How worker sentiment impacts new working fashions
My first post in this series analyzed data to show how different job functions (HR, Operations, Technology, and Sales) viewed work models differently – and how executives should consider this when deciding which policies to use for working from home or in the office . In this blog, I’d like to focus on these four groups again, but take a look at employee sentiment and how this might affect employee response to new work models. If necessary, I also compare the insurance industry with banks and capital markets.
The support of the employees influences the decisions about the work model
Part of our return to work research included the question of whether the employees generally felt supported by their employer in the insurance industry. In all four categories, most said they felt “fairly well supported,” with sales saying that most often. “Not well supported” and “Not well supported at all” were low, with the exception of surgeries, where 44% responded to either of these statements.
Yet only 20% of businesses in banking have chosen one of these options and only 11% in the capital markets. It is clear that the insurance industry is struggling to support its business compared to other financial services industries, which could be because of how far behind the insurance industry is compared to banks and capital markets in digital transformation.
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Employee challenges in culture and training
We also asked attendees to select the top three employee challenges their department faced. All four insurance groups marked “employee training” as number one or number two. The impact of remote working on education is significant and needs to be considered when determining a hybrid work model. Strategies like bit-sized training videos, gamification, and even virtual reality are ways to address this problem.
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There were many insights into culture and talent that would also affect a new work model. For 43% of the companies, “corporate culture” was the third biggest challenge. The digital transformation has a huge impact on the operational business, but the corporate culture is also influenced by the fact that old insurers have been around for a long time and they are very office-oriented with many management levels. Newer carriers like Root or Lemonade are likely to have less of a cultural challenge. Old companies need to evolve their culture to enable more hybrid work by using modern technologies and embedding agile philosophies in their operations.
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This concern for culture and its implications can be seen in sales, technology, and human resources. Sales names “lack of adequate mental health and human resources” as its top three challenges (40%) and HR names “motivation and burnout” as the top two issues (57%).
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Technology teams are the only group that doesn’t rank “employee training” as number one. Instead, their main concern is the “approach to productivity and efficiency”. Technology teams often bear the brunt of productivity initiatives – as many of these changes are driven by digital transformations and new technologies. In many ways, this can be seen as a roof that ties in with the other more culturally related concerns (including the three-way battle for third place). For example: It is not possible to improve productivity without effectively training employees, attracting new talent, establishing a culture of change and offering breaks to avoid burnout and keep motivation high.
If one compares the banking and capital markets with insurance companies, the same patterns emerge. From this it can be seen that the rapid digital transformations and shifts in work due to COVID-19 have placed great demands on employees. It is imperative for the entire financial services industry to ensure that they support their employees in terms of both mental wellbeing and work, e.g. B. enough talent to achieve goals and use new technologies.
Employees highlight talent challenges
The last part of the research that I want to highlight deals with statements about talent challenges that we asked participants to agree or disagree with. Talent strategies are directly influenced by new work models, as the concentration on work in the office limits companies to local candidates, while remote work can make training difficult. Sample statements include:
- The current flexible personnel guidelines (flexible working hours, mandatory vacation periods, lax location options) remain in effect as soon as employees are called back to the office
- I’m struggling to balance my location and my talent strategy
- Virtual training is not as effective as in-person training
The biggest takeaway here was a shift in focus. My previous blog showed that sales and technology teams were focused on working remotely compared to HR and Operations, which were more focused on working in the office. When we examined these statements about talent challenges, that focus shifted to the fact that technology and HR were more in agreement with these statements compared to operations and sales, which many of them voted “unsure”.
That makes sense. The statements focused on talent challenges and strategies that are the bread and butter of HR. And technology teams are dealing with talent issues more than ever. Hence, it makes sense that HR and technology participants would agree to many of these talent challenges. This is compared to Operations and Sales, many of whom voted “unsure”, suggesting that while their group may face some talent issues, it has less of a direct impact on them individually.
What does it all mean?
Insurance companies are becoming more agile and breaking down the age-old silos between business and technology. The ability of freight forwarders to navigate a work model that recognizes the complexity of each division is of enormous importance to future success. This change has a strong impact on employee mood, which of course will affect how employees react to different work models. The company struggles with sense of support and culture change, while technology takes care of talent and morals. HR has concerns about motivation and burnout, while sales are feeling the pressure and need better mental health and employee resources, as well as a more focused approach to productivity and efficiency.
Support. Culture. Talent. These three are the undercurrents that will directly affect a new work model. What is clear is that these four groups – operations, sales, technology, and human resources – vary widely in how they feel and where they prefer to work. Not only are there no uniform working models for the insurance industry, but there are also no uniform models within a company itself. Of course, it is unlikely that you can make everyone happy. However, it is worthwhile to think less about where, how and when people work, but rather to concentrate on which work structure is best suited for this role. You could end up with happier – and therefore more motivated – employees.
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