How Eagle’s People Will be the Catalysts for Change

Eagle’s Global Head of Change Management and Organization Development discusses Eagle’s strategy to empower and engage frontline employees to drive transformation

Anna Domino, Global Head of Change Management and Organizational Development

There’s a saying in college football that programs are built in the offseason. This is particularly true when there is a change in strategy and coaches are tasked with matching existing players and recruits to new roles and schemes. Change management in financial services is no different. And in the era of digital disruption, it’s the people and their range of skill sets that will dictate whether organizations are successful effecting large-scale transformations.

McKinsey & Co., in February, highlighted the critical importance of frontline employees in driving business transformation. In a survey of more than 1,600 respondents whose organizations have completed change initiatives in the past five years, the consultant found a direct correlation between those companies whose frontline employees were visibly engaged in the effort and success in reaching the desired goals.

Eagle’s Chief Technology Officer Steve Taylor recently outlined the principles guiding Eagle’s deployment-model transformation. While it is clear the adoption of a cloud-native architecture and agile business model will bring new efficiencies and deliver material value to clients for years to come, what can be harder to recognize externally are all the different ways we’re engaging with our people to support and sustain the new operating model. As much as this effort will enhance Eagle’s go-to-market strategy, we expect it to be just as impactful in creating opportunities for both existing and future employees.

Internally, for instance, there can be a natural tendency to fear change. This is a survival instinct, but scientists would probably highlight that it’s not the change, itself, people find so frightening, but rather the transition into the unknown. Supporting this point, we’ve found that key stakeholders, rather than running from change, are eager to embrace the transformation when they understand what it means for the larger organization. Transparency and open communication are key elements to managing change so frontline employees can contextualize how their roles will evolve over both the near- and long-term. Transparency eliminates angst, which can be disruptive. Instead, it builds trust and stimulates collaboration that enables organizational focus on strategy and execution.

When it comes to recruiting new employees, it is just as important to emphasize the extent to which the organization is progressing. Most external candidates, for instance, are quite familiar with BNY Mellon and Eagle, but their views often reflect where we were versus where we’re going. Said another way, the conventional wisdom among technology professionals is that a bank whose roots go back more than two centuries can’t offer the dynamic and agile culture more closely associated with Silicon Valley or Boston’s 128 tech corridor. Our antidote, however, has been to showrather than tellcandidates what it’s like to work for an organization committed to such an ambitious digital strategy and willing to put millions of dollars behind the effort annually.

When candidates see the pace of development coming out of Innovation Centers in New York, Pittsburgh, London or Palo Altoand then comprehend the breadth and scale of our long-term strategyit quickly alters any preconceived notions. We’ve also found that the power of the network can be particularly useful to reach and attract new talent. Since last fall, more than half of the new engineers and developers hired to our R&D organization arrived via referrals. When your own people serve as the company’s biggest champions and advocates, candidates will be willing to challenge their own assumptions.

As it relates to both internal and external personnel, an agile operating model exposes the need for “athletes,” who can bring a dynamic and flexible skill set to bear versus specific domain expertise. Again, to draw parallels to college football, the “athletes” are the players who aren’t necessarily recruited with a specific position in mind, but are invaluable because they can fill any number of roles on the team.

In an agile operating model, in which the same team collaborates from concept to deployment, the assembly line structure of past eras no longer applies to innovation and product development. Through DevOps, collaboration and communication are baked into the process by creating overlap and integration between development, quality, and operations personnel. In this new model, job titles can often seem more like a suggested starting point than a designation that imposes guardrails around set responsibilities. This is a point that may take some acclimation for many organizations, but appeals to both new and existing employees once they’re engaged in and embrace the startup mentality of the transformation. Unlocking each individual’s full potential and providing them with the tools to be the best athletes on the field is how the collective team ultimately wins.

As the global head of change management, I’ve been asked what will happen to my role once Eagle’s deployment-model transformation is complete. It may seem like an existential question, but the fact is, we’re now living in a world of constant change and I view transformation as an evolution rather than a project with a set completion date. Benjamin Franklin once said: “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” One could argue that this adage has never been more relevant.

The capabilities and agile frameworks that we’re putting in place today will ensure Eagle can continue to stay ahead of the change curve over time, as markets evolve and technology advances. The one constant is that it will be Eagle’s people who represent our foundation, both today and in the future.

As Global Head of Change Management and Organizational Development at Eagle Investment Systems, Anna Domino is responsible for overseeing the design and implementation of Eagle’s global human capital strategy and change management program. Maintaining alignment to Eagle’s business strategy and multi-year organizational transformation initiative, Ms. Domino ensures that Eagle employees are positioned to successfully deliver a high-quality, leading client experience.

Ms. Domino joined Eagle in 2017 after six years of leading change management programs for BNY Mellon’s Asset Servicing business line. Prior to joining BNY Mellon in 2011, Ms. Domino worked at Bridgewater Associates, contributing to her more than 10 years of experience leading organizational change initiatives and talent management strategies for top asset management firms.

Ms. Domino earned her Bachelor of Business Administration from Southern Connecticut State University.

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