Integrating Upskilling into Company Culture: Recommendations for Financial Institutions8 May 2023
- Financial industry lacks human and tech skills due to shortage in the labor market.
- Integrating upskilling into the company's culture is essential to ensure the continuity of the organization.
- Employers need to create awareness of the importance of upskilling for all employees, regardless of their career stage.
In the financial services industry, technological skills are in high demand due to the rapid pace of technological advancements. Consider fintech, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and financial modeling, among others. Additionally, human skills such as customer empathy, critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication are equally essential for the cross-functional teamwork that is needed in the sector. But, we note an acute shortage of these skills in the Financial sector, and even broader, in today’s labor market.
Rethinking companies' people strategies
According to a recent study by Kuchciak & Warwas (2021), FIs are rethinking their people strategies to meet the evolving skills demand. CEOs are moving talent around and seeking the best people, regardless of location or background.
We are convinced that permanently integrating upskilling into the company culture is crucial for financial institutions (FIs) to tackle the current skill gap. As the demand for specialized skills increases, reskilling and upskilling employees has become imperative to ensure the continuity of the organization. That’s the direct impact on the organization. Next to that, we see that investing in training and development also increases employee motivation and fosters a sense of employee loyalty towards the organization. Which is equally crucial in today's war for talent, to keep people on board for a longer period.
“The war for talent has partly shifted from the labor market to the internal employee base. Unable to find the right people, with the right skills at the right time, companies are now actively investing in the talent already on board and intensely reskilling and upskilling their workforce. But learning and development alone will not cut it. Continuous skill development should be embedded in the company culture to really make an organization future-proof.” Jana Wittemans, Business Manager at TriHD.
Continuous skill development should be embedded in the company culture to really make an organization future-proof.
Jana Wittemans, Business Manager at TriHD
Not a one-shot exercise
Upskilling is not a one-shot exercise to address the current shortage, however. Our advice is to integrate upskilling into the FI's culture. Here are three tips to get you started!
- Make upskilling available and personalized: Ensure that the learning offer is accessible to all employees, regardless of age, diploma, or background. Allocate sufficient budget for Learning and Development and go beyond regular in-class training by providing personalized learning opportunities. Knowledge sharing among employees is a strong lever too. In our company, we do this via Communities & Knowledge Circles: bringing people together to teach each other on a topic of their choice. But many other forms are possible. Find what fits your organization!
- Incorporate upskilling into performance appraisals: Show the importance of learning within the organization by linking upskilling expectations to performance and career mobility. In addition to regular employee reviews, create a Personal Development Plan to formalize the upskilling process.
- Encourage employees to take charge of their own development. To ensure a sustainable career, employers and employees need to work together. It is up to the employer to offer opportunities for personal development and to stimulate them, but finally, it is the employee who needs to take ownership. Therefore, invest in creating awareness on the importance for each employee. We see some great examples of FI’s setting up a series of workshops and training focused on digital transformation, customer experience and innovation, from beginner to expert level.
“Often personal development is considered a priority for people at the beginning of their career or when they are ambitious for a promotion or internal move. But in today's fast-changing world, upskilling is relevant for everyone. People with the ambition to stay in the same role or near the end of their professional career also need to continuously update their skillset, as roles rapidly evolve. Companies should find ways to create this sense of urgency for their entire workforce.” Margo Douliez, Project Consultant Human Development
Often personal development is considered a priority for people at the beginning of their career or when they are ambitious for a promotion or internal move. But in today's fast-changing world, upskilling is relevant for everyone.
Margo Douliez, Project Consultant Human Development
Urgent mindset shift needed
Not investing enough in upskilling and reskilling has generated a skills gap in many functions in FIs. Even employees with a track record of 20+ years at the same bank or in the same function are struggling to adapt to new technologies and ways of working. To avoid making the same mistake twice, both business and HR must urgently shift their mindset to make upskilling an integral part of the company culture. Additionally, it is equally important for employees to take the initiative and not wait for their employer to provide opportunities. Ultimately, their employability is at stake, and they are the ones who must do the actual learning.
Sources: Lattice, Kuchciak & Warwas