Breaking Down the Walls in Financial Services

Disruptive technology is having a significant impact on many industries—and the financial services industry is no exception.

By Ben Decker, Vice President, Global Solutions - Finance, Insurance and Business Services/Technologies  |  November 03, 2016

Disruptive technology is having a significant impact on many industries—and the financial services industry is no exception. Those financial institutions that survived the financial crisis and were able to respond appropriately to the ensuing regulatory changes now find themselves challenged by technological advancements. First, an increasingly mobile and tech-savvy consumer base demands different services, as well as mobile, online access to these services. Second, as noted in the article titled “Anticipating Disruption in Financial Services” in The Wall Street Journal, new entrants are using virtual platforms and advanced technologies to muscle into specific sections of the market by providing consumers with a faster and more direct way to do business. And third, automation, remote working, virtual collaboration tools, and the Internet of Things are changing the workplace itself.

It was in light of all of these changes that I greatly enjoyed attending the 2016 LEAP HR event at the end of September. Because all of the 60+ attendees were there with one objective: to share information about how they’re adapting their organizations to this new era.

One of the most important trends that became apparent during this event was the fact that incumbents are moving away from their traditional structure of functional silos. The Talent Economy article “Gillian Tett: Silos Hinder Organizational Performance,” illustrates how silos originated as specialist departments that drove successes 10 to 20 years ago—but are no longer relevant in our current business ecosystem. And while technology is the primary facilitator of this development, it isn’t the driver. HR and workforce professionals won’t be surprised to learn that the driving force of this change is, in fact, talent—Millennial and Gen Z talent, to be precise. These generations like to collaborate; they like to be mobile; and they want to be in charge of their own career paths. They’re far more likely to leave an employer within one to two years to pursue other opportunities that interest them—even if it involves making a lateral move instead of a move up. And while not all of them are interested in working as independent talent in the gig economy, they certainly do have a “gig” mindset in that they know specifically what they want out of a specific project or position.

So how are enterprises adapting their organizations? They’re “breaking down the walls” between the silos. They’re creating work environments where employees are encouraged to fulfill their potential by gaining exposure to many different business functions. They’re creating visibility across the enterprise and offering employees career guidance in the hopes that by doing so, employees will see the opportunities within the company and not feel the need to go elsewhere. Most importantly, they’re providing employees with the opportunity to learn how to wear more than one hat so they become well-rounded, knowledgeable assets with the resilience and agility to adapt to disruption.

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