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Navigating the Future of Banking with a Digital Workforce

Workforce Planning September 27, 2021
Navigating the Future of Banking with a Digital Workforce
Kishor Venkatesh R

Content Developer


The days of customers talking to personal bankers sitting behind a counter are fading fast. Banks are imagining a future with all automatable parts of financial institutions while human employees are training their robotic replacements to do their tasks, posing a challenge to workforce planning.

The banking industry had already been undergoing a massive change due to evolving customer expectations when COVID-19 hit. A survey found that the bank branches will decline over the next decade. Before the pandemic, the branch footprint had already shrunk by 20% in the United States and 60% in the Nordic countries.

In this era of Industry 4.0, financial institutions are now developing chatbots and other smart assets which gather client, social, economic, and other data to formulate customized marketing and service recommendations. Banks are also leveraging AI assets enabled with NLP to provide banking services.

Preparing the Workforce for Impact of Digital Labor

The influx of new and automated technology will mostly displace workers in an organization’s lower and middle tiers. The workforce planning team and decision-makers must implement changes at the highest level.

For instance, banks may create a new C-suite position, namely, the Chief Automation Executive, to source the technology to automate the organization, own the change process, and work out the organizational dilemmas due to the implementation.

Besides, workforce planning must have answers to these critical questions –

  • How to integrate humans and digital labor?
  • How will this change redefine careers?
  • How to change the operations to remain competitive and relevant?
  • How to conduct talent acquisition and talent management in an environment where job security is threatened?

Financial institutions that figure out the answers can determine how existing human resources will be retrained and repurposed to manage machines. Next, companies must consider the training required by their next-gen workers.

What Will Future Roles Look Like?

Blending technology with the power of people’s mind will be the difference between good and great. To keep the workforce planning team informed, let us predict future roles based on future challenges and opportunities.

  • Decision-making algorithms fed on various input data will operate in a fast-changing environment of shifting regulations, new information, and evolving products. Constantly tuning these algorithms to optimize banking customer experience is a demanding role.
  • Banks are already using chatbots to gather information and answer queries. Conversational interface design is in growing need as banks and customers take advantage of voice and text chatbots. Building low-friction interfaces that go beyond solving immediate challenges to delight customers require conversational interface designers to mix creative, anthropological, and linguistic elements.
  • MR and AR will be the banking industry’s primary interface to digital banking. Overlaying the physical world with a layer of the digital world lets banks place an imaginable character and allow customers to conduct their activities. MR designers will design these complex 3D interfaces and make them intuitive, requiring aesthetic design, branding, user experience, and 3D mechanics.
  • As the separation between remote, physical, and digital thins rapidly, customers may want service via apps, voice, augmented, or virtual reality. As mixed reality becomes the primary interface between people and machines, service advisors must alternate between virtual and physical environments to meet customer needs. Service advisors need product and domain knowledge while practicing empathy and customer communication. They must be comfortable with key communications technologies, including performing in a virtual environment.
  • The digital process needs to onboard customers to replace a lost card. It follows a standardized workflow that balances security and regulatory requirements. The rate of change of these processes and their complexity are likely to change as they combine service and information components from multiple sources. Folks looking into processes will analyze, assemble, and optimize these workflows, adjusting them constantly to maximize throughput and minimize friction. They need discovery skills to understand large and interconnected workflows and diagnose problems, bottlenecks, and creative skills to help them prototype and test solutions.
  • Banks must carefully monitor relationships with fintech companies and global technology companies and conduct maintenance and negotiations. With cash and data flowing between organizations, someone must watch conduct and utilization while ensuring performance and regulatory compliance. People who oversee this will balance technical knowledge of the digital interfaces, compliance, security, and risk management. Additionally, communication skills will also go a long way.

Building Tomorrow’s Workforce Today

Workforce planning must bring people together on the next stage of the transformation journey. The below five principles will assist the workforce planning team in approaching the new world of work.

1. Focus on future workplaces and workforce planning

Banks will continue to work in a hybrid environment for a long time from now. Using practices that affect in-person conversations and moving it to video or conferencing calls is not enough.

Banks must adopt practices to focus on a virtual world and new ways of working that support virtual relationship building, effectively leading remote teams, cross-functional collaboration, creating connections, and developing informal networks.

2. Add value to the workplace using automation

Automation and artificial intelligence will affect every department, which only your human resource and technology teams cannot handle. There should be management buy-in before thoroughly applying automation and upskilling the workforce.

The business must lead it while offering proper support to people and realize the anticipated benefits. Automation and digitization have been pivotal to remote working and meeting productivity targets, which will be a focus for banks.

3. Emphasize people and purpose while resetting business goals

While the workforce planning teams cannot save people’s jobs made redundant by technology, they are still responsible for people. Workforce planning must support people by offering them the opportunity to upskill and help them change with the bank.

Workforce planning leaders must outline the strategy for upskilling and career progression. At the same time, the management team must reinforce and support it by finding ways for people to get comfortable with technology.

4. Bring agility to workforce planning to enhance adaptability

Be agile or be irrelevant is the new mantra. Plan to have a dynamic foundation rather than a static future. When workforce planning is agile, banks can be ready for multiple scenarios. It is essential to test, learn, and scale quickly.

Employee training and upskilling are two ways organizations will progress and close the skills gap. Additionally, they also see higher employee productivity, greater trust, confidence, and engagement.

5. Have a roadmap for radical change in the workplace

The workforce planning team may need to make more radical changes. AI-based workforce planning tools can take charge of the bank’s future by defining what abilities and skills workers should possess and how to develop and attract that talent.

While training people on digital and collaboration tools to support virtual work is a start, the workforce planning team must use this as a catalyst for upskilling and create opportunities across the entire organization to use RPA, blockchain, IoT, data visualization, and manipulation tools.

While banks embark on their transformation, their workforce planning team must build a clear narrative for employees about the bank’s direction. With employees growing more anxious about their future, the planners must maintain their momentum to innovate.

How your employees feel affects the bank’s business. So, now is the time for a rich conversation about the future that helps them see their role in the bank’s success.

Draup’s talent intelligence team thoroughly studied the expected banking trends and challenges and how to overcome them by building a new-age digital workforce.

Download the report to learn about the key focus areas for transformation, hiring intelligence for in-demand roles, reskilling strategies for new-age talent development, diversity & inclusion, including compensation & benefits.

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