Five digital workplace innovations to retain top talent

Improving the overall working experience is key to winning the war on talent, argues Amanda Osuna in this HR Executive article. She outlines five ways to use digital innovation to reimagine the workplace and better connect employees: 1. Ease the journey from home to work with perks such as a parking-space locator app or a kiosk to guide them to their desk for the day in an open office. 2. Automatically personalize workspaces by adding a customized profile at their workspace. 3. Connect for collaboration with digital tools and platforms. 4. Optimize the conference room experience with a meeting room management app. 5. Tap into creative satellites for meetings at nearby co-working spaces or coffee shops. “The lasting positive impressions that experiences like these create for people don’t just serve as talent magnets,” Osuna writes. “When technology makes employees happier and gives them more time to focus on their work, employers reap the benefits, and the workers stay around for much longer.

Banks at a talent-management crossroads

The banking industry sits at a crossroads when it comes to talent management, argues Jack Milligan in this Bank Director article. “Demographically, many banks are layered like a parfait, with as many as four distinct generations working in the organization, each with its own set of personality traits, likes and dislikes,” he writes. This dramatic generational shift is forcing banks to become more proactive in how they manage their talent.” Bank Director surveyed more than 300 industry professionals at the 2018 Bank Compensation and Talent Conference about their talent management challenges and strategies. Forty-five percent of the survey respondents said it has become both more difficult and costly to attract and retain talented staff; 61 percent said their bank is actively and intentionally recruiting millennials and generation Z; and more than 70 percent said their bank has expanded its internal training programs to develop younger leaders within the organization. As baby boomers approach retirement and generation X moves up in the management hierarchy, Milligan points out that generation X is the smallest of the four demographic groups at 20 percent. “The banking industry will be forced to rely disproportionately on millennials as this generational shift occurs. This is why training programs that focus on talented younger employees in the organization are so important,” he writes.

To attract digital talent, offer better rewards

 “For banks and other financial institutions, adapting [to today’s tech-driven world] is essential for competitive survival. They grapple with emerging technologies such as blockchain, big data analytics, artificial intelligence and robotics, every day – and it’s why many companies are considering revamping their rewards strategies to attract and keep tech talent that has skills in these areas,” writes Shai Ganu, in this Willis Towers Watson Wire blog post. When it comes to measuring and paying for performance, he argues it’s crucial for financial services companies to focus on defining where individual performance lies and differentiating it based on the evolution of business models, in addition to overall company performance. He cites Willis Towers Watson’s 2017/2018 Global Future of Work Survey – Asia Pacific, in which more than 60 percent of HR executives said the design of performance management, leadership development and organizational structure will require an “outside-the-box” approach to help ensure the challenges of automation and digitalization are adequately addressed in their organizations. Ganu claims that rewards need to be fresh and updated often. “Freelancers – or contingent workers – are quickly augmenting traditional staffing models, the way work gets done and the fundamental assumptions about wellbeing and Total Rewards. This means more tailored and personalized Total Rewards with increased choice for all types of workforce participants will be required,” he writes.

Will Brexit widen the digital skills gap for British banks?

Will Brexit make Britain’s digital skills gap worse? Vishal Marria, CEO of Quantexa, thinks it’s possible. In a guest column for Forbes Innovation, he writes about the rise of the fintech sector in London and the growing skills gap that hampers the digitalization efforts of key players in financial services. “For many decades, and particularly since London has turned its focus to fintech, Britain has been able to attract top digital talent to the UK to work for some of the world’s leading financial institutions,” he writes. “Depending on the outcome of Britain’s deal with the EU, it could become much more difficult for UK banks to attract European talent, because of changing restrictions on the movement of labor.” Marria is particularly concerned about major banks moving their headquarters to destinations such as Dublin and Frankfurt. “The unfortunate potential outcome here is that all the best European candidates will be able to move freely among member states. This could put Britain at a competitive disadvantage, particularly compared to the prestige it enjoyed before the referendum that made it a magnet for top talent,” he writes. On the up side, Marria believes Britain may end up focusing more on domestic talent, improving education and awareness about careers in technology. “In the long run, this could be greatly beneficial not only to the financial sector, but to Britain’s labor force and, eventually, its economy,” he concludes.

EQ is undervalued in the workplace, study finds

A study by Robert Half found that 25 percent of business leaders in the United Kingdom believe emotional intelligence (EQ) is undervalued in the hiring process, according to an article in HR Magazine. The article also cites the findings on the benefits of hiring employees with high EQ: 46 percent of respondents said a primary benefit is increased motivation and morale, 45% cited improved leadership, and 37 percent better collaboration between teams. Matt Weston, UK managing director at Robert Half, told HR Magazine that finding the right balance between skills and personality is crucial for long-term success in today’s competitive recruitment environment. “Businesses must evaluate what characteristics are required within the team and what skills can be taught.”

Workforce diversity is good for business

During a recent roundtable discussion held by The Yorkshire Post and Barclays, senior business leaders talked about how social mobility programs boost performance and make companies more agile. For one executive, diversifying the workforce enables companies to avoid “groupthink”. “There is a danger with anything related to social mobility that people just view it as a nice thing to do,” said Andrew Devonald, senior business development manager with Grant Thornton. “What we are finding is that this is making our business stronger. There is a business case for social mobility.” Diversity can also help build better customer relationships, according to another panelist. Paul Ayre, managing partner for law firm Gordons, told the discussion group that his firm’s apprentice program made them more in-tune and aligned with clients. “We act for a very entrepreneurial client base who may not have gone to university, so it makes us look a lot more like our clients which is no bad thing,” he said.

Navigating the talent crisis in insurance

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that there could be more than 200,000 open positions in the insurance industry that go unfilled in 2018. BLS also estimates that nearly half of the insurance industry workforce will retire over the next 15 years. This, combined with another study by The Hartford which revealed that only 4 percent of millennials are interested in an insurance career, highlights a looming talent crisis for the industry. One way to navigate the upcoming talent shortage is to think outside the traditional business model and to consider retaining older workers as part-time, freelance workers, writes Sharon Emek for this Insurance Business Magazine article. “By engaging older workers in a remote setting, brokers can tap into a workforce teeming with talent and knowledge, and access skills that can help boost productivity and competitive advantage. They could become the secret weapon for your brokerage’s success,” she writes.

Banking on and for the gig economy

“Traditional banks simply can’t keep up with today’s world of people who have irregular incomes, including the whole segment from Lyft drivers to journalists, and creative independent people, which is roughly over 60 million people in America,” Archie Ravishankar, CEO of Cogni, told BlackBook in an interview. He believes this new segment of workers will need banking services that enable and simplify their lifestyle. They will need mobile apps that can reduce account-opening processes and offer new perks. Freelancers who have rejected traditional offices for working at home or in communal work spaces would appreciate banking incentives such as cash back on hotels, and having a multi-currency wallet to swap and hold currencies and exchange when they prefer, according to Ravishankar.

Disrupting from within, with the workforce in mind

According to Randy Mysliviec, managing director of the Resource Management Institute, many business leaders are determined to disrupt their organizational models before someone does it for them. Yet many fail to realize that the best source of transformation is the workforce. “While digital disruptions are inevitable, we all have the freedom to affect change on our terms—starting with human capital,” he writes in a guest opinion piece for CIO Dive. Mysliviec recommends that companies focus on developing and transforming internal talent; leveraging a transitional workforce; and creating a reasonably fast timeframe for change. “To be successful in any new business endeavor, you have to know how to reuse and repurpose talent. Having talent prepared for the future is how we plan for the future and empower talent to enable disruptions,” he writes.

Walking the flexibility talk is key in talent wars

Flexibility as an incentive only works if your employees feel that they can make use of it without hurting their careers, argues Bruce Tulgan in this LinkedIn article. While flexible scheduling, location, pay and employment make for attractive retention tools, they fail to work when a company’s culture doesn’t reflect the values it proposes to new hires. Tulgan gives a hypothetical example of a working mother who established her scheduling flexibility terms from the beginning. “You need to make sure you measure her efforts in the workplace by what matters: the results she is able to produce, her personal accountability, and all the other skills she exhibits in her work, not the irregularity of her schedule,” he writes. Tulgan believes supporting and valuing flexibility are more feasible than they may appear. “Transforming a company culture, or building one from the ground up, is difficult and requires the dedication and effort of everyone within the organization, from the CEO to middle managers all the way down to temps and part-timers—but it can be done,” he writes.

Global workforce growth is set for a slowdown

Economists predict global population growth will slow over the next few decades, which could translate to a fall in worldwide output, Business Insider Australia reported last week. “Slowing population growth and population ageing will weigh heavily on economic growth in the coming decade or two,” said Andrew Kenningham, chief global economist at Capital Economics. “These forces will be only partly offset by increased participation in the workforce by women and older people.” But other analysts argue that artificial intelligence and robotics have the power to offset the negative effects of workers ageing out of the workforce. “Countries and US labor markets undergoing more major demographic change have invested significantly more in new robotic and other automation technologies,” wrote Daron Acemoglu of MIT and Pascual Restrepo of Boston University in a recent study.

Startups reinvent hiring in India

“As the war for talent continues, startups are going all out to reinvent their recruitment strategies in order to pick the very best candidates, and experts say that in the past six months or so, many new-age companies have been doing so by taking a differentiated approach to hiring,” The Economic Times reports this week. According to the article, the financial startup BankBazaar is removing the human element by completely automating the hiring process with tests and simulations. BeatO has done away with resumes and focuses more on interviews. BigBasket is using artificial intelligence to rank and score resumes. Swiggy has changed its interviews to include more behavioral questions. “Interviews allow for more nuanced interactions with candidates without a piece of paper describing what they’ve done in the past. Doing away with resumes has not only cut down the time taken to hire, but also reduced the churn of candidates,” Gautam Chopra, co-founder of BeatO, told The Times.

Investing in talent and leadership development

Financial services firms with a budget surplus would be smart to consider putting that money back into their workforces, argues Lynn Heckler in this CU Insight blog post. “Employees are demanding a similar experience in their workplaces as they are experiencing as consumers,” she writes. “This means employers should focus on and invest in things that will improve the employee experience.” Heckler says leadership development will also be crucial to credit unions and others in financial services and advises them to skill up leaders and invest in them to remain competitive. She also believes in investing in digital-savvy talent before it becomes an emergency. “The reality is that you probably need it already, even if you do not realize it yet,” Heckler writes. “It is crucial for credit unions to have team members in place who really understand the digital transformation and the digitization of financial services.”

New report ranks top global cities in talent and agility

According to JLL’s City Momentum Index 2018: Agility, Talent and Technology report, San Francisco is the top global city for future proofing. “The future-proofing potential is potential founded in factors such as innovation capability, talent and world-class higher education; high levels of technology start-ups and scale-ups; patent applications; public infrastructure; and the quality of the environment,” writes Jody Bahranovic for IREI.com. The top 10 cities in descending order are: San Francisco, Silicon Valley, New York, London, Boston, Los Angeles, Paris, Amsterdam, Toronto and San Diego. “By investing in and leveraging their strengths in technology, physical and digital connectivity, quality of life and sustainability, they are positioned to maintain their performance into the future in this competitive landscape,” the report says of the top-ranked cities.

New study will explore talent gap at credit unions

Visa has partnered with credit-union-focused think tank Filene Research Institute on a pair on initiatives designed to help credit unions understand potential employees and encourage more millennials to pursue careers with them. “One of the things you find with millennials is they like, with their career choices, to work with organizations that are mission-driven,” Doug Leighton, head of U.S. community accounts at Visa, told PYMNTS. “Credit unions fit that bill as a mission-driven organization dedicated to serving their members and their communities.” But Leighton believes the industry needs to do a better job raising its profile among potential candidates. “The thing that is challenging to credit unions is that they are somewhat of a secret,” he said. Visa and The Cooperative Trust, a young credit union professional community, recently launched a mentorship program encouraging young people to consider CU leadership roles. As part of the program, Visa invited 78 program participants – known as “crashers” – to the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference to listen to and engage in conversations related to the future of the credit union market.

Why more insurers should teach insurance

“Insurance is complicated, and it is a misunderstood career field,” writes Patrick Wraight in this Insurance Journal article. “We are suffering with a real problem of backfilling positions with high quality people. Agencies and companies alike are experiencing high turnover and unfilled positions.” Wraight believes part of the problem can be attributed to a lack of sufficient qualified insurance educators. Insurers who like to read and learn more about their industry, who can explain complex terms in simple language and like public speaking should consider teaching what they know, he writes. “We need you in the different designation programs out there. We need you to teach CE courses. We need you for the Insurance Academy. The insurance industry needs people that can connect with a new generation of insurance professionals,” Wraight notes.

Build a better career site to attract top talent

When it comes to attracting the best employment candidates, there’s no tool at your disposal more powerful than your company’s career site, according to Pete Jaradeh. In an Oracleguest blog, he outlines the three ways to improve a career site to deliver a more candidate-centric experience. First, Jaradeh recommends telling a compelling brand story. “Find creative ways to incorporate your culture, values and personality right into your employment offerings and your overall message,” he writes. Second, he suggests making the career site more mobile-friendly. “A study conducted by recruitment technology company Jibe found that one-in-five candidates would abandon a job application entirely if wasn’t optimized for smartphone use, and this figure continues to rise.” Third, focus on candidate communication and feedback. “I strongly urge you to take a look at your company’s website and perform a thorough analysis, ensuring that you’ve emphasized major components of your organizational story, provided your candidates with an optimal experience and are capable of delivering periodic updates to applicants throughout the process,” he writes.

How to turn employees into managers

This ADP blog post lists six key tips for turning employees into managers. 1. Define skills – think about the short-term and long-term goals of your company and the type of managers needed to meet those goals. 2. Identify candidates – don’t assume employees wouldn’t be interested in additional responsibilities or time commitments because of family obligations. Use performance evaluations, self-assessments, and feedback from peers and supervisors to help assess candidates. 3. Use mentoring – consider pairing new managers with more experienced managers, someone to whom they can go for guidance. 4. Give stretch-assignments – give high-potential employees additional responsibilities beyond their workgroup so they gain exposure to other teams across the organization. 5. Provide feedback – consistent feedback can help motivate employees who want to learn and grow with the company. 6. Train and develop – seminars and workshops on topics such as employee relations, IT, and operations can help refine managerial skills.

Filling the talent gap in insurance

Last week, Insurance Business America’s one-day Millennials in Insurance Conference, held in New York, brought together industry experts to discuss how to attract and retain new employees. Maria Sassian shares her insights from the event in a post for The Triple-I Blog. “It’s a myth that young people want to job-hop every few years,” she writes, adding that millennials’ top expectations from employers include stability, flexibility, culture and autonomy. Sassian lists some of the advice from the panelists at the event on recruitment: Make use of GlassDoor and LinkedIn; focus on transparency; engage students at the high school level. “Have a ‘swagger’ to show that the industry is cool and cutting edge,” she writes. As for retaining young talent in insurance, here are some of Sassian’s highlights from the panelists: Look at employees as a long-term investment by providing mentoring and job-sharing opportunities; consider non-compensation benefits; promote from within. “Millennials like lots of feedback, so keep the communication lines open,” she writes.

Retention in the gig economy

According to the American Staffing Association, US staffing companies hire more than 15 million temporary and contract employees annually. Gig economy workers make up 15 percent of Canada’s workforce and 6 percent of the UK workforce. This WilsonHCG blog post explains why temporary and contract workers voluntarily leave and how to overcome these challenges. The first challenge is diminishing trust in leadership. “Leadership sets the example for your workforce to follow,” the blog notes. “Leaders are drivers of trust, diversity and inclusion, culture and the employment brand.” The second reason why gig workers leave is a “rigid, corporate working environment.” According to the article, today’s professionals, especially temporary workers who frequently operate virtually or in non-traditional settings/schedules, are looking for more diverse and flexible, and less rigid, working environments. Compensation and career stagnation is the third challenge when it comes to retaining gig workers. “Like the permanent workforce, gig economy professionals are also seeking to advance their careers – whether by gaining another contract (with better pay), building their resume and network, or skill-set increases,” the blog notes.

Insurance industry needs more educational programs to attract talent

By the end of 2018 a quarter of the insurance industry’s workforce is expected to retire, while only 4 percent of millennials view it as a potential career choice. “We must advocate for and help build academic programs, apprenticeships and on-the-job training opportunities that lay the foundation for success — as well as continue to teach insurance professionals throughout their careers. It’s up to us to shape a more vibrant future,” writes David Disiere, CEO of QEO Insurance Group, in this Insurance Thought Leadership blog post. While more academic institutions are offering risk management degree programs (1,870 graduates from 112 programs in 2010), Disiere argues that the industry could do better. “Our focus should be on building more academic programs to attract more students and better preparing them to join our ranks,” he writes. “Insurance experts can help academics design curricula explaining the richness and variety of the industry. The career can encompass many specializations, from sales agent to claims manager and underwriter to evaluation specialist.”