Here are the top news stories in talent & organization from this week.

How to increase gender diversity in insurance leadership

While the value of gender diversity is well recognized, women’s progress into senior business leadership roles remains mixed, argues Allison Dubrow. Dubrow, along with Peter Reed and Bill Pieroni, is the author of a new report, “Increasing Gender Diversity in Insurance Leadership.” In an article in Carrier Management, the authors highlight how insurers can build a more gender-diverse leadership pipeline: 1. Signal the importance of diversity from the top, especially from male leaders. 2. Make leaders accountable for sponsoring and developing women. 3. Foster an environment that welcomes diverse perspectives. The authors also have suggestions for women looking to move into the leadership pipeline in the insurance industry: 1. Speak up about your interests and aspirations. 2. Don’t wait to feel ready. 3. Continue expanding your knowledge. 4. Build relationships. “Truly increasing opportunities for women requires the active participation of male leaders, including setting expectations that they will identify high-potential women and commit to their development,” they write.

The state of remote work in 2019

Remote work is not a trend that is going away anytime soon, according to a new report from Buffer. Based on a survey of 2,500 remote workers across the globe, the report is a collaboration between Buffer and other companies which support remote work, such as Doist, Hubstaff, Trello and We Work Remotely. A whopping 99 percent of respondents said they would like to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers, while 95 percent indicated they would encourage others to work remotely, as well. What do people like about remote work? Forty percent of respondents rate a flexible schedule as the biggest benefit, followed closely by working from any location (30 percent) and time with family (14 percent). Of the business owners surveyed for the report, fully remote companies accounted for 31 percent, and 40 percent rely on at least part of their teams working full-time remotely. “Businesses are continuing to embrace at least some form of remote work, likely because they’ve experienced firsthand the benefits of greater productivity, less wasted time, and lower overhead,” says Hubstaff’s CEO Dave Nevogt.

Why banks’ best assets are employees

Banks aren’t buildings, technology or marketing campaigns, claims Dave Martin. “A bank is its people,” he writes in an op-ed for American Banker. “The organizations that understand this and continually communicate it to their teams are the ones that survive and thrive through our industry’s evolution.” Martin believes customers choose banks based on the people employed there, not the products. “Branches, technology and products are tools that help bankers serve customers,” he writes. “Tools alone, however, do not build anything. They require good people utilizing them to create, build and maintain relationships.” Martin cautions banks against perpetually chasing the next “new and improved” products and offers. “Remind your bankers that you have what you need, right now, to make customers prefer you. They see it in the mirror each morning,” he concludes.

Three areas chatbots can improve EX in HR

Chatbots powered by artificial intelligence (AI) can optimize HR workflow and ensure a higher degree of employee experience (EX). This HR Tech Outlook article highlights three areas where AI chatbots can transform the employee-employer relationship. In recruitment, chatbots can interact with candidates and provide them with feedback, helping companies strengthen their relationship with potential hires throughout the recruitment lifecycle. In HR service delivery, chatbots can address day-to-day queries on processes, policies and frameworks, allowing HR teams to focus on more meaningful tasks, such as performance management, career pathing and employee engagement. Chatbots can also play a role in learning and development with innovative approaches to real-time training activities.

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