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Opinion

Banking’s culture clash

In comedy, timing is everything. And so, it seems, in internal communications.

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Jane Fraser, Citi’s new CEO, could not have chosen a better time to send an internal memo to employees about setting boundaries for a healthier work-life balance than March 23. In it, she banned internal Zoom/Teams calls on Fridays and instituted a firm-wide holiday to address pandemic fatigue, which will take place on May 28.

Just one day earlier, on March 22, Goldman CEO David Solomon had issued a voice memo to staff addressing just the same thing.

His move was, however, in response to a highly critical presentation from junior analysts that had gone viral on social media the week before. Revelations that the employees were routinely working more than 100 hours a week, sleeping just five hours a night and extremely unlikely to be at the firm in six months’ time drew salacious press coverage worldwide and forced Solomon to speak out – presumably through gritted teeth.

If banks are going to win the war for talent against their now many rivals, they need to listen

In the memo he expressed his desire for “a workplace where people can share concerns freely”, saying that the firm was working hard to make things better.

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