Article: Invest in human capital to create a dynamic, resilient workforce fit for the future: Kapil Udaiwal

#Culture

Invest in human capital to create a dynamic, resilient workforce fit for the future: Kapil Udaiwal

Kapil Udaiwal, Chief Human Resource Officer at Ageas Federal Life Insurance takes us through the 4G EVP (Gain, Gurantee, Glory and Growth) to retaining, sustaining and attracting talent.
Invest in human capital to create a dynamic, resilient workforce fit for the future: Kapil Udaiwal

In the last five decades, the insurance industry has grown leaps and bounds to become a competitive landscape with DEIB and ESG initiatives at its heart. For Kapil Udaiwal, who has been transforming HR at Ageas Federal Life Insurance, the decade-long stint is a testament to his strategic initiatives aligning business needs to organisational development and effectiveness, performance and rewards, talent acquisition, HR policies, HR Service Delivery and systems. 

With an employee first philosophy centred around ‘care, dare, deliver and share’, the CHRO takes us through the firm’s best practices and initiatives that have been key drivers to stay ahead amid technological advancement, changing customer expectations, need for diverse and skilled workforce and changing demographics. Here’s an exclusive interview where he shares insights on addressing talent challenges, formulating DEIB initiatives to drive better business outcomes and embedding sustainability into the fabric of corporate culture to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals. With the industry’s role pivoting to that of a sustainability ambassador, they've  been at the forefront of influencing and propelling purpose-driven decisions and strategies of clients across industries to create a better workplace, marketplace, and society. 

Excerpts from the interview:

How would you say the role of HR has evolved within the insurance industry? What are the key drivers responsible for this change?

The role of HR has evolved significantly within the insurance industry, driven by factors such as technological advancements, changing customer expectations, and the need for a diverse and skilled workforce. HR now plays a more strategic role in talent acquisition, development, and retention, aligning human capital with business goals. 

At Ageas Federal, we strongly believe that our positive people practices drive our business results. Our values of Care, Dare, Deliver and Share are an embodiment of our ‘employee first’ philosophy which ensures our people feel valued and empowered. To ensure that we attract the best talent, we benchmark our compensation levels against industry standards and offer competitive remuneration, gratuity payouts, fixed monthly reimbursements, attractive incentives, contests and pre-defined increments that foster a culture of excellence.

What are some of the unique challenges faced when attracting and retaining key talent in the insurance industry, and how is Ageas Federal Life Insurance addressing these challenges?

Competition, changing demographics, and evolving skill requirements are some of the challenges in the insurance industry.  At Ageas Federal, our 4G Employee Value Proposition (EVP) provides an opportunity for employees to be part of the transformation journey in the company and helps address the aforementioned retention challenges. 

Employees gain unmatched rewards through competitive remuneration, gratuity payouts, attractive incentives, and pre-defined increments. They also receive guaranteed unique benefits such as healthcare, overall wellbeing of themselves and their families, wellness programs, life cover, and various types of leaves and allowances. Employees add glory to their careers through recognition programs like star of the month, galaxy awards, and leadership awards, fostering a culture of excellence. Lastly, employees have opportunities to learn and grow through managerial development programs, structured career progression, and self-paced learning programs, ensuring continuous development and skill enhancement. 

Our culture-driven values enable employees to contribute to meaningful initiatives that give them a sense of belonging and purpose. 

In an increasingly competitive landscape, how do you think DEIB initiatives will enhance business performance?

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) initiatives are essential for enhancing business performance in today's competitive landscape. By fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace, Ageas Federal Life Insurance leverages the unique perspectives and talents of our employees, leading to innovation, improved decision-making, and ultimately, better business outcomes.

We strive to build a diverse workforce and to ensure that all our employees receive fair and equal treatment, in addition to fostering a culture of continuous learning and caring for the health and wellbeing of our people. We believe commitment to work and performance is not linked to formal wear. Therefore, we follow a ‘wear what you want’ policy to keep things comfortable. The company offers customised wellness program including meditation, health seminars and invigorating yoga sessions led by certified therapists to ensure both physical and mental wellbeing. We also foster an environment of ‘giving’ through numerous CSR programs that bolster individual impact to the community we live in.

With the demand for upskilling non-negotiable, what are the L&D initiatives in place to develop a future-ready workforce?

In response to the demand for upskilling, Ageas Federal has developed robust learning and development initiatives to prepare our workforce for the future. Through customised programs, employees can enhance their skills, take on additional responsibilities, and advance their careers within the company, ensuring a future-ready workforce that can adapt to industry changes. Our programs include managerial development programs, structured career progression, individual development journeys, higher education support, self-paced learning programs along with key global practice webinars. 

Sustainability has become an integral aspect of the workplace of 2024 and beyond. Tell us about your successful integration of sustainability into business strategy to drive people strategy?

As an industry leader, we understand the need for sustainability to meet the diverse needs of different communities to create a better quality of life and future. We have thus embedded sustainable practices at the heart of our strategic business transformation.

Committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), our sustainability ambitions are clustered around the four impact areas of people, products, investments and planet. For each of these impact areas, we are guided by the targets defined as part of the Impact 24 strategy of Ageas which is the code that serves to sustainably pilot the activities of the entire group and ensure that sustainability is fully embedded into the fabric of our corporate culture. 

We aim to offer customers transparent products and services that create economic and societal value, stimulating the transition towards a more sustainable and inclusive world. In line with the methodology followed by the Ageas Group, we mapped our entire suite of products against certain criteria to identify sustainable features across the entire value chain. These identified features encourage customers to make more sustainable choices or help provide insurance solutions to the vulnerable segments of our country’s population.

We are careful to make responsible investments that create a positive social and environmental impact and contribute to solutions around sustainable cities, local economies, and climate change.

What advice do you have for emerging CHROs on fostering a culture of continuous learning and well-being in the modern workplaces of today?

For emerging CHROs, I would advise fostering a culture of continuous learning and wellbeing in today's modern workplaces. By prioritising employee development, health, and engagement, organisations can create a supportive environment that enables employees to thrive, driving business performance and growth. Focus on activities to enhance employee satisfaction, productivity, and organisational success. By investing in human capital, organisations can create a dynamic and resilient workforce fit for the future. 

Ageas Federal's commitment to work-life balance and employee wellbeing, including offering unique benefits and a stress-free lifestyle through wellness programs, sets a precedent for nurturing a healthy and thriving work environment.

If you are a rising CHRO in the insurance industry, you can take cues from Kapil Udaiwal on building modern workplaces of 2024 and beyond where the focus is on employee development, health and engagement to enable each one of them to thrive, drive business performance and grow. 

 

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Topics: #Culture, Technology, Talent Acquisition, Leadership, Strategic HR

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