Steps for Retail Bankers to Accelerate Employee Upskilling

Banking CIO Outlook | Friday, September 27, 2019

Do your employees possess all the skills needed to fuel digital transformation? Upskilling is the key, and here is the action plan tailored for bankers.

FREMONT, CA: With the emergence of fintech disruptors, retail banks are under pressure to evolve quickly with their digital transformation projects to remain competitive and offer sophisticated digital experiences to customers. Of course, harnessing the right technology is necessary but having a team of experts with adequate tech-based knowledge also is an integral part of achieving digital success. A forward-thinking business leader already knows that the right talent is the founding stone of any business objective. Retail bankers understand that there is a growing need for talents to manage all aspects of technologies. So how can they make the most out of their employees to avoid a declining bottom line? How can bankers put their teams in the best position to drive success? Here are a few steps.

• Designing a Skill Plan

Business leaders are recommended to take a more focused approach based on the priorities on the types of jobs that will be affected most by new technologies, the roles which are most at risk, and the areas that have the most to win. Workforce planning tools could be of help as they can estimate the impact of new technologies. Depending on the upskilling strategy, bankers can specify technological training on various skills and specializations. Leaders should remember to focus strictly on organizational goals when initiating upskilling activities. Building a culture where employees are ever ready to accept the challenge of learning unfamiliar skills can contribute a lot to the efforts.

• Developing Talent In-House

It might be tempting to think that all employees are on board with the skills required in the age of digital transformation, but may not be the case in reality. Retail banks need to create a program to engage and train staff in the whys and wherefores of digital banking. This can change the branch environment, filled with employees eager to engage with customers. Rather than attracting outside talents, banks can promote and train existing employees to build an in-house team that can keep pace with technology changes. Allotting time for workers to take part in formal training and certification programs is also essential. Bankers must remember that digital ambassadorship is the new norm, but it is a deliberate initiative.

• Personalized Skill Development Programs

Besides engaging and training employees with learning programs, wouldn't it be nice if each program is specifically tailored for individual employees? Individual transformation plans can take employees out of their comfort zone and encourage learning new things. What bankers need to do is to integrate machine learning with the systems for the purpose of training. As employees are going through the program, systems with machine learning capability can recognize which employee is using the program, and the system can adapt to that employee's specific needs. With this, employees can experience personalized learning that adapts to their particular learning styles. This system can also provide feedback based on each employee's performance. Not everyone will excel or struggle in the same area. The customized learning program can fill those gaps boosting employee's confidence and morale. Ideally, each worker should feel that they are in charge of their own progress.

• Embedding Career Conversation in Organizational Culture

As part of the skill revolution, employees will have to nurture their own learnability to stay relevant and employable in the retail banking industry. In a career-oriented culture, all branch employees are engaged in ongoing skill development. When employees feel comfortable having robust conversations with their managers about career pathways, they will be in better positions to develop digital skills that enable them to move into new areas and help the banks stay competitive. In turn, leaders can leverage talent already in place to reduce skill gaps, while making sure they have the right staff in the right roles, improving the competitive outlook and reducing attrition.

• Administrating Project and Monitoring Results

Upskilling is challenging for everyone involved in the process, including employers, leaders, and employees. Bringing together each department and using tools to keep track of activities and results can bring positive changes. A comprehensive IT system is essential to follow hundreds of workers. Bankers must take initiatives to set up opportunities for workers to communicate with one another through support groups, meetings, and online platforms, as workers may want to share their learning methods, how they motivate themselves, and many more.  

The digital age is already here, and retail bankers must act now to ensure they are equipped with the right workforce to help them navigate this age of fast-paced transformation. Through a combination of assessments, training, and individual development, bankers can accelerate employee time-to-value, improve talent mobility, and enhance organizational performance, all by increasing bottom-line, future-proofing their business with respect to the changes lying ahead.

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