With all the challenges facing the modern FS organization, the key problem for HR to solve is how to become a digital-first function without sacrificing the ‘human’ element. It requires a courageous look at the transforming FS landscape and a reinvention of HR’s role.

The days of HR being an administrative, compliance and policing function are over—to guide FS firms through the current wave of technological innovation, HR must become the architect and builder of a new digital workforce and the workforce experience. To do so, it needs to familiarize itself with a transformed talent marketplace.

To can empower a digital FS workforce and an agile FS enterprise, HR needs to gain a deeper understanding of the links between market trends, business goals, performance, and people strategy; and become acquainted with the tools and technologies that will support the workforce and the organization.

What needs to shift?

To achieve this, HR needs to relook the  transforming talent landscape.

  • The talent marketplace has changed. The key skills and experience in demand by banks and insurers are no longer retained solely within the FS marketplace. Data and digital capabilities and experience, for example, are prevalent across multiple industries–indeed they are more mature in industries outside of FS.  Understanding where to look, how to source and attract, and how to retain these skills means looking outside of the traditional FS ecosystem.
  • Employee demands are changing. HR needs to acquire a better understanding of how employee demands are changing. Employee expectations in terms of how they engage with traditional HR services for learning, recruitment, career development, etc., are higher.  HR is tasked with delivering consumer grade personal experiences efficiently and often at scale. To do so, it needs the right insight, and the capability to analyze those insights and adapt HR strategies to compete for talent.
  • Technology capabilities need to grow. The use of digital HR technology—supported by the effective use of employee data—is essential for success. HR needs to know what technology is available to manage, shape and enable the workforce, and how it works. In fact, it should be driving the technology and innovation roadmap for the function as it can no longer rely on IT to select and adapt the technology to meet its changing business and workforce needs.

  • HR needs to get closer to other business functions. HR’s role is no longer solely the delivery of HR services; HR must also champion the organization’s people strategy and employee experience. To achieve this, there needs to be a collaborative effort across functions, from finance to  IT and marketing.  HR needs to partner with these other business functions to ensure alignment of investment priorities and delivery of change to help the organization meet its strategic goals and transformation objectives.
  • HR must get out of the habit of working in silos. HR can no longer provide siloed services for specific business lines—it must reach across the business, informing its offerings with the insight and experience it acquires enterprise-wide. This will allow it to realize the potential of a blended, augmented workforce.

HR needs to be more strategic

There is one last shift—possibly the biggest and most important that HR in the FS sector needs to make:

  • HR needs to become more strategic. HR should take its knowledge and experience and, using the new tools and data at its disposal, provide the business with more strategic inputs. For example, HR’s insight into the talent market can help shape and guide business transformation. Its ability to translate business imperatives into a people and HR strategy can create a solid foundation for business to move forward with the right skills in place.

There is also work to be done at a micro level. To shape and direct the organization’s people strategy and spearhead transformation, HR needs to understand how work, the workforce and the execution of work are changing.

Join me next week as I take a look at these elements and the tools HR can use to get it right.

For more on HR transformation in FS, take a look at Accenture’s recent report, Reimaging HR in Financial Services.

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