Insurance Blog | Accenture    

Modernising with new talent is an urgent priority. It’s not just about hiring digital-savvy developers who understand the expectations of tomorrow’s customers (although that’s essential). Bringing deep skills in data science and analytics, this new talent will also enable LP&I companies to acquire far deeper insights into their customers. That’s key to accurately tailoring product offerings segment by segment.

Definitions of talent must change too. From now on, talent doesn’t just mean people. Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) need to come into the mix. And once that happens, companies and their employees will benefit enormously. These technologies are transforming how and by whom work is done, supplementing the workforce and freeing people up from repetitive tasks. This is allowing them to add more value and undertake more fulfilling roles.

These are just some of the benefits I talked about in my last blog. So how can LP&I companies get started now and create the workforce of the future?

Three practical steps to create the future workforce

We’ve broken it down into three practical steps: reimagining the workforce, reimagining the work and reimagining the enablers. They’re interdependent and need to happen together.

  1. Reimagine the workforce

The industry needs to become attractive to people with broader experience and skillsets from other industries. They bring transferable knowledge and new ideas in a broad range of areas to help drive forward positive changes using emerging technologies and platforms. New talent from other industries is also beneficial from a cultural change/process perspective. They provide insights into what worked elsewhere, why certain initiatives succeed, and why others prove more difficult.

But reimagining the workforce doesn’t just mean bringing in new talent. LP&I companies need to expand their definition of talent to include AI technologies and adaptive talent from external and internal sources. The new workforce spectrum stretches from fixed-role core teams, through high-commitment ‘liquid’ talent to online talent markets, contractors, freelancers and automation. LP&I companies need an agile workforce design that matches these different talent sources to specific business demands. Look at how Walgreens activated a liquid external workforce to cover tech operations for its 8,200 stores. The result? A 20% rise in customer satisfaction and a 40% reduction in labour costs.

  1. Reimagine work

Just as important, LP&I companies need to reimagine the work. Instead of sending employees away on courses, that means providing exciting opportunities for learning and upskilling ‘on the go’, with investments in internal training platforms, apps and community learning events. The new workforce expects digitally-enabled, hyper-personalised talent development experiences. And to keep young talent loyal, companies must deliver. The payback goes beyond avoiding the significant cost of employee attrition: loyal staff are more likely to give back to the business and contribute to its development.

To attract new talent, LP&I organisations will need to increase awareness of both the scale of opportunities and the kind of cultures they offer. That means upping investment in recruitment marketing (and fully understanding the messages they want to communicate and how to get them across). Just one idea: 82% of sixth-form students still say university’s their preferred route into a career, so if LP&I firms want to target young people, university is an obvious place to start.  I’d recommend targeting students not only from the traditional LP&I pools such as actuarial sciences but also those with degrees which align to the direction of travel of the industry: data science and design, for example. This could be done by sponsoring student societies, offering students ‘campus ambassador’ positions and so on. In addition to university, it’s worth considering where else to drive awareness—potentially targeting employees of service design agencies, successful start-ups and data-driven organisations.

Right now, as I said in an earlier blog, the industry has a serious image problem. If insurers really want to change perceptions, they must make potential joiners believe they really do welcome young people.

Maybe that means offering more relaxed dress codes. After all, a corporate culture of ‘suits at all times’ only reinforces perceptions of insurance as a stuffy or intimidating job option. Perhaps it requires going the extra mile to promote a commitment to diversity. Or maybe taking a leaf out of Google’s book and allowing employees to dedicate 20% of their time to self-directed projects. Chances are, it means doing all this and more.

  1. Reimagine enablers

The third priority: reimagine the enablers. Evolving a future workforce with the optimum skillset won’t happen if LP&I companies don’t have the right predictive insights into where and how to build, buy, borrow and ‘bot’. That means developing an in-depth understanding of where the existing workforce’s skills and experience must be built, where they can be borrowed (from elsewhere in the business), where skills can be bought in (from external talent marketplaces and/or AI providers) and where they need to be embedded in the business (through robotics and smart machines).

Reimagining the enablers provides insights that create value. Here’s a couple of examples. In one organisation we’ve worked with, incorporating automation into its HR workforce delivered $42m savings for FY17 (60% of these savings were reinvested into HR for new initiatives). In another, we used predictive insights to highlight the upside of incorporating an adaptive model into the 50-person workforce: around $1m savings each year.

It doesn’t stop there, of course. Operating models need to change, with particular attention paid to the drivers that make them function smoothly (governance, process, technology, culture, organization structure, and metrics / incentives).

And leadership’s another critical enabler. LP&I companies will need to rethink what high-performing leaders look like in a digital world. A few pointers: they’re able to drive agile cultures that stitch together fragmented, liquid workforces; they excel at human and machine-centred leadership; they create ecosystems and new forms of intelligence; and they champion digital transformation.

By committing to the practical steps I’ve outlined in this blog, investing in them and, crucially, communicating what they’re doing to the wider marketplace, LP&I companies will be well on the way to creating the future workforce they need. Meanwhile, I’m fascinated as ever to hear your thoughts, so please email me or leave a comment below. Thanks for reading.

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