As the insurance industry undergoes significant transformation, driven by digitisation and changing customer expectations, we can expect the workforce to experience substantial disruption. We know that new roles are already being created across the industry, such as Cyber Liability Analysts, while other roles have become obsolete. We can expect the pace of change to accelerate in the months and years ahead, as technology continues to get more sophisticated.
As insurers vie to remain competitive in the digital age, we’re seeing significant churn in the workforce. In many ways, the business landscape is less stable than it has been in the past, and this is creating a measure of uncertainty across the sector. Skill requirements are changing rapidly but, in a tight labour market with record-low levels of unemployment, demand for talent can quickly outpace supply. This means employers must be more creative about how they attract and retain those people with the skills they need to succeed, such as offering more flexible ways of working and alternative employment models.
Managing Insurance Workforce Change
Workforce planning tends to focus on known circumstances. But no one can be completely certain about what the insurance industry will look like in five or ten years’ time. If one variable changes, workforce plans can be fundamentally altered overnight. But while the road ahead might be unclear, employers need not be. By anticipating potential changes and planning for uncertainty, organisations can develop a flexible – yet resilient – workforce strategy to futureproof their business.
To achieve this, insurers need to understand the landscape of talent availability; plan for variation in demand; and develop a framework that accounts for the impact of unexpected changes. This will allow them to remain resilient and competitive in the years ahead. In a world of uncertainty, insurers need to be:
1. Nimble and Quick
The skills that insurers need are changing rapidly. In response, organisations will need to quickly adapt their workforce structure to embrace new ways of getting work done – such as portfolio careers and gig working. A workforce plan that accounts for fluctuations in demand, productivity and talent availability is important, but it will only translate into success if it’s underpinned by speed and agility to change.
2. Responsive and Responsible
In an increasingly choppy environment, responsive and responsible leadership will be required to drive future competitiveness and growth. It can be easy for the workforce to become disengaged when there is a significant amount of change happening in the business. Effective communication can help to unite an organisation behind a new purpose.
Effective data can help organisations make better and faster decisions about how to evolve the workforce to meet changing business demands. Forward-looking companies are seeking more sophisticated talent analytics that allow them to predict future success, rather than relying on past performance to guide decision-making. A platform that can provide a single source of truth has become much sought after.
Changing The Role Of Contractors Can Help
One way that the workforce strategy can be evolved to help deal with the impact of change and uncertainty is by reconsidering the role of contractors.
Typically, insurers use contractors to fill a short to medium term requirement for specialist skills. Yet, as the divide between employer demand and available talent continues to widen, traditional resourcing models are proving unsustainable. As a result, more and more UK organisations are using contractors to upskill, reskill and empower permanent workers. They’re becoming an integral part of the training and development process, delivering long-term value to an organisation, rather than a simply plugging a short-term gap.
Several important things must be considered before insurers increase their use of contractors. Firstly, they must be aware of the upcoming changes to IR35 in the private sector and be proactive to minimise risk. If you haven’t already, set up a working group to identify who is in scope of these changes, and put steps in place to mitigate risk.
It’s also important to consider how you’ll manage your employer brand across the non-permanent workforce. The insurance industry faces an uphill battle when competing for talent against society’s most attractive employers. Many organisations find it a real challenge to attract great candidates. This is made even more complicated where contractors are concerned, since your supply chain will need to embed your value proposition across all of their communications, too. Nonetheless, when you have developed a compelling employer brand, it’s important that you ensure it is comprehensively adopted across your entire workforce strategy – even when candidate relationships and communications are managed by multiple, independent parties. This is something your Managed Service Provider should support with.
Your Biggest Asset – And Risk
The insurance industry is undergoing a fundamental transformation, as it harnesses technology to develop more personalised, enhanced services. In the long-term, this offers organisations fantastic opportunities to secure their future. But in the short-term, workforce churn creates uncertainty – and this can quickly disengage existing employees and hamper recruitment efforts.
For any organisation, your workforce is your biggest asset. But it’s also your biggest variable risk. By reconsidering the role that contractors play in your workforce, employers can keep the business running smoothly in one hand, while preparing for a different future with the other.
Learn more about how we can help you to enhance your employer brand – visit Managed Service Programmes.
This article is an extract from our guide The Future of Insurance Recruitment. To download the full guide, please click on the link below.