In recent years, the financial services sector has seen significant change. A wave of mergers and acquisitions as well as new regulations and reporting structures have changed UK and European institutions, adding an unprecedented level of scrutiny and increasing compliance pressures more than ever before. Financial organisations must ensure they have a transparent view across their businesses, with all employees held accountable for accuracy.
Though many have focused, and rightly so, on implementing tools and policies which can drive the increasingly digital agenda of organisations – using IT to transform service delivery and ensure the smooth running of internal processes – one area which is often overlooked is that of the staff.
This is a point which always surprises me. It’s widely acknowledged that the main cost for the majority of businesses is the people. You would therefore expect this to be an area to which organisations are closely attuned. However, as many responsible for this task would attest, it’s not often a straightforward activity.
Managing a workforce in the new era of financial services is certainly no walk in the park. Organisations must remember to factor in all manners of disruption; from mergers and acquisitions, teams spanning multiple countries, new joiners, unexpected leavers and temporary or seasonal staff. It’s no surprise that modelling the asset and cost of people is more important now that it has ever been.
I’ve worked closely with a couple of the major banks in the UK this year to model staff costs and accurately forecast staff requirements. We are now at a point where these costs can be planned up to a year in advance – adding a level of certainly in this field that hasn’t been seen before.
Similarly, the insurance sector is another example of how financial services organisations can benefit from having greater insights into their workforces, particularly following an intense period of acquisitions in this field. Having a clear view of the total workforce, along with insights into upcoming leavers at a pensionable age and new joiner plans across the business can enable any business to move forward quickly and ensure that the right team is in place.
It was Henry Ford that said, “if everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself." Having the ability to be more scientific about your workforce as well as more clarity around those coming up to pensionable age, leaving or joining the business can only be a benefit for any firm and drive success across the business. A clear view of the workforce also breeds greater collaboration across a team, and even across borders, by shifting the management of the workforce away from being solely siloed within the HR team. Enabling this collaboration and accountability across lines of business can be a powerful tool in building the team which will ultimately lead you to success in the future, something which we are all aiming to do.