The financial services industry represents a significant segment of the Australian market. Trends affecting this group are often also found in the broader Australian marketplace.
Large financial services businesses are currently entering a critical phase, the retirement of the baby boomers and therefore massive losses of ingrained skills and knowledge.
According to an Accenture research paper, the financial services industry is top heavy with baby boomers who plan to retire within the next 10 years.
When older staff members and their decades of accumulated knowledge and expertise leave, a void is left behind. A point reinforced by in a 2012 Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) survey which found that as many as 46 per cent of Australian employers found that the departure of older staff had resulted in the loss of key knowledge or skills and made their enterprise less competitive.
With the continued increase in the median age of the Australian population too, the industry is faced with a significant workforce planning challenge in renewing that talent.
The implications are obvious, especially, in industries such as insurance where relationships between agent, brokers and customers require trust that often is built over a number of years. New recruits are likely to miss out on having access to advice and sounding boards from more experience colleagues.
In lieu of a "transactive memory" that can guide someone towards a prompt resolution of a claim we will be left with people left searching for answers and most likely worsened customer experience and costly mistakes.
Growth opportunities for 'new guns'
It doesn't have to be all doom and gloom. Losing the old guard also creates opportunities for new guns to bring in fresh ideas and challenge old methods and processes.
There are a number of strategic human resource management approaches that can be implemented to attract and retain knowledgeable workers such as mentoring, flexible work practices, job sharing or contracting freelancers. Such options also appeal more to women and older workers.
Naomi White from Suncorp also points to the increasing number of tertiary educated people in the developing world as a potential talent pool to consider – a worthwhile option given the growth of cloud-based technology and remote access.
The right technology can facilitate all of the above. While over the last decade the implementations of document, records and multimedia libraries have become pivotal to sharing documents, training videos, podcast and providing a collaborative environment, there is still room for improvement.
Capturing business rules in a knowledge and rules engine will also provide tremendous advantages and benefits. First, it structures and supports tacit knowledge such as decision, constraint and generative knowledge. Second, it ensures omni-channel consistency in practices and business processes with a single version of the truth across all channels, internal as well as external.
Technology can also provide a knowledge base foundation to customer facing applications, such as guided selling, guided services, needs analysis or a reference knowledge base to claim staff. In other words, capture and formularise the tacit knowledge from the experts in such manner than it can be shared and spread more readily and efficiently across the organisation and value chain.