Crisis Management: How Did the Financial Services Industry Fare During 2020?

In 2020, the financial services industry had to put its crisis management plans into action. Most companies had to pivot without much notice, ensuring they could adjust to new rules regarding how organizations were (or weren’t) allowed to open and operate during the pandemic. As the year went on, mandates changed, and customer expectations shifted, making continuous change part of the ongoing paradigm throughout the rest of the year. Today, by looking back, it’s possible to assess how the financial services industry fared during 2020. By reflecting on the year, there are many lessons that can be learned, ensuring companies in the sector can respond more effectively should a similar event occur.

Good Crisis Management Is Purposeful and Proactive:

Companies with Robust Technology Strategies Were Better Prepared

While digital transformation has been common in the financial services industry for some time. However, companies that went beyond basic transformation and adopted robust technology strategies before the pandemic often outdid their counterparts. With cloud services in place, adapting to shelter-in-place orders was far simpler. Employees could tap into critical resources as long as they had an internet-connected device, allowing for greater business continuity during the early days of the crisis. Similarly, those that supplied employees with mobile devices and laptops were able to adjust faster. However, even those who acted strategically on the fly were able to navigate the unfamiliar terrain. For example, staggering login times put less of a strain on network resources, allowing operations to remain consistent until capacity increases made such emergency measures unnecessary.

Re-Opening Plans Were Formed Early in the Pandemic

Even though no one was sure when re-opening processes would begin, financial services companies began making formal plans relatively early. Along with outlining how a return to the workplace might proceed in a logistical sense, many companies acknowledged that their employees would like have reservations about coming back. Companies that understood the feelings of their employees were often better equipped to address concerns that made their workforce hesitant. As a result, they could progress through re-opening processes with greater ease, ensuring their employees’ safety was a known priority.

Most Companies Didn’t Have a Pandemic-Specific Plan, Leading to Challenges

While most financial services companies responded to the pandemic reasonably efficiently, the vast majority didn’t have a pandemic-specific action plan in place when everything began. Similarly, most didn’t have crisis management strategies that addressed shelter-in-place or other extreme scenarios, leaving them a bit at a loss when the orders initially arose. In the end, companies adapted. However, the lack of pre-set guidelines for such an incident is something to remedy. That way, if a similar issue arises in the future, right-action is easier to take from the beginning. Similarly, offering training focused on the execution of various crisis management plans is wise. By educating your workforce on how things will change should a resurgence or another pandemic occur, they can be ready to adjust swiftly. That can shorten their return to full productivity, ensuring operations move forward as smoothly as possible.

Do You Need to Refresh Your Crisis Management Training?

At Clarity, we have nearly 30 years of experience in L&D, giving us the knowledge and expertise to update your training approaches efficiently. Plus, if you’re trying to expand your internal L&D team, Clarity can be your candidate search ally, connecting you with top talent right when you need them. If you want to partner with leading L&D professionals, Clarity Consultants is here. Contact us today.  

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