Good communicators are in demand
As banking and finance processes become more complicated, strong communication skills are essential to ensure staff understand their role and responsibilities, including communication with customers.
Marc Burrage, regional director of Hays in Hong Kong, says that when recruiting for a banking division, communication skills are becoming a necessary requirement.
'Business success is only possible when employees communicate well with customers and colleagues. And in terms of compliance, effective communication is an essential ingredient in protecting the organisation's reputation,' he says.
Burrage points out new guidelines released by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority make a candidate's ethical behaviour non-negotiable when recruiting and once employed. 'While ethical behaviour covers a range of factors, communicating with integrity, due care and diligence is one of them,' says Burrage.
Martin Cerullo, Alexander Mann Solutions managing director for development in Asia Pacific, says the key to selecting information to communicate is about understanding relevancy.
'Is the information relevant to the company's strategy? Is it relevant to your team's role or to a market trend?' says Cerullo.
He says effective communication is driven by delivering messages in a way which is understood and actionable.
'Always think about the team or individual you are going to be communicating with - what they already know and what they don't,' he says, adding that one tip is to ask questions as if you were part of the audience, and answer them.
Sharmini Thomas, regional director at Michael Page International, says the nature of banking means there are many divisions.
'One of the biggest challenges individuals now face is information overload,' she says.
Thomas recommends individuals regularly review their communication skills. Was the information received as intended? Was something missed? Would you do something differently next time? She also suggests looking for feedback.
'Put yourself out there in your organisation to develop relationships. This way, you will feel more comfortable communicating,' says Thomas.
John Mullally, manager for financial services at Robert Walters, says many areas of financial markets are complex and include jargon. He suggests cutting them out and using simple, clear, understandable language.
Mullally also recommends face-to-face communication. 'E-mails are most often ignored these days and you very often need to be physically in front of someone for them to really pay attention to you,' he adds.