Why are Banks Falling Behind on Mobile Scheduling and Workforce Management?
Mobile connectivity is a fact of modern life, and in most industries, employees and managers can view, revise, and attest work schedules from their devices. But branch banking has been slow to modernize workforce management processes, citing a variety of barriers to adoption.
However, the retail banking industry also needs to understand the dramatic benefits of evolving scheduling and staffing processes. Mobile scheduling and employee self-service aren’t just minor conveniences for branch employees, they’re a powerful driver for employee engagement and retention. Branch staff can view their schedules in advance, adjust availability, and bid to swap or pick up shifts to meet their needs. Scheduling clarity and flexibility is proven to increase employee satisfaction and retention.
These mobile tools are beneficial for managers too, with easy to use interfaces, AI-powered forecasting to streamline processes, and support for multi-skill and floating pools across the network. Managers can make schedule adjustments on the go, quickly advertising and filling open shifts, so there are no gaps in coverage. Mobile scheduling helps optimize scheduling to maximize customer engagement and drive sales.
With all of these benefits in mind, what is holding banks back?
Obstacles to Mobile Branch Banking Solutions
In a recent call with a large bank, the executive flatly stated that they do not support employee mobility. When pressed, there did not seem to be an exact answer why, as it’s a complex issue for banks. There are IT security challenges with any tech device in banking. For that matter, any firm with customer or employee data experiences security challenges, as well as BYOD, hardware costs, and branch WiFi limitations. There are even possible issues with local or state laws impacting company policies on device usage. While there are no easy and bulletproof solutions, many other industries have addressed these challenges in supporting mobility for employees. Although some banks are following suit, most are still lagging behind.
So what factors are holding branch banking back from more widely adopted mobile employee apps? As a former banker who used to write strategy, requirements, and business cases for tech investment, you need several things before adoption: ROI/NPV, strategic fit, risk evaluation, and executive support.
At the moment, ROI/NPV is tough to prove. Often, the mobile devices and apps provided to employees offer similar capability as the solutions on their laptops, so how do you quantify the benefit of a new device or channel? It’s easy to discuss possible savings and efficiencies, like improving employee usability or bolstering customers’ perceptions of banks and bankers as tech savvy against competition from Silicon Valley. However, these possible savings and qualitative benefits can be hard to quantify in a pro-forma business case for off-setting the costs of any mobile program for employees.
On the other hand, the strategic fit for mobile scheduling solutions should be obvious to most bankers, given both their personal use of mobile technology and the current trend toward investing in customer-facing mobile tools. Mobile solutions for employees result in a more mobile workforce. Many banks are currently trying to “untether” employees from their desks in order to foster customer conversations, or from their branches so they can float between multiple branches. Additionally, more flexible scheduling—and tools that support it—improve employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention. This is especially critical in today’s high employment economy to avoid losing your best employees.
Risk Evaluation and Executive Support
The last two points are related to the first two. Until more banks adopt mobile strategies for employee self-service and scheduling, the ROI/NPV of those strategies is speculative. Until that point, you have teams from IT, risk, and legal barraging the business line with the costs, risks, worst case scenarios, and liability concerns. Many business line execs are reluctant to champion these tools and challenge IT, risk, or legal when the financial benefits are not as easy to quantify.
So, with that in mind, here are some statistics to empower those who want to challenge the status quo in banking. (courtesy of Lilach Bulloch at Forbes1)
- The BYOD market is on course to hit almost $367 billion by 2022, up from just $30 billion in 2014 (Source: BetaNews).
- 61% of Gen Y and 50% of 30+ workers believe the tech tools they use in their personal lives are more effective and productive than those used in their work life (Dell)
- 60% use a smartphone for work purposes while 31% desire one (Dell)
- Companies favouring BYOD make an annual saving of $350 per year, per employee (Cisco)
- Using portable devices for work tasks saves employees 58 minutes per day while increasing productivity by 34% (Frost & Sullivan)
While there are no easy or safe answers around mobility for bank employees, banks should not keep procrastinating. There are a few banks that have made the leap, and I would bet, those that have will be leading the industry in the future.
For more on how mobile tools can help your branch banking employees, contact Ron Wellman at firstname.lastname@example.org.