Five Critical Focus Areas For CHROs In 2020 And Beyond

Karen McDermott

The future of work is a topic that interests me greatly. During the course of my career, technology has dramatically changed the way we work – for the better, in my opinion. And I look forward to the shifts and new technologies yet to come.

Of course, all these changes create a huge impact on employees, one that many business leaders have tended to overlook. For this reason, I was pleased to see Sibos (SWIFT’s yearly conference focused on payments, securities, cash management, and trade) address this issue in its programming. In its agenda for the September meeting, SIBOS announced that “Exploring the Human Element” is a top theme this year.

Everyone knows that people are essential to business, even with so much automation making its way into day-to-day operations. But the SIBOS focus on workplace and people issues is unusual – and welcome. Business leaders need to understand how the workplace must evolve to adapt to the changes digitization will bring. In the “Exploring the Human Element” category on this year’s agenda, they ask, “How can organizations attract, retain, and energize a diverse and skilled workforce while considering the ethical implications of technology on trust and identity?”

I know that these questions are top of mind for chief human resource officers in financial services. Banking used to be the best industry to start your career from a compensation and career advancement perspective. Since the dawn of the Internet and the tech era, that has all changed. The competition for the talent is tight, and only an evolved workplace can play and thrive in this environment.

My colleagues in the United Kingdom have just released a new e-book called “Enabling ‘Intelligent Insights’ to Shape a Workforce Revolution in Financial Services,” and I’m sharing it with every CHRO in banking that I know. In it, they propose five key areas of focus for HR and employees, an end vision, and a solution proposition. The areas include:

Becoming and staying compliant

Regulatory demands are increasingly challenging employees to embed accountability, responsibility, and good practices into financial services organizations. To help ensure that all employees become – and remain – compliant, and to make sure they have the training and support they need, HR leaders need to find ways to digitalize regulatory compliance issues.

Driving well-being among the workforce

Stress, overwork, and burnout are all too common in our industry. The pressures experienced by the workforce are concerning. To support all of your workers and enable peak performance, CHROs must focus on individual well-being and invest in employees as people first and foremost.

Improving employee experience and engagement

Recognizing the challenging workplace environment, many HR leaders are beginning to think about the employee experience. To get the most from your workers, you need to know how they are feeling about every aspect of their workplace experience. Through holistic, multi-touchpoint programs – such as surveys, employee lifecycle programs, feedback, and interventions – you can personalize the employee experience while streamlining connections between HR processes, experiences, and business outcomes.

Improving employee and organizational productivity

The workforce of most financial services organizations consists of permanent, temporary, and gig workers. Turnover rates are high and producing a complete view of the people in your organization can be difficult. As they grow increasingly comfortable with advanced analytics and data engines, CHROs should embrace digital insights platforms to create a real-time, comprehensive view of the total workforce.

Personalizing the employee experience

It’s no longer enough to focus on employee satisfaction. Instead, you must think about how the organization can engage with each individual – individually. By creating a digital employee workspace, you can enable employees to select how they receive information and interactions and how they can take action.

When employees are engaged and productive, they can deliver positive outcomes for financial services companies. If CHROs are ready to guide executives to make choices that improve employee experiences, the future of work will be bright for all of us.

It will be interesting to see if these focus areas match up to the conversation at Sibos around “Exploring the Human Element” this year.

To learn more about the steps you can take to shape a workforce revolution in financial services, flip through the e-book.


Karen McDermott

About Karen McDermott

Karen McDermott is Global Head of Financial Services Industries Marketing and Communications at SAP, responsible for driving the growth of SAP's value proposition as a technology provider, trusted business partner, and thought leader for the financial services industry.