Some of the biggest tech companies, including Google, are now venturing into the financial services sector. Apple has recently come up with Apple Pay, which allows contactless payment through iPhone 6 using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.
Clearly, the banking industry, which was always seen as more conservative, is now under much pressure to adopt such cutting-edge technologies and go completely digitized. Well, there are many advantages associated—the first & foremost would be strategic advantage over laggards as not all banks will be able to survive the digital trend. Secondly, no expensive branches, low operating costs and high efficiency are some of the other advantages associated with this. Here’s what HR can do to aid this process:
1. Incentivize employees showing adaptability, creativity and inquisitiveness for digitization
Digital banking may be the next big thing, but when it comes to implementation, corporate culture is the king. Imagine what happens when the employees responsible for brick-and-mortar bank branches do not cooperate, withhold information or hold indifferent attitudes towards people appointed for digitization. HR can make the corporate culture evolve by giving employees a reason to embrace digitization.
2. Hire applicants having digital skills
Candidates who can analyze data, write artificial intelligence program or simply think & act digital will gain advantage over others. Many companies, including banks, are looking for talent from other sectors. I know a couple of friends who were hired by a bank after they got layoffs from TCS.
3. Bring the IT and other departments closer
The IT managers should never work in silos, especially when the company is trying to digitize. As the HR leader, you should try to change employee attitudes by communicating the benefits of digitization, but the impact will be greater if the same idea spreads through word of mouth. Informal groups (online communities, hobby groups, staff gatherings or even weekend sports matches) can be an opportunity for people to interact, share concerns, ideas and collaborate.
Employees are the ambassadors of any company and should be well versed with what digital products the company has or is in the process of coming up with. If I have to buy a financial service, I would surely consult family or friends working in a bank and if they are unable to help simply because they are working in another department, that says something about employee engagement. Soon bank branches will only be for branding or assisting customers with going digital. Information dissipation is more important now and though most companies have internal portals for that, how many employees actually read it? As an HR, you can encourage this by organizing quizzes or other games that check their knowledge.
4. Re-design career paths
As digital will touch greater aspects of bank operations, more jobs will become automated. Many job functions will change and many so-far relevant experiences will soon become irrelevant. For example, in one of the leading banks, the role of cashier was changed to handholding customers with how to make banking transactions online. Job descriptions and career paths need to be re-designed now.
5. Encourage innovation in training and in branding
Banks need to make small incremental changes in everyday practices to encourage full scale digitization. This includes new ways of training and branding.
Banks have e-learning modules which employees can access anytime but imagine mobile gaming apps for training which they can enjoy any time. In fact, one of the foreign banks is using this means to help the new joiners practice the correct way of form filling. One company was using comics to illustrate the difference between good and excellent way of selling. Shifting business model in banking will demand a lot in terms of talent. Innovative ways of training will boost employer branding and help in attracting the desired talent in future.
Now, imagine banking gaming apps for customers- Animated characters & themes engaging customers and potential customers in these gaming apps where they can simultaneously learn about the banking products and financial services for different needs. No bank has done it yet.
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