The Spotlight: Rob Northway, Partner, Head of Global Consumer Banking



The Spotlight is a regular Q & A feature that showcases our people, their expertise, and trending topics that are on top of our clients’ minds directly from the voices of our business leaders.

Rob Northway, Partner, Head of Consumer Banking

Rob Northway, a Partner at McLagan, is head of the global consumer banking practice. Rob specializes in the design of compensation programs, guiding clients through the job architecture and leveling process, and supporting clients in aligning their human capital strategies with business objectives.

We spoke with Rob about the changing banking industry and focused on the implications on broad based compensation planning. It all came down to going back to the basics of your total rewards planning.

What have banks been doing to prepare their people and strategies to keep up with emerging customer demands for tech-enabled banking experiences?

Human resource professionals now have a seat at the table with business managers and technologists to create compelling human capital strategies that provide the freshest employee value proposition possible. It is a truly fascinating time. Firms must account for all of the philosophical differences of a multi-generational workforce, the dynamic changes in customer expectations, and continued stringent oversight and demands from both shareholders and regulators alike. The key is breaking down the silos and connecting input from talent, performance, and reward, using the most sophisticated data and technology possible.

How are you seeing broad based compensation strategies change in the consumer banking sector?

It’s all about getting back to the basics. Broad based compensation challenges abound in consumer banking with new digital roles, regulatory implications, such as pay equity and sales practices, and the continued challenge of driving profitable growth. We are seeing firms double down on their efforts in reviewing job architecture and compensation philosophies, which serve as the blueprint for better aligned performance management and reward tactics.

If you could describe people strategies in the consumer banking industry in three words, what would they be?

I need one more word… “Late to the Game!”

How is automation impacting talent and reward strategies?

A good example is what we are seeing in contact centers. The avenues that a customer can access to solve a question have been greatly improved through automation. From an HR perspective you now need to staff your contact centers with talent that can answer more sophisticated questions through new webchat or voice platforms and deliver a personal and friendly experience that elevates the perceived value of the bank’s brand.

Where do you see banking in the next five years?

The tempo and disruption of digitalization will only increase. Management will need to adapt quickly to compete for business and talent. We will continue to see consolidation in the market, but at the same time, new advances in the way banks engage their customers and employees will be essential, requiring firms to re-evaluate their rewards strategies. Be innovative, be transparent, and balance your short term needs with your long-term strategy.

If you are interested in connecting with Rob, he can be reached at rnorthway@mclagan.com.


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