In this series of blog posts, I have looked at how financial services (FS) organizations that expand their classification of a worker to include freelancers, contractors, temps and on-demand talent platforms can enhance competitive agility and innovation, while reducing costs. To get this right, they need to reimagine the workforce, the workplace and the work that gets done, preparing for a workforce that is open to freelance and portfolio careers.

One critical success factor lies in combining payroll employees and members of the expanded workforce into an integrated pool of talent. They need to put the processes and systems in place that allow them to effectively leverage internal and external workers to deliver projects and work in the most effective and efficient manner.

They should continue to tap the skills of retired workers who wish to work part-time, source contractors or get on-demand access to technical and creative skills from platforms or freelancers. Then, FS firms need to be able to blend these skills into teams that can deliver on organizational goals and projects, often assembled to meet a particular business need and dismantled when the work is done.

New labor platforms and collaboration tools offer FS firms a means to look internally or to the external labor market to meet the demand for skills. These range from internal talent marketplaces to crowdsourcing platforms like Kaggle to on-demand labor platforms like Freelancer and Gigster. Then, digital tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams help them to orchestrate communication and collaboration across the extended workforce.

To avoid fragmentation between internal and external workers, organizations need to create technology platforms that create a middle ground where people can collaborate. Such platforms not only bring payroll and contingent workers together, they also help promote collaboration between different generations in the FS workforce.

Modern connectivity and collaboration tools are beginning to erase the challenges posed by distance, meaning that teams can work together effectively, even when the project leader is in a bank’s head-office in London, his developers in an outsourcing hub in India, and the UX expert working from home in New York. Video and voice solutions help people collaborate wherever they are; virtual reality solutions may, in time, offer an even more powerful alternative to face-to-face contact.

Technology tools can help, but it’s even more important to ensure that the organization has the right leadership and change to support the shift to a blended workforce. Leaders need to put in place the right incentive systems and processes to encourage people in a blended workforce to share knowledge and to work towards the organization’s goals as a team.

My next post is about how FS organizations can train, engage and retain top freelance and contractor talent.

Until then, our Future Workforce research for banking and insurance outlines some of the key steps to developing financial services  of the future.

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