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ActiveOps concerned ANZ productivity gained through pandemic slowing

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read

Operations management software company ActiveOps has released its OpsTracker Q1/2023: Performance Tracker for Operations, Financial Services.

The study recognised an overall rise in Australia and New Zealand productivity since 2019; however, ActiveOps stated that if companies want to reach their full potential, they need to work to maintain these levels due to a concerning 2022 Q4 fall.

According to ActiveOps, businesses in Australia and New Zealand have seen performance increase from 57.6 per cent in Q4 2019 to 60.6 per cent currently (Q4, 2022). But ANZ achieved 62.1 per cent in Q3 2022, so there has been a recent decline.


What’s measured?

The OpsIndex score that looks at back-office employees in the financial services industry is calculated, according to the report, in five areas:

  • Agility
  • Control
  • Effectiveness
  • Efficiency
  • Focus

ActiveOps managing director for APAC Jane Lambert commented on the results: “Operations leaders in financial services have made significant progress in boosting efficiency over the last years despite the stringent lockdown measures imposed on them.

“They now face new challenges in the form of a global economic downturn and the reality that both customers and staff are potentially transient. Leaders now need to juggle cost cutting with boosting employee engagement and retention while ensuring customer experience is maintained.”

ANZ versus other regions

Looking at ANZ’s tracker results compared to the UK and Ireland, and North America, ANZ is 13 percentage points ahead of the UK and Ireland as of Q4 2022 and 7 percentage points ahead of the US in the same period.

Of the UK and Ireland, the report stated: “The UK has long been plagued by poor productivity among its workforce, underperforming most comparable advanced economies in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, according to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.”

The report also provides commentary for the US, giving context to the comparison statistics, including the fact that the US was already “behind other regions”. Its score in Q4 2019 was 40.4 per cent.

Work output

OpsTracker Q1/2023: Performance Tracker for Operations, Financial Services noted that companies are now getting accustomed to hybrid or remote working, and the “intense focus” that was seen during the height of the pandemic is now easing.

The report stated: “All regions saw the performance of their back-office operations teams improve during the pandemic as they focused on maintaining resilience and business continuity. As teams have settled into a new world of remote and hybrid working, that intense focus has faded and operations management has deteriorated. This is particularly the case in the UK and Ireland where the management of operations reached lower levels than pre-pandemic.”

A question of ‘capacity’

Ms Lambert commented: “To maximise the progress seen in productivity since the start of the pandemic, it is critical that leaders use data to understand exactly what their capacity looks like.

“They need to act now to gain visibility of where they lack resources or skills and take an enterprise approach to release staff capacity from across the organisation and invest in cross-skilling. Only by truly understanding where capacity issues lie can leaders take meaningful action that will boost operational performance and inspire a more fulfilling working environment.”

Amid talent shortages, ActiveOps recommended that businesses utilise current staff to boost performance. Companies should be wary of the balance of cost-cutting and retention so as not to interfere with the customer experience.

The full report analysed 30,000 workers from Q4 2019 – Q4 2022. Over 30 financial services organisations were assessed across Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland, and North America.

You can read the report: OpsTracker Q1/2023: Performance Tracker for Operations, Financial Services, by clicking here.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.