Following the financial crisis of 2008, the banking sector came in for its fair share of criticism. Already disliked in many quarters, the banking fraternity were vilified in the media and very little sympathy was extended to the likes of Lehman Brothers who were allowed to ‘fail’. All the more surprising, then, that Goldman Sachs has not only survived, but now competes with the tech giants in Silicon Valley for the very best graduates from around the world, and is known as a great place to work. How come? I attempted to answer this in my series of lectures on Leadership, Teambuilding and Managerial Creativity.
Despite its traditional values and some interesting quirks – it operates its staff canteen on a commercial basis, charging increased prices in periods of high demand – Goldman Sachs is surprisingly liberal in its attitude to staff and working conditions. Flexible hours are encouraged, and there are systems in place to encourage return to work after breaks. They have a great record on minority group issues, as well as philanthropy. Most surprisingly, in a tough, competitive environment with plenty of pressure, employees claim that there is ‘an overriding feeling of consensus’. Maybe in this bank, at least, all is not as bad as we think.
Dig deeper –