The state of the modern workforce is a continually evolving landscape driven by everything from generational behavior shifts, socioeconomic norms, technology growth, and – in today's world – the influence of a global pandemic. As financial institutions grapple with how to manage through this dynamic and demanding time, one truth is becoming much clearer: the impacts of this global health crisis and how organizations have responded will drive permanent changes to both the way we work and the way we manage our workforce. Specifically, a geographically diverse and distributed workforce will become part of the new normal for most – if not all – organizations. We must ask the question, what can a financial institution's leadership do to create a healthy, productive, and supported distributed workforce while balancing the need for required physical infrastructure and operations.
As we consider the lasting effects of both the ongoing evolution of today's workforce and the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenges, and potential benefits, of achieving a balanced target state start to come into focus. With much of the industry starting to embrace the notion of technology driving the business, we can begin planning for the next phase of the modern workforce by acknowledging:
- Our teams will remain distributed for too long to tread water; we need a plan to help our teams in the short-term
- There is an opportunity to redefine your long-term agile approach; one of agile's best qualities it that it lets us react quickly and positively to change
- Our decisions are not all hypothetical; we have had nearly six months of operating in a distributed environment, and there have been critical lessons learned
- While there are many extenuating circumstances to our current situation, distributed agile can, and will, work; we know because we have done it successfully for the past 20 years.
In this paper, we will explore, in more detail, the challenges organizations are facing in adapting to this distributed operating model, acknowledging much of the complexity is driven by the unforeseen and unpredictable impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will then lay out a roadmap for institutions to leverage to create a more sustainable, distributed workforce while reaping many potential benefits.
We will provide detailed and concrete examples of how organizations across the financial services industry have succeeded previously and the positive business and social outcomes created by a committed, deliberate approach.