After Covid turmoil, what does the fintech & banking industry expects from 2021

The year 2020 has brought about an unprecedented change in the way we work, connect, and balance our personal and professional lives. In addition to managing work, fintech industry leaders think the current scenario has made it increasingly important for organizations to refocus on the wellbeing of their people, both physical and mental.

Wellness being one of the core values at PayPal, the HR team introduced a series of new programs such as Crisis Leave, Wellness Day, leveraging/extending current programs, namely Wellness Mentors, EAP, and putting emphasis on safe-space conversations, enabling the employees to bring their true self at work.

Jayanthi Vaidyanathan, Senior Director and Head – HR, PayPal India, said, “Enabling a seamless transition to remote working, equipping managers to help move teams to a growth mindset and caring for our employees remained our key focus, as we moved to a remote working model.”

Even when we do get back to work, Vaidyanathan believes the industry is aware that some people will want to continue with remote working forever while others will be more in the office. “We expect the vast majority will follow some kind of three-two hybrid,” she said.

Similarly, for Clix Capital, the year 2020 has been a watershed moment for the HR function and, to a large extent, the HR community has acted exceptionally well while dealing with this unprecedented crisis.

Speaking of ambiguous, fast-changing environments that impacted the work, workforce and workplace, Aditya Kohli, CHRO, Clix Capital, said, “As organisations shifted from handling the crisis to responding to the needs of their employees and focused on restarting the business, HR was firmly in the decision-maker’s seat, working closely with the CEO and the Board.”

For HR, he said, there were three major impacts. “First, employees’ health and safety emerged as an overarching priority for the year. Second, as business continuity and emotional resilience were tested, it became a period of tremendous focus on communication, proactive connections and engaging not only employees but their families too. Finally, the HR function invested immensely in building skills and capabilities to support new ways of working,” he explained.

HR to become an orchestrator, technology the enabler

Industry leaders assert hiring will continue to offer its usual challenges plus those generated by Covid-19. “Conventions of remote interviewing and remote onboarding will continue to be refined and developed. However, a compelling value proposition has to be developed not only to attract the right talent but also ensure smooth and successful assimilation into the organisation ecosystem without being physically present,” said Debashree Lad, Head – Human Capital, CredAble.

Lad points out that human capital from being a department particularly managing hiring, retention, appraisal, onboarding and exits can benefit from emerging technologies which can essentially augment and co-create new experiences for the employees.

“Whether it is digitizing feedback, appraising staff, or even automating FAQs from an employee relationship perspective, or having a timesheet to be populated, technology plays a vital role as an enabler, HR simply becomes an orchestrator, technology the enabler,” she said.

Heading into 2021, Vaidyanathan said PayPal will continue to ensure that each employee is engaged and experiences values of wellness, inclusion, and collaboration.

Speaking of the key skills that will be in great demand, she said the pandemic has not only accelerated how technology is being used but also emphasized on creating a digital skills ecosystem that prepares India’s workforce for jobs of the future.

“Going into 2021, I firmly believe that Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning followed by Agility and Resilience will be in great demand in the digital payments ecosystem,” added Vaidyanathan.

Kohli from Clix Capital brings in the diversity and inclusion point of view. Across the world, he said, industries are witnessing a movement where diversity is not only good to have but now more often seen as a basis for organisational fairness.

“The focus in 2021 will go much beyond gender diversity, and also look at age and ethnicity. With greater diversity in the workforce, we need to start paying attention to inclusion.”

He further said that there has been a significant shortfall in HR Technology investments. However, he said, in 2021, we will witness more investment in HR digitization.

“Technology will help augment people capability and drive employee experience at a scale that wasn’t possible before. Much of the transactional HR work will be done by bots and there will be more business insights using high-quality people analytics,” added Kohli.

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