Three ways the financial services industry can reinvent its approach to work


Winning the war for tech talent

It’s no secret that technology is fundamentally disrupting financial services. Fintech is changing how customers access financial services and interact with providers, while startups are meeting rising customer expectations with unparalleled speed and flexibility.

As a result, big banks have been investing in their technology operations at a rate the industry has never seen before to keep pace, adapting their strategies to remain competitive in a changing marketplace. In fact, Ceridian’s Future of Work report shows that 75% of decision makers within financial services have significantly altered their strategy as a result of rapid technological development, more so than retail (57%), manufacturing (65%), and healthcare (66%).

And while investments in technology will continue to be critical, companies shouldn’t overlook the importance of having the right people—with the right skills—in place.

Access to quality talent is critical for the long-term success of many firms within the sector, and finding and retaining talent is becoming increasingly difficult, as newer, in-demand skillsets are still relatively scarce.

Compounding this is that they are not just competing against their peers – they’re fighting the war for talent on multiple fronts across sectors and against big tech companies with attractive employer brands like Google and Apple. Meanwhile, the need for technology skills has never been higher at a time when the sector itself has become less attractive to the talent they are seeking. For instance, according to a Randstad Global Employer Brand Research report, financial services has taken a back seat to sectors like engineering, agriculture, and energy when it comes to being regarded as an attractive career choice, while barely staying ahead of others such as logistics and retail.

This highlights a need for financial services organizations to focus as much on modernizing the workforce and improving the employee experience as they do on customer experience.

To build a future-ready workforce, organizations will need to fundamentally shift away from traditional approaches to managing people. Instead, they should adopt an advanced people strategy to close the skills gap, reduce turnover, and ultimately build an engaged workforce that is built to embrace change.

Here are a few places to start:

Rethink skills training
A wave of new technologies is changing the division of labor between employees and machines, significantly altering the skills required to perform most jobs. While proficiency in new technologies is important, “human skills” such as creativity, flexibility, resilience, complex problem-solving, and critical thinking will also become highly valuable.

Building human skills requires a different approach than traditional classroom training. Learning platforms can help facilitate this type of skill-building through self-directed learning, which allows employees to build soft skills, as they engage with, and learn from, their colleagues in an informal setting.

“Consumerize” the employee experience
Companies should consider how workers interact with technology throughout the entire employee lifecycle, including onboarding, learning and development, and performance management. While financial institutions have invested heavily in the digitization of the consumer experience in the last decade, the corollary investment in the employee experience has not kept pace.

Research has shown that companies that invest in the employee experience not only have more highly engaged employees but are also more profitable. One example is focusing on wellness. Leveraging an online tool that provides recommendations that help employees get the most out of their benefits. This can make it easier for employees to enroll in the company’s benefits program with the right package for their individual situation, while improving the experience along the way.

Infuse flexibility into culture
Taking a holistic approach to employee well-being can be a major differentiator. According to Gallup, part of a company’s recruiting messaging should “emphasize their focus on well-being” and showcase flexible scheduling and remote working options.

Organizations that adopt some of the tech sector’s modern workplace practices will find themselves at a distinct advantage: They can build an employer brand that blends the stability and work-life balance of traditional business with the flexibility of forward-thinking employers.

Tomorrow’s top talent doesn’t want to work at yesterday’s financial institution. To beat the competition, organizations will have to reinvent their approach.

For additional insights into how to prepare for the future of work in financial services, and create the right workforce, download Ceridian’s latest guide – Investing in the future: Building a next generation financial services workforce.

Author Patrick Luther is Vice President and Principal, Financial Services at Ceridian. He has over 10 years of experience in product management and marketing of enterprise software, and 10-plus years in consulting for the financial services sector. Patrick is a former U.S. Navy Lieutenant, and has held leadership roles at IBM, Rational, Infosys, Deloitte and various SaaS startups. Patrick holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Rochester and an MBA from Yale.