By Michael Cupps, Senior Vice President of Marketing at ActiveOps
Before the pandemic took the world by storm, the banking sector seemingly set out rigorous plans regarding the future of work. However, these pre-existing ideas quickly faded and led to a scramble for businesses as they sought out to adapt themselves for a new phenomenon, hybrid working.
It is a combination of remote and office-based working which has arisen in prominence throughout recent times. The hybrid model gives workforces flexibility, combining the organisation of an office environment along with the convenience of homeworking.
With hybrid working looking like the new normal, businesses operating in the financial sector must now focus on optimising productivity, employee engagement, and organisational agility, amongst other things.
A data-driven approach
Before the pandemic and hybrid working, firms were at different stages of maturity in their operations information and instrumentation capabilities. Over the past decade, we have seen advances through data captured from workflow tools and improved productional dashboards (including digital pictorial boards).
They were initially designed around co-located workforces with homogenous processes and were supplemented by active "on the floor" visual management and engagement by capable ops leaders. The pandemic disrupted that information flow, the benefits of co-location, and the "on the floor" level of engagement. Banking institutions have since embraced the brand-new learning curve in time for their employees' return to the physical office space.
The pandemic disrupted that information flow, the benefits of co-location, and the "on the floor" level of engagement.
As it becomes increasingly clear that the future of work is hybrid remote and onsite work, operating in emergency mode won't be enough to bring banks into the next phase of profitability and success.
Businesses need to move with the times.
Older, established methods of gathering workforce analytics no longer provide a complete full picture of how work in an institution is carried out. Because work takes place in more varied times and places than ever before, captured data in real-time is essential for the business to see how and when work is completed. Banks must rediscover and re-integrate their data from a different source.
This source connects with a different kind of workforce and understands variations in capacity across the whole spectrum, ultimately increasing engagement, collaboration, and productivity. The introduction of further complex assistance from automation (BOTS) provides businesses with vital data showing the joint managing of both human and digital work and the capacity and capability of both.
Businesses have also expressed concerns about which individuals or roles can remain remote, what that means for headcount, and, more importantly, employee experience leaving turnover seeming like an overwhelming or impossible challenge. Yet, the correct data can now allow institutions to approach this transition with confidence. Banks must put instrumentation in place to capture their baseline data as quickly as possible. It will ensure they get hybrid remote workforce planning right and not miss out on any future opportunities.
Therefore, there are three layers of hybrid workforce data for financial institutions.
1. Capacity Planning -
The first layer of hybrid data financial institutions must monitor is workforce capability and availability for work, specifically who is available to perform specific tasks and whether they are working remotely or in the office. It is also crucial data to have when deciding which roles or teams can continue working remotely at no risk to their productivity. In some cases, it can be to the advantage of their productivity; some teams or individuals may discover they are more productive in a remote workplace.
2. Time –
The next layer of hybrid data institutions must collect to make informed decisions about their workforce focuses on time. More specifically, organizations must have a clear idea of what time is available to do the work and how that compares to the time (and customer-driven timeliness) required to do the job. It looks at how an employee balances the specific task and commitments they're responsible for within a working day. Ultimately, it allows managers to ensure that employees are doing the optimal level of work for the time they have.
3. Work (Performance analysis) -
These insights into hybrid workforce data allow managers and employees to explore performance and wellbeing metrics at any or all work locations. Armed with this data, banks can make decisions about specific employees or types of work or tasks to be done in the office or at home and make practical efforts to harmonize the balance of work for the greater good of both the employee and customer experience.
Decision-making should be 'data powered' in a hybrid world.
The challenges of hybrid remote working saw financial institutions unprepared for the new normal. They hadn't put the systems in place or developed the skills necessary to support it. But today, those organisations now have a chance to capture essential data, analyse it, and put it to good use not only for their employees and customers but for the future success and competitiveness of the business.
Implementing seamless data capture at the point of work, regardless of where the work is done, opens insights and analysis to lead large-scale operations into the world of the Hybrid Workplace. Flexible and agile workforce management will be the new competitive advantage.
Hybrid work comes with high stakes. Getting it wrong will result in a massive cost for financial institutions — but getting it right will lead financial institutions into a world of new opportunities and possibilities. The difference between one scenario and the other lies in whether an institution makes decisions based on its unique data.