Building a liquid workforce, with the skills and culture to succeed in the digital economy, is far from easy. Property & casualty (P&C) insurers need to respond quickly to increasing automation, rapid changes in technology and shifts in worker demographics.

Successful platform businesses, which capitalize on the ability of digital ecosystems to link P&C insurers with a vast array of consumers, require highly flexible and responsive “liquid workforces”.

These workforces must possess specialist skills in data analytics, social networking, artificial intelligence and DevOps. They must also contain core business competencies that include customer service, underwriting, risk management and partner relations. Underlying such expertise, liquid workforces require a culture that encourages workers to innovate, collaborate and quickly make decisions.

Building a liquid workforce, with the necessary skills and culture to thrive in the digital economy, isn’t easy. Most insurers recognize the need to transform their workforces. But, few have developed strategies to create liquid workforces. This is likely to stifle the performance of potentially lucrative platform ventures.

The illustration below shows how insurers can respond to emerging trends such as increasing automation, rapid changes in technology and shifts in worker demographics, to create more effective, liquid workforces.  They need to act quickly.

Key steps to help P&C insurers build the liquid workforce they’re going to need in the digital economy - Opportunities of the Liquid Workforce

To kick-start this transition, insurers should craft a workforce strategy that enables them to review their digital capabilities, align employees with the new demands of the platform business and prepare workers for greater flexibility and decision-making. Key steps should include:

  • Perform a skills-gap analysis. Identify where essential digital and ecosystem skills, as well as management competencies, are missing.
  • Determine the investment needed to deliver constantly accessible training across the workforce. Make training a core competency.
  • Create a new approach to talent engagement that recognizes the needs, aspirations and skills of digitally-savvy young people.
  • Identify key sources of freelance and contract talent such as start-ups, universities, online exchanges and crowdsourcing platforms.
  • Pilot a liquid project. Give a team of workers the authority and resources to accomplish a specific goal.

This should take about three months. Insurers will then be able to assess their workforce capabilities and needs and plot a migration path that will equip their employees for working in a digital environment. Incremental steps along this journey could include:

  • Commissioning trial crowdsourcing projects.
  • Applying analytics technology to human resources functions such as employee reviews, promotions, recruitment and deployment.
  • Sharing workers and resources with ecosystem partners in a variety of pilot projects.
  • Reviewing employee compensation and rewards to attract and retain top talent.
  • Overhauling hierarchical organizational structures to promote agile, distributed, project-focused teams of workers.

Keen attention to workforce transformation, together with selecting new business partners and technology, will enable insurers to take advantage of the huge potential of ecosystem-based platform businesses.

For further information about how digital ecosystems and platform businesses will impact the workforce take a look at these links.

Being digital: Embrace the future of work and your people will embrace it with you

The Digitisation of Human Resources: Digital HR technology comes of age

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