March 2021
Issue Map
Three bank tellers are sitting behind a large glass window, but the image is intentionally made blurry so that the people are indistinguishable.
TD Magazine

Financial Institutions Need to Retrain to Retain Employees

Monday, March 1, 2021

As some roles fade away, talent development can help the financial services industry overcome disruption via reskilling and upskilling.

The financial industry is rich with examples of how technology can threaten jobs that were previously thought to be indispensable. ATMs, online banking, and direct deposit are among the technological advances that have reduced the frequency of in-person bank visits. In fact, the bank has become less of a place to go and is now more of a thing to do.


The pandemic dealt another blow to the financial services industry, halting all in-person service. The need for many once-prominent roles saw a significant decline resulting from COVID-19. According to Guild Education's 2020 Financial Services Talent Strategy Report, bank teller roles experienced a 31 percent decline as a result of the pandemic, and analysts estimate that financial institutions' need for that role will decrease an additional 5 percent by 2025.

Leaders in the financial services industry are now strategizing how their institutions can emerge from disruptions on solid footing and ahead of the competition. With technological advances and other outside forces, such as the pandemic threatening jobs, institutions may need a talent development solution. Guild Education's report hones in on the specific upskilling and reskilling needs that financial institutions are facing.

Adopting an out-with-the-old and in-with-the-new talent strategy to keep up with change may seem rational to some, but doing so will come at a price. "Replacing an employee can cost 20–30% of an annual salary, while reskilling costs less than 10%," the report states. For that reason, it financially behooves organizations to support reskilling and upskilling initiatives for employees.


A successful solution in the case of the teller may call for talent development professionals to identify how to build upon the teller's skill set for use in other positions that can contribute to the business's future success. As the report suggests, with technology training and service skill development, yesterday's teller can be tomorrow's associate banker or even a future financial advisor.

Initiatives like that are not exclusive to financial institutions—they can occur in various industries. Through that example, however, talent development's multidimensional impact at organizations is made clear: Not only is talent development mission critical to readying organizations for the future by bolstering workers' skills, it is also integral to protecting jobs, supporting organizational retention goals, and positively affecting the business's bottom line.

About the Author

Derrick Thompson is a former writer/editor for ATD.

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