Unleashing the Power of Hyperconnectivity: The Changing Landscape of the BFSI Sector

Yeshasvini Ramaswamy

The advent of hyperconnectivity, digitisation, and the integration of AI has brought about significant changes. Customers now possess a higher level of awareness, and there is an abundance of do-it-yourself (DIY) components, highlights Yeshasvini Ramaswamy, Chief Executive Officer, Great Place To Work® India, in an exclusive interaction with Garima Pant of Elets News Network (ENN)

Why is the BFSI sector in India one of the most important pillars of the country’s economy?

There is undeniable evidence of the significant role played by the Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance (BFSI) sector. Around a decade ago, discussions on digitalization were prominent in this field. Considering the combined population of China and India, which represents about two-thirds of the global population, it is estimated that one in every seven individuals worldwide is an Indian.

To create an equitable society in India, our focus should not only be on becoming a global economic power, but also on ensuring fairness for the common man. Given our large population, the BFSI industry bears substantial responsibility in achieving this goal. It is also the sector that is likely to witness significant innovation due to the advancements in technology and digitization. Moreover, when considering employment opportunities, the BFSI sector employs the largest workforce after agriculture and IT. Therefore, it is an industry of great importance and one that warrants close attention and active participation.

What are the primary trends that are shaping the BFSI industry currently?

In 2023, we have observed a notable increase in positive sentiment among employees, which continued to grow. There was an impressive surge of almost 9% in employees expressing confidence in their management and believing that they received fair compensation, equity, credibility, and more. To provide context, our “Great Place To Work® India” operates in 150 countries worldwide, where we gather insights from numerous employee voices.

This privileged position allows us to not only evaluate the internal dynamics of companies within India and their ties to the BFSI sector, but also compare them to global benchmarks and best practices. The trends we have observed are incredibly encouraging. It is worth mentioning that the industry faced significant challenges during the pandemic, which were by no means simple. The problems we continue to encounter are complex and multi-layered.

I would like to acknowledge and commend all the industry leaders in the BFSI space who have demonstrated compassionate leadership and taken bold measures to prioritize the well-being of both customers and employees. Therefore, the 9% increase in positive employee sentiment holds significant significance and should not be underestimated.

The second noteworthy aspect is the positive hiring trend. This development instills a great deal of hope for the BFSI industry as a whole. It indicates that leaders within the sector are actively innovating and demonstrating a commitment to expanding their organizations. This, in turn, provides employees with increased opportunities for growth and allows more individuals in our country to become part of the BFSI workforce.

We are witnessing significant growth in various segments, including NBFCs, insurance, banking, and credit services. The growth rates range from 15% to 27%, reflecting a robust upward trajectory. Overall, this trend contributes to a positive sentiment within the industry. It is important to note that the Indian market still presents substantial untapped potential, making it an exciting space for further exploration and expansion.

What factors contributed to the improved ranking of BFSI sector in the last four years?

The intention is evident, with a prevalent positive sentiment surrounding management’s commitment to prioritize the well-being of employees and striving to become an employer of choice. Among the various sub-industries within BFSI, FinTech displayed the highest level of intent, approximately 41%, to recruit additional employees. Moreover, there is an increased willingness to evaluate workplace culture. While some companies may choose to operate without seeking external validation, FinTech companies are notably inclined to embrace audits and assessments.

This willingness to undergo scrutiny signifies their confidence in their practices and their dedication to fostering a healthy and conducive work environment. It demonstrates a proactive approach towards continuous improvement and aligning with best industry standards.

What are the roles and skillsets that the BSI industry is looking for at the moment?

The advent of hyperconnectivity, digitization, and the integration of AI has brought about significant changes. Customers now possess a higher level of awareness, and there is an abundance of do-it-yourself (DIY) components. Reflecting back 15-20 years ago, we witnessed a transition from in-person banking to the introduction of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems. It was a novel experience to interact with a machine and comprehend the necessary actions. Nowadays, when visiting an ATM to withdraw money, the machine automatically analyzes the transaction and provides data on the amount withdrawn and other related details.

Considering these advancements, certain roles within the BFSI sector are gaining increasing importance. Positions that require lateral thinking and analytical abilities, particularly in handling big data and understanding cognitive consumer behavior, will be vital. These roles play a critical part for individuals aspiring to make a significant impact in the BFSI sector.

How should BFSI companies cater to employees’ unique needs?

A couple of prominent themes are emerging within the BFSI sector. One notable aspect is the increasing emphasis on equity. Given the sector’s vast diversity and magnitude, establishing a respected workplace is crucial. This includes ensuring fair treatment during appraisal conversations, equitable distribution of bonuses, and a sense of contributing adequately to the company’s profit share.

Respect within the workplace is a significant factor that is receiving attention. Employees are seeking an environment where they feel valued and respected. Additionally, there is a growing expectation for management to lead by example and fulfill their commitments. Employees expect management to support them in acquiring digital literacy skills, as the nature of roles within the BFSI sector has rapidly evolved in recent years and is likely to continue changing. Therefore, employees require adequate support from their employers to upgrade their skills and adapt to the evolving demands of the industry.

Another significant aspect pertains to fostering a sense of belongingness within the BFSI sector. Due to the hybrid nature of work arrangements, certain sections of banks and the BFSI industry were unable to adopt widespread remote work practices in many parts of the country. However, there are still segments of the industry that operate in a hybrid fashion. In such a hybrid environment, the paramount metric to monitor for everyone is the sense of belongingness.

With work now taking place at home, individuals face additional pressures and responsibilities outside of work. Thus, maintaining a strong sense of belongingness becomes crucial. Metrics like productivity and utilization remain important, but the complexity of the situation is evident. It is essential to recognize that intentional collaboration is necessary, and efforts must be made to create an impartial and fair workplace environment that acknowledges and addresses the challenges faced by employees.

How the BFSI sector would witness significant growth in the upcoming years?

I find this sector personally thrilling and filled with anticipation. Our prime minister’s involvement on the G20 stage, along with the attention from world leaders, highlights the significance of our operations. Moreover, we operate within an underpenetrated market, making it unnecessary to rely on external economies for support. This industry is captivating in its own right, and we are well-insulated within our own market. With sustained growth on the horizon, we can expect to witness workplace practices that prioritize agility, foster innovation, and introduce novel technological advancements.

An intriguing example of this is how in the realm of interactive voice systems, there was a time when users were required to press a numeric button from one to nine to navigate through the options. However, new methods and hacks have emerged, transforming this process into a more seamless and interactive experience. This exemplifies the kind of innovative approaches and technological advancements we can anticipate in the BFSI sector.

In a drive to enhance accessibility, advancements have been made in interactive voice systems to accommodate individuals who may not be familiar with words or numbers, or who may have limited literacy skills. One such development is the testing of native language responses, where machines are programmed to converse with users. Instead of pressing buttons, individuals can simply state their requests in their native language, be it English, Bengali, Kannada, or any other language. The machine will then respond accordingly, eliminating the need for manual input.

Considering these technological advancements, the BFSI sector presents an appealing career choice, particularly for college students aspiring to make a significant impact. With a well-established and highly regarded professional trajectory, this industry offers abundant opportunities for individuals looking to build a successful and fulfilling career.

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