Employers and employees join forces for better working life in the financial sector

Financial sector employees and employers have struck the right note in discussing the changes the sector is going through. Both parties aim to improve productivity and work well-being while adapting to the changes. The discussions have already led to concrete actions within companies, and may well also influence collective agreements.

Two years ago, Finnish financial sector employers and employees agreed on making a joint effort to improve their working practices. The project began with extensive surveys for employees and customers, mutual workshops, and studies on changes in the financial environment. This was the start of an entirely new kind of labour market cooperation.

The studies identified several targets for improvement. Digitalisation alters customer behaviour and demand, and the sector must adapt or lose to new competitors. Employees’ skills, training and workplace well-being also require more investments than before.

Results will reach collective agreements

The discussions led to concrete actions. The results are now being moved from the trade union level to practical application in individual companies. The goal is to utilise the results in future labour market negotiations, which also means revisions to collective agreements.

As one concrete measure, banks and insurance companies have made their best practices public. These include, for example, new telework practices, decentralised decision-making, and trial runs with Saturday work. Short descriptions of the best practices were compiled into a slideshow: Words to Actions ‒ Best Practices of Finnish Financial Sector Companies.

In the context of the Finnish labour market, this level of communication and cooperation between employers and employees is exceptional. FFI’s Research Manager Tarja Kallonen, here representing the employer side, is clearly happy with the results: ”It’s not often you see collaborative spirit like this in the labour market. This is something the Finnish financial sector can be proud of!”