Getting your brokers up-to-speed with technology needs to be made a priority if your brokerage is to stay afloat, says author and researcher Tracey Wilen-Daugenti.
The technology expectations of clients are changing, says Wilen-Daugenti, and it can’t be left up to training institutes to ensure brokers are keeping up.
“In the financial sector you’re dealing with consumers and consumers want to be able to use the things they use in day-to-day life, all of the tools they know, to be able to do things like get a mortgage.
“Technology is accelerating so rapidly and education is often very slow, it often doesn't make the leap as fast as the consumer.”
Many brokers may come into the workforce unfamiliar with technology that will aid them in being more mobile, more productive, and connecting better with their clients and colleagues, says Wilen-Daugenti.
“Firms need to think about what they can do to increase efficiency from day one given they may have a product that isn’t fully-baked,” says Wilen-Daugenti.
Wilen-Daugenti points to orientation programmes such as Goldmann and Sachs’ ‘bootcamp’ as ways to get new brokers up to speed.
“Anyone that comes in your door you can equalise them so that they’re on the same platforms of technology that you use in your business.”
Training institutions that use rotating internships and mentoring also help to ensure that new brokers are industry-ready, she says.
Similarly, some brokers that have been in the workforce for a number of years may not have updated their processes to keep up with current technology.
For brokers that entered the workforce in a time when formal training was not so prevalent, regular technology training is even more important., she says.
“I grew up in classical world where a high school apprenticeship or an arts degree were all that was needed for any kind of job.
"It was a very non-technology-oriented world, and that has now drifted into a complete technology world, and there are a lot of people who haven’t made the leap.”
While a bootcamp may not be feasible for smaller businesses, putting in place options for technology advancement doesn’t necessarily take a lot of resources, says Wilen-Daugenti.
“It can be as simple as reimbursing employees if they find a quality course or offering once-a-year classes that employees can take up."
And the onus isn’t just on the employer, Wilen-Daugenti stresses that “nobody is off the hook” when it comes to technological advancement.
“Where I am if you don’t keep up you’re out of a job. Nobody has to keep you on their payroll.
“Technology is not a choice, it’s a language that everybody needs to use to work and survive in today’s world.”
Choose a standard of technology that works best for your business, and then create a gradual transition from older processes to this new standard, says Wilen-Daugenti.
“You can’t have a paper culture and say to your employee base ‘You go and get technical’. It’s important to create that culture, have the tools and opportunities there and set a mandate about what kind of technology is expected.”
Individual brokers who understand technology will give themselves the advantage, she says, but brokerages that embrace technology as a culture will save themselves from losing their relevance.
"A lot of people want to get into that financial sector space and they can disrupt your business in a heartbeat. They will and they have already, so it behooves companies and the industry to think about how they're going to survive in a technology-oriented world and what they're going to have to do differently."