Zero-based planning enables carriers to overcome workforce inefficiencies and improve the allocation of talent.

To succeed in an increasingly competitive market, insurers need to make sure their workforces are performing as effectively as possible.

If people remain in the same roles or keep the same responsibilities while the business of the organization is changing they can’t effectively contribute to its growth. In fact, they can easily become obstacles to growth.

A zero-based approach to business planning helps insurers overcome workforce inefficiencies. It assigns talent to the roles and tasks that will most benefit the organization. Zero-based planning, as I mentioned in an earlier blog post, requires business leaders to start with a clean sheet when they allocate the resources they need to achieve their objectives. It encourages the provision of talent and other resources to create greater value for the organization and to increase its agility and competitiveness.

Traditional tasks, roles and hierarchies can easily put the brakes on workforce performance. They often entrench inefficiencies, create unnecessary complexities and stifle innovation. What’s more, long-standing approaches to the management of talent are being undermined by the huge shifts taking place in the workplace. Employees, for example, will often have to collaborate with freelance workers, crowdsourced talent, robotic processing systems, automated intelligent assistants and virtual sales and support staff. They’re also likely to work much more closely with customers and suppliers than in the past.

Most of the insurance executives we canvassed around the world are aware of the changes disrupting their workforces. They expect around 42 percent of their workforces to comprise contract, freelance or temporary staff by the end of next year. Seventy-two percent of the insurance executives we surveyed believe their workforces will increasingly consist of multi-skilled employees. Furthermore, 79 percent of insurance executives expect the workforces of the future to be structured more around projects than by job functions. Seventy-eight percent anticipate that workforces that are more fluid will also be more innovative.

A fresh approach to managing the workforce is clearly essential. A zero-based mindset allows business leaders to plan for continuous change. It recognizes that the rigid boundaries that once delineated the workforce are no longer effective and more liquid parameters are needed to enable organizations to quickly assign the correct talent to key projects. Such flexibility is particularly valuable to organizations looking to quickly shift resources to support different ecosystem initiatives.

A further benefit is that a zero-based approach enables organizations to motivate, measure and compensate key staff according to the outcomes they deliver. The size of their corporate empires or the headcount of their business units is no longer significant. Now, what will matter is their ability to achieve the strategic goals of the organization and to create additional value for the business.

In my next blog post, I’ll discuss the key steps that insurers must take to become zero-based organizations. Until, have a look at these useful links.

Zero-ing out the past.

Technology Vision for Insurance 2017: Technology for People.

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