Winning Strategies in Human Capital Management

Author: NICSA

On Friday, Oct. 6, attendees of NICSA’s General Membership Meeting focused on the human resources side of asset management.

Rory Melick, Director, Financial Services, People & Organization Practice at PwC,
moderated the panel, which featured senior HR professionals from Vanguard, Northern Trust and JP Morgan.

When it comes to emerging technologies, HR professionals are primarily concerned with the impact innovation will have on employees.

“I think when you hear the words ‘technology’ and ‘work,’ you immediately go to this fear or this concern—most employees have a very rational reaction to say ‘is this about replacing me or taking over the work that I do?’” said Katherine Martini Miles, HR Business Partner, Financial Advisor Services at Vanguard. “It’s not so much man being replaced by machine, but rather changes in the way we work.”

According to Sonia Davis, Senior Vice President, Corporate Executive at Northern Trust, it’s important to recognize that changes are interpreted differently based on generation.

“We have five generations in our organization,” Davis said. From Baby Boomers—who are retiring in droves and leaving knowledge gaps in their wake—to the Millennial generation, there’s a lot to consider. “It can’t be a one-size-fits-all model, it’s really going to have to be based on your particular workforce and where they fall and what their motivators are.”

“At Vanguard, we talk a lot about the growth mindset,” Miles said. “It’s not about any one particular skill or capability.”

The growth mindset, Miles said, reflects an employee’s willingness to continuously advance his or her skills and capabilities. “It’s that flexibility to take on whatever is needed,” she said.

Davis suggested seeking out employees who are problem solvers and can look at things from a solutions perspective. “Gone are the days where we need people to type and peck things in—that’s where the technology is coming in,” she said. “When you think about retooling the workforce that we currently have as we move into the technology age, it’s not man verses machine; it’s how do we make sure that we’re supplementing man to support the machine.”

Yabu Sesay, Executive Director, Global HR Business Partner, JP Morgan, said her financial institution is stepping outside the box by using gamification to assess the strengths of current and potential employees.

“As we think about attracting a broad range of people with diverse perspectives, we’re actually going to try to use a tool that’s focused on gaming to understand the profile of the people that we have in the organization internally,” Sesay said.

JP Morgan will then leverage that same tool to gauge the thought process of potential employees and determine whether they may be a fit for a company.

Firms also are working to cultivate an environment that supports diversity and inclusion. “We’re doing quite a bit in the unbiased selection space, with a series of courses,” Davis said.

Northern Trust is using data analytics from a predictive perspective to make sure that managers understand their current and potential employee base.

“If you’re going to change, the first thing is realization,” Davis said. “If you’re continuing to look in the same place, you’re going to eventually run out of resources.”

From a technological perspective, Miles said Vanguard has been focused on broadening its talent pools.

‘It’s a challenge to find the talent, but the opportunity is that it does present a way to diversify, whether it’s different experiences, different geographies or different trainings.”

NICSA: 8400 Westpark Drive, 2nd Floor McLean, VA 22102 • Tel: 508.485.1500 • Fax: 508.485.1560