The right stuff
The importance of having the right leaders and senior managers in a business cannot be emphasised enough, from setting the tone of team to providing invaluable guidance and mentoring.
Katie Hill, Associate Director – Balance Sheet, Markets at ANZ is a volunteer mentor as a result of having effective mentors of her own.
“I developed a number of mentors that made an enormous difference to my confidence and also to understanding my strengths and how to leverage them,” she says. “I'm really passionate about mentoring.”
“I feel the number of colleagues, no matter what level of seniority, who have been willing to take the time to talk to me, to give advice and to share their network with me, has been absolutely invaluable in my career.”
While COVID has wreaked untold havoc on people’s lives and shuttered global economies, technology has allowed governments and companies to implement flexible work-from-home arrangements to keep their employees safe.
Though working remotely offers welcomed flexibility, it often has the unintended side-effect of reducing interactions between colleagues which can hinder growth and development opportunities as well as general idea sharing, particularly for junior colleagues who would otherwise gain from being around more experienced team mates.
“So far, there's no real way to replicate those daily interactions’ Tessa Dann, Director – Sustainable Finance says. “Going forward, it will be essential at all levels to really hone the skill of maintaining strong communication and being proactive and consistent with engagement, despite the physical separation”.
Customer interactions, particularly for new customers, will also be impacted with less face-to-face events and more reliance on virtual events, Joyce says.
“I’m not sure how that will happen,” she says. “And it's just how do you build that rapport and trust when you're trying to build new relationships?”
Notwithstanding the lack of interaction between colleagues and customers, the flexibility has been invaluable to employees of all genders as the boundaries between professional and personal lives have blurred. A lessening of gender stereotypes is one of the positive outcomes of the pandemic says Gemma Williams, Business Manager – eFICC, Markets at ANZ.
“When everyone is doing the same thing, when it's the norm for men to work from home as women for whatever reason, the workplace lends itself to a more equal working environment,” she says. “It helps remove those typical gender stereotypes, to be honest.”
The pandemic has also pushed management to find new ways to run businesses. The markets and trading businesses have traditionally been housed onsite due to the infrastructure, equipment and resources needed but technology and security advances have allowed these functions to be conducted efficiently and safely from the home and giving staff more work-life balance.
“I've come to that realisation that the balance is important,” Chellew says. “I want to be back in the office some days and work from home on others. Having that contrast actually make both more valuable.”
Sharon Klyne is an Associate Director, Communications at ANZ Institutional
WiBF is a not-for-profit membership association aimed at increasing the representation of female leaders in the banking and finance sector
Pam Chellew, Tessa Dann, Katie Hill, Megan Joyce, Carina Parisella, Julie Piper and Gemma Williams were nominees for WiBF’s 2020 Awards