“A bank will comprise more technology employees than bankers,” Sanjeev Vaid

A company’s job isn’t to empower people; it’s to remind people that they walk in the door with power and to create the conditions for them to exercise that power. In conversation with Sanjeev Vaid, head-rewards, compensation and benefits, RBS India for HRKatha 2019 Forecast.

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More power to HR in 2019

Definitely YES! The changing landscape, that is, globalisation is becoming more real with every passing year. Political uncertainty, the changing shape of the workforce, technology and digital innovation are not only challenging but also creating more opportunity, in general and specifically for the employees and HR.

With the manifestation of the digitalrevolution, while on one hand we are predicting job loss, efficiency and cost saving, on the other hand there are more new jobs getting created along with customer centricity — Amazon, Paytm, Uber, Ola, Foodpanda and Zomato are just some examples that we are experiencing in our day-to-day life. Engaged talent and customers are going to be an absolute need in the future.

My experience suggests that the digital revolution has elevated the value of people in the value chain of an organisation as well as customer centricity. HR needs to demonstrate leadership to facilitate and take people along on this journey of upping the game for humans. HR will have to play a leading role in the development and upskilling of people. With shrinking budgets and greater pressure on bottomlines, the HR function finds itself an equal party to strategic decision making and a worthy compatriot to the CEO and business heads.

It’s time to give up the 20th century processes in favour of returning the decision rights to the employees. 

The real HR will stand up and get closer to people

HR of today is different, especially in this aspect. Gone are the days when the HR interface was restricted to hiring, appraisal cycle and exit formalities – HR is ‘the people’ now. From mentoring to allied roles, HR ensures there is a connect. The pressure to stay connected in today’s organisations is on HR alone.

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Personalised people policy – one size doesn’t fit all

Today the notion of work is becoming increasingly decentralised, as played out in the gig economy. But the mental shift of employees hasn’t followed suit, as employees readily give up their power to their employers. This is the reason why so many employees today ‘feel stuck’ in their jobs, and powerless. Employees forget they have the power to walk away.
It isn’t the employees’ fault even though most companies reinforce this idea.

Netflix rightfully trashed that model. A company’s job isn’t to empower people; it’s to remind people that they walk in the door with power and to create the conditions for them to exercise that power.

How does an organisation give power back to the employees? By dismantling the excessive and useless processes that exist in most organisations! The many procedural practices in place today are remnants of 20th-century models that are no longer relevant to how businesses are conducted. It’s time to give up the processes in favour of returning the decision rights to the employees, for instance, how will employees want to structure their compensation, the number of leaves one may want to take, and bonus in lieu of leaving the organisation, and so on.

There is no better time to do this than now as technology today enables a customised solution more than ever. To my mind, people across the full spectrum of functions would love nothing more than to be free to tackle projects in the way they think will produce the best results in the shortest possible time.

Digital revolution has elevated the value of people in the value chain of an organisation as well as customer centricity.

Digital talent crisis in Banking

Banks are working hard to update their legacy systems and looking to technology to improve operating effectiveness and enhance customer experience. They are working on finding the space for traditional banking in the world of Fintechs, where technology is the key to relationships. With more millennials getting comfortable with the use of technology and looking for lesser human interface, it is becoming imperative to relook at the model. To do so, banks will need significantly deeper and broader technology expertise than they have today. Banks need leaders who understand the kind of transformation possible and can manage change effectively.

The future of talent in banking mainly revolves around the following key themes:

-Technology and broader trends are reshaping bank workforces

-Banks are in the early stages of planning for workforce transformation

-Talent strategy has become a critical issue for boards

One of the primary questions is – who is the new banker? Is it that AI-enabled solution-generating robot or the person in a suit who will devise a solution on the go? With increased complexity, it is obvious that the first one is the real banker and the person you may meet may merely be the communicator of what solution the machine has developed for the customer. The need for IT professionals who can create financial solutions or support the technology behind them is going to be the leading force. A bank will comprise more technology employees than bankers. The big question is how do they convince IT professionals to work for the financial industry?

Banks can remain attractive by:

-Transforming the workplace: We will not know what the banks of the future will be like until we feel our way there. Our success will be defined by our ability to bring in tech people and integrate them into the business of banking.

-Solving the millennial dilemma: What do the millennials want? There have been numerous studies on the subject and yet the current management is perplexed with what is required. Less driven by the high salaries that financial institutions have traditionally relied upon, how do banks offer the variety and width of experience, especially in the context of the ever-tightening regulatory framework, post the global financial crisis? Banks will have to find a new path and opportunities to manage their risks and businesses with the strength of technology, where humans are free to move within organisations and contribute.

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