‘Accelerating Digital Workforce Transformation’

October 21, 2019

PwC’s Fit to compete: Accelerating digital workforce transformation in financial services report, which is part of their 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,” said Bhushan Sethi, PwC Joint Global Leader, People and Organisation.

“Yet no amount of digital investment can help them fully attain their new financial and productivity goals when the workforce is stuck in analogue.”

Mr Sethi said: “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.”

Mr Sethi is speaking at the Annual Bermuda Human Resources Association Conference on Tuesday, October 22, and will be discussing workforce transformation with PwC Bermuda’s People & Organisation leaders Alistair McNeish and Felicia Steffen. The conference theme this year is all things Artificial Intelligence [A.I.].

Alistair McNeish, Felicia Steffen and Bhushan Sethi

Alistair McNeish, Felicia Steffen and Bhushan Sethi Bermuda Oct 21 2019 TWFB

PwC’s report, Fit to compete: Accelerating digital workforce transformation in financial services, draws on the experience of global banking, insurance and asset & wealth management firms, laying out the basic concepts and practices of a digital workforce transformation, and the impact they could have on the organisation. The report then explores opportunities and steps for digital upskilling across FS sectors.

Digital-first insurance

The company said, “Insurance firms have not traditionally been seen as digitally adept, but that perception is changing. As business models evolve, it’s important to build a digital culture that embraces change and drives innovation – and helps to inspire people coming in from outside the insurance industry, for example, as part of insurtech deals.

“PwC’s report looks at how a leading reinsurer conducted a digital fitness assessment of its workforce to establish a baseline of technological acumen. As part of the same programme, it is enabling employees to acquire the skills needed for the increasingly digitally enabled business. The company seeks to establish its business credentials as a digital innovator and magnet for tech-savvy talent.

Upskilling in banking & asset management

“Banking customers are becoming more sophisticated in their demands for digitally enabled products and services, presenting a significant need for digital upskilling. Shifts in technology capabilities for both the front and back offices are on the rise.

“PwC’s report notes how one global bank selected high-potential employees to rotate through technology roles in multiple areas, helping them to establish a broad set of technology capabilities early in their career instead of deep specialties in niche areas. The bank is thus breaking down silos, encouraging collaboration and creating opportunities for more self-directed career planning.

“Customer demands and investment patterns are changing rapidly in the asset management and funds sector. Yet many firms, especially smaller ones, are relatively relaxed about upskilling and planning for a digital future.

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.

1.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.

2.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.

3.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.

4.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.

5. 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.

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