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Headlines have said the same for years: Banks MUST automate and go mobile or risk becoming extinct.
We know from other industries that automating and digitizing processes comes with benefits, including enhanced customer experiences, better data flow, and even more efficient business performances.
“If 2017 is the year you plan to automate your company’s systems, it is not as simple as changing a few computer programs or building an app”
However, employees are extremely concerned about how automation will impact them. Some of this fear stems from stories about how automation could impact jobs, including a University of Oxford study estimating that 47 percent of US jobs are “at risk” for automation in the next two decades.
While the potential benefits and the employee fears must be balanced, banks are more likely than not to go digital soon. So, what can you do to make sure to make the process as smooth as possible?
At NIIT Technologies, we advise preparing your company more than you think is necessary, including reviewing your processes and engaging with your employees.
Preparing your processes
If 2017 is the year you plan to automate your company’s systems, it is not as simple as changing a few computer programs or building an app. Today’s digitally savvy consumers expect to have immediate access to financial information through any channel and in specific ways that align with their priorities.
To do this, companies need to plan extensively before implementing any new process. With years of experience, our organization recommends three steps to prepare for this change:
• Reinvent your work and dataflow: Ignore the saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” While your processes may work just fine right now, they may not be the most effective in the long run. Instead, look at the entire flow, find out where bottlenecks are or where you can streamline approvals–build that into a new system.
• Ensure you can use the process and data: Part of the benefit of automation is getting more real-time data. However, most companies have not planned what, why, or how they will use this data. Work with your team to determine if you want to use this information to find new business opportunities, reduce overhead costs, or simply focus your marketing on the most profitable products. Once your priorities are clear, make sure the new process gives you the data necessary.
• Allow it to evolve: A business is a living and changing entity, and processes should reflect that. While you should set parameters, you must know that when a new business need arises, you may need to evolve your processes. Without this flexibility, your business will not succeed.
Preparing your employees
As previously mentioned, headlines can easily cause employees to be concerned about how these changes will impact jobs. It is imperative that you keep employees engaged as you move through these changes and redeploy FTEs to new responsibilities. According to Gallup, companies with highly engaged workforces outperform peers by 147 percent in earnings per share. Some ways to do this include:
• Involve employees in the changes: Organization Change Management is probably the most under-estimated effort in any transformational initiative. It’s crucial to make employees feel involved by having representatives on the change committee and having consistent communications about the status of the changes.
• Train employees throughout the process. Trainings, managerial access, and additional opportunities are important to highlight as employees begin to reach out of their comfort zone to adopt new skills. Giving employees an accessible channel to answer all questions and concerns will help them ease into the process.
• Create goals. Many employees are incentives driven, so identifying new benchmarks and creating early ‘wins’ can help keep up morale. It is critical that these goals are obtainable and are rewarded to show employees that they are valued and an essential part of the team.
Giving customers what they want–digital access to real-time financial information–is no longer a value-add, but it is the bottom-line expectation. As banks embrace this new operating model, they must make sure to not alienate their own employees who keep the company productive. What steps are you taking to prepare your company?