A large retail bank in the Netherlands faced a fine from the regulator DNB for failing to comply with the new KYC/ATF regulations. They had to implement a new onboarding process for new clients, using an app which had stricter rules for identification, verification and automated checks. Our challenge was to motivate employees to use the new onboarding tool. How could we support the shift in mindset needed to switch from helping clients directly to helping through an app?
How it started
Our client – a large retail bank in the Netherlands – faced a fine from the DNB regulator, because they were no longer compliant with the new, stricter regulations around KYC (Know Your Customers, i.e. make sure you’re not doing bank transactions for unethical people or organisations) and ATF (Anti-Terrorism Financing, i.e. make sure your bank isn’t transferring money to a terrorist organisation). They needed to change their onboarding process for new clients: instead of having employees open bank accounts, everything had to go through an automated online system.
The bank did their duty and made a new onboarding app. However, employees liked helping their clients directly. They didn’t want to send clients away and tell them to download an app instead.
Furthermore, as often happens with new tools, the app experienced some hiccoughs in the beginning. Employees wondered: why should I use this, when it doesn’t even work? And to make matters even more complicated, the old system couldn’t be shut down because it was still needed for other processes. So technically, it was still perfectly possible to keep onboarding new clients the old way. The bank needed someone to help them with the implementation of this new way of working. Enter a ProjectiveGroup change management team!
You shouldn’t underestimate the impact of such a shift in the way people do their jobs. A lot of the time, organisations seem to think it’s just a small change. But it’s much more than that: it’s a shift in mindset.
Mapping the gap
We put together a team of change managers, made up of internal people at the bank and ProjectiveGroup consultants. “What we did, was define an approach on how to get all the employees on board for this change,” says Emma Engbers, one of the consultants who worked on this project. “Within the Retail department, there are different business lines. The way people in the Mortgages department work, can be quite different from how they do things in the Account Savings department. So we had a good look at these different target groups: how do they work? What are the different steps? Based on a thorough analysis, we made a big inventory of these target groups, mapping the gap between the old and the new way of working.”
However, this analysis faced an unexpected challenge. “This was in the beginning of 2020. So I started going to the offices, talking to all the people and really getting to know them and the way they worked. Then, suddenly, we were in lockdown,” Emma says. “I couldn’t visit the offices anymore, but I still took the time to talk to everybody and observe how they worked. That way, I could see what they would need to get on board with the new way of working.”
Implementing the change
All change is difficult, and it is natural for people to resist it at first. “You shouldn’t underestimate the impact of such a shift in the way people do their jobs,” says Emma. “A lot of the time, organisations seem to think it’s just a small change. Just use an app, easy. But it’s much more than that: it’s a shift in mindset. And it’s changing the thing that makes people love what they do: they work for a bank because they want to help clients. You can’t just take that away and think it will be fine. You need to show them how the new way is better for them AND their clients.”
Employees felt like they were abandoning their clients. We made them see how empowering the clients to use the app for small adjustments to their accounts, would free up time for them to help clients with more complicated, in-depth problems.
So after taking stock of the different business lines within the Retail department, Emma and her colleagues made a detailed plan for how to make the change happen, and most importantly: how to get the people excited about it. They used the ADKAR method for change management, starting with raising awareness about why the change was necessary. Then, to ignite desire to use the app, they focused on the benefits of the new tool. “Employees felt like they were abandoning their clients. We made them see how empowering the clients to use the app for small adjustments to their accounts, would free up time for them to help clients with more complicated, in-depth problems. Then, we organised trainings so they were really able to use the app. We got the people on board and enthusiastic in the end, so the project was definitely a success,” Emma concludes.
Key success factors: what did we do to make this project succeed?
- We made an extensive inventory of the target groups. This step is often not done thoroughly enough. But when you miss groups, that causes problems later on.
- We really dived into the change story. What is the reason that people don’t want to change? And what can motivate them to change in the end? The broad change story was the same, but we adapted the details to the different target groups, thus really personalising our approach.
- We asked management to tell this story in an inspiring way. You don’t just tell people to change because they have to. You tell them that you understand it’s a big change, you explain the bigger picture, and you point out the benefits of the change.
- We also made a good support network with ambassadors of the change. It helps a lot to have enthusiastic employees inspire their more reluctant colleagues.
About Projective Group
Established in 2006, Projective Group is a leading Financial Services change specialist.
We are recognised within the industry as a complete solutions provider, partnering with clients in Financial Services to provide resolutions that are both holistic and pragmatic. We have evolved to become a trusted partner for companies that want to thrive and prosper in an ever-changing Financial Services landscape.