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Banking in the Digital Age Part 2: Liquid workforce

Steve Pemberton, Accenture’s financial services APAC head of banking | June 3, 2016
During this five-part series Accenture looks at solutions for the challenges and opportunities for the next generation of banking.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Part 1 |Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

More than one-third of the bank executives polled in our 2016 Accenture Technology Vision for Banking survey say that established banks are most likely to face the greatest risk of digital disruption. To challenge digital disruptors, banks need to become more flexible.

The stereotype goes that digital disruptors are staffed with hip, hard-working, flexible staff. Whether or not that's entirely true is debatable, but banks can stay apace with digital-driven change by creating their own flexible and adaptable workforce.  We call this the liquid workforce. In the simplest of terms this means workers who have the fit-for job-purpose skills, embrace continuous education, collaborate well with other teams and are outcome-oriented.  

Here is how you build a liquid workforce:


  • Create your workforce strategy. Ask: What capabilities do you have now, and what will you need in the short- and long-term?
  •  Perform a skills gap analysis. Have your HR organisation highlight roles and any other areas that need to be addressed, and then work with a vast network of partners, such as universities and executive recruiters, to reinvigorate your talent pipeline and talent pool relationships.
  • Build a strategy for expanding your workforce capabilities. Determine what investments in facilities, technology or people you will need to attract, retain and develop your skills pool toward your chosen workforce destination.
  • Create a new engagement strategy. Develop a plan that will allow workers to contribute to projects they are passionate about, move freely through the organisation, and leveraging digital technology, find work that best suits native skills.
  • Develop a variety of talent sources-in-house, temporary workers, on-demand pools and longer-term outsourcing partners. Create a clear, well-communicated distribution of work between diverse skill sources that plays to the strengths of each.
  • Pilot a new liquid project. Assign a 'stretch' project to one of your groups and grant them the autonomy and dedicated resources that allow them to accomplish their goal. Use this pilot as a foundation for developing a formal liquid project strategy.


Ideally, banks will hire people who welcome change, learn quickly and are effective at working in any mode of delivery. By leveraging a combination of contractors, consultants and outsourcing, IoT, cloud, and Big Data, companies can develop an environment that harnesses the right technology that enables the right people to do the right things. Such embedded flexibility will create a more liquid workforce that is data-driven, outcome-oriented, incorporates external talent, trained continuously and empowered to innovate and keep pace with digital disruption.


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