Digital innovation can provide a number of staffing benefits that might not be immediately obvious during this unpredictable time.
First, if staffing needs are shifting, even temporarily, from needing people to handle in-branch traffic, to demand for increased help with online or call center activity, having a plan to repurpose existing staff toward these shifts in consumer behavior is very important for your institution.
During a pandemic it’s easy to understand why people aren’t visiting branches as much or even at all. But it’s still likely that you may want some of those brick-and-mortar locations in the future, so you need a robust plan to handle staffing now AND in the future when needs may change once again.
According to the Financial Brand “in the 2019 World Branch Report, which Horton conducted in partnership with The Financial Brand, consumers had a 51% higher level of trust in financial institutions with branches.”
For this and other reasons, it’s likely that some of your branch traffic will likely return in the future, but until that time, utilizing existing team members in new ways makes all the sense in the world. And being creative with staffing and responsibilities can help avoid the need for furloughs or layoffs during times of economic contraction.
Reduced Branch Traffic Leaves Room for Digital Innovation
While branch traffic is down, digital innovation can also offer other opportunities for staff growth and development.
In the face of so many aspects of our lives that are changing, instead of moaning and groaning about how unpredictable life has become, why not work with staff to embrace new approaches to customer or member service.
We are encouraging institutions to lean into new technologies like online chat or video banking, even if the speed you make these kinds of changes causes some hiccups along the way.
Go for Progress Over Perfection
During a global pandemic your customers will likely have a little more patience for new approaches to communicating. After all, they are also now shifting their own behavior, and many are working from home and doing less face-to-face interactions in their daily lives.
If your online communications efforts aren’t initially perfect, that’s ok! At least you are present and trying to innovate in the face of COVID-19. And that will matter immensely to people.
Consider New Training Opportunities
When innovation is evolving as quickly as it seems to be today, truly motivated staff will embrace training opportunities that help them cultivate ambitious career growth goals. Gaining new certifications or technical skills is a great way for junior employees to continue to progress.
Encouraging staff to participate in online trainings in their areas of responsibility or interest is a great way to keep people focused and encouraged, even during a what might be a very stressful time for many of us.
Face-time with Executive Team Can be an Added Bonus
Finally, digital innovation and progress should also include sharing results of these new efforts at the highest levels of your organization. Why not task some junior team members to present their efforts and results to your executive team?
This highlights the efforts of younger staff to executives and gives them exposure that they might not have otherwise had. It’s an effective way to promote career development and inspire your team to work harder.