Australia’s financial services industry, including banks, superannuation and insurance organisations, has been undergoing a major transformation in recent years.
Although usually at the forefront of innovation, there is greater emphasis on digitalisation of internal processes as well as those associated with the customer experience. This combined with heightened attention on compliance has made it evident that the financial services industry, operating in an evolving global marketplace, needs to continue the relentless pursuit to advance their workforce strategies. By developing compliant strategies around talent attraction and retention, financial services organisations will be able to keep up with the pace of change in a digitalised market.
How has digitalisation impacted the financial services industry?
Digitalisation has caused much disruption within financial services organisations over the last 10 years. This has spurred the urgent need to accelerate automation of processes that have customarily been performed manually or with aggregated legacy processes and systems. As the emphasis on compliance in the industry grows and regulatory scrutiny intensifies, it has become essential that compliance assurance equals efficiency. It’s a disruption that sits across many departments, where Procurement, Information Technology and Risk Management “argy bargy” for their priorities.
Such technological change has generated the need for business to engage individuals with specialist skills for project based assignments. Contingent workforces have the skills, deliver quickly and are a cost effective solution for talent acquisition in the fulfilment of digital strategy requirements.
So what should a high compliance industry needing to accelerate efficiency outcomes focus on?
- Data Security
Financial services organisations are more exposed to data security threats than any other industry. As cybercriminals devise more sophisticated techniques and their activity becomes more frequent, the threat they pose to the industry and consumer confidence is magnified. Many financial institutions use several operating systems to store customer information, which can be a problem when data needs to be tracked or transferred between systems. A contingent workforce solution should form part of your risk mitigation plan by managing your contractor information in a secure, centralised program which can integrate with customer back-end systems. Going through one provider allows more control, governance and greater transparency regarding process and spend.
Our experience with ANZ, AustralianSuper and various high-end consulting firms servicing the financial services industry, such as Accenture and SAP, has shown that any third party company they work with needs to withstand stringent testing of systems for data security purposes. Entity Solutions has been subjected to and subsequently passed all system testing, including penetration testing.
- Vendor Neutrality and one Managed Vendor service
The search for talent is global and within the financial services industry, competition is fierce. Financial services organisations have been known to source their own contractors in order to find the specific skill sets they need. Vendor Neutrality refers to the instances where talent sourced by the organisation is independently managed (not by a talent sourcing company), and provides peace of mind that the organisation can retain and reuse this talent without the flight risk of having that data stored in an agency database . A Vendor Neutral managed service, such as that provided by Entity Solutions, is crucial as it ensures no limitation for an organisation to source talent from any sourcing vendor, particularly niche non-approved suppliers. Equally important then, is the need to manage compliance, on-going contractual arrangements including insurance, payroll and downstream margin payments, when the search for talent is wide and the number of vendors grows. A Managed Vendor model provides all the freedom to search for the best talent with Vendor Neutrality, knowing that we are not a recruitment agency and won’t place your skilled contractors with other clients. A Vendor Neutral managed service provides control and governance, one seamless process, with full transparency of spend with reporting at any point in time. This enables the organisation to accurately manage their contractor workforce for skill retention and re use.
Jake Pickard, Head of Recruitment at AustralianSuper, speaks about how important Vendor Neutrality and transparency in spend are to the financial services industry. ”It is vital that the commercial aspects of the supplier relationship are transparent as at AustralianSuper we want to ensure that our people, contractors and permanent staff members, are fully appraised of any and all impacts on their remuneration. Entity Solutions provide us with the ability to provide full visibility to our people, as well as the confidence that we are treating all contractors fairly by ensuring all vendors are engaged on the same terms.”
- Talent retention and attraction and the contractor experience
How your organisation is perceived in the marketplace and how your people are treated within the organisation will play an enormous part in establishing yourself as the place to work. The most obvious and fundamental place to start is to ensure that contractors are paid on time, every time. This sounds easy enough to do but in reality without well-defined processes and dedicated technology in place to manage contractor payroll you will unavoidably end up getting the basics wrong.
Providing additional services to your talent will also help to give you the edge over other organisations. Whether they are lifestyle, professional development or income maximisation options, these services act as an additional lever in attracting the right people. Creating a modern experience and using the latest technology will also make an impact. Mobile apps and web enabled portals enhance the user experience making it easier to manage on-boarding, on-going contract acceptance and the full payment process. This can all be done via a contractor’s smart phone, combining compliance with efficiency.
Jake, of AustralianSuper, also comments on the significance of engaging a trustworthy supplier to deepen the contactor experience. ”The decision to entrust a third party with the on-boarding of AustralianSuper's contractors was not a decision that was taken lightly. When considering the most appropriate organisation with which to partner for this critical aspect of our employee lifecycle, it was important to us that we could rely on both their technical and industry expertise, as well as their belief in providing an exemplary experience for the individual as they transition from candidate to contract employee. Entity Solutions have proven that they are reliable in both respects.”
In an industry demanding the specialised skills to keep up with the latest technology, it makes sense to focus on creating a strategy for your workforce which includes some built in flexibility. This way you can bring in the right resources you need when you need them to ensure your organisation doesn’t fall behind when it comes to achieving the level of digitalisation now expected by your market.