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Designing the workforce of the future

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A diverse workforce is key for innovation, but the status quo presents challenges. Sophie Roberts, (Re)insurance Media Specialist, distills the key points around what the future of the working world could and should look like. 

The industry needs to be cautious about bringing in new talent without having created the right culture for them to come into, was the warning from panelists during the penultimate panel discussion on day one of InsurTech Rising Europe.

Theresa Farrenson, Technology Business Partner, Aon; and founder & co-chair, LGBT Insurance Network believes: that the future workforce will require a diverse way of thinking, but  that "the large organisations are not built for this, therefore creating an issue.”

Attraction

Thereasa, who was joined on the panel by Dorota Zimnoch, Fintech and Insurtech Expert and chair of the day, Mark Broadhurst, Head of Insurance EMEA, Intellect SEEC, suggested that this has a lot to do with the current management styles which just haven’t been adjusted to suit the incoming workforce.

We still work in an industry which believes its workforce needs to be seen five days a week for the duration of the allocated working hours.

“It’s fair to say that we’re seeing some effort being targeted around this, but it’s not enough. We still work in an industry which believes its workforce needs to be seen five days a week for the duration of the allocated working hours,” she said.

Alluding to some recent research by PwC which revealed that flexible working was a top priority for graduates choosing an organisation to work for, Theresa said: “As an industry, we have an image problem, but when we talk about changing traditional management styles to attract the next workforce, it has to be real, not just something we say to graduates. We have to ask ourselves, ‘How do we get there as organisations?’"

Retention

But the panel agreed that attraction isn’t the industry’s only problem and that retention is also a factor.

“The industry needs to do more analysis on where it’s losing people and why it’s losing them,” commented Fintech and Insurtech Expert Dorota Zimnoch.

“I think if you look at statistics around retaining people who are parents, I think that would also be quite interesting as I hear time and time again about how difficult this industry can be to return to after being becoming a parent, especially for women,” added Farrenson.

If a person looks like the person who just left and has the same skill set, there are so many organisations that will just see that person as the right fit.

On talent, the panel also agreed the industry is stuck in a mindset on what talent looks like.

“If a person looks like the person who just left and has the same skill set, there are so many organisations that will just see that person as the right fit,” said Dorota. “Innovation requires taking a risk and organisations should think like this when it comes to their workforce.”

Panel moderator, Mark, said that organisations needed to do better at accepting different experiences, different skills and finding people from different places.

“It shouldn’t just be about dusting down a 10-year job spec, organisations need to spend time really considering what it is they need and from my experience, finding the time to do this can be an issue.

“But what I do know is that diversification is critical to becoming completely customer centric, and that really needs to be where we get to,” said Broadhurst.

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