Millennial Makeover: How Financial Companies Are Reinventing Themselves to Attract a New Generation of Top Talent

At Morgan Stanley, things are starting to look decidedly different. Visit any of the multinational investment bank’s offices worldwide, and you’ll find a business-casual-clad workforce toiling away in vast, open plan workspaces that would have been inconceivable a generation ago. As wood-paneled walls get ripped out and replaced with glass partitions, the results are dramatic. In Manhattan, views of the Statue of Liberty and the Hudson River that were once an executive privilege are now available for all to enjoy.

These are just a few of the many changes Morgan Stanley is making as part of a 1.5-million-square-foot overhaul of its office space worldwide. One of its goals in doing so is to rethink how work gets done in order to attract a new generation of top talent. “The workplace needed to be designed around a much more dynamic, millennial kind of workforce,” says Rob Rooney, the firm’s head of technology.

Morgan Stanley isn’t alone in coming to this realization. Last year, Goldman Sachs moved 500 of its asset managers to an open floor plan and started offering kombucha on tap. Meanwhile UBS Group AG undertook a significant overhaul of its wealth management offices in New Jersey. But the changes these and other financial services companies are making to modernize their business aren’t just limited to floorplans, dress codes, or beverage options. Implementing the right technology is also a major factor in updating the ways in which they work.

A Better Way to Work

Walk into one of Morgan Stanley or any financial services company’s offices, and one of the first things you’ll notice is an abundance of physical technology such as interactive whiteboards. Yet the vast majority of the technology that such companies are embracing are things you won’t find right in front of your face. Instead, they’re technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence, and automation that are being used behind the scenes to make their operations more efficient and effective.

As companies move beyond the golf-course-deal mentality of a generation ago, they’re using technology to modernize their systems and processes. Not only does that make good business sense, it’s also a way to attract tech savvy millennials who often have little patience for inefficient, legacy approaches to doing business.

That’s particularly true when it comes to sales and marketing.

Just consider that wealth managers spend and average of 31 percent of their time either creating or looking for content for their clients. And while that content is critical to the success of their work, the question is whether that’s a good use of their time. It’s a similar story in banking, where relationship managers can spend up to two full days developing a single presentation for a new prospective client. That includes devoting hours to searching for any existing marketing materials they might need, ensuring the materials they’re creating are up to date and fully compliant, and formatting them so that they align with the company’s brand standards.

While work like this is important, having highly skilled financial professionals devote their time to it isn’t a great idea. Not only is it inefficient, it leaves them with far less capacity to do the work they should be focused on, whether that’s finding new clients or strengthening relationships with existing ones.

It’s in cases like these that sales and marketing enablement tools like Seismic make so much sense. In fact, companies that use our technology have been shown to reduce the amount of time they spend on mundane sales and marketing tasks by 83 percent. That’s why so many financial services companies, including Capital One, TD Bank, BNY Mellon, Deutsche Bank, T. Rowe Price, and others, are using our platform to help automate their business.

Embrace the Future, Embrace Technology

As financial services companies look to the future, modernizing their operations needs to be a business imperative. And while that includes making the kinds of aesthetic changes to their office space that we saw earlier, it’s also important to take a hard look at how they get work done. Finding ways to reduce friction in their operations by automating key processes with smart technology can make a big impact on a company’s bottom line. Not only that, it’s yet another thing companies can do to help make themselves more attractive to a fresh crop of millennial top talent that has come to expect nothing less.

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