Recently, I had the opportunity to work in a branch here and there over the course of a number of weeks. I was looking forward to it as an opportunity to work face to face with members and frontline employees. It was a great challenge. I was pleased with the care that the members received from employees. It also caused me to reflect on the attributes of the type of work involved in direct service work versus my daily responsibilities, which typically involve long term projects and plans. I was struck by how the employee experience is very enjoyable– and yet very different in each role.
Working in a busy branch is all about providing immediate solutions to members’ needs of today. The pace of the work reminded me of taking care of my own small children. They have a lot of needs today, and (when I’m not at work) I basically run around making sure that their needs are met and there’s some semblance of “bringing up” being done – you know, reading books, learning responsibility, etc. And then other people (who aren’t working in my trench that involves the 6 and 1 year old) frequently say to me in passing “Enjoy it! It goes by so fast! Soon they’ll be in high school!” I occasionally think said people clearly can’t see that my children are mere babies who will do no such thing. But then I remember my job as a parent is to celebrate their growth and support the best possible outcome in their lives, which will look very different in 10 years. Kind of like financial services. Financial services will be here in 10 years, and it will be completely different. Our kids will be our kids in 10 years, and they will be completely different – and still wonderful.
So how do we prepare for the future when we are consumed by fulfilling today’s immediate needs with a sense of urgency? Ensuring that we guide employees to maintain and build upon skills like listening to understand the member, anticipating member needs and guiding members through their complete financial picture is the best place to start.
Branches of the future (ours and other providers) won’t necessarily be called branches or even have cash, but there will be understanding, anticipating, and guiding being accomplished every day. Maintaining and building employees’ consultation skills over time with members will boost everyone’s success in the financial world of the future. Seeking out all the knowledge we can find, being aggressive about our professional development, and finding and using resources voraciously will boost success in the financial world of the future. Embracing the digital wave of the future for everything it can offer and helping others do the same will boost success in the financial world of the future.
So, we enjoy today. We understand and anticipate tomorrow. And we will capably guide members through the changes that will enhance our financial lives of the future.