Financial services companies have been quick to embrace new digital technology to improve relations with customers and cut operating costs. Now they must prepare themselves for digital technology’s next big impact – its effect on the workforce.

More than 90 percent of financial services organisations recently surveyed by Accenture are changing their business model. Much of this change has been triggered by the rise of digital technology. And its effect on the workforce is going to be huge. It will redefine the tasks employees need to perform, shift their roles and responsibilities, and demand new modes of management and leadership.

Organisations swift to respond to these changes will gain a substantial advantage over their competitors. Greater flexibility, innovation and efficiency are just some of the benefits of the new “digital workforce”. Companies slow to adapt to these challenges may struggle to make up lost ground.

The enormous changes that will transform the workforce are being unleashed by the convergence of several powerful digital forces that will impact the workforce in four key areas:

How work is organised – Traditional, rigidly-defined jobs will be replaced by more flexible, collaborative, goal-orientated activities. Long-established organizational siloes and hierarchies will give way to distributed systems that draw on the skills of workers, within and outside the organization, when are where they are needed.

What work is performed – Employees will be freed from performing mundane and repetitive tasks.  They’ll increasingly focus on innovative, creative and problem-solving tasks that are often augmented by analytic, robotic or gaming technologies.

Who performs the work – Organisations will draw on the skills of global digital workforces that include employees and external workers who are accessible on demand.  The work experience will be more democratic and reward innovation, performance and teamwork rather than the recognize status and long-service.

How work is led and managed – Leaders in the digital workforce will need to orchestrate and encourage fluid and diverse networks of workers. They’ll require a strong digital presence that shares their personal learning and insights, encourages experimentation and innovation, and champions a common vision and set of objectives.

The effect of digital technology on the workforce is clearly going to be immense. It will place huge demands on financial services companies and their workforces. Trusted, traditional methods of work will have to give way to new, flexible and often untried approaches. It’s an uncharted journey. But it’s essential. And the rewards for the organizations that get it right will be substantial.

In my next blog post, I’ll discuss how financial services companies can realign their business models to capitalize on the enormous potential of the digital workforce. Until then, take a look at these links. I think you’ll find them interesting.

Being digital: Embrace the future of work and your people will embrace it with you

Workforce of the future: Humanizing work through digital

Digital radically disrupts HR: Digital technology is transforming how people work—demanding a fundamentally different HR strategy

A new blueprint for HR: To create a more agile business, organizations need new and more flexible HR operating models

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