Money is not the main driver of high performance across financial services industry

KUCHING: Adopting High Performance Work Practices (HPWPs) has been shown to result in a significant improvement in productivity in sectors that are people-centric, such as the financial services industry.

A new study by the Asian Institute of Finance (AIF) aims to provide insights on HPWPs across the Malaysian FSI and to analyse what drives high performance.

Dr Raymond Madden, chief executive officer of AIF said with the shortage of talent across the Malaysian FSI, organisations need to act quickly to identify and implement HPWPs.

“Although there is no ‘one size fits all’ model for HPWPs, it is hoped that this study can serve as a basis from which each organisation can map their own optimal work practices,” he said in a statement yesterday.

“Much has been written about the annual performance review recently with many organisations abandoning the formal annual review process. Our research suggests formalised performance management is key to encouraging HPWPs.”

According to the study, HPWPs are workplace initiatives aimed at improving productivity and performance which focus on creating an engaged and empowered workforce.

In the study, a focus group of senior HR practitioners across the Malaysian FSI identified five HPWPs relevant to the industry: performance management, learning and development, succession planning, employee involvement in decision making and payment systems.

The study, which surveyed over 2,000 financial services personnel across the Malaysian FSI, found that highly satisfied employees, representing more than a third of the total population surveyed, ranked performance management as the top work practice followed by learning and development.

This suggests that for these employees job satisfaction came from ‘what they could do’ rather than ‘what the organisation can do for them’. Therefore, it is crucial to have a robust performance management system that is able to measure their contributions and achievements.

The rest of the population surveyed ranked learning and development as the top work practice with performance management next. Notably payment systems, or remuneration and incentives practices, was ranked lowest among both highly satisfied employees and the rest of the population surveyed.

This would suggest that ‘it is not all about the money’. In fact, the survey reveals that what the Malaysian FSI employees want most is to find meaning in their jobs and to have an effective relationship with their manager.

Nora Abd Manaf, group chief human capital officer of Maybank, said AIF’s High Performance Work Practices Study cannot be more timely and meaningful in its release at this time when leaders are anxiously going about responding as best as they can to the changing business and work landscape in this period many refer to as the 4th Industrial Revolution.

“Structure and preciseness in many existing management tools like the typical Performance Management System have the potential to mislead one into thinking that these provide effective and strong governance,” she added.

“Many can now see that these tools need to be transformed because they, in fact, have also been proven to be limiting, and holding back high performers from playing their best game. This study gives clear insights into what truly makes high performers tick and validates the progressive efforts pursued by the many who have begun to make their tools 4.0-ready.”

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