India’s insurance industry is changing at a much faster rate than witnessed in the past few years. Newer regulations, increasing use of analytics informing the customer-business relationship, and customers’ expectations of unparalleled service are shifting the industry away from a business-as-usual approach. Many of the sector’s changes have a digital dimension, making it essential to address the human capital challenge as well. It is becoming vital for the industry to respond to this challenge; because if left unaddressed, these obstacles can prevent growth and sustainability in a fast-changing market.
Embracing a digital world
Fierce competition in major cities and the high cost of driving tier-III and IV city businesses are driving insurance’s digitization. Digitally advanced companies are disrupting the industry and putting up a fierce fight to majors. Industry-wide, there is a strong emphasis on investing in digital advancements. Companies understand that they need to be future-ready; this involves mastering big data, integrating digital operation models with the current physical networks, and keeping up with newer technologies.
As an enabler of the business, the HR function needs to keep pace and leverage technology to provide a superior experience and engagement to the employees. There is a gradual shift away from traditional methods of hiring, training, engaging, developing, and retaining talent towards a more technology-centric approach. Employees today want agile solutions for all stages of their employment cycle. Right from onboarding to entitlements, company policies, their roles, performance, feedback, and more, they want quick query responses, ushering in an era of enterprise apps. Millennial employees today expect HR and managers to connect with them digitally instead of face-to-face meetings.
Thus, there is a need to build a more connected workplace environment where the use of personal devices and social media access is not restricted. Previously, the insurance industry strictly regulated their use during office hours; today, it must relax these rules to attract and retain talent. The HR must focus on getting their people and the workplace environment more conducive and future-ready. From the HR point-of-view, the digital transformation process has three vital pieces, namely, leveraging technology to drive talent and business, talent acquisition, and skills development. Let’s take a closer look at all three in detail:
- Leveraging technology to drive talent and business: The foremost step is to keep abreast of the technology and use it to drive business growth and profitability through people. The use of tech, big data, and blockchain can help identify trends, gaps, opportunities, and threats, which can be used to stay ahead of the curve. Technology can help catapult people strategy and bring a sharp focus to organizational productivity and profitability as well.
- Talent acquisition: Digitization is creating an opportunity for people from diverse skills to join the sector. Insurers are not only competing among each other but across industries in their pursuit of new talent trained in capabilities like AI and Blockchain. There is a clear ‘war for talent’ for professionals with these advanced skills. Furthermore, considering that today’s professionals seek a career, HR leaders will need to devise new talent acquisition strategies, build attractive work environments, provide challenging opportunities, keep high levels of engagement, and design competitive benefits packages.
- Skills development: In the fast-changing business and technological environment, there is a constant need to unlearn and relearn skills to remain relevant. Organizations must regularly invest in employee skill development to gain a competitive advantage by implementing data-driven decision-making. While the insurance industry uses business intelligence and data analytics, people across levels must be trained to use data for their daily operations.
Additionally, the need for a diverse workforce is much more pronounced in the insurance industry than anywhere else. While the need for workplace diversity resonates across India Inc. today, there is a lack of equal opportunities for all. It’s time that HR professionals start recruiting people from diverse backgrounds, especially in the insurance industry, for it to advance, innovate, and stay relevant.
India’s premier and fastest-growing digital insurance platforms have responded to the digital shift pervading HR. Right from the hiring stage, organizations are prioritizing relevant competencies, such as technological adaptability and learning adaptability, which are vital, considering the business's tech-driven business model. This ensures that even new employees are aligned with the company's approach to insurance. Extremely conscious of technology's competitive advantage, companies must continuously invest in its people, training them on communicating effectively with partners across roles. A combination of apps, videos, and other technologies are the mainstay of L&D deployments. Stepping away from the traditional classroom model has made it more agile and effective in transmitting knowledge and information.
The fast-emerging era of human-machine collaboration across global economies will radically transform the nature of work. Practices, profiles, and organizations will need to be strategically redesigned. These changes will be exciting for insurance companies, employees, and customers alike. HR professionals will also be required to swiftly engage and act on new and emerging issues that arise with digitization. HR leaders will need to create new models and strategies to evolve and adapt their roles effectively. Furthermore, building a future-ready workforce relies on both company-wide processes and individual compliance. Thus, employees must also exhibit the adaptability and flexibility for enterprise learning and development to advance. More than just new digital tools, any organization’s success comes down to the people that they have, and how they make the most of the enterprise’s practices and processes.