The rapid emergence of the digital economy is set to transform the workforces of organizations throughout the financial services industry. The roles of workers and their managers – and even the nature of the work they perform – will change radically.

This digital transformation of the workforce will have a huge impact on the Human Resources (HR) departments of these organizations. The tasks these departments will have to perform and their contribution to the organization will shift substantially. Financial services firms alert to this transition can gain a significant advantage over their competitors. Not only will their HR departments be more effective in their dealings with the new digital workforce. They will also contribute valuable information and insights that will improve the performance of the business. Organizations slow to recognize this trend may struggle to catch up.

Some innovative financial services companies have already begun to overhaul their HR departments in readiness for the new digital economy. They’ve deployed digital technology, such as cloud services and mobile functionality, to change the way these departments operate and to derive more value from their activities. Software-as-a-Service solutions for Human Capital Management (HCM), from vendors such as Workday, SAP and Oracle, are pivotal to much of this transformation.

Accenture is working closely with these HCM vendors and has identified some important trends.

Firstly, HR departments are taking greater ownership of the IT systems that support their activities.  Cost-effective and user-friendly Software-as-a-Service applications give them more control over their performance. They are able to drive change within the organization by empowering line managers and employees with effective and efficient self-service capabilities.

The second major trend is that HR departments are decentralising and becoming increasingly embedded in the business. Throughout much of their existence HR departments have tended to operate in support of the organization. Now they’re being incorporated into the fabric of the enterprise. Many activities previously performed by HR departments, such as processing leave applications and expense claims, can be conducted by employees themselves. And the user experience is very similar to the employees’ engagement with consumer applications outside the work environment. Advanced HCM systems support digital portals that are easy to use and can be accessed by staff on their workstation or mobile device at anytime and anywhere.  By jettisoning many routine activities HR departments can become leaner and more nimble.

As workforces throughout the financial services industry are remoulded by the spread of digital technology so too will their HR departments have to change. The speed and success of this change will have a significant impact on the performance of the business.

In my next blog post, I’ll examine some more of the changes taking place in HR departments as a result of the rise of the digital economy. In the meantime, I think you’ll find some of these links helpful.

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