Remote working and hybrid working arrangements will permanently change how employees in insurance and every other industry do their jobs. Insurance leaders should seek to build on the digital collaboration capabilities that they instilled during the pandemic, even as they meet increased demand for flexibility regarding when and where employees work. Ongoing EY research clarifies what workers want and the importance of maintaining strong culture in the hybrid world.
What the insurance workforce does is also changing. The most important new capabilities are, to a large extent, the same as they were pre-COVID-19. Data science, beta underwriting and user experience design top the list. In general, however, insurers need people who think digitally and are comfortable working in agile fashion within multi-disciplinary teams.
The “Great Resignation” provides a clear opportunity for insurers to refresh their workforce. With so many people changing jobs, insurers that can provide interesting and meaningful work, within a flexible employee experience, will gain an edge in attracting and retaining new talent. A clearly articulated purpose – e.g., protecting individuals and society from its greatest threats – can boost engagement with workers and consumers alike.
Insurers that have had the most success to date in setting up a flexible workforce experience have taken a data-driven approach in defining their policies. Many have embraced parallel working structures, where specific teams of workers that would benefit from in-person interactions are in the office at the same time. Others are seeking access to scarce talent via collaboration with insurtechs, joint ventures and outsourcing relationships. Such strategic sourcing can help insurers both manage labor costs and compete in the war for talent.
The ultimate goal is talent liquidity – the ability to seamlessly move workers around the business as needs dictate. But the “work from anywhere” world presents new risks and requirements relative to tax policy, social security schemes, immigration status, and pay and compensation. As difficult as it will be to achieve, talent liquidity represents a huge upgrade from yesterday’s more rigid org charts. It’s also necessary for insurers to establish and benefit fully from new business models, such as ecosystems. In other words, talent liquidity will soon be a competitive imperative, rather than the aspiration it is today.
Key actions for senior leaders and boards:
- Define the top skills the organization will need to meet key strategic objectives during the next 18-36 months
- Assess how alternative sourcing strategies can provide access to the most in-demand skills and specialist expertise
- Ensure that purpose statements are included in recruiting materials