In my previous post, I looked at new sources of talent available to financial services (FS) firms. This time, I’ll talk about preparing the existing workforce for the future. As digital technology reshapes consumer expectations and traditional ways of work, we can expect dramatic changes to the workforce.  

In a decade from now, the composition and character of the bank and insurance workforce will be vastly different to today. FS workers are likely to become more entrepreneurial, adaptable and innovative in outlook. They will focus on higher-value-added work, augmented with intelligent technologies, often with a heavy emphasis on skills and competences such as data science and the customer experience.  

That means ‘new-skilling’ should be at the top of the agenda for banks and insurers. FS organizations need to be thinking today about which skills and roles they need to sustain a competitive edge, and how they can prepare their people for a world where they need to be more adaptable.  

Beyond simply attracting workers, workforce strategies of the future need to incorporate new methods of reskilling them and even help them branch into new careers as automation handles an increasing portion of the workload. Forward-thinking organizations must provide opportunities that prepare employees for future jobs they will perform—inside or outside the company.  

Cross-functional teams and collaboration is another imperative. In many industries, we’re seeing a shift away from rigid job descriptions towards a more fluid way of managing talent, even among the people who are employed full-time. Job descriptions are evolving to reflect an employee’s true capability, skill sets, and aptitudes, and a shift towards a more project-based organizational model that requires people to be multi-skilled and able to multitask. 

Seventy-nine percent of executives agree the future of work will be based more on specific projects than roles. As the ‘one role, one worker’ approach gives way to more fluid and task-based ways of approaching work, the term ‘employee’ will encompass a broad spectrum spanning internal to external, human to machine, and short-term gigs to full-time work.  

Depending on compliance requirements in the markets where they operate and the nature of their business, FS organizations need to balance the regulatory requirement of keeping certain functions separated with the opportunities to drive collaboration across different departments, teams and business units. 

I’ll consider some of the obstacles FS firms face in designing an adaptive workforce in the next post in this series. Until then, take a look at the full reports on: Shaping the Agile Workforce and Shaping the Adaptive Financial Services Organization of the Future. 

For more discussions on the adaptive workforce or to join us at the Change Directors Forum and People Innovation Forum in London, please contact me here or on Twitter @knott_nic.

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