Hold On Tight

Hold On Tight

In the wake of what came to be known globally as The Great Resignation, what can the financial services industry learn from the mass walk-out to improve talent retention into the future?

The 2020s got off to a wild start. Like a rolling set of tsunami waves, the world was hit with a deadly new virus, lockdowns, economic upheavals, retrenchments and business closures. And just as things looked to be settling down the Great Resignation came crashing in. 2021 and 2022 saw employees voluntarily leaving their jobs in record numbers.
It was American Professor of Business Administration Anthony Klotz who first coined the phrase, but the Great Resignation was a global phenomenon and South Africa was not immune. Research by reward management platform Remchannel revealed that 60% of South African employees who left employment between April and October 2021 did so through resignation.
And then, in April this year. the Great Resignation was officially declared over with numbers and rates of resignations returning to levels that would have been expected had the pandemic never happened.
As we enter the pendulum moment that some are calling “The Big Stay”, it’s worthwhile taking note of the factors that fuelled the Great Resignation and what the industry can earn from them.

Workplace of the future

All of this comes at a time when the world of work is going through massive change as the financial services industry goes through a digital revolution. “In the foreseeable future, it is
highly probable that machines and humans will collaborate, leveraging each other’s strengths in a harmonious manner.” notes Marike van Niekerk Manager: Legal, Compliance, Marketing &
Communications at MUA.” This vision is already being realised in today’s world, evident through technology like Siri, Alexa, and self-driving cars, which showcase the capability of mimicking human behaviour.”

With that in mind businesses will need to attract and retain staff who are comfortable operating in this new hybrid environment. “In the current landscape, many traditional job roles necessitate a comprehensive understanding of effectively engaging with Al, Including Its capabilities and limitations.” notes Van Niekerk. “Successful utilisation of AI requires a tailored approach, where the algorithm and data are customised for each task by relevant human subject matter experts. Businesses must not only adapt their structures to incorporate Al but also ensure that AI systems are specifically designed for their unique contexts and task constraints. As Al becomes a crucial business tool, employees will need training to proficiently interact with and utilise it. This transformation will lead to alterations in job specifications, focusing on attributes that cannot be easily replicated by machines”

What’s more, with financial services businesses shifting to a more technology-based way of operating, these companies will also need to learn how to adapt to the constantly changing tech environment. Anyone who uses a cellphone will be familiar with the rapid pace at which technology progresses. It’s what spawned the Agile methodology, with its emphasis on continuous improvement, flexibility and adaptability.
Traditionally, these are not characteristics that have been associated with financial services. While the industry has had its share of operational innovations and evolutions, It has enjoyed the luxury of being underscored by time-honoured principles – which has shielded it from the kind of volatility seen in the tech space. This is about to change. And the workforce needs to be ready.

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