In brief

In brief

  • The pace of change among financial services companies in the Nordic region is noticeably slower when compared to other regions.
  • To find out why this is, Accenture surveyed nearly 500 employees at six Nordic financial services companies in Sweden, Norway and Finland.
  • We found that employees are willing to change, but that they are not getting the information and support that they need from leadership.
  • At lower levels in the organization, employees are frustrated, confused and unsure about their responsibilities.

Our research found that employees of Nordic financial services companies want to be part of positive change. But they show a lack of confidence in business leadership, citing, among other concerns, poor communication from the top, along with confusion about organizational goals and the strategies in place to attain them.

Communication is not the only concern

Financial services employees in the region are also worried that the systems and processes in place may not be adequate for implementing needed change.

And, there is a significant divergence in attitudes between people in leadership positions—who believe, by and large, that things are progressing smoothly—and people at lower levels in the organization, particularly those in customer-facing roles.

Our research shows that people in leadership see themselves as:

  • Working in alignment with organizational objectives
  • Working closely with teammates
  • Understanding of the need for change, and having a sense of urgency about implementing it

Seeing the big picture

The key question, in our view, is how to convey not only these values and beliefs to non-leadership people, but also the "big picture" elements of transformation. How is it carried out? What is the change? What will peoples' roles be in the new environment? Ideally, everyone in the organization should share the same views about where things stand and about what still needs to be done, but we are a long way from this ideal state.

Nordic financial services employees are eager to embark on the transformation voyage, but they are looking for leadership to guide them on the way.

Three action steps

Nordic financial services employees are eager to embark on the transformation voyage, but they are looking for leadership to guide them on the way. Specifically, they are seeking:

  1. Leadership support and communication
  2. Clear definition of roles and responsibilities at all levels in the organization
  3. A sense of urgency and momentum coming from the top

Taking action

  • Get leadership to lead
  • Be agile
  • Be human-centric

Leadership counts

Our research shows that business leadership has twice the impact of other drivers of transformation, so strong, visible action is essential.

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Global weaknesses are Nordic strengths, and vice versa

We found that Nordic financial services companies are behind their global counterparts when it comes to driving change and realizing the business benefits of such changes. While global financial services companies face numerous obstacles in effecting successful transformation, the challenges facing Nordic companies relate mainly to leadership support and low accountability.

Riikka Uimonen

Management Consulting Manager – Talent & Organization for Financial Services

Anne Lind

Managing Director – Talent & Organization for Financial Services – Nordic Lead


Mastering FS change by beating fear, growing trust
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