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Productivity at Financial Services Firms Has Fallen Since the Pandemic, Finds ActiveOps

Operational productivity at financial services firms peaked during the pandemic, reveals management process automation company ActiveOps.

The news emerges from a new quarterly report released by ActiveOps: ‘OpsTracker: The Performance Tracker for Operations in Financial Services Q1 report‘. The report stresses the need for financial services organisations to boost productivity via better use of existing staff capacity. ActiveOps analyses insight from over 30,000 employees to identify and understand the trends that are impacting back-office operations.

The report finds that, during the pandemic, operational performance was best optimised across all regions. With worldwide lockdowns and increased measures in place, organisations placed significant attention on setting up remote practices.

ActiveOps’ report explains that as companies deal with increased interest rates and heightened economic uncertainty, maximising the potential of staff capacity could be an important differentiator. Cost-cutting and staff retention levels could improve without harming customer experience, should staff be used efficiently.

UK and Ireland lag behind

In the OpsIndex, ActiveOps looks to quantify productivity and how operations are run across key metrics: agility, control, effectiveness, efficiency and focus.

Across the UK and Ireland, the total OpsIndex score reached 57 per cent at the pandemic peak. However, this fell to 47.5 per cent for the fourth quarter of 2022. The drop highlights that organisations may be operating at a lower standard than they were before and during the pandemic.

UK organisations are also operating at a lower level than those in North America, Australia and New Zealand, which saw an increase in performance of 32.4 per cent and 5.3 per cent respectively since before the pandemic.

One key problem found was work completed per paid hour fell by over eight per cent since 2020. The stat emphasises the fact that organisations may be becoming less efficient and getting less out of their staff.

Richard Jeffery, ActiveOps productivity report
Richard Jeffery, chief executive officer of ActiveOps
Richard Jeffery, chief executive officer of ActiveOps, commented on the report’s findings.

Jeffery said: “Operations leaders in financial services have a lot to deal with today. Having only recently emerged from the stormy times of the pandemic, they are now faced with an uncertain economic environment. While their focus is on cutting costs they are also aware of a shortage in talent. There is a need to retain existing and attract new staff through better utilisation of staff time. Investment in cross-skilling is also important. Yet despite the pressures on them, few leaders are equipped to make strategic changes that will improve operational efficiency and deliver a competitive edge.

“The UK in particular is facing a challenging time. Leaders are pressed to bring operations back up to pre-pandemic levels this year. They need to use data to accurately gauge where their inefficiencies lie and to better understand which levers they can pull to release capacity across their organisations. This will allow leaders not only to create an operating environment that is efficient and running at a high-performance level but also a satisfying place to work where employees wish to remain.”

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