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Work pressure and aggressive customers are a growing problem

The union representatives and two representatives from Nordea’s Danish management team met for a discussion about busyness, rankings and threatening customers

9. Nov 2022
4 min
English / Dansk

Engaging in dialogue and discussion is how we develop and improve at Nordea. That was the reason why two members of the management team, Mads Skovlund Pedersen, Head of Personal Banking DK, and Sanne Fredenslund, Head of Private Banking Denmark, were invited for the seminar to answer questions and comments from the elected representatives.

The debate was lively and wide-ranging. Anne Brink Kjeldgaard, who is a union representative at Personal Banking Aalborg, said how everyday worklife had been affected at her branch office where half the employees had been replaced over the past nine months.

“It has meant huge work pressure for those of us who remain, and more colleagues are taking sick leave. Those of us with the experience have to be everywhere at the same time. But the balance is fragile. We’re vulnerable and feel inadequate towards our customers and not least towards new colleagues who need training on the job. I find it hard to see how we can get to a place where things are more calm as we still have very active customers and a heavy work load.”

Lack of recognition and resources

Mads Skovlund started by saying that getting new colleagues is important as it helps challenge old habits, but:

“That said – yes, things have been too busy. But it’s good to hear how you and your colleagues shoulder the responsibility.”

Sanne Fredenslund, Head of Private Banking Denmark, Dorrit Brandt, president of FiN and Mads Skovlund Pedersen, Head of Personal Banking DK with all the elected representatives who participated in the seminar.

Sanne Fredenslund said that she hopes that Nordea is the kind of bank where we help each other when a branch office or other unit is under pressure.

“We’re part of the same bank. I’m well aware that it requires extra energy and with the major changes ongoing at Private Banking on top of the big changes in society, I fully understand that the ability to walk down a couple of flights of stairs to help colleagues has been limited. We’ve taken a double blow. But now we’re ready again and we’re of course happy to offer help whenever it’s needed.”

Dorrit Brandt commented that the employees despite everything manage to keep everything going although a lot of things don’t work.

“Many go beyond the extra mile to offer customers good solutions. That deserves recognition – and extra resources!”, Dorrit Brandt pointed out.

Nobody wants bottom ranking

Measurement of employee performance was another theme.

“I have a feeling that KPI rankings become a competition when leaders compare the different areas. We’re constantly measured, and ranking is almost the only tool used. We’re many teams in Nordea 24/7 and none of us likes a bottom ranking,” said senior union representative Jan Nielsen from Nordea 24/7.

Mads Skovlund underlined that he never looks at who scores top or bottom marks:

“But I look at the development of each team. The goal is that everybody improves a bit. But somebody always has to be ranked top or bottom. There may be a thousand explanations for that, so we cannot make comparisons across KPIs.”

More stressed and aggressive customers

Several union representatives have experienced that customers seem more stressed and aggressive because their finances are tight.

“Many good colleagues have to deal with challenging customer interaction. For many of them it’s the first time that they’re working at a bank while things are going downhill, so they don’t have the experience,” said senior union representative Majbrit Lillesand Sørensen from Holstebro.

Union representative Per Gjessø from Customer Experience added that they experience an increase in customers who are so aggressive and nasty towards employees that we have to ask them to find another bank.

Mads Skovlund promised to put much more spotlight on this problem:

“Advisers are generally trained in handling difficult situations – but one thing is theory and another thing is practice. We have zero tolerance of customers who overstep our boundaries. We support employees who experience unpleasant customers, but unfortunately no matter how much training we offer employees, there is no guarantee that they will never have to deal with customers who scream and shout.”

There was a lively dialogue between Dorrit, Mads, Sanne and the union representatives.

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