Empower your employees for digital transformation

“I hire people brighter than me and then I get out of their way” – Lee Iacocca, Former President, Ford, “Iacocca: An Autobiography”, Bantam Books, 1984

Almost 50 percent of banks surveyed in the EFMA Infosys Finacle study of 2016 believe that there is a high threat of disruption to the industry at the hands of technology companies and challenger banks. As banks proceed to digitally transform their own organizations in response, they are hampered by the absence of the right people, culture and structures.

Therefore, a key priority for banks in 2017 is to set this right by finding the right people and empowering them – employees, partners, customers and all – to succeed with digital technologies and the associated business strategies. So, who are the right people for digital transformation? Primarily, these are people with different skill sets, and an understanding of how to balance business, technology, and value. It goes without saying that top leaders must also possess these attributes.

Banks should also look for people with the right mindset – one that is unafraid to challenge the status quo or reimagine the tried and tested. In addition, banks must check that employees – and not just those in front office roles – are truly empathetic to customer needs. The challenge before banks is to convert rationally satisfied customers, who are known to be as fickle as unsatisfied customers, into emotionally satisfied ones. But in order to do that, they must first ensure their employees are similarly emotionally satisfied.

Digital transformation marks a massive change in the life of any bank. Hence banks need to set up a cross-functional team to anchor the changes that will impact the length and breadth of their organization. Last but not least, they have to ensure the people they hire have the technical expertise to see them through the transformation.

Clearly, finding such people amidst a talent crunch will not be easy. One way to work around this situation is to partner with Fintech firms and startup companies with the right cultural and technological fit.

The bigger challenge however, is to transform the organization’s culture for the digital age. This is a culture that values innovation, creative thinking, and total alignment with the customer. Infosys Finacle suggests that in 2017, banks take certain measures, which we have already implemented within our own and several client organizations, to achieve the necessary cultural transformation.

Our zero distance philosophy has helped many enterprises close the gap to their customers at every level of the organization. We have also introduced Design Thinking to many clients, which they have used to scale new heights of innovation to produce solutions to their customers’ greatest problems. Besides these techniques, we also recommend that banks institute a culture of lifelong learning in their organizations and instill learnability – the ability to pick up new knowledge and skills throughout one’s career – amongst their employees. The importance of doing so in a digital age where change is swift, massive, and guaranteed, cannot be overstated.

Venkatraman Gosavi-Trends-17