If you’re old enough, you probably remember going to the bank as a regular occurrence.  Many of us went at least once a week. Depositing our pay checks, getting cash for the weekend, or simply asking questions about the status of our accounts were all common reasons for a weekly visit.  Bank tellers were easily some of the most visible and recognized members of the community.

My mom worked as an officer in our community bank, and we couldn’t go anywhere without her being recognized.  It felt like we were hanging out with a celebrity every time we went out to dinner.

All that is changing. And those changes have a significant impact on hiring. To help financial institutions prepare for and embrace opportunities that lie ahead, I want to discuss a few strategies that I believe are foundational to a successful future.

Strategy #1: Keep Pace with Technology

Technology has changed our lives to the core, and its impact on banks and credit unions is profound.  Tech savvy customers now expect to conduct most of their routine transactions on-line without ever setting foot inside a traditional branch.

Financial centers are being forced to keep pace with new technologies and the establishment of ‘digital banks’ is a top priority.  A study commissioned and conducted by International Data Corp predicts that in 2017, banks worldwide will invest approximately $16 billion in branch transformation and related technologies.

Strategy #2: Create a Seamless Customer Experience

These changes don’t mean that customers no longer want or need to walk into a branch and talk to someone.  While online banking continues to grow, visiting a branch remains right on its heels as customers’ primary banking method.  So, it’s not that customers are no longer visiting branches; they are visiting them for different reasons.  After all, questions about our money or how to manage our wealth get our attention very quickly. Most of us still strongly prefer to talk to a living, breathing trusted advisor.

With branch traffic down, financial services organization recognize how critical it is to treat each and every customer touchpoint as a valued opportunity to learn about their financial needs and become that trusted advisor. JLL Research agrees that financial centers must use a multi-channel approach to reach out to customers at every stage of their financial journey. Competition is fierce and it’s more critical than ever to ensure each customer interaction is an outstanding, seamless, and confidence-building experience.

Strategy #3: Transition Employees to New Job Demands

The traditional teller role is morphing into a universal banker role that requires employees to go far beyond processing basic transactions. To succeed in this new role, every customer touchpoint needs to transition to financial discovery, to identify additional products and services that will benefit each customer’s financial goals. This requires highly-skilled employees that are comfortable not only performing transactions but also constantly seeking opportunities to position new products and services.  Today’s universal bankers must be tech savvy so they can help customers resolve digital banking issues, and they must be knowledgeable of the organization’s complete financial service and product offering.

Strategy #4: Intentionally Bridge Performance Gaps

While many financial institutions are eager to embrace change, their existing employees may be uncomfortable or unwilling to transition into new roles. For instance, technical issues that arise from digital banking experiences present new and difficult problems for less tech savvy employees. Also, employees that were hired as traditional tellers may find it difficult to transition to a sales role.  Navigating these transitions can be tricky and financial centers can’t expect the change to occur over night.  It’s a difficult balancing act between keeping long-tenured employees with years of experience and relationship building, with the realities of transitioning to new job demands.

Strategy #5: Prepare the Next Generation of Leaders

Staffing challenges are magnified by the fact that currently, 60 to 65 percent of financial services employees are older than 40, according to Accenture research findings.  Adding to the challenge is the fact that by 2021, millennials will account for a majority of the employees in these key roles.  Retaining the knowledge that is walking out the door, and identifying and preparing the next generation of leaders is essential for ongoing success. These challenges will require forward-thinking financial centers to reevaluate the tools and processes used to select, retain, and develop the next generation of financial services employees.


What’s Next?

If we can help you explore these strategies, feel free to email us or call 888-332-0648 and ask for Jane. Also, check out our full suite of products designed specifically for hiring and developing top financial services talent. Helping organizations achieve Hire Confidence® is our passion. Let’s talk!

About Joe

Joe LaTorre serves as Director of Innovation for Employment Technologies. As you’d expect with that job title, Joe keeps his finger on what’s next in technology, especially trends that optimize talent prediction. He holds an M.S. in Industrial–Organizational Psychology from Valdosta State University and has more than 30 years of national and international consulting experience.