The financial services sector has entered an era of uncertainty. Businesses are looking to build new capabilities and capacities that will allow them to thrive in the face of larger and more frequent external ‘shocks’.
Volatility and lower margins are expected to continue as the competitive landscape broadens and diversifies. The digital global economy is opening markets like never before and customer service expectations are being completely redefined. As a result of this, businesses are looking to build new capabilities and capacities that will allow them to thrive in the face of larger and more frequent external ‘shocks’.
While it is clear that the industry is changing, there are few answers for people, culture and leadership (PC&L) professionals who are being challenged by this environment, and are trying to respond.
We can see that a new operating paradigm may be emerging for these portfolios with three interesting aspects:
In the current financial services environment there is a far greater expectation on ‘fit for purpose’ solutions that can be designed and deployed quickly to meet emerging needs. So how do people, culture and leadership functions preserve a tolerable level of rigour when working at this new speed?
We are working with clients to apply two techniques in response to this challenge:
Enabling the business to move faster and more flexibly requires changes to the PC&L operating model to increase ‘agility’. However, there is a real concern that ‘agility’ can become ‘rushing’ that erodes potential benefits due to a lack of thought, preparation or consistent focus. This can cause chaos when resources are redirected to immediate priorities and other work is deprioritised, or missed.
We are working with financial services clients to address this issue in the following ways:
Financial services were one of the first sectors in Australia to apply customer-centric design techniques to improve or rethink products, services and customer experiences. These techniques emphasise the importance of really understanding the customer, their perspective, and the job they need to get done before considering solutions.
Nous is collaborating with some of our clients on customer-centric design for leadership development:
While there are certainly challenges to be overcome, it is an exciting time to work in financial services and in PC&L. In moving towards this new, agile operating paradigm, we encourage PC&L functions to think boldly and be pro-active when considering HR approaches.
This article was prepared by Nous Group following a series of in depth discussions with People, culture and leadership executives in a diverse set of major Australian financial services businesses. The thinking draws on the insights from those discussions, but is the responsibility of Nous Group. The paper was prepared to help all of Nous Group’s clients to better prepare for the future.
Written by Penelope Cottrill during her time as a Principal at Nous Group.