Article: ‘Even with digital-first strategy, fully remote working model not feasible’

Talent Management

‘Even with digital-first strategy, fully remote working model not feasible’

Insurance in India is a people-facing business simply because selling a policy involves constant dialogue to get through to the customer, iterations, and sometimes nudges. Given these factors, it would be difficult for any insurance company to adopt a completely remote approach, says Amrit Jaidka Arora, Head - Human Resource, Digit Insurance.
‘Even with digital-first strategy, fully remote working model not feasible’

With teams distributed across geographies because of remote working, there is an obvious lack of connection between employees, with little to no brainstorming sessions for long durations. The biggest challenge that arises out of remote working is ensuring that the company culture remains intact.

Amrit Jaidka Arora, Head - Human Resource, Digit Insurance, a tech-driven general insurance company based in Bengaluru, says given the absence of face-to-face meetings or interactions, maintaining the team spirit and company culture is tough. There is always a fear of loss in productivity and maintenance of work ethic in terms of dedicating the right amount of time, remaining focused, and so on. With little attachment to the company because of remote working, attrition could go up too, as employees may not think too much before switching jobs.

Insurance in India is a people-facing business simply because selling a policy involves constant dialogue to get through to the customer, iterations, and sometimes nudges. Given these factors, it would be difficult for any insurance company to adopt a completely remote approach.

During an interaction with People Matters, Arora talks about the challenges new-age insurers are facing today and strategies that insurance tech companies need to put in place to attract, train, and retain the right talent.

Major talent challenges new-age insurers face today

Given that we are an essential service, our entire sales team had to work during the pandemic and through the lockdowns as well. So now when we hire fresh talent, they expect to be allowed to work from home which doesn’t work well, especially for companies in the banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) space.

While we focus on a digital-first strategy, moving to a fully remote model of working is still not a feasible option. Creating and managing a balance in this is an enormous challenge. Another challenge we face today is that many candidates continue to look for job offers until joining. This is becoming a significant cause for concern for new-age companies like us. However, through “Digit Wire”, we have been doing our bit to keep hired candidates engaged until they join us to ensure they feel secure about their job and subsequent growth in the company.  

Shifting skill requirements for insurance functions

As an organisation, we focus on moving from general to specialised roles. We believe that this is paramount in helping us speed up our growth. Also, to counter the war of talent, we have shifted our focus from lateral hiring to trainee hiring, which aids us in building strong internal capabilities helping us meet current and future business requirements.

Strategies to attract the right tech talent

We have a high standard of hiring at Digit, so this means that the rate of rejection is high, too. However, for hiring tech talent, there is a massive challenge given that there are a host of tech giants out there who hire in large numbers every year. Given the aspirational tag attached to some of these tech giants, candidates are more inclined towards joining them, making it more challenging for us to hire the right tech talent. However, we have identified a few strategies to combat this.

Offering employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) is something that has proven to be an attractive proposition for most candidates and we are leveraging this sometimes. Health insurance benefits, employee wellness initiatives, clear work profiles, development programs, and continuous opportunities for growth in a way that employees can see their work leave an impact on organisational goals are a few things that are working for us.

Over and above this, we have gone beyond the usual hiring networks to find the right tech talent. We are also hiring 12th-grade students from government schools and training them for specific roles. We see these students can bring a lot of focus and loyalty to the table, helping us build a solid internal talent pipeline.

Skills that will have a major impact on talent landscape in insurance space

As technology rapidly evolves, insurance companies will need people who can evolve with it. Traditionally, the insurance industry has been a laggard for adopting digitisation, but this is now changing rapidly with more insurers digitising processes like never before. A large section of customers too is now comfortable buying and renewing their policies online. Therefore, data analytics, predictive modelling, translating analytics into business propositions, artificial intelligence, etc., are some of the top skills which are critical for insurers.

One tip on how to gain a competitive edge in the talent war?

It’s important for companies to offer more than just a lucrative pay package. Additional benefits such as ESOPs, healthcare perks, learning and development (L&D), and up-skilling opportunities play a critical role in attracting and retaining talent. Further, it’s important that we make employees feel important for their contributions through structured reward and recognition programmes.

How will talent management evolve two years down the line?

Hiring and talent management have seen an overhaul because of the pandemic. With remote working gaining popularity, companies are having to re-look at almost all their processes and rethink what’s best for the organisation in the future. This includes how we hire, how we onboard, and how we induct and train talent. In the future, companies will have to work towards creating and designing new and reformed job roles. This is something that the new working models, practices, environment, and automation will demand. 

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Topics: Talent Management, #FutureOfWork

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