Optimising productivity, employee engagement and organisational agility

Before the pandemic took the world by storm, banking and finance was on a path to an ultramodern working model. However, plans were in the mould of an office-based work life until times changed quickly and forced companies to change with them. Michael Cupps, senior vice-president of marketing at ActiveOps, comments


he pandemic conscripted many banking and finance industry employees into a compulsory two-year trial period of remote working. However, with governmental restrictions easing in recent times, businesses are looking towards the ‘new future’, whereby companies are now considering implementing hybrid working permanently.

This is a compromise of remote and office-based working which has soared in popularity in recent months. Due to its success, the ‘hybrid-first’ approach is now seeing priority in businesses plans, drastically changing how leaders consider productivity, employee engagement and organisational agility.

Michael Cupps, senior vice-president of marketing, ActiveOps

The growing need to accelerate digital and transformation initiatives in the industry 

Before the pandemic and the constrained hybrid workforce that emerged in its wake, firms were at various stages of maturity in their operations information and instrumentation capabilities.

Over the last decade, data captured from workflow tools and improved productional dashboards has advanced – including digital pictorial boards. These were designed around co-located workforces with homogenous processes, and were supplemented by active ‘on the floor’ visual management and engagement by capable ops leaders.

The pandemic disrupted that information flow, the benefits of co-location and certainly the ‘on the floor’ level of engagement.

Older, established methods of gathering workforce analytics no longer provide
a complete picture of how work in an institution is carried out. Because work is taking place in more varied times and places than ever before, captured data in real time is essential for business to see how and when work is completed.

Banks must rediscover and reintegrate their data from a different source. This source connects with a different kind of workforce and understands variations in capacity across the whole spectrum, increasing engagement, collaboration and productivity.

The introduction of further complex assistance from automation (bots) provides businesses with vital data showing the joint managing of both human and digital work and the capacity and capability of both.

Banking institutions have embraced the brand-new learning curve during their employees’ return to the physical office space. Faced with further navigation, businesses have expressed concerns about which individuals or roles can remain remote, what that means for headcount, and more importantly, what that means for employee experience, leaving turnover seeming like an overwhelming and impossible challenge.

However. the correct data can now allow institutions to approach this transition with confidence. It is critical that banks put instrumentation in place to capture their baseline data as quickly as possible to ensure they get hybrid remote workforce planning right and not miss the opportunity.

The layers of hybrid workforce data 

1. Capacity planning
The first layer of hybrid data financial institutions must monitor is its workforce capability and availability for work. It can be to the advantage of their productivity; some teams or individuals may discover they are more productive when working remotely.

There are dire consequences when a bank does not have insight into this data. This scenario leads to a shortage of resources, mis-timed capacity, and backlogs of work to be processed that inevitably affect the customer experience.

2. Time
The next layer of hybrid data that institutions must collect to make informed decisions about their workforce focuses on time. More specifically, organisations must have a clear idea of what time is available to do the work and how that compares to the time – and customer-driven timeliness – required to do the work.

In a hybrid remote context, there is a need for insight into time management. Working from home means that people work at contrasting times, whether it means working early in the morning to navigate limited childcare or working late into the evening to care for an elderly parent.

Financial institutions may find they do not require employees to be back in the office full time, but to gain insights into whether employees are optimising the use of resources and delivering the necessary outcome, and for many roles, that can happen anywhere.

3. Work (performance analysis)
Visibility on workflow also allows financial institutions to closely watch employee performance, closely tied to employee experience and well-being.

Having access to the correct data at the right time could help managers make decisions that could help balance performance and welfare. For example, a manager would be able to see whether employees are taking breaks, or if employees are not taking breaks, a manager would be able to proactively check in and assess whether the employee is overwhelmed and identify coaching opportunities to avoid burnout.

The stakes are high when it comes to hybrid working 

Getting hybrid working wrong will result in a massive cost for financial institutions – but getting it right will lead financial institutions into a world of new opportunities and possibilities. The difference between one scenario and the other lies in whether an institution is making decisions based on its unique data.

Implementing seamless data capture at the point of work, regardless of where the work is done, opens insights and analysis to lead large scale operations into the world of the hybrid workplace. Flexible and agile workforce management will be the new competitive advantage.

The challenges of hybrid working saw some financial institutions unprepared; they had not put the systems in place to develop the skills necessary to support them. But today, those institutions have a chance to capture that data, analyse it, and put it to good use for their employees, customers, and the future success and competitiveness of their business.