PwC’s Fit to compete: Accelerating digital workforce transformation in financial services report, which is part of our New world, New skills series, highlights the need for digital upskilling across FS sectors (insurance, banking and capital markets, and asset management) and in different regions across the globe.
FS firms are modernising their technology systems, boosting innovation, automating to drive down costs and adapting the user experience to meet the rapidly changing expectations of their customers. Yet no amount of digital investment can help them fully attain their new financial and productivity goals when the workforce is stuck in analogue.
“There is a great opportunity right now for a number of companies to control the narrative, direct the message, and communicate both inside and outside their organization on how they’re thinking about the future of work and where they stand on upskilling,” said Bhushan Sethi, Joint Global Leader, People and Organisation.
With banks and funds no longer holding an edge in graduate recruiting, a sharper focus on employee experience and the organisation’s professed purpose is required. The technical skills, data analytics proficiency and design thinking that FS firms need right now all call for highly skilled people. These individuals, whether long-standing employees or new recruits, tend to be impatient with legacy infrastructure and increasingly want to work for companies that incorporate high-tech values — companies that are agile and digital.
While no one region has solved the problems of finding and training skilled workers; each region has their own areas of focus such as: increased investing in startups and training of skilled workers in the Asia-Pacific region, upskilling the existing workforce in North America, and Europe’s strong technical education system.
Six Foundational Steps to Workforce Transformation
In the early years of digital workforce transformation, development costs will be high. The ROI might not be as compelling as it will be in later years. Managing these expectations with key stakeholders is an important part of the process. Our research found the six steps that are common among all FS organizations as they transition from an analog to a digital workforce.
Determine clear digital workforce goals – Explicitly articulate the business benefits you expect to achieve through your digital upskilling investments. For many firms, the primary goal is to optimise the value of these investments by equipping the workforce with the skills needed to effectively engage with and apply digital tools.
Tell a powerful story about the value of digital upskilling – All levels of the organisation should understand the vision and the benefits of digital transformation. The narrative about the purpose and efforts of your transformation is critical to its success. When employees fully grasp ‘what’s in it for me,’ an organisation can better establish a culture of digital curiosity, self-learning and innovation.
Choose a focussed launch point – Most firms select a limited segment of the workforce to pilot digital upskilling initiatives. Consider assembling a pilot group that reflects appropriate levels of diversity across the organisation in terms of, for example, gender, age, tenure, seniority, skill set and location. Additionally, consider alternative models to segment stakeholders beyond seniority, demographics or other common behaviours and traits.
Connect the programme with the rest of the organisation – It’s critical to connect the digital upskilling effort with existing learning and development and talent programmes across the organisation to help drive employee participation.
Prepare for headwinds – Launching a successful programme can prove challenging, and obstacles will inevitably arise. Look in advance at the concerns people may have, and at other possible unintended consequences of your efforts. Put in place thoughtful contingency plans so that you can deal with these ‘side effects’ and challenges in a timely way when necessary. Open lines of communication are key to employee adoption.
Measure your progress and drive towards sustainable results – It is key to establish a long-term digital workforce strategy with interim milestones and success measures. Also key to this is having employee involvement communicating progress early and often.