The ongoing needs of the banking industry have demanded more robust approaches to meeting the needs of customers, clients, and the industry as a whole. L&D (learning and development) has been thrust into the spotlight, as COVID-19 has sped up the need for new strategies, technologies, and products to meet the demands of the modern world. In an industry where we all need to evolve, we must take a better stance with regard to L&D. Learning and development within the BFSI (banking, financial services, and insurance) industries have made substantial leaps forward since the pandemic, but why is learning and development of managers and employees more important than ever?
The Need To Attract the Millennial Generation
From one perspective, the Millennial generation is governed by technology and lack of time, but this is where the BFSI can use this to its advantage. The rise of digital systems used throughout the pandemic has accelerated the initiatives to do better business in a digital format.
The industry has adapted effectively to the challenges of the pandemic. The advancement of virtual learning and the focus on the learning experience was already making a big switch before the pandemic, but arguably the COVID-19 situation has accelerated change beyond expectations within the BFSI sector.
Large banking organizations like Barclays reacted quickly to the pandemic and, at the height of the pandemic, 60,000 staff were working from home which is a significant feat all in itself. However, digital alterations are only one piece of the puzzle, especially when it comes to upskilling a workforce.
Why Soft Skills Are the Biggest Skills Gap
A report conducted by Mind Tools highlighted that communication, creativity, and problem-solving skills are the best way to go beyond the reliance on technology. Going digital is an essential practice, and as the use of virtual classrooms made a massive jump during the pandemic, the fact is that the younger talent coming up through the ranks may have digital skills on their side, but not necessarily the soft skills.
Automation has been the biggest buzzword over the last few years, but with 65% of firms stating a skilled workforce is a significant hurdle to growth technology is not the overriding factor, and this needs remedying.
Deloitte has already called for L&D teams in the banking sector to focus on the act of “learning how to learn.” This is a big draw for many employees because of the focus on continued learning and development, not just on the facts, but on the underlying support needed to develop skills.
As the five key competencies for all financial staff comprise technological literacy, AI bias management, language translation, digital learning and development, and digital ambition, the reality is that soft skills are the ties that bind. Soft skills are crucial within a developing technological world. For example, analysts should be able to communicate results and ideas in a way that is understood by everyone, not just those within a technical niche.
Communication is a concept many businesses are not always able to get their head around. In the banking sector, communication can easily be stymied by my technical terms and insufficient line managers, but communication can be improved through the right approaches. This guide 6 Easy Strategies For Improving Team Communication focuses on team communication and understanding that it takes many forms and through a variety of mediums.
When it comes to learning and development we’ve always got to ensure that the medium will benefit the team in the right way. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach which is why communication needs to be transparent and within the right platform. Communication is one of the pivotal soft skills that any organization can benefit from. It can help us learn the importance of soft skills, especially as the pandemic is now dying down in many parts of the world and people are returning to the office.
We must remember that within learning and development, communication is the undervalued soft skill that will guarantee employees get a better understanding of the subject matter while also ensuring that they have the confidence to progress further. As companies start to bring employees back, they’ve got to find more approaches to giving an employee the best tools to aid their needs. This means addressing one of the biggest skills gaps of all: the soft skills gap.
The Digital Evolution Has Created the “Modern Learner”
As the banking industry continues to transform its services and products to meet the needs of the customer, at the same time the notion of the “modern learner” has emerged. This is someone that demands answers instantly and needs a variety of sources to determine them.
Digital transformation, inside and outside of the workplace, has created the modern learner. Therefore L&D within BFSI has to pedal faster to keep up with this need. Learning takes place in a variety of environments, not just in a traditional classroom.
Course curriculums are morphing into bigger journeys for a learner, and there is the need to create specifically curated content while also ensuring the learner can meet the demands of the industry while also being able to absorb the content.
This is where the concept of different styles of learning becomes pivotal, such as numerous platforms and applications. We also learn in different ways, for example, the last decade or so of e-learning has given rise to microlearning. Technology, combined with the evolution of the learner, has demanded the BFSI industry work harder to appeal to the learner.
The Influence of L&D
L&D is constantly advancing and from learning to more sophisticated methods, such as VR and AR, the reality is that L&D is not going to be measured by the level of the environment but if the learner is providing results.
A learner intelligence report by Emerald Works concluded the majority of employees during COVID-19 indicated their motivation to learn in a working environment is to do their jobs better or faster. In the same report, L&D did not factor as the greatest influence on an employee’s motivation to learn. In fact, the biggest motivator was a manager, closely followed by a colleague, and thirdly by a coach or mentor. Overall, L&D accounted for 1% of the biggest influences on motivation for learning.
L&D may not appear to be a big influence on the learner, but we can argue that it shouldn’t be this way. It could be because it is not active in the same way that colleagues or mentors are. But regardless of the stance of L&D, it is the defining component that underpins the progression of any industry.
Technology has been the biggest progenitor to development within the industry because of its diverse range of use, but it’s the measuring of results that will highlight if L&D provides the right conditions to help people learn. Ensuring the content is right for the learner when they need it and within the right format is all crucial, but it has to achieve the right outcome. The only way we can do this is to measure the process of how employees understand goals or measure performance.
Learning and development in the modern workplace are partly to do with technology, but as the pandemic has highlighted, well-being is just as crucial as employees need to feel a sense of belonging and maintain motivation within this environment. L&D needs to be an agile force in any industry, and within BFSI, it is making significant inroads to benefit employees, organizations, and, most importantly, the customers.
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