Thursday, April 25, 2019 | ePaper

Tech transformation in FIs

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Md. Harun-Or-Rashid :
Since 2008, Financial Institutions (FIs) have invested in technologies which significantly reduced average space per worker. The global financial crisis has been a wake-up call for the banking industry where regulations are affecting the workplaces in unexpected ways like leading to less flexibility, less collaboration and less innovation. Forward thinking banks are shifting their focus on environment.
FIs are no longer the employee of choice. How will they compete with tech firms to attract the brightest and the best? The future of the workplaces is about the future of peoples. As we change, as we become increasingly dependent on tech devices and as we work faster and become less tolerant of inefficient processes & technologies, we expect changes in the workplaces.
As such, Future workplaces would be:
Workplaces of the future will become more automated; Peoples remain the most critical assets of most FIs but are increasingly in the shadow of machines and in a maze of technologies. Executives of the organizations must figure out how to organize, how to operate and how to behave in a digital way and whether they can afford this change. Digital technology is having a profound effect on the 21st century FIs and changing the way we work, the way we manage, where we work, how we organize, the products we use and how we communicates. Traditional structures are becoming obsolete as the workforce shifts in its composition, demands and expectations. To capitalize, FIs needs to be proactive in understanding how work will be done in the future and what the workforce and workplace should look like. Example: Artificial Intelligence (AI); the machines haven't taken over, however, they are seeping their way into our lives, affecting how we live, work and entertain ourselves. The world runs on money and banks are essentially the gatekeepers and the banking & finance industry heavily relies on artificial intelligence like customer services, frauds protection, investments, trade finance services and much more. AI is the automated emails that you receive from FIs whenever you do an out of the ordinary transaction and that's AI watching over your account and trying to warn you of any fraud. By observing the routine aspects of our jobs, optimists argue, machines are freeing us up for more creative actives.  
Workplaces of the future will become more informal; With declining employee engagement and increasing burnout, how can companies build an irresistible employee experiences in today's 24/7, always on work environment? HR professionals, business managers and leaders at all levels will learn how to make their organizations more engaged, productive, collaborative and innovative. Who's chasing whom? Members of a generation of workers who can sell their talents anywhere are not necessarily lining up at your doors with hat in hand. Example: Future workplaces will far more informal by offering flexible working environments, relax dress codes, no formal name plate or title of the officers, prioritize technologies, keep up with mobile revolution and shift their perspective to attract the best deliverables and outcomes as well.
Workplaces of the future will become more soft skilled driven; It is a matter of survival and a time to think out of the box. To remain competitive and continue to exist, FIs need to migrate to a digital future which can better reach to customers, create more efficient processes and increase growth in ways that traditional business struggle to copy. However, technologies alone do not guarantee success in digital transformation. Companies need to ensure 3R theory (right people, right time and right place) that enables agility with the right people who have the right capabilities and are engaged to the extent that they will adopt and effectively apply the technologies. Example: Future workplaces of the organizations will largely depend on sales process and in the process of sales you can learn discipline, resilience, had a day with rejection, lot more about the organization. How do you connect with these types of peoples? Younger generation of the organization will handle these types of issues by inheriting soft skills (skills refer to positive attitude, good communications skills, time management abilities, problem solving skills, acting as team leader etc) rather hard skills (specific knowledge and abilities that are learned through education or training).
Workplaces of the future will become more portfolios based; How are we trying our younger generation becoming an entrepreneur in an effective way? Senior leaders are often more inclined to ask, how do we reduce human capital costs? How do we ensure that we get appropriate value from the money we invest in our people? Workers lives on both sides of the balance sheets; they're assets, not just cost of doing business. For example, people don't necessarily want to work from 9am to 5pm at office anymore. They want more flexible work, both in terms of the hours and the location. Websites that match employers with freelances are growing fast; and so is the potential for lower wages and inequality.
Workplaces of the future will become more unveiling (end of retirement); Sometimes, when an employer has a choice between two candidates, one with up-to-date skills and another with experience and a qualification with 20 years, there might be some logics for a risk averse employer to choose the first candidate. And it might also be because employer assumes that younger people are more adaptable, cheaper and more tech savvy and are going to stay with organization longer.  Example: Forget quitting at 65; everyone is going to have to stay on for longer, but we should exploit older peoples experience accordingly.
Finally, how we work in future will be more networked, more devolved, more mobile, more team-based, more project-based, more collaborative and more real-time. FIs still need great leaders, managers and employees at all level to get things done in an efficient and effective way. Remember, tech can only be rewarding while ensuring more than enough security.

(Md. Harun-Or-Rashid  is a banker)

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