Increased opportunities for people at all levels of the wage distribution in the absence of cadres to fill those positions
The recent reforms in FDI are much awaited, and will certainly be beneficial for the industry. It will provide the industry with funds. Also, this move will also make the industry attractive for new companies to come to India which typically would like to have a larger shareholder control and ownership. This in turn will encourage new players to enter the market and it will provide the next set of infusion of capital required to expand the industry for growth. There is no major uproar in the life insurance space, only intense discussion at present. However what comes out of the discussions is that FDI in Insurance will positively influence growth and once that happens, it will positively impact people as well.
To maximize the benefits of the reforms there are few gaps which need to be bridged. The industry is facing a talent shortage which makes talent retention a challenge. For the past couple of years – it has been relatively easier since companies have been consolidating. Even at this point, most companies are hiring only replacements in our industry. But with the reforms coming in, there will be increased number of opportunities resulting in high talent mobility. When new companies come, they will need more people with experience in start-ups because these are the people who know how you build and grow an organization. It is very different from working with an established brand-name, because there processes and structures are in place. Therefore those who have such skill sets will become valuable to the market. To summarize, on people strategy, talent retention is always a priority and having said that, I believe that it’ll become even more important because of the reasons discussed.
Growth always does well for people. The top talent, the top 30 percent will be in major demand. That is where the costs will also rise and they will be able to drive the market. So there will be an implication from this level of talent. In Pramerica we typically look at not just the top tier talent or top 10 percent but also the next 20 percent. So, more programs would be targeting this top 30 percent. Further, these programs eventually go down to all the levels. It will be more demanding of leaders to engage people. Why the rest of the 70 percent is not being talked about is because there is a need for focus and impact. Not that you want others to leave, but impact and focus is important.
Multiple strategies would be implemented. We would have to tap into talent pools that we have never looked at before. We as a company are exploring new sources of talent. First are women at different stages of their career and life. Second are people from other industries and third, are people from different age-bracket. Organizations will have to deploy innovative strategies to address talent needs.
This being the second decade of private life insurance in India, companies’ focus is now shifting to quality of customer service. Profitability of a life insurance company is driven by the number of renewals. Renewals will happen only if the policy they bought initially was as per their needs. This will happen if the people, who sell product, know their product and choose the correct target. This emphasizes the importance of selecting right people for the job. We need people who care for their customers, and those who will be able to walk away from a sale if they believe that the product is not right for their customer. To attain this level of service quality we need to select and attract the right people. Further, training and auditing the quality of work is also important to ensure that the right decisions are taken by the employees working for the firm. These will impact the long-term sustainability of the company. The Indian market size is very large India has an untapped pool with under-insured people. If people need life insurance then it means that people are required to sell the same. The trick lies in finding a way to this and do it effectively.
However we need to wait for the reforms to materialize. We have often seen that the decisions are announced and it doesn’t materialize. The recent policy measures are just a beginning and many vital decisions need to be taken by the Industry and government combined to initiate another phase of sustained and inclusive progress.