The rapid-rise of digital technology is already reshaping how financial services firms market and distribute their products and services. Now it’s redefining how these organizations deploy their workforces.

Just as companies that are slow to use digital platforms to connect more closely with their customers risk losing market share. So, organizations that fail to restructure their workforces around digital technology are likely to lag the efficiency, agility and innovation of their competitors. They’ll also risk losing large numbers of key workers who are likely to move to more attractive work environments.

In my previous blog I pointed out that digital technology will change how work is organized, how it is conducted, who performs it, and how workers will be led and managed. The impact is going to be immense and far-reaching.

To meet this enormous challenge it is vital that organizations take a step back. They need to rethink the purpose of much of the work that takes place within the enterprise. Only then will they be able to redefine the tasks and roles of their workforce.

Many traditional jobs within the financial services industry are likely to disappear within the next decade or so. Most tellers, account clerks, loan officers and telemarketers, for example, will need to be retrained and deployed elsewhere in the organization. New roles within the financial services sector, such as data scientist, digital experience designer, behavioural psychologist, algorithmic risk specialist and community champion, will come to fore. Key skills in future will include the management of social media, innovation, partner platforms, ecosystems and cloud services as well as specialist expertise in crowdsourcing, mobile payments and business agility.

Digital transformation, of course, requires more than simply swapping outdated skills for new competencies. By carefully reassessing the work that is performed in the organisation, and determining what work is likely to be required in the future, organisations can then correctly restructure their operating models. Four key steps must be performed:

Redesign the work – Once an analysis of the work has been performed, tasks should be consolidated and jobs restructured to match the increasingly dynamic needs of the business.

Define the Digital Skills Gap – Important digital skills and competencies that are absent from the workforce need to be identified and defined.

Develop Talent – A Digital Academy, with an extensive range of training available on a social learning platform, should be established to close the skills gap and develop talent within the organization. Workers throughout the enterprise need to be committed to on-going learning to extend their digital skills and knowledge.

Attract Expertise – New talent-sourcing techniques, such as hiring through social media platforms or securing skills using virtual employment exchanges, should be used to attract essential digital expertise and experience. New or under-utilized skills pools, such as workers in other industries, retirees and stay-at-home mothers, as well as extended workforces, of contractors or freelances, could be accessed.

The digital workforce of the future will be very different from the ranks of employees currently working at financial services firms. Highly flexible and adaptable, it will provide the operational engine that will drive organizations’ quest for greater efficiency and competiveness.  That said, many workers are able and willing to be retrained. Organizations should not overlook the ability and desire of individuals to reinvent themselves and become part of the future digital workforce.

In my next blog post I’ll examine how the digital transformation of the workforce is changing the role of the Human Resources department. Until then, follow some of these links. I think they’ll be helpful.

Being digital: Embrace the future of work and your people will embrace it with you

Workforce of the future: Humanizing work through digital

Digital radically disrupts HR: Digital technology is transforming how people work—demanding a fundamentally different HR strategy

A new blueprint for HR: To create a more agile business, organizations need new and more flexible HR operating models

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