The training and development landscape in financial institutions is dynamic, driven by advancements in technology, regulatory requirements, and changing customer needs. These constant transformation calls for a fresh focus on upskilling and learning in the industry, particularly in technical skills. In fact, according to a survey by the CFA Institute, the global association of investment professionals, more than one-third of the CFA Institute members surveyed believe their job scope will be substantially different in 5 to 10 years’ time due to new analytical methods like AI and machine learning.
Correspondingly, the wealth management industry is constantly evolving, which makes staying up to date with the latest trends, technology, changing market environment and newest competitors even more crucial for professionals in the field.
As information is now easily accessible, a new generation of customers is increasingly becoming knowledgeable in the financial markets and tools. To ensure your organisation stays ahead of the curve, it is imperative to start putting learning and development at the forefront and support your employees to upskill. As workforce roles and the skills in demand continue to change, L&D is now more than simply providing training for employees—it’s about building and embracing a culture of continuous learning throughout the organisation.
Wealth Management Institute’s (WMI) Executive Director of Client Solutions (Wealth Management) Quek Mu Lim spearheads the development and delivery of Wealth Management programmes that strive to instil a strong learning culture in financial institutions. With over 25 years of experience in L&D, Mu Lim has witnessed how the industry has transformed and how L&D needs to be diversified to reimagine learning in the workplace.
A learning culture not only boosts your business performance, but also employee engagement and innovation. When employees grow within a learning culture, they’re able to go beyond their capabilities and steer the company towards success,” says Mu Lim.
If you’re looking to maintain your organisation’s competitive edge, here are some insider tips on cultivating a learning culture in financial institutions:
Features of a Learning Culture and Measures of Success
While it may differ across organisations, a learning culture is typically an environment in which employees are actively encouraged to continually improve and develop their skill sets.
To me, a learning culture doesn’t necessarily mean attending yearly long training,” says Mu Lim. “It is about adopting a mindset of curiosity towards the latest developments. This requires honest self-assessment of one’s current skills and being forward-looking about staying updated.”
The hallmarks of a successful learning culture also vary, but there are a few key measures of success. Firstly, an organisation must be keen to measure its employees’ learning journeys. Continuous learning being embedded as part of an organisation’s employee development and career enhancement programme is also an indication of a prominent learning culture.
Mu Lim suggests, “There should be regular and open peer-to-peer discussions and sharing of new knowledge and skills, which facilitates a culture of peer learning. When you have instilled a strong learning culture, you will have your employees attending development programmes with full commitments.”
Confront the Challenges
As with any company-wide programme, implementing a learning culture comes with challenges. Your first obstacle is persuading employees to prioritise learning and development, especially in a fast-paced and competitive industry like finance where time is precious and limited.
Successful implementation of development pathways also requires collaboration between L&D and business heads.
“L&D leaders will need to work with business heads to identify competencies required for the future, ensuring development pathways are designed to meet the new skills, and programmes are made available to guide them in enhancing their skills,” says Mu Lim.
He also adds that those in charge of the L&D of their company’s workforce should also consider allocating learning days as part of yearly appraisals to recognise team leaders who can effectively promote learning within their team.
They must also be the key advocates to persuade line managers to dedicate time for their team to attend programmes and provide support by recognising their newly acquired skills and incorporating them into career development as incentives. Ultimately, L&D heads need to adopt a long-term strategy and work together with key stakeholders to build development pathways.
Compared to the day-to-day learning operations work that L&D heads usually focus on, cultivating a learning culture in a financial institution requires a range of complex stakeholder management skills including project management and budgeting. It’s important that L&D heads are equipped with these skills to ensure the success of such an initiative,” Mu Lim adds.
Adopt Practical Strategies to Motivate Staff to Learn and Upskill
The success of implementing a learning culture is largely dependent on the motivation of your employees to upskill, so it’s important to create a supportive environment.
“The biggest challenge is getting employees to have what Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella termed as a ‘Learn-It-All’ vs. ‘Know-It-All’ mindset,” Mu Lim stresses.
In addition, it is also critical that learning must begin from the top. Managers and leaders should model the habit of continuous learning to communicate the value and importance of upskilling. This can be further emphasised by incorporating L&D into yearly appraisals, and by assigning learning budgets to employees. By making learning a formal part of your organisation’s activities, employees will be more motivated to adopt a continuous learning mindset.
Providing financial incentives can also serve as motivation. Consider assigning employees a learning budget to attend development programmes or obtain certifications. If you want to take it a step further, you can provide mentorship and coaching to help employees identify their strengths and weaknesses, and develop a personalised plan for upskilling.
Develop Learning Roadmaps
Because instilling a culture of learning requires strategic and comprehensive planning, a learning roadmap will be useful for L&D heads to align the organisation’s learning goals and initiatives.
To support your company’s learning roadmap, you must also determine the resources needed to conduct these programmes, including time, budget, and learning materials.
Assess internal and external resources like partnerships with industry associations or educational institutions. Finally, when you are ready to implement the roadmap, remember to track your employees’ progress against your established learning goals and adjust the learning roadmap as needed.
To develop learning roadmaps that are customised for your workforce, WMI stands ready to support L&D heads in the finance sector, such as those with financial advisors – including private, priority and retail bankers – in their workforce.
Leveraging true expert practitioners who deliver practice-based education and connecting rigorous academic theory with current industry best practices in your programmes have been WMI’s unique strengths. Together with L&D leaders, we jointly design learning pathways to enhance the learning journey of the banking and finance sector.
Speak with our Client Solutions team today to learn more!