Technology has always had a tremendous impact on the way people work and live. Just as we used to organize and build cities around water, railroads and electricity, today the world is reimagining itself around digital innovation.

Digital leaders are driving unprecedented change in society with their technology-based products and services. Consider, for example, how Uber has changed the way we think about travel, how Airbnb has shifted our mindset around accommodation, or how Netflix has reshaped how we perceive entertainment.

Digital technology has become an integral part of our everyday lives—especially when it comes to how we work.

The time is now for organizations to reimagine how their employees may fit into their future company. In this series of blog posts, I’ll explore the implications of the digital revolution on companies’ talent and organization (T&O) strategies, and how financial services (FS) firms can use digital to speed up transformation.

Changing roles in the new FS workplace

With the digital revolution well underway, FS organizations need to reimagine three things:

  1. How work will change and how your company should organize work—with multi-disciplinary, distributed teams, new leadership styles, open operating models and an emphasis on collaboration.
  2. What work people and machines should do. Intelligent machines can automate routine tasks, giving the human worker time and energy to focus on more challenging, customer-oriented activities.
  3. Who should do the work as digital democratizes and diversifies the workforce, mixing employees, contractors, machines and partner companies.

Digital trends impacting the future workforce

The global Accenture Technology Vision 2018 report highlights five emerging trends that are shaping the way technology is increasing businesses’ impact across society:

  1. Citizen AI—raising AI to benefit business and society
  2. Extended reality—the end of distance
  3. Data veracity—the importance of trust
  4. Frictionless business—built to partner at scale
  5. Internet of thinking—creating intelligent distributed systems

These trends build on our Technology Vision reports from the previous two years, which emphasized the importance of reinventing the workforce for the future. Businesses need to transform to meet the needs not only of their customers but also their employees. They need to build a future workforce that is agile and can perform optimally in the current as well as the future work environment.

To transform into intelligent enterprises, companies need to replace legacy work models and hierarchies with open talent marketplaces (2017 Trend 3: Workforce Marketplace). They need to look at technology not just as a disruptor, but as an enabler to transform their people, reskill them and make them an integral part of a change-ready enterprise (2016 Trend 2: Liquid Workforce).

People are the key to successful change

It’s not enough to invest in groundbreaking technologies—you have to make sure that your workforce has the skills to navigate and collaborate with intelligent machines.

About two-thirds of FS executives believe that intelligent technologies will transform their organizations completely, but they also believe that only one in four of their workforce is ready to work with artificial intelligence. And yet, only 4 percent of insurers and 3 percent of bankers plan to significantly increase how much they spend on training in the next three years.

There’s a clear disconnect between what executives think and how the workforce feels about change. Our Future Workforce survey found that 75 percent of insurance and banking workers believe it’s important for them to develop the skills to work with intelligent technologies. They see the value of learning to collaborate with intelligent machines on their future work prospects and their lives. They’re positive about AI, and it’s time all businesses became positive about them.

Your business is changing, but it cannot achieve true transformation without the power of its people. It’s time to invest in your workforce to give your business a competitive edge.

I will explore this theme further in my next series of posts. For more information, read our report on Reimagining HR in Financial Services. To reimagine the future of work together, get in touch with me here.

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