The Banking & Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) sector contributes over 6% to India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and plays a substantial role in promoting the growth of the economy. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way organizations in the BFSI space are providing services to customers. As we have seen, due to COVID-19, the digital adoption across organizations has accelerated. The IT department of various organizations have had to work overtime to set up the IT infrastructure and get employees connected to work remotely. At the same time, employees were required to adjust their daily routine to one that had to balance home and work on the fly. The ability to work remotely has opened new possibilities, both for employers and employees. This has ushered in the wave of digital culture.
With this wave of change, every organization in the BFSI space will now focus to adopt an innovative Business Model and Customer experience journey based on digital platform adoption. The success of the new business model is dependent on employees who will lead and execute the digital transformation journey. Every organization in the BFSI space is now adopting financial technology faster than ever, in this fintech world there is an emphasis to bridge the skill requirement gap and build people capability ecosystems.
Since the commencement of unlocking of the economic activity, the hiring practice that had stalled during the pandemic has picked up pace. When we look at the hiring trend year-on-year, the overall hiring activity continues to be still down. In the digital culture era, the hiring trend will be focused on competence to cater to the growing need of convergence between domains of the BFSI and IT. Banks have implemented Centralized Banking with connectivity between branches, Insurance companies have implemented digital platforms for sourcing policies, underwriting and issuance. Mutual Funds have online platforms for buying and redemption and customers can check their portfolio performance 24X7. Broking companies have implemented mobile applications for all trading and investing activities and Non-banking financial services companies and housing finance companies have implemented digital lending platforms catering to the end-to-end process from sourcing to disbursement of loans.
Organizations will now look at outsourcing of activities to achieve greater efficiencies and reduce overheads. This will lead to employers seeking out new hires, who are disruptors and can find new ways for revenue to grow out of the downturn. Candidates will be assessed for creativity and innovation of doing business. Focus will be to stay nimble and flexible in employment contracts.
When we look at hiring trends across functional areas, customer-facing roles such as Sales/Business Development, Client servicing and Collections will see a positive trend. Organization will look for candidates with dexterity and willingness to try new approaches. For staff functions, the hiring will be deliberated, and companies will be focusing to hire only the replacement positions. Now for hiring across experience levels, we will see a significant growth in the space of three to 10 years, namely starting from the entry level to front-line managers. For experience level in the range of 11 to 16 years focus will be on hiring candidates who can usher the adoption of digital culture and perform supervisory roles, lead and guide the team to take decisions and demonstrate cost and price leadership. I see a positive trend in this space and organizations are looking out for talent ready to board and contribute to the growth. For experience level 16 year-plus, organizations will focus on leaders as digital culture evangelist. Candidates with the ability to manage ecosystems and dynamic business environments and with a DNA of experimentation and innovation will be the most sought-after.
With a diverse and multi-generational workforce, people capability development takes the centre stage. We are at the cusp of adopting Industry 4.0 capabilities across the BFSI domain. It is time for leadership to reimagine the work their people do in partnership with intelligent technology. It is time to ask themselves tough and uncomfortable questions about their organization’s readiness to compete. Whether it is Banks, Insurance Companies, Mutual Funds, Broking or NBFCs/HFCs, everyone is forced to adopt intelligent technology to improve customer experience, process efficiencies and lower costs. Now as companies invest in data analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems, there is a need for new skilling being integrated into leadership, functional and behavioural development framework.
Leadership development will have to be focused on visioning for the future, addressing questions of how and where the organization will focus to create value. These development frameworks will have to develop capability to build an adaptability quotient. Intelligent technology adoption and skilling will be part of the development programs. People skills like empathy, listening and sharing will be treated as business skills.
For technical and behavioural competencies, organizations will have to skill the mid-level to junior level employees to work with intelligent technology and in turn drive the growth by boosting capabilities. Employees working with intelligent technologies will be able to know customer preferences and will be able to respond to changing customer needs. They will need to be skilled on how to experiment with technology to improve sales and better customer relationships.
To conclude, I would say that organizations will have to scale up ‘new skilling’ to enable people to work with intelligent machines.