Future-proof transformation projects with talent & expertise

By Emily Shanks
Emily Shanks, director of banking services at Wiley Edge, explains how reevaluating your approach to digital transformation can prove valuable

Transformation projects within banks and other financial organisations are complex and costly by nature, but often prove especially difficult to manage beyond the delivery phase. It’s not unusual for the majority of those on the project to be transient workers and no longer present past the initial implementation.

Typically, consultants provide advisory services through senior experts to guide the key decisions and use junior experts to execute the work, before the institutions’ employees are left to the daily delivery and maintenance. And, while using established consultancy experts is an effective way to de-risk projects, and using more junior consultant experts where possible is more cost-effective, it’s often not the most efficient long-term solution. Despite best intentions to get transformation projects off on the right foot, it can lead to trouble later down the line when the consultancy is no longer directly involved. With this in mind, it’s perhaps not surprising that 38% of global banking transformation leaders say transformations underperform against KPIs.

Often there’s a transition period following a consultancy project when most of the advisory work for the transformation is done and the ‘change-the-bank’ project turns into a ‘run-the-bank’ project. This is essentially when a significant amount of knowledge of the project and operational ins and outs walks out of the door, and banks lose the intellectual property they’ve heavily invested in. It’s during this stage that banks can become frustrated, and despite employees’ best efforts, the consistency, direction and momentum of the project can flounder.

Rethinking digital transformation can help

However, by slicing the supplier pie differently, financial institutions can help solve this challenge in a cost-effective way that also protects the long-term interests of the project and the business. This can be achieved with a hire, train, deploy (HTD) model. As a relatively new emerging talent strategy that originated in the US, awareness of this model amongst UK organisations and graduates is still low. Yet HTD is an impactful and proven method to help organisations acquire new talent equipped with all the foundational learnings, as well as the in-depth industry, organisation or technology-specific training required to enable them to add value from the get-go. A HTD provider will find emerging talent, usually graduates, with the attitude and aptitude to succeed within the business, and will train them up in the skills required by the organisation before embedding them within the team for 12-24 months. It’s during this time that these individuals can work alongside both senior consultants on the project and the organisation’s internal leaders, learning and upskilling on the job.

At the end of the period, these individuals can be hired as a permanent employee at no extra cost to the organisation. This means the people that have been working on the project throughout, and have soaked up much of the knowledge from the consultants they’ve worked alongside, will remain ‘on the ground’ in the organisation to see the project through. This is an effective way to bridge the gap that usually opens up once the advisory consultancy has left and allows organisations to get the value out of advisory consultancies, while also investing in the future resilience of the workforce. As well as underpinning a more seamless transition to the ‘run-the-bank’ stage of the project and into the longer term, it allows organisations to build a targeted combination of expertise and talent, while retaining much of the human capital that grows out of major projects.

Against a backdrop of mass resignations and layoffs in the market, there is arguably more talent available to hire. Yet, when factoring in costs of recruitment and retention, and considering how quickly candidates can and do move on, allocating budget for the most effective outcome isn’t necessarily a straightforward decision. The HTD model offers many banking and financial institutions a best of both worlds solution – enabling them to look after long-term interests and ensure the consistency and success of the project, while equipping them with a skilled, experienced employee that’s likely to stay and build on their career within the organisation.

About the author

Emily Shanks

Emily Shanks has accumulated a vast knowledge of banking transformation projects through her time working as both a consultant on the ground and as part of the business development team at a large financial advisory consultancy. As director of banking services at Wiley Edge, Emily is committed to diversity and changing the employment landscape in finance, banking and technology.


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