Can Automation Solve BFSI’s 2023 Staffing Challenges?

Human capital disruptions are impacting virtually all businesses. Over the past three years, labor markets have experienced whiplash. Pandemic-fueled labor force reductions, exacerbated by robust hiring demand in the broader market, combined with the Great Resignation and now a looming recession have made today’s staffing challenges so severe.

Retention and recruitment have been especially difficult according to a WorkFusion survey of banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) executives. The study found that 87% of respondents reported that it has gotten harder to retain employees, and 89% reported that it has gotten harder to recruit new employees.

While finding employees in a tight labor market was a challenge before, now, according to a survey on inflation and workforce challenges from, some executives are contemplating a downshift in hiring. A majority (72%) of financial leaders agreed or somewhat agreed that they faced critical hiring needs, however, 17% pointed to a slowdown in hiring or a hiring freeze as a potential response to inflationary pressures for the second half of the year.

We are seeing this downward trend in real-time as leading financial services organizations like Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo have slowed hiring and are initiating major job cuts.

As the pendulum swings on labor markets, how can organizations look to technology—especially automation and AI—to overcome employee shortages and skills gaps while ensuring operations run smoothly and compliance is maintained?

Filling an Open Job Req

Organizations are still struggling to find candidates to overcome inadequate employee headcounts and employee departures.

There’s too much work and not enough workers. According to the US Chamber of Commerce, if every unemployed person in the country found a job, we would still have 5 million open jobs.

The first phase of recruitment consists of simply finding the right person, whether for an entry-level role or an experienced role. WorkFusion’s research found that 52% of respondents take 1–3 months to fill entry-level roles, while 58% of respondents take a minimum of four months to fill an experienced role.

But recruitment consists of more than simply filling an open job requisition. Organizations also must account for onboarding and training new employees, as this proves critical to understanding the full-time-to-value of a new hire. Looking at the average length of time for onboarding and training entry-level and experienced workers, the report found that onboarding an experienced worker is twice as likely to take more than three months (relative to an entry-level new hire).

As a matter of fact, sourcing and skilling up experienced roles take significantly more time than entry-level workers. For entry-level roles, the time from job posting to having a skilled-up new hire is ~5.1 months, while an experienced role takes ~7.5 months. That means it takes 47% more time, on average, to source and skill someone in an experienced role.

Holding on to Top Performers

Losing talent is becoming the norm, coupled with new employee expectations and “quiet quitting.”

While organizations continue to look for ways to address employee retention, the problem is only getting worse. WorkFusion’s report found that BFSI year-over-year employee-departure rates indicated the amount of turnover (both entry-level and experienced) increased by 35% in 2022 (relative to the year prior).

In an already tight labor market where there are more jobs than people and employees currently doing more with less — now combined with hiring freezes and layoffs — employees are feeling the pressure. WorkFusion’s report found that the top two issues identified by all respondents as a result of FTE retention issues, increased stress and increased workload, go hand-in-hand.

Unsurprisingly, employees who are burnt out are not as productive as their mentally healthy colleagues. According to Gallup, they are 63% more likely to use a sick day and 2.6 times likely to be looking for a different job.

Digital Workers Can Help

If talent shortages, hiring freezes, employee burnout and retention issues are challenges for your organization as you plan for 2023, AI-powered Digital Workers may be an attractive option to add to your talent mix.

Don’t worry, Digital Workers aren’t stealing jobs and they aren’t just bots performing simple “mindless” tasks. Digital Workers are true knowledge workers that effectively augment existing teams in functions like anti-money laundering (AML), sanctions, customer onboarding, Know Your Customer (KYC), underwriting, and customer service.

These Digital Workers possess automation that delivers the same qualities you may be looking for in desired employees — but they won’t leave for a better job, “quiet quit,” take sick days, and don’t experience employee burnout. As a matter of fact, they are doing the jobs that your employees don’t necessarily want to do, and they don’t mind doing it. They take care of the repetitive activities such as data collection, document handling, and false-positive clearing — freeing-up their colleagues to work on more strategic and fulfilling projects or even just performing more diligence on the true risk areas to the business. And they expedite previously slow and ineffective work that helps to improve customer service.

For example, Scotiabank, one of Canada’s top banks, with 99,000 employees and more than $1 trillion in assets, deployed WorkFusion’s sanctions and adverse media screening Digital Worker Evelyn to enhance its anti-money laundering (AML) program. It resulted in $15M in annual cost savings, 95% reduction in false positives, 50% increase in media search coverage, and the bank freed up an amount of time and effort equivalent to more than 100 compliance analysts.

To learn more about how Digital Workers can help you rethink your long-term talent strategy to de-risk growth in 2023 and beyond please watch our webinar, Stop Hiring and Start Automating.

For ways to help your organization adopt Digital Workers and automation, please download this complimentary Gartner report, “Help Employees Embrace Automation in Financial Services.”

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