Between vaccine policies, office logistics, and unique threats to mental health, those leading today’s asset management industry often find themselves grappling with serious considerations.
Attendees of Nicsa’s Strategic Leadership Forum gained valuable insight on how they can support the transition to the post-pandemic workforce during a session moderated by Gayle Coluccio, Director at Aliter Investment Services.
Mark Leary, Executive Vice President, Chief HR Officer at MFS Investment Management, said the vaccine represents a sense of hope for most firms.
“We firmly believe at MFS that the essence of our culture (as is true for many firms) is connectivity, collaboration, and teamwork,” Leary said. “While we’ve been able to service our clients and work with each other virtually, it’s just not quite the same.”
At the same time, Leary pointed out that only six percent of executives in a recent survey said they would mandate the vaccine.
“We’re looking at the possibility of rapid antigen testing,” he said. “This will give those who want to come back but can’t get vaccinated due to health or religious reasons an opportunity to ensure their safety and the safety of everyone around them.”
Robin Benoit, Senior Vice President, Head of Global HR Strategy & Planning, said State Street is actively training managers on how to support employees in hybrid working environments.
“We need to be sensitive to the fact that a lot of pressure is on managers right now,” she said. “At the end of the day, they are employees too, and they have the same concerns about childcare and other issues that we all do.”
Coluccio agreed, adding that there’s a fine line between being available for your employees and micromanaging them.
“We’ve tried to establish a culture where employees feel empowered,” she said. “It’s all about building that trust and giving them the freedom to be productive in a way that works for them,” Coluccio said. “If they have to help their child log in to Zoom classes, let them take that half-hour and resume working when it is more convenient.”
Blair Williams, Managing Director Risk and Technology Services at SS&C Technologies, focused on the importance of successful reintegration in the workplace.
“There are stressors when you come together in person with people you’ve only connected with remotely for a long time,” Williams said. “Even those who are indicating on our surveys that they want to come back may find they were more productive at home upon returning to the office. In those cases, there may be an opportunity to make remote work an incentive.”