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金融领域的最佳职场如何引领行业创新

Christopher Tkaczyk 2019年04月02日

金融技术、人工智能、区块链、移动银行。这些术语已经成为金融行业各家公司的口头禅。

金融技术、人工智能、区块链、移动银行。这些术语已经成为金融行业各家公司的口头禅。但随着这些公司更为卖力地开发未来所需的创新,人们很容易失去对职场文化的重视,虽然不至于完全忽视。然而在金融服务和保险行业最佳职场榜单中排名前60的企业看来,雇员参与和信任与有关创新的讨论同样重要。今年的排名由《财富》杂志与Great Place to Work联合发布,涵盖了专注于“全员创新”(Innovation By All,也就是优秀企业领导所采取的一种方法,旨在让每位团队成员都有能力进行创新)的公司。

Synchrony Financial是通用电气此前剥离的一个部门,于2014年上市,在今年的金融服务和保险行业最佳职场榜单中排名第27位,是创新领域的领军企业。在2月底举行的Great Place to Work For All峰会上,《财富》杂志的数字业务副主任克里斯滕·贝尔斯特罗姆采访了Synchrony的首席人力资源官DJ·卡斯托,讨论了公司如何鼓励每一位雇员参与创新流程,以及为什么在与团队讨论人工智能问题时一定要做到透明。以下是采访内容的节选。

克里斯滕·贝尔斯特罗姆:在从通用电气剥离之后,你是否还保留了一些通用电气的企业文化,或者你觉得某些文化并不有利于 Synchrony未来的发展?

卡斯托:通用电气因为其领导力培养而闻名遐迩。他们拥有大量优秀的标杆级领导力培养项目,而且我们希望确保雇员感受到公司在领导力培养方面能够给予他们同样的关注度和投入。因此,我们保持了这种文化,而且采纳了其初期领导力培养计划,并进行了修改,以便让其更好地适应公司的情况。

贝尔斯特罗姆:作为人力资源负责人,你都通过什么来帮助人们适应这种新文化?

卡斯托:公司一开始就建立了很好的文化,而且在这个过程中得到了不断加强。我们希望加大这方面的力度,并保护让公司发展至今的一切事物。我们希望弘扬公司的传承,然后开始着手打造我们心目中的公司。我们将公司看作是一家有着85岁高龄的初创企业。我们最初是为通用电气的设备融资,如今,我们与PayPal和亚马逊建立了卓越的合作关系,而且是面向未来的合作。因此,我们必须时刻比以往任何时候都更加警醒。我们希望员工们能够像以前一样做一个出色的领导者;但我们也希望他们会思考如何变得更加灵活;我们也希望员工能够确保自己成为一名有创意的批判性思考者。因为如果你不关注上述领域,而且我们的行动步调不一致,那么我们将输掉这场竞争。我们必须向Synchrony注入这种决胜文化,它能够让我们在这个竞争白热化的时代,实现真正的差异化,并获得不同的新客户,PayPal就是其中一个。

贝尔斯特罗姆:可以稍微介绍一下你是如何在Synchrony打造这种创新文化的吗?我知道你有创新中心。它们是如何工作的?

卡斯托:我们有赋能工作站,也有创新工作站。公司在美国和亚洲有1.7万多名员工。其中,约1.3万名在我们的联络中心。这些人员负责接听来自于客户、持卡人的电话,而且他们经常会提出最好的点子。因此,我们正试图打造一种正规的方式,并借此激励员工在看到机制出现问题时,感觉并未全心全意为客户提供最佳体验时,感到钱包里的其他银行卡在公司未能够涉足的领域提供更好的服务时,告诉我们问题出在哪里。为此,我们专门抽出时间,让同事们可以在工作之余参与这些创新工作站或赋能工作站,并切实开展合作,解决这项问题。我们还拥有一个系统,公司任何级别的雇员都可以通过这个系统贡献他们在市场上、公司内部发现的新主意和理念。这样我们便可以对其进行评估,帮助确定未来的策略重点,确保其能够真正满足客户的需求。员工们每天都位于一线岗位,倾听客户的意见。

贝尔斯特罗姆:一些雇员会因为人工智能引发的失业感到焦虑。作为人力资源负责人,你会帮助这些雇员应对这些焦虑。公司是如何通过培训以及新技能培养让这些员工获得从事新工作的能力呢?

卡斯托:这个问题问的很好。说实话,如果你在6个月前问我这个问题,我的答案可能会略有不同,因为我当时在传递这一信息时会采用更加保守的措辞,以尽可能地减少员工的恐慌。但事实上我发现,如果我们不加以解释,那么雇员就会形成自己的猜想。因此我们必须对公司即将要从事的事情主动进行解释而不是出现问题后再回应。公司的首席执行官玛格丽特·凯尼召集了整个管理层开会,我们问自己:“公司有哪些义务?应该在这一领域担负什么样的责任?”我们的回答是:“作为一家公司,我们确实有这方面的道德责任,来确保帮助员工提升其技能,并打造和强化这方面的学习和发展机遇。”我喜欢这个词……但技能提升到底意味着什么?我们对员工说,“超级代理要面世了”,但公司还没有对其做出具体定义。我们大致的意思是,借助科技的发展,我们的员工在一段之间之后将有能力……而不是只从事搜集、客服和防诈骗工作。他们可能将有能力从事所有事情,而不是局限于某些领域,因为科技将帮助实现这一点。它将允许员工专注于更多的策略性工作,而战术性元素则有望通过技术来解决,并通过人工智能加以利用。

卡斯托:我们在数周前召开了全球雇员大会,也对此进行了讨论。我们说:“听我说,公司没有完美的答案,但我们承诺在这一过程中坦诚布公,而且做到透明公开。”我对公司所有1.7万名员工说:“所有的公司都会因为人工智能和技术而发生变化或受到影响。一些工作岗位是否会因此而消失?毫无疑问。但与此同时,一些新的工作又会出现,然后其他工作会出现调整,而科技将帮助加快工作的进度。”因此我们试图做的就是尽早地向员工灌输这一理念,并在员工的投资方面更具前瞻性。

卡斯托:我们刚刚推出了一项新动议。令我们感到自豪的是,7月1日开始,所有员工的起薪将达到15美元/小时。这对于公司来说是一笔巨大的投资。但随着我们将薪资提升至15美元/小时,我们在收集业务、客服等这些岗位方面出现了一些隔阂,这些隔阂源于公司的历史观念。作为公司变化的一部分,我们消除了这些隔阂。因此,雇员们如今可以轻易地在上述不同的领域进行横向升职。此举能够让他们以更好的方式参与未来工作的竞争。我们还对雇员们说:“如果你们愿意参加培训班,学习编程技巧或者一些新的技术技能,公司可以帮你们拿费用。”这其实就是测试与学习,借助这种灵活的新方法,他们便可以与这些机构进行合作,参加这些培训班,继而接受与本公司工作无关的技能培训。这样,他们便可以有机会比我们更快地使用这些新技能。公司会为此买单,我们将对其进行投资,以便他们能够参与未来工作的竞争。

贝尔斯特罗姆:当前人才市场的竞争异常激烈。你们都通过采取什么措施来竞争?

卡斯托:最终,公司依然有不少好工作,而且在技术领域也有不少好岗位。此外,联络中心的很多员工如今都在投资自己,攻读工程学位。这些学位在整个公司都十分有用。因此,我仍然希望留住最好的人才,但这又回到了公司愿景这个问题。公司的愿景是帮助个人实现其宏伟目标。对于我们来说,如果员工有这个抱负,而且需要帮助,并在某个领域需要花钱,不管是医疗或教育,公司都会表示支持。我实际上觉得,此举会让那些希望留在公司的其他员工更加尊重公司。他们说,我们实际上秉持的就是公司价值观和愿景。我觉得此举能够让我们在未来留住最好的人才,而且有助于我们成为所处行业中一个有道德、负责任的领军企业。(财富中文网)

译者:冯丰

审校:夏林

FinTech. AI. Blockchain. Mobile banking. These terms have become part of the lexicon at every company in the finance industry. But as these companies focus more intently on innovating for the future, the attention to workplace culture can easily get de-prioritized if not neglected altogether. At the 60 Best Workplaces in Financial Services and Insurance, employee engagement and trust are just as important as discussing innovation. This year’s ranking, just published by Fortune in partnership with Great Place to Work, includes companies that are focusing on Innovation By All, the approach that great business leaders take to empower every member of their team to innovate.

Synchrony Financial, a former division of GE that was spun off and became a publicly-traded company in 2014 and appears at No. 27 on this year’s list of the Best Workplaces in Financial Services and Insurance, is an innovation leader. At the Great Place to Work For All Summit in late February, Fortune’s deputy digital director Kristen Bellstrom sat down with DJ Casto, the Chief Human Resources Officer at Synchrony, to talk about how the company is encouraging every employee to participate in the innovation process, and how transparency is the best policy when discussing AI with its team members. Below are edited excerpts from that conversation.

Kristen Bellstrom: After splitting from GE, is there something that you kept from the GE culture, or something that you decided didn’t fit with what you saw as the future of Synchrony?

DJ Casto: GE was very well-known for its leadership development. They had a ton of great iconic leadership programs, and we wanted to ensure our employees felt that we were going to give the same level of commitment and investment in leadership development. So, we kept it, and we took their early leadership programs, and modified them to become more specific to us.

Bellstrom: As the HR leader, what did you do to help people sort of transition to this new culture?

Casto: Well, we had a great culture to start with, and we kept reinforcing that along the way. We want to double down and protect the things that got us here. We want to celebrate our heritage. But then also lean in to this company we want to be. We called ourselves an 85-year-old startup. We started with financing GE appliances, and now today, we’ve got these amazing partnerships with PayPal and Amazon, that are really future-forward. And so, we must continue to be more agile than we’ve ever been before. We want you to be the great leaders that you’ve always been, but we also want you to think about agility. We want you to ensure that you’re being a critical thinker and creative. Because if you’re not focused in those areas, and we’re not all moving forward in that same direction, the competition is going to beat us. We have to instill this winning culture at Synchrony that’s going to allow us, in an uber-competitive time, to really differentiate, and win new and different clients, PayPal being one of those.

Bellstrom: I’d love to hear a little bit about how you’ve tried to build this culture of innovation at Synchrony. I know that you have innovation centers. How do they work?

Casto: We have empowerment stations, and we have innovation stations. We’re 17,000-plus employees in the U.S. as well as Asia. Of those, around 13,000 people are in our contact centers. These are the individuals that are answering the calls from our customers, our cardholders, and they oftentimes have the best ideas. And so, what we tried to do is create a formal way that encourages our employees that when they see something is broken, when they feel like they aren’t anchored in providing the best customer experience, if they feel like one of the other cards that are in their wallet are providing a better service, in an area that we aren’t offering today, tell us about it. And so, we dedicate time when our associates can come out of their jobs, into these innovation stations or empowerment stations, and really work together on solving problems. We also have a system where employees at any level in the company can cascade these new ideas and concepts that they’ve seen out in the market, or internally, within Synchrony, so that we can look to them and help prioritize our strategy for the future, to ensure it’s really meeting our customers’ needs. They are on the front lines every day, listening to our customers

Bellstrom: As a head of HR, you help employees with the anxiety around that idea of job losses because of technology, and how you guys are working to train and re-skill people so that they might move into different jobs.

Casto: It’s a great question. I’ll be honest with you. If you would have asked that question to me probably six months ago, I might have a little bit of a different answer, because I was trying to be a little more conservative in the messaging, to try to minimize the fear for our employees. But what I realized is, in the lack of our narrative, a narrative was forming by our employees. And so, we needed to become more proactive than reactive on what some of our commitments were going to be. Our CEO Margaret Keane got the entire leadership team together, and we said, “What is our obligation? What is our responsibility in this space?” And what we said is, “We do have a moral responsibility, as a company, to ensure that we are creating and … ” I love this word … “intensifying the learning and development opportunities we’re providing for our employees for up-skilling efforts.” But what does that really mean? We talk to our associates and say, “Super agents are coming,” but we haven’t defined what a super agent is. And what we’re basically saying is that through the unlock of technology, our associates will be able to … instead of being in collections and customer service and fraud, down the road, they probably will be able to do all of it, versus being siloed in certain areas, because technology’s going to allow that to happen. It’s going to allow them to focus on that more strategic work, and the tactical elements hopefully are sun-setted through technology and leveraged through AI.

Casto: We recently had a global town hall with all of our employees a couple weeks ago, and we brought up this discussion. We said, “Listen. We don’t have, again, all the answers, but our commitment is to be honest and transparent as we’re on this journey.” And what I said to all 17,000 of our employees, “All of our jobs will change and be impacted by AI and technology. Will some jobs sunset? Absolutely. But also, some new jobs will come online, and then other jobs will just modify, as the technology helps to advance the work.” And so what we’re trying to do is engage our workforce early on, to be more proactive in investing in themselves.

Casto: We also just launched a new initiative. We’re very proud that on July 1st, we’re going to $15 an hour as an entry rate for all of our employees across the board. It’s a big investment from the company. But as we made that investment to take them to $15 an hour, we also had some silos that were being built based off of our historical comp philosophies, between collections and customer service and some of these roles. We eliminated that, as a part of some of our changes. And so now, employees can easily do lateral promotions into these different areas. That allows them to compete for future jobs in a better way. We also went to our employees and said, “If you are willing to sign up for boot camps to help you get coding skills, and learn some of these new technology skills, we will fund it for you.” It’s test and learn, and that new agile methodology, where they will start to partner with these organizations to do these boot camps, and potentially get trained for jobs outside of the organization. And so, they could have an opportunity to leverage those new skills even faster than us. And we’re going to pay for it, and we’re going to help invest in them to compete for these jobs of the future.

Bellstrom: We’re in an incredibly competitive talent market right now. What are you doing to compete?

Casto: At the end of the day, I still have a ton of great jobs. And I will have a ton of great roles in technology, and I’ve got individuals in my contact centers that are investing in themselves right now and getting engineering degrees. I can leverage those degrees across my entire company. So, I still want to keep the best talent, but you go back to “What is our vision?” Our vision is to help individuals achieve their ambitions. And for us, if our employees have this ambition where they want to help, and invest in themselves in certain areas, be it healthcare or education, we’re okay with that. And I actually think it’s going to allow those other employees that want to stay with us, respect us even more. They say that we’re actually living our values, living our vision. I think that’ll allow us to retain the best talent in the future, and it helps us just to be a moral, responsible leader, in the communities in which we do business.

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