In my last post, I discussed the challenges of bringing talent and technology together as the people roles change in financial services firms. Here, I examine the three most important ways organisations can approach the changes they need to make.

Financial services firms must embrace digital disruption or risk losing major market share opportunities. There is great momentum already at play in this area across the financial services industry. Companies need to begin today to equip their workforce for the skills that will be required, and foster a mindset and culture change that can help employees adeptly navigate an unfamiliar business landscape.

Three key elements are needed to create the FS workforce of the future:

Strike a balance in order to grow the impact. Machines and humans will be the central partnership in the workplace of the future. As such, it will be vital to decipher where machines will best be applied to maximise business intelligence and at what juncture humans can use the “Big Data” technology provides to reveal deep analytical insights that impact the course of the business.

In addition, performing a skills assessment is critical for identifying where gaps may lie as the business moves ahead into this ever-changing digital environment. It will be important to understand where humans can make the most impact and then reengineer roles, processes, and performance management and evaluation accordingly for best outcomes.

Essentially, the finance workforce of the future will become stewards of the business as they begin providing deeper analysis and recommendations that will impact and strengthen business outcomes in real time.

Look in unexpected places for diverse talent. Drawing talent from new pools will broaden the scope of skills and capabilities. Bringing the unconventional into the workplace is necessary to adapt to digital disruption. Here, thinking outside the box is vital when it comes to screening and evaluating new talent—it will no longer be necessary to source talent from business schools, specific qualification areas (such as technology or engineering) or the Big Four professional services firms. Recruiting Millennials with the right behaviours and capabilities (not skills) will be key. There is benefit in connecting this generation’s mindset and passion for social responsibility with the value Financial services brings to society through insuring for catastrophic events, supporting financial security and enabling people to plan for the future.

Diversity-driven culture change. “Finance rebels” will be an integral part of the workforce of the future. They will drive new strategic approaches. Case in point: although automation is ushering in a major shift in how work is done, approximately 30 percent of the Finance 2020 workforce will engage in traditional, straightforward tasks, while the remainderthe renegadeswill take data intelligence to a whole new level by asking hard questions and challenging current practices. Therefore, it will be crucial for organisations to ensure specific practices, questions and strategies that challenge traditions are encouraged and rewarded on an ongoing basis. Now is the time to welcome this diverse group that will also bring radical change to the status quo.

The opportunity to capitalise on the changing paradigms facing the financial services industry could be lost unless new roles are strategically developed, a major culture shift is undertaken and there is widespread acceptance and implementation of digital innovations that will serve the business today and well into the future.

For more on the looming changes with people and technology, read Harnessing Revolution: Creating the Future Workforce.

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