Words From The Efficiency Experts

Employee Resistance With Your Digital Transformation

Posted by Bethany Wood on Thu, Jan 30, 2020
Bethany Wood

Blog Images (68)

It’s true nobody likes change, but it’s particularly frustrating to face changes that seem completely unnecessary. Chris Maher, CEO of OceanFirst Financial, noticed the biggest problem when going digital was a cultural and training gap among employees, “not surprisingly, if you work all day within a bank branch, you don’t personally have a big need to use mobile banking and wouldn’t be an advocate of that technology because it’s not important to you in your life.”

The most urgent and important step in getting your employees on board is to help them understand their value. This is particularly important in banking as digital services are completely changing the roles of bank employees (more about that {here} [link Bank Jobs of the Future article]). Many jobs that used to be done by people are now completely automated and there are new demands from customers, such as troubleshooting and help with digital offerings, that were not needed prior to digital transformation. If you have not already, consider a training program to retrain existing staff (or reconsider the training you currently offer). Maher mentions the main purpose of their training program is “to help [our staff] answer the questions that our customers are asking most frequently now. We had to help our employees [learn] those skills they needed to service the digital customer of today.”

Another problem banks may run into with their employees during this process is a lack of interest. Many existing employees did not enter banking to do IT-style jobs. Maher discusses this further, “if they’ve been with the bank a long time, they may not have the personal skills around navigating apps. As we went through the process, we were happy to upgrade and train hundreds of our employees, but we also noticed there was a segment of our employees that decided that this wasn’t for them. Some of them might have chosen to retire or choose a different career path.”

While frequently you may find an employee who is just not interested, a lot of the time it may be that they’re scared or lack confidence in learning new skills. That’s why training initiatives are so important, as well as educating employees on exactly what their job will look like and affirming that these skills may not be particularly complicated, they just require a desire to learn them. It might also be helpful to consider a program to send employees (ones that may have great background with the company and show aptitude for a certain field) back to school to get the degree necessary for new roles, or perhaps incentivizing employees to return to school for relevant degrees.

The digitalization of banking has automated small low-value tasks to allow employees to do more meaningful work within the bank. Banks now need cyber security, IT, digital marketing, and other digital-based groups. These more sophisticated jobs bring along better compensation opportunities and more room for employees to grow. They are, however, very different from traditional banking jobs. As Maher says, “when you think five or ten years from now, you’re going to see a lot fewer people in routine transaction jobs, things like branch jobs or even post-closing review and lending. If you think about the job of comparing one document to another to see if they’re consistent, that’s not going to be a job that humans do for much longer. So, I think you can just see a very significant change, but with that comes opportunity. These are very high-value jobs, they carry with them higher levels of compensation, they’re interesting and not just repetitive.”

Maher says that, while they are pleased with how many employees have stayed on among their digital changes, it’s important to remember that you cannot expect to make every employee want to stick around as you transition.



  1. Penny Crossman, Chris Maher. “What will bank jobs look like in the future? OceanFirst has an idea.” American Banker. 16 Dec. 2019. Retrieved from Apple Podcasts.

Topics: Education, Banking, Culture

Creating Highly Efficient Banks

Join us for the latest news on the happenings at 3E Software and Teslar, as well as industry news and insights from our team of experienced former bankers.

Inside you'll find:

  • The latest news for 3E Software and Teslar
  • Industry News & Insights
  • Upcoming Webinars
  • Exclusive Whitepapers and Case Studies

Subscribe Here!

Recent Posts