The question formed the basis of a fast-paced and insightful panel at FinTECHTalents Building Societies on October 21st. Panellists discussed how the foundations of a digital culture, where innovation is embraced and the right talent brought on board, can accelerate transformation. The strength of the discussion came from the wide variety of perspectives represented by the group.
Jon Hull, as Head of Resourcing at Nationwide, naturally focused on finding and attracting the necessary skillset to drive innovation and creativity. However, Jon noted that there are steps beyond this – you need to foster the right mindset within an organisation to embrace these new ways of working. Developing understanding among leadership and management is just as important to digital success as graduate programs for recruiting aspiring IT professionals. As ways of working are altered, it is important to assess the capabilities existing colleagues must build moving forward.
Steve Round, as the Chair of Ecology Building Society was able to share his perspective on the difficulty of altering legacy attitudes, stemming from long-established ways of operating. Digital solutions have quickly become an expected aspect of interaction, which COVID has since escalated into a necessity. Yet at present many Building Society systems are unable to meet this expectation. For the past 150+ years, required investment in technology has been very low, so embracing innovation requires a cultural shift in accepting the necessity of change.
George Winch, as Senior Director of Partnerships at technology provider Zafin, was able to share his experience of how the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated a shift to digital by increasing an awareness of what is digitally possible. Outside of financial services digital expectations are being shaped by rapidly changing trends social media and e-commerce. Consumers have become more willing to go elsewhere for the right products and services. In order for Building Societies to engage future generations of customers, they need a digital mindset which takes into account this demand.
Finally, it was fantastic to have Kelly Wagner-Grull, Director of Innovation at the Credit Union of Colorado share her focus on harnessing the spirit of an organisation noting, “your employees are your greatest asset.” Staff are at the frontline of delivering services, as well as being consumers themselves, so are well placed to identify problems and suggest solutions. Kelly noted that Credit Unions must be brave enough to attempt these solutions, even where they may not work first time. Leadership may not have all the answers, but a culture to involve those who do, will make room for digital growth.
You can view the full recording of this fascinating session below.