The future banker will be very different from the traditional banking professional in ways more than one.
Automation is disrupting the banking workforce, and transformation of the workforce is increasingly becoming a topic of board room conversations. Nina, an intelligent virtual assistant delivers 78% first-contact customer query resolution at Swedbank. Nina can also identify the financial services best suited for customers’ needs. Another bank has programmed a robot to sense customer emotions and to speak 19 different languages. The robot can assist customers with different services at the bank. But to say that automation is only stealing and eliminating jobs is akin to saying that the invention of the wheel as a tool to traverse greater distances in shorter time robbed man of his capability to walk. Emerging digital technologies are taking over routine and repetitive jobs and are creating a demand for new professional skills and increased reliance on innately human capabilities such as critical thinking, empathy and problem solving.
The second factor contributing to the transformation of workforce is the new tech-savvy generation of bankers and customers. As bankers and banking customers become younger, new-age skills such as customer experience design, product design based on customer empathy and journeys, data science, and knowledge of AI will be in huge demand. Scrum masters, agility coaches, machine learning engineers and full stack architects will be an essential part of the talent pool. With the boundaries between business and technology breaking down in banking operations, banks will develop multidisciplinary teams and talent with an appreciation of different domains.
Thirdly, the progressive millennial talent is more inclined towards impacting a change and associating with a purpose, and has different priorities and interests than the previous generation. Recent research into the workplace choices of IT and engineering professionals found that there were no banks in the top 25, and only 2 in the next 25, indicating that the sector has not been so successful in tapping into the interests and aspirations of this talent. Therefore, in 2018, banks will need to effectively articulate their purpose. In addition to hiring the right talent, the new banking organization will need to accelerate learning and development to retain the right talent for business.
2018 will also witness the emergence of a hybrid talent pool where there will be full-time employees and part-time/ short-term recruits who will flow in and out of the system, and will need to be trained, on-boarded and absorbed on a case-to-case basis. The learning and training programs will also need to change given the diversity of education and experience of part-time workers.
To fully leverage the potential of the changing workforce, banks have a lot of work ahead of them.