Seven Ways Insurance Companies Can Attract and Develop Diverse Talent
“No One Wants to Work in the Insurance Industry!”
– Insurance Roundtable Attendee
Today, the insurance and reinsurance industry faces a period of unprecedented change. The digital revolution, the global financial crisis, Brexit and increasing competition from a new breed of fintech start-ups, such as San Francisco-based Bunker for freelancers, are among the key factors driving this massive change. And all this against the backdrop of the insurance industry being one of the oldest and least appealing to a new generation of workers.
To meet and adapt to the challenges, it is essential for the insurance sector to attract and develop a talented workforce. But today the workplace itself is also undergoing a rapid transformation. Digital technology is creating new ways of working, while a new digital-savvy generation of millennial workers has brought in a different attitude, valuing personal fulfillment and purposeful work above a ‘success at all costs’ culture. There is a wider appreciation, across all generations, of the importance of a work-life balance incorporating flexible, remote and family-first arrangements.
Questback recently brought together insurance industry leaders to discuss how the insurance sector must re-engineer itself to adapt to these monumental changes. The panel of experts highlighted the need to make changes in six important areas if the insurance industry is to attract and retain top talent. Not surprisingly, industry image ranked at the top of the list.
- The Insurance Industry’s Image: Improve the sector’s image and value proposition to attract people to the industry. This includes promoting the ethical and caring nature of the insurance business by telling the real-life stories about the support it provides to customers as well as the variety of interesting roles available in a genuinely exciting industry.
- Evolve for the Future of Work: Understand the attitudes and life philosophy of the millennial generation, including their requirements for variety, meaningful work and fulfillment in a worthwhile career. As part of this, employers must meet their need to give and receive regular feedback and insights about their work and their workplace. Listen and be listened to.
- Embrace Diversity and Inclusion: Seek out talented workers in all areas, improving diversity in gender, ethnicity, age and educational background. An innovative, creative and strong workforce directly emanates from the talent and diversity of an organization’s people.
- Support Continuous Growth: Work to better retain middle managers and women by offering flexible and family-friendly work arrangements, as well as providing mentoring support and continuous training to keep managers motivated and progressing. It’s important for insurance companies to reduce the risk presented by the so-called “middle management gap.”
- Invest in Knowledge-Sharing: Train younger people in the industry so that they can meet the challenges of the current ‘hard market’ that includes more stringent underwriting criteria and higher insurance premiums.
- Develop Future Industry Leaders: Show greater commitment to inexperienced managers by helping them to perform effectively and feel comfortable in their roles through good training and support.
- Transform Digitally: Encourage staff to take ownership of the technological changes that have, and continue to, transformed the industry and the workplace. Help individuals make the most of the opportunities and challenges presented by digital disruption and transformation.
At the same time, the insurance industry leaders in the Questback roundtable emphasized the need for employers to make sure they follow their employees closely throughout the employee journey—listen to them continuously and act on what they learn. Insurance companies need to do more to help employees develop, make the most of the available opportunities and create meaningful progress that allows them to thrive, challenge themselves and contribute fully to the wider business.
This requires leaders in the insurance sector to build a clearly thought out, modern employee feedback strategy that goes beyond a single, static annual employee survey. For leaders, these key considerations can make or break your transformation:
- Give employees the flexibility and convenience to provide their ideas, insight and feedback whenever they want, through their device of choice. And ensure their feedback is acknowledged and acted on. (And if it is not acted on, they should be given explanations why.)
- Recognize that staff have different needs and different problems at different stages in their careers. Tailor your feedback strategy to meet these needs. Ensure you listen to your people at key milestones on the employee journey, such as during recruitment, on-boarding and After all, if they do leave, you might want to re-hire them in the future.
- Make listening to and acting on employee feedback an everyday part of your company culture. Regularly listen to workers using surveys (including annual and pulse surveys). Allow individual managers to trigger their own surveys to assess specific challenges they are facing within their teams, departments or projects.
- Support your managers to become better leaders. Enable staff to provide constructive feedback on their leadership skills. What are they doing right, and where can they improve? Identifying blind spots and hidden strengths. Sharing these openly with their team will go a long way toward building an open, transparent and improvement-centered culture.
- Give managers the chance to better understand their teams and their challenges. Insight-driven interactive, drill-down dashboards and alerts can identify specific concerns among team members and those issues that might be creating problems.
To meet and adapt to the challenges that are impacting the industry, insurance businesses must prioritize recruiting and developing a talented workforce. To do this, they need to understand how attitudes toward work are changing and ensure that everything about the workplace, from the digital tools they make available to staff to management styles and the way they give and receive employee feedback, is aligned with what people expect today.
To read the full discussion from the Questback insurance roundtable, including contributions from AmTrust, Lloyd’s Bank, Lloyd’s Market Association, RSA, XL Catlin and Willis Re, click here.
- By Scott Heyhoe