, and the world is still far from fully recovered.

But a massive culture change is going on in financial services partly driven by punitive fines for things like mis-selling and rate-fixing, and partly because a shift in behaviours and mindsets is vital to restore customer trust and public confidence.

InsideOut talks to Erica Sosna, who has produced a report on how the finance world can create “an ethical high performance culture”.

“They have to find a higher purpose rather than ‘I want to make as much money as possible and then retire’. That was never true for the vast majority of people working in financial services anyway,” she says

Organisations like Google and Zappos’s are well known for attracting employees with a ‘higher reason’ for working and Erica says the world of finance can do it too.

“Retail banking is like clean water,” she explains. “It’s a fundamental of infrastructure. It allows people to own homes, buy a car or build a future for themselves through a sustainable plan. It’s enabling human potential.

“We need banks to work properly for economic stability and legacy – if they don’t find ways to run with integrity and sustainability, then our children’s future will look very different.”

Erica carried out in-depth interviews with 21 leaders in the City before producing a 36-page report, Leading In The New Regulatory World, which offers insights and recommendations on delivering a business which is both principled and profitable.

Not surprisingly, internal comms has a vital role to play.

The report’s key findings include:

  • New values must come from the top - leaders must communicate very clear principles
  • Organisations must consider customers, employees and regulators to get the right balance between profitability and prudence
  • A shift in culture will only come from a collaborative approach
  • Employee brand will help attract the right kind of talent for the future
  • Employee education with a strong ‘why' will create a sense of purpose and custodianship in FS long-term.

But she says it will take time and won’t be easy. “Culture change is always tricky and organisations will feel more comfortable with process so they stick with enforcing rules,” she says. “Culture change is messier and scarier.”

Also in August’s InsideOut you can read:

  • how the Royal Bank of Scotland is aiming to change attitudes among its staff via a people-led magazine called Outside > In
  • how Barclays is championing ‘good citizenship’ among employees
  • the ‘seven deadly sins of change comms’,
  • and the Sector Spotlight falls on Just Retirement.

IoIC members can read more in the August edition of InsideOut, the Institute’s free monthly magazine. Members should log in at the top right of this screen. You’ll then find InsideOut in ‘IoIC Knows’ – simply click on ‘Publications’ in the drop-down menu.

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