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Seven strategies for improving employee engagement in the Fintech sector

Fostering strong employee engagement is one of the key factors in creating a sustainable and successful business, and retaining the best talent. It can be a daunting task to develop an engaged workforce, especially for a young team working at a startup company in a volatile and disruptive industry. Those who get it right stand to reap the rewards of lower staff turnover and increased productivity.

If most of your employees are dedicated to their work and genuinely love what they’re doing, they are far more likely to stay with the organisation and invest their efforts there. Add to that a sense of purpose, of building something that has the potential to affect millions of lives, and employees will be highly engaged.

Gallup research shows organisations tracking in the top quartile of employee engagement are 22% more profitable, 17% more productive, have 10% better customer ratings, experience 41% less absenteeism, and suffer 70% fewer safety incidents when compared with organisations in the bottom quartile.

Drawing on our 2017 FinTech Talent Africa – Leadership and Employee Engagement Report, we have developed seven strategies for improving employee engagement in African fintech companies.

1. Adopt non-traditional leadership strategies
Traditional leadership practices have not succeeded in building an engaged workforce. To succeed, you need to have the courage to reject many outdated practices and adopt ones known to have the greatest impact on enhancing human performance in the workplace. An organisation with significant organisational culture and a workforce full of enthusiastic, engaged employees is more likely to be able to retain talented people.

2. Develop a high-performance culture
If people are engaged at work, they’re going to put in more discretionary effort, and therefore do a better job. Fostering a high-performance culture at your company without putting your employees’ well-being second to business goals is one of the ways to achieve this. Employees feel their contributions are valued, while they are also encouraged to buy into the work they are doing.

3. Brand yourself as a successful organisation
Of course, it’s not enough simply to retain talent; businesses also need to attract the best new talent. Part of your outward-facing branding needs to communicate that your business is a great place to work, and that some of the brightest minds in the industry are employed there.

4. Collaborate
Foster good listening practices in your leadership team, and encourage employees to talk about themselves and share insights and problems they experience across the organisation. It is critical for companies to get workers’ input regarding role expectations. This approach makes employees feel valued and increases the likelihood of them succeeding. Having the opportunity to offer opinions makes employees feel respected and discussing expectations sets them up for success.

5. Aim higher
Employees don’t dream about achieving average goals, but they will find inspiration when they are motivated to work towards a higher purpose. Managers who lead by example in terms of performance and productivity, and those who reveal what top performers do differently, set a high standard. When they set high standards and clear expectations, employees understand what they need to do differently to emulate leaders and top performers.

6. Focus on your team’s strengths
No employee wants to spend time on tasks in which they lack interest or expertise. Managers who invest the time to understand their team members’ innate strengths can capitalise on them. By positioning employees’ unique talents against the tasks at hand, managers increase employee engagement and employee performance.

7. Actively manage generations
Many organisations believe that millennials are mercenaries, always looking for new and better deals. Research shows that they’re really looking for a compelling reason to stay. When Gen-X workers were at the same stage of life, they actually job-hopped more frequently than millennials. Managing different generations in your workplace according to what they are looking for at this point in their lives is key to driving employee engagement.

You can read more by downloading the Fintech Talent Africa Report and the Compensation Report. We talk about these issues and others affecting the DFS community in our group, League of DFS professionals, on LinkedIn. Sign up to the group to join the conversation.

Gavin Krugel
Gavin has been involved in the payments and financial services industry for over 20 years. He has managed large global development programs as a former manager of the Mobile Money for the Unbanked and Mobile Health programs at the GSMA and has held leadership and board positions in both large multinational organisations and start-ups. He holds an MBA from the Grenoble Graduate School of Business.

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