Article: How the BFSI industry is responding to the New Normal


How the BFSI industry is responding to the New Normal

In a recent virtual People Matters Cohort session hosted in partnership with Skillsoft, leaders from the banking industry came together to discuss how they are coping with the unexpected disruption, talent conundrum, and what is the future of the workforce and what skills are required to survive the new normal.
How the BFSI industry is responding to the New Normal

With the major banks in India showing great resilience through their uninterrupted services and building flexibilities like staggering EMIs, providing moratoriums or waiving fees to consumers and small businesses, it will eventually boil down to their profitability concerns and the credit risk associated with it, unless the regulators and policymakers provide a cushion. Sustained quarantines and widespread business closure would surely hit credit card and corporate lending businesses among others. With banks being classified as an essential service, precautions are having to be taken to protect both branch staff and customers.

In the coming times, banks will be tested. Now is their chance to accelerate in the new normal - to take control NOW and cater to the immediate needs of customers as the COVID-19 crisis deepens. 

According to a McKinsey report, workforces in the BFSI industry are being asked to engage differently with customers and respond to new shifts in customer demand, especially heightened expectations for paperless servicing and remote advisory. Talent remains the biggest asset and source of capital for all institutions, and the challenge many are facing is how to quickly skill their team members to meet this demand in a contactless environment. Financial institutions are quickly exploring a number of options, including micro-skilling, upskilling, reskilling, and hiring new talent.

So, how are organizations in this industry responding to these changing demands from their workforce and how are they enabling them with the skills of the future?

In a recent People Matters Cohorts session hosted in partnership with Skillsoft on the theme “How is BFSI industry responding to the new normal?” which was the first in the series of “ Responding to the new normal” which will cover how different industries like BFSI, Pharmaceuticals, Automobile, GICs, etc. The session saw a stellar line up of industry leaders came together to discuss how are they coping with the digital acceleration, the HR tech, and talent conundrum and highlighted what skills are needed to respond to the new normal.

The live session of the recent People Matters Cohorts kick-started with an address by Kamal Dutta, Managing Director-India, Skillsoft, on “Accelerating Growth and Innovation”, followed by the keynote session by Ankur Walunjkar, Managing Director, Deloitte Consulting on “Future of HR ”, and the much-awaited breakout room discussions, where leaders looked for answers in areas like:

  • How the BFSI Industry is reshaping its workforce to address the changes in this “New Normal?
  • What are the new skills (digital or behavioral) that are needed to excel in this new normal in the BFSI industry? 
  • How do leaders from the BFSI industry upskill their team members to meet the changing demands of their workforce in a contactless environment?
  • In the BFSI industry in particular, what role will culture play in the new normal of work? How do they enable work-life balance and also take care of the mental well-being of their employees? 
  • What are the tools and technologies at the disposal of leaders in the BFSI industry to redefine their workforce for the new normal? 

Read on for highlights from the session

Planning growth when disruption is the new normal: Top 6 key trends for competitive advantage

Kamal Dutta, Managing Director-India, Skillsoft shares, “Disruption comes in all shapes and sizes, including viruses.” Reflecting on the research and predictions by Skillsoft, Kamal shares the following key trends that will offer a competitive advantage to the BFSI sector to accelerate the business and people processes in the times of disruption:

  • Big Data: The benefits of big data in banking is pretty clear: Big data gives you a full view of your business: from customer behavior patterns to internal process efficiency and even broader market trends. This means you can make informed, data-driven decisions and, subsequently, obtain business results.
  • AI and analytics: Comparing the use of these technologies before COVID and now, earlier we saw the emergence of these niche technologies, now we are observing the acceleration in their use. “But, more importantly, we are seeing the need to move towards more predictive modeling keeping the cognitive models that we have along with self-learning and deep learning,” says Kamal.
  • Automation: Industries were increasingly investing a lot in automation especially in the manufacturing and automotive industry, however, it will become one of the top priorities for many of the banks due to the challenges posed by the pandemic. Kamal shares, “The focus will be on eliminating all the manual intervention that we can to minimize the human touch and improve efficiencies which are prone to lessen disruption.”
  • Agility & Design Thinking: There will be a wider adoption of agile and design thinking. In today’s highly complex, competitive environment with ever-increasing regulation and innovation, only those Banks will survive who are embedding agility and design thinking into their operating models so that they can serve consumers in the times of unimaginable uncertainty that we have ever faced.
  • Compliance and Risk Mitigation: BFSI is a very regulatory industry and at the same time risk mitigation, regulatory, and compliance, diversity will continue to be the focus.
  • Cybersecurity: There will be an increased need for cybersecurity, ethical hacking, fraud detection. As the BFSI industry will elevate investment in digital and base their business model on technology, the C-suite needs to look at cybersecurity as a key differentiator and not a tick in the box. 
  • Accelerating Growth: Look out for T-shape employees

Exponential growth in the coronavirus has led to exponential change across multiple dimensions of how we work. To accelerate the growth and lead the new normal, one of the priorities of the organization should be an undivided focus on the talent.

Kamal shares, talent will play a key role in shaping the business for the future and hence it becomes imperative to invest in the right talent. 

But how do you define the right talent for the future of work?

Kamal touched upon an interesting topic of  “T-employees”

A T-shaped employee, in the context of human resources, is an individual who has deep knowledge and skills in a particular area of specialization, along with the desire and ability to make connections across disciplines. The horizontal bar of the T symbolizes a breadth of general knowledge and soft skills, while the vertical stem of the T symbolizes the depth of technical hard skills. Essentially, a T-shaped individual is both a niche-topic specialist and a generalist with people skills.

While hard skills are important, it would be equally important to focus on the following top five soft skills which are hard to master- future of jobs:

  • Storytelling and reasoning with Big Data Analytics
  • Emotional Intelligence and AI & Cognitive
  • Digital Growth Mindset and Digital Thinking
  • Importance of 3C- Creativity, Communication, and Critical Thinking
  • Virtual Team Engagement and Management/ Time Management 

Investing in talent development

During this time of crisis, how are leaders thinking about training and development? Indeed, as leaders contemplate their medium- to long-term strategy, they might be considering how to cut nonessential expenses- and that might include investments in employee development.

However, during the People Matters and Skillsoft cohort, the discussion led to this conclusion that developing the skills can save up to 1/6th of the cost spent on hiring an external talent in 9-12 months for the same skills.

Moreover, investment in employee development helps in increasing engagement and productivity which is a win-win situation.

Talent development is a CEO’s priority: Investors want to know about talent

According to a report by CEB it was found that institutional investors are beginning to request information from public companies about workforce performance. In fact, in the US they have petitioned the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to adopt rules requiring public companies to disclose human capital metrics.

CEB also reports that 67 percent of companies are now being asked to discuss talent during quarterly earnings calls, and “culture” is the most-discussed topic about talent. There have been Wall Street investors who have been making these inquiries of CEOs for years, but they’ve remained in the minority until now, and are thankfully finding similarly-interested colleagues in many serving on corporate boards of the minority until now, and are thankfully finding similarly-interested colleagues in many serving on corporate boards of directors.

Deriving from the above CEB, the food for thought for CEOs and CHROs:

  • CEOs to start investing in cross-functional projects to build relationships and drive impact across the business.
  • CHROs should accelerate investing in HR technology to advance talent development across the business.

COVID-19 has necessitated a new set of priorities for HR to manage

The Covid-19 coronavirus is becoming the accelerator for one of the greatest workplace transformations of our lifetime. During the People Matters and Skillsoft cohort on “Responding to the new normal,” Ankur Walunjkar, Managing Director, Deloitte Consulting reflected on how COVID-19 has necessitated a new set of priorities for HR to manage. 

Ankur too stressed that employees’ development and reskilling would be the defining factor for an organization’s readiness to respond to the disruptive forces. 

One of the most significant discussion points that Ankur addressed was skilling HR to manage the current crisis and manage the unforeseen future. He shared three important skills:

  • Tech Fluency: Mobile, social, and workplace tools that promote working together at speed and enable 24/7 access to knowledge, insights, actions, and real-time collaboration by equipping teams at work with tools that mirror that ease of technology in their personal lives.
  • Product management mindset: Reinventing the way HR constructs programs to adopt a product management mindset, connecting previously disparate programs into end-to-end, human-centered, and personalized solutions that drive value for the enterprise and its people.
  • Agility: Deliver proactively, iteratively, and frequently, stressing collaboration over individual contributions, promoting frequent and focused team connections to identify issues.

Crises are like forest fires—amid the tragedy emerge the seeds of renewal and growth. The new normal is on the horizon. Companies must rise to the challenge of overcoming adversity to build on the current momentum and look toward these examples as promising signs of the larger change opportunity ahead. For companies to win in the medium term, they will have to fundamentally redesign their organizations and ways of working. As always, those that act fastest will benefit most.

About People Matters Cohort

People Matters Cohorts is an invite-only immersive program for leaders that provides a unique virtual platform for leaders to learn, collaborate, co-create & network, limited to a small number of leaders to maximize peer-to-peer interaction and learning. Segmented into reflection, assimilation, and application, the 3-day program enables leaders to reflect on their challenges related to the business context, participate in a live session structured to bring all participants together for learning, interaction and networking in a virtual environment and post the LIVE session are invited to apply their reflections and learnings on a “Learning-In-Action” project.





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Topics: Skilling

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