By Hema Morjaria, Director, Business Development

For financial services firms, the world of work is in flux. Talent is scarce. The hybrid workplace is still in its infancy. And the Great Resignation and recession loom large. Human Resources has a central role to play in helping financial services firms navigate these challenges. But does your business understand and value its HR function?

HR: still misunderstood; still underestimated

What does HR do day-to-day? Research into changing perceptions of HR shows that in many organisations, employees struggle to answer this basic question. Some even view HR as the department you only deal with when things go wrong. If HR keeps its low, behind-the-scenes profile, these perceptions will remain hard to shift.

As an HR professional in the financial services sector, how can you change perceptions, be seen as the true commercial partner you are and take your seat at the decision-making table?

Share your know-how on journey mapping and personalisation

Research by Accenture revealed that 79% of financial customers said that they had a purely transactional relationship with their provider. 40% of those same customers also said they would be more loyal if they received a more personalised service. No wonder the financial services industry is waking up to the importance of mapping customer journeys. Mapping helps identify those ‘moments of truth’ to deliver the personalised service that drives customer retention and the bottom line.

These new converts to mapping and personalisation could have turned to HR for advice (if they’d understood that’s part of HR’s expertise too!). HR professionals have been mapping and personalising candidate and employee journeys for years. They know a personalised experience attracts better talent, sees it stay longer and contribute more, just as personalised experiences attract more customers who spend more and stay loyal longer. As managers of people – whether employees or customers – HR should promote their knowledge of personalisation. It’s a valuable opportunity to raise HR’s profile as a key commercial partner to the business.

At Cielo, we are the Talent Acquisition experts who can help you build those robust candidate journeys. From brand building and initial attraction all the way to onboarding and internal engagement. Our technology turns data into talent insights - its location, preferences, and motivations – to inform effective personalised journeys. That same technology also squares the circle of mass personalisation with the ability to deliver truly personalised experiences at scale.

Take the lead on making hybrid working work

As the drive by financial institutions to get their people back at the office full time runs into resistance, HR has a key strategic role to play. From running initiatives and events to encourage return, advocating the benefits of flexibility to senior management, or delivering strategic plans to manage the complex logistics of a hybrid model.

Pre-pandemic, financial services saw home working as high risk. We’re past that. Now it’s been proven home working is safe and secure, there’s a stronger argument for responding to talent’s demand for a hybrid approach.

Cielo can be a key strategic partner in leveraging your employer brand to navigate this changing world of work. We’ve helped run live events that strengthen bonds between people and their physical office space and communicated new work/life balance initiatives. And we’ve helped HR professionals fuel management’s thinking with compelling data on the power of flexible working in attracting key talent to hard-to-fill roles.

Keeping talent through turbulent times

A study by LinkedIn highlights that failure to hire the right people at the right time is costing businesses in both productivity and profit. At a turbulent time for talent, HR has a pivotal role to play in harmonising strategy and hiring. Covid, Brexit, the Great Resignation, and looming recession have all challenged talent managers as their businesses are forced to become more agile. All of this does, however, present an opportunity for HR to prove its strategic value to the business.

During the Great Resignation, many HR professionals in financial services were quick to realise the importance of active alumni programmes. The bonds they forged with those voluntary leavers have paid dividends as the boomerang effect kicks in and talent realises the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Communication, contact, and personalised messaging are key to re-engaging and drawing talent back.

The pandemic has shown how industries that jettison people ruthlessly can then struggle to get back to a level of staffing and productivity to meet returning demand. Taking a strategic rather than reactive approach to a downturn will underline HR’s importance to your firm’s ongoing success. Building a strong internal culture that delivers rewards, development, inclusion, and flexibility will not only attract and keep key full-time talent, but it can also bind to your business the contractors so pivotal to managing fluctuating staffing levels at uncertain times.

The days of HR being a back-office function are long gone, but business’ view of its critical role have been slower to change. That change will only come by HR demonstrating its strategic contribution on key business issues. Right now, HR can be the lighthouse that steers its business through the storm. You may not be able to control turbulent weather, but you can plan for it.


  • With customer experience in the spotlight, leverage your know-how on candidate journey mapping and personalisation to change perceptions of what HR can contribute to your business.
  • HR can and should be at the centre of debate as managers and employees negotiate the complexities of a hybrid world of work.
  • Prove HR’s contribution to aligning staffing with strategy, through alumni networks and building a culture that bonds key talent to your business during uncertain times.