Technology and Product

Your financial services institution needs to know this to conquer seismic digital disruption

Posted on: April 14, 2021Updated on: April 18, 2024By: Maliyah Bernard

Updating long-standing safety protocols. Reskilling employees to fill role-specific gaps. Communicating through online channels. The ongoing pandemic has forced companies to rethink how work is done, especially on the frontline. And the importance of getting employees on the same page to protect client and advisor health safety has become alarmingly clear. 

For those in retail banking—whether you’re in L&D, HR or Operations—supporting a frontline workforce through disruption likely means you’re looking to embrace some major changes, including implementing a digital transformation strategy tailor-made for your business. But where is a good place to start?


Recently, Alan Richardson, VP of Learning and Performance at RBC and Shawn Kanungo, Disruption Strategist, sat down at AxoniCom FIRESIDE to dig into the topic of equipping your frontline employees to effectively handle business disruption—and how including frontline retail banking associates in these strategies unlocks even greater competitive advantage. 

Here are three takeaways from the event you can use to advocate for investing in your frontline workforce and learn how to approach a digital transformation strategy rollout, from the corporate level down to each and every advisor.

1. Discover what digital transformation really means.

According to Alan, it’s not just about taking existing processes and making them digital. Instead, visualize your client’s dream state when using your services. Then, learn to leverage technology to get as close as you can to that goal. 

Remember: Digital tools aren’t always intuitive for everyone. Proper integration means both the client experience and the employee experience will need to be exceptional. Involving the frontline in the process and getting their feedback is one way to build their confidence and ensure new technology is adopted across your organization the way you need it to be. You can also lean into digital champions who’ve had good experiences with the technology to share that enthusiasm with clients and their team.

2. Recognize the importance of frontline evolution.

Today’s frontline retail banking advisors are wearing many more hats than they used to, after suddenly being tossed into customer service, data analyst and IT roles to fill gaps. So it’s important to create a workplace culture that always keeps your frontline learning.

How often should you be reskilling or upskilling your frontline? “If your client-facing team isn’t constantly learning new skills, you’re probably already behind,” Alan says. To keep your frontline actively engaged in learning, make it an organizational priority to provide relevant learning opportunities and equip your leaders to coach and develop their teams as frequently as possible. 

3. Get comfortable with the future of work.

The financial services institutions that navigate disruption most successfully are ones that put the client at the center of what they do, shifting from product-based teams to client-based teams. 

Managers leading teams that are used to working in silos can reinforce cross-functional ways of working with teams their advisors wouldn’t typically work with. Then frontline employees will not only have knowledge about the client, but also understand how to work together to serve clients better. This means spending less time checking boxes and more time engaging and building that dynamic of collaborating as a core skill of everyone on staff.

Looking for more tips and tricks to move your #FrontlineForward? We’ve got you covered. You can now access the full recording of our Tackling Digital Disruption on the Frontlines of Retail Banking session on-demand over here. Watch on your own terms and get actionable insights directly from a financial services leader who’s navigated seismic change and come out on top.

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Maliyah Bernard

Maliyah Bernard is an academic writer turned content writer. As a former frontline worker, she loves writing about all the ways organizations can support these essential workers smarter.

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