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And Now, a Word from Your Human Resources Leaders

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“Lisa, if you don’t like your job you don’t strike. You just go in every day and do it really half-assed. That’s the American way.” —Homer Simpson

Some of the Cornerstone team spent two days in roundtables recently with human resources leaders from banks and credit unions. This was a smart, passionate and fun group of people who talked long and hard about issues facing HR teams.

As we listened, it occurred to us that some of the themes they covered may not be issues that are particularly visible to management teams; if they are, a re-emphasis may be called for. Here are some major themes that surfaced in the meetings:

The delivery/experience issues financial institutions face with their customers are very much like what human resources deals with internally.

Two days of discussions about the “employee experience” revealed that employees want HRIS systems that are easy to use for everything self-service – benefits, career planning, training, etc. They want one sign-on, and they want it all on mobile. An important takeaway for bankers: 70% of these employees will be Millennials or younger in about five years.

The best quote we heard: “So, we all say we need to treat our employees like we expect them to treat our customers. Doesn’t that mean we need to give them as good a digital experience?”

Recruiting will be a function that relies more and more on digital presence and data-driven identification of talent.

This, combined with internal referrals, will all but replace traditional recruiting methods. (At one point I used the phrase “running an ad for a job” and got looked at like I had moss growing on me.)

The same business acquisition skills bankers need for customers are necessary for recruiting. There will be a persistent, pressing need for good business intelligence skills in the HR area.

Human resources must automate redundant tasks being done by internal staff and get employees to use good self-service tools.

Then, it needs to redirect freed-up HR staff to more value-add efforts. Not many HR leaders believe they will see much more in terms of staff or budget in the next three years, so they need to redirect people from processing and manual problem-solving to things like coaching and training. There is really no choice here.

Sounds like the branch conversation we’ve been having for years.

It is time to look at upgrading HRIS systems.

Addressing the three things just discussed will, very simply, require systems upgrades. The good news is that there have been some really strong functionality strides made in HRIS systems in the last few years, which means institutions can get better capabilities, easier employee use and better data management with fewer systems.

HRIS systems may not be cheap, but the payoff is there for the investment.

Senior managers need to start learning and using HRIS systems more.

The unanimous view at our meetings was that senior leader knowledge and use of self-service, training/help and forms available today might be just a teeny bit below 100% (I’m paraphrasing very kindly).

It’s time for senior managers to lead by example and be vocal about needed improvements.

The ability to work remotely will be a big issue with Millennial employees.

It’s about things like lifestyle, cost of commuting and commitment to green. Obviously, there are jobs where remote doesn’t work, like branches, but the reality is that there will be fewer and fewer of them in the future.

The remote workforce is going to happen. To remain competitive in recruiting and retention, institutions must foster a culture that, to this point, has been built on people working together physically. Human resources leaders need to support this and lead the long-term conversation. 

“Talent alignment” is a key competency that will be required in the future.

Job expectations, knowledge and required skills are changing significantly in many areas of the institution. Completely new skills will be needed. That said, banking is an industry with high job tenure versus other industries, especially fintech. This may lead to some questions about where talent needs to be re-aligned. This means there will probably be hard and uncomfortable conversations about some long-term managers and employees.

Roundtable attendees said they want to partner with peers in addressing and supporting the new talent build. The good news is that it will be a healthy and positive effort. A #1 goal for HR groups has always been to get people into jobs/careers where they have the best chance of being successful. Some good tools exist that can help with this, and there are some interesting success stories—both inside and outside of the industry—about getting team members in the best position to thrive.

Exciting issues and exciting times in human resources! At the end of the day, people remain the biggest key to success.


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