Other parts of this series:
To transform into truly digital businesses, insurers are keenly aware that they need to rethink their approach to talent. To keep up with the rapid innovation that digital competitiveness demands, they need an agile workforce that is more digitally savvy and more entrepreneurial. Can the emerging on-demand workforce marketplace provide answers to the skills challenge the insurance sector is facing?
Picture a business that seamlessly mixes resources into ad-hoc teams to accomplish specific goals, then disperses and re-mixes these teams to move on and accomplish the next up-front benefit. This reality is being fueled by an increasingly digital and on-demand workforce, collaboration tools and online management solutions. A number of organizations are already headed in this direction and a lot more are committing.
The skills challenge in the insurance sector
The skills challenge will prove more and more difficult over the next decade. While delayed retirements, part time models, retraining and other factors have kept the generational change looming in the industry from becoming a huge issue, it will impact within the next five years.
As insurers become more digital, they will need digital-era skills. While automation will shrink the workforce, remaining staff will need to be more tech-savvy, creative, analytic, customer-centric and entrepreneurial to, for example, build AI customer experiences and orchestrate ecosystem partnerships. However, ‘born digitals’ are proving difficult to attract to the industry.
How are insurance companies responding?
Of the insurance executives polled in Accenture’s Technology Vision 2017:
- 23 percent currently view freelance workers as a seamless part of the workforce
- 62 percent say they plan to increase their organization’s use of independent freelance workers over the next year
- 75 percent believe leading organizations will seamlessly blend their internal and external workforces into a borderless enterprise with five years
Labor platforms that offer professional, high-level and MBA skills, such as Kaggle and Catalant, are already being used by companies like State Farm and Allstate. Work management solutions from platforms like Freelancer and Gigster, and digital tools like Slack and Google Hangouts are enablers, providing insurers with the means to efficiently plan, manage and oversee a partially virtualized, hybrid workforce.
In addition to helping insurers to plug gaps in their own capabilities—for example, accessing top UX or data science skills on-demand—these platforms and tools will allow insurers to continue to draw on retired workers who wish to work part-time, or to pull in the skills of high-end professionals as needed.
In Asia Pacific, where there is large regional variance in terms of digital advance and transformation among insurers, a few companies, like AXA and IAG, are making great strides, gearing their workforces for a digital future.
I will be exploring this change in my next two blogs posts, taking a closer look at how insurance companies are shifting from traditional models to leverage on-demand and hybrid workforces, and how this is helping to drive innovation within these companies—an vital part of digital era success.
My previous Workforce of the Future blog series may also be of interest.