Gamification, VR and AR lead the way for financial services HR leaders’ new learning strategies, with wellbeing and performance equally important, says CISI

By Lora Benson | Dec 10, 2020

UK financial services sector HR leaders are focusing more on supporting staff to strike a healthy balance between wellbeing and performance since the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI).

The not-for-profit professional membership body CEO, Simon Culhane Chartered FCSI presented his findings at the recent Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies (EIBF) Annual HR Banking Forum,

Mr Culhane outlined how banks and financial institutions had adjusted to the “new normal” of working from home, as it related to learning and technology. Feedback from 25 key CISI clients across the corporate and university sectors was reported, including:

“Initial concerns over the impact of virtual delivery have faded and given way to new possibilities”

“Blended learning shifting the balance away from instructor led […] to more “bite sized” learning resources – TED talks/articles/skill builders that allow the users to learn in the moment […] rather than in a formal learning environment”

“Leading firms are welcoming the opportunities that remote working is bringing in terms of flexibility, efficiency and scope”

These CISI stakeholders identified a range of future trends regarding changes in their learning strategies for staff as a result of the pandemic:

Resources more than courses”

“Fully integrated digital learning platforms enabling a “Netflix” interface, providing learner access to regulatory and discretionary learning (matching role profiles and positions”

HR leaders’ comments had shown that blended learning was becoming the new norm, with the gamification of learning, virtual reality and augmented reality emerging as a platform for more active learning.

Mr Culhane emphasised the critical role of HR within financial services firms as an enabler in encouraging staff to embrace new learning and development strategies, while also balancing the need to measure effectiveness.

However, he said firms were reporting that online learning needed company-wide “buy in” and should not be solely driven through HR channels. Although not replacing learning and development in its wider sense, online learning is becoming a greater part of the knowledge acquisition mix. Its importance in equalising and encouraging diversity, allowing flexible working was emphasised as a key benefit.

In addition, firms had said that measuring effectiveness of employee performance in the current climate had become less critical, with more focus on supporting colleagues to strike a healthy balance between wellbeing and performance.

“Our firms and stakeholders have adapted to future learning in this world of disruption. The pandemic has caused a long-term structural shift both for learning and how firms operate. As we look to the future, firms have no plan for face-to-face delivery of their learning and development strategies to return to pre-pandemic levels. Any face-to-face sessions will be more structured and centre around soft skills and there will be a continuation of creating and sourcing digital learning content”, said Mr Culhane.