17. January 2023 By Andrej Krezo
War for talent in the insurance industry: new work and the modern workplace
The insurance industry is facing a number of issues at the moment. These include increasing competitive pressure from innovative rivals (some from outside the sector), big data, digitalisation and the associated technological changes and, more recently, the Covid-19 pandemic, which has created entirely new workplace models centred around ‘new work’. At the same time, policyholders’ expectations in terms of quality, convenience and service are also growing, not least because giants such as Amazon and the like are raising the bar.
All these issues also have an impact on how people work at an insurance company. As an example, processes are partially or even fully automated and interfaces between the policyholder and insurance company are digitalised in order to keep communication channels as short as possible and guarantee round-the-clock availability. The architecture is augmented by new tools, with new services also being provided. This leads to a shift in competences within the company when new staff are recruited. There is also a ‘war for talent’ in the insurance industry, as it is becoming more and more of a challenge to find qualified staff to fill certain positions. People in professions that reflect current data-driven trends are in great demand. This includes in particular web designers, data architects, scientists as well as business analysts. The war for talent and the associated shortage of skilled workers have led to a change in the application process. It is no longer the jobseeker who applies, as had been the case in the past. Instead, the insurance company has to demonstrate that it is a good place to work for the applicant.
What can insurance companies do to be seen as the ideal employer?
Along with factors such as salary, reputation, security and further training opportunities, the work-life balance is the critical factor when choosing an employer. As I touched on at the beginning, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about considerable change in our daily work. Rapid action was needed. It was necessary to move away from office work towards a work-from-home model to ensure the company could continue to run smoothly – and this had to be done as quickly as possible. Working at home or on the go quickly gained popularity as an alternative to working at the office. It was shown that flexible solutions can deliver stability, productivity and job efficiency. Today, employees still want to enjoy the advantages in terms of mobility that the Covid-19 pandemic brought with it. With new work as the megatrend of the moment, the goal is to provide employees with greater flexibility in terms of when and where they work, allow for greater individuality and thus improve employee well-being and satisfaction over the long term. Insurance providers must therefore create working models that establish the concept of the modern workplace over the long term and make it fit for the future in line with their corporate values. Making the digital transformation and having the infrastructure to go with it are the cornerstones that have to be in place to make this happen. Internal communication is ensured through innovative solutions, while new open-space office landscapes with flexible workplaces and desk sharing are created at the same time. However, new work goes beyond flexible time and mobile working models. It is an umbrella term for the dynamic changes in the way we work – away from traditional structures to a modern corporate culture and form of work. This includes agile work methods that promote the new professions focusing on creativity, an interdisciplinary approach, innovative strength and self-fulfilment. It is also a response to the rapidly changing demands of the market.
But in a time where companies are fighting to attract top talent, it is not enough to simply adapt your values or make a shift towards a new work model. Especially when it comes to individuality and a healthy work-life balance, attractive benefits like recreational activities, subsidised gym memberships and support for families (day care/child care) can help attract prospective employees.
Insurance companies are currently facing the challenge of how to approach the topic of new work and make changes in order to be seen as an attractive employer. In a time where companies face fierce competition for talent, traditional core considerations such as salary and the like continue to play a role. That said, soft factors like flexibility and individuality are becoming increasingly important. New work not only breaks down rigid structures and creates a modern working culture. Making the shift towards greater flexibility, agility and digitalisation is also ultimately reflected in the products and services provided to the end customer. New work is a step towards the digital transformation and indispensable at any modern workplace.
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