Bild: Fotolia, 161582883, Syda Productions
17. August 2017

Progress? Not with us!

When employees slow down digitization

Never change a winning team is a truly well-known phrase. But what happens to the team if no victories are gained and more and more trophies fall into the hands of competitors? Digitization inevitably poses a decisive challenge to the world of finance: it’s options are go digital – or go! In addition to efficient software, this is mainly a matter of human resources: a digital future can only exist if it is backed by the team.

Time to get moving

Once learned, internalized forever! When the training has been completed and the appropriate job found, everything is hunky-dory. This way of thinking is still widespread: working life must be as comfortable as possible, and then it’s business as usual until retirement. But what may have worked for decades is no longer a viable model. The employees in a growing number of sectors not only have to accept current developments in technology, globalization and digitization, but also keep pace with them.

However, many employees often regard changes as threatening: these employees are skeptical, oppose everything new, are afraid of losing control over their current area of responsibility, finally lapsing into a mood of crises. But how can a supposed threat be dealt with? By sticking to the tried and tested. Digitization? “No way! I have always done my work well without it …”

Several studies have shown that budgets for digitization have actually been planned in the banking world, but its implementation is hampered by internal resistance from employees. And as early as July 2015, Andreas Dombret, a member of the board of the Deutsche Bundesbank, gave a speech at the 19th Bank Symposium entitled “Sitting Things out is Unacceptable – What Does Digitization Mean for the Banking Sector in Germany?”

From top down to being in the same boat

In principle, the need for action has been recognized. But the practice is often sobering: digitization is regarded as an inevitable evil; its real pros and cons are only understood by a few bosses, who delegate all necessary steps to the IT departments, who then in turn get together in mysterious working groups. And then a new system is simply foisted upon everyone, a system that nobody comprehends and cannot even be explained by the experts. Not really an inviting or motivating situation.

Unfortunately, the idea of the much-cited “change” has either not yet arrived in many companies, or the necessary change processes have been incorrectly implemented. If innovations are not justified and explained convincingly, they will inevitably create a “I’m not going to be a party to it any longer!” attitude and people happily sit them out. A widespread notion is: “Those newfangled ideas of the bosses are never going to work!”

No change without change management

In other terms: on the threshold of digital transformation at the latest, companies need a comprehensive professional development culture that encompasses all departments. They must open up to trends and convincingly explain and justify innovations to their employees. “Change” cannot function without “change management”, so it is a question of personnel management, communication and transparency. And, if necessary, also of external professional support.

But it can’t hurt to keep two things in mind:

  • Bosses are not automatically empowered by their role to efficiently lead their employees.
  • Even highly qualified and successful employees are not immune to having to learn new things.

Digitization in the banking sector has the best chance for effective implementation if it is understood and accepted that it poses a major challenge for everyone and is a goal that can only be achieved together. Digitization is more than the choice of a suitable software, but rather fundamentally a motivational issue. Only when everyone understands why changes are necessary and meaningful, can the team attain a cooperative joint approach. And start winning victories again.

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