How to Build a Talent Strategy for the Future

How to Build a Talent Strategy for the Future
October 26, 2023 17 mins

How to Build a Talent Strategy for the Future

How to Build a Talent Strategy for the Future Hero Banner

Creating the right mix of talent will be key for capturing (re)insurance growth opportunities as transformative trends shape the future landscape.

Key Takeaways
  1. The insurance industry is looking for ways to attract people with the right mindset and skills for a fast-changing business environment.
  2. Diverse skills and viewpoints are vital to inform business strategy, while future underwriting teams should be more collaborative, blending technical and people skills.
  3. Leadership is key to successfully manage talent transformation and create an open, respectful and inclusive culture.

Insurance industry leaders are working hard to understand the fast-evolving business challenges they face, and the skillsets their organizations need to overcome them. But the current rate of recruitment is not sufficient. The industry needs to urgently attract people with the right mindset and skills for a fast-changing business environment. Aon’s recent Transformative Trends whitepaper identified the powerful megatrends shaping the future risk landscape, and their potential to generate billions of dollars in premium. However, to understand the future and fully capture these opportunities, (re)insurers will need the right talent and culture to inform and execute their strategy.

Insurance leaders are fully aware of this talent challenge. After speaking with the CEOs of 20 leading insurers, it became clear that they recognized the industry’s skill requirements are changing, and that new recruitment approaches and career development paths are needed.

It’s also apparent that talent is one of the most important and challenging aspects of their job — specifically, the ability to attract talent from outside the industry. Insurance leaders know they must adapt their businesses to manage transformative trends, while also staying relevant in a shifting risk environment.

Here, we set out five key steps to help create and implement a talent strategy fit for the future landscape.

1. Start with business strategy

Transformative trends require insurers to attract and develop new skills, knowledge and expertise to drive innovation. More than ever, (re)insurers will need subject matter experts across a wide range of risks and industries, and people with the skills to transform their businesses in areas like data, artificial intelligence and business readiness.

However, while the industry is making some progress on attracting technical and subject matter experts, it also needs to focus on finding the right talent earlier in the business strategy design process, and then effectively integrating this talent.

Quote icon

(Re)insurers must first be clear on their strategic direction and growth plans before they get into scaling talent activity. Otherwise, it’s like preparing for a journey without knowing the destination, often resulting in wasted time and effort.

Louisa Blain
Insurance Talent Solutions Partner
2. Tap into diverse talent pools

To develop an effective strategy in this fast-changing environment, insurers need to bring together diverse viewpoints to understand the potential impacts and define the strategic roadmap. This process should start with c-suite tapping into three distinct pools of talent:

  1. Insurance practitioners: Experienced technical people in insurance who understand how the business works today and have an open mind to explore the impact of transformative trends and the implications for insurance.
  2. Industry futurists: Experts who understand where the world is heading across specific emergent risks (e.g., mobility, cyber and climate) who are progressive, challenging and interested in enabling the sector to deliver its purposeful ambition.
  3. Change orchestrators: Change and transformation practitioners who understand the insurance sector and can facilitate collaboration between practitioners and futurists, bring out the best of people, challenge strategy and enable delivery.

If limited in capability or capacity across any of these three areas, organizations can explore external consulting support for the short term. However, they should also plan to build out this talent as part of their strategic workforce planning and implementation roadmap.

3. Build teams around technical and people skills and collaboration

The ability to leverage different skills and collaborate will also be vital to deliver the future underwriting model. Here too, the emphasis should be on the team rather than the individual. Underwriting teams in the future will require a carefully curated composition of talent, with a balance of technical and people skills.

Integrating a broad mix of skillsets and personalities is not easy, as highlighted by the industry’s experience of integrating data analytics into underwriting. During conversations with CEOs, Aon learned of teams that were often apprehensive — almost resistant to work together — and even operating in separate rooms.

As insurers transition to a new underwriting model that blends traditional underwriting skills with data and advanced analytics, it’s important to manage the integration of multiple stakeholders — each with potentially different mindsets and ways of working — to encourage teamwork, spark innovation, leverage opportunities and embrace change. There is little reason to hire people if they are not given an environment in which they can flourish.

4. Foster an open, respectful and inclusive culture

Insurers will need to attract and integrate a diverse range of new talent into the workplace, while also retaining and developing existing talent.

As new talent enters the sector, existing employees will need to respect and value differences in expertise and approaches. Achieving cohesion and collaboration between colleagues with varied experience and backgrounds is a big cultural challenge, calling for a deliberate and renewed focus on engagement, belonging and inclusion.

Leadership has a vital role to play in creating a space and culture for collaboration, trust and respect. Giving valued staff the confidence to embrace change and try something different is critical for enabling career mobility. It is only human to resist change. In fact, the most established and successful people often feel they have the least to gain from change. And it is up to leadership to encourage these people along.

5. Display a positive industry image

It’s one thing to recognize the need to attract and retain talent from outside the industry, but doing so remains a major challenge. That’s why the insurance industry needs to rethink its image.

Too often, the industry is perceived by outsiders as old fashioned, undynamic and behind on the transformation curve. But those that work in insurance know that it can be a stimulating and rewarding career, and one that often has a deep social connection. Insurance has an incredible story to tell, but it is often seen through the lens of home or motor insurance, as opposed to enabling renewable energy projects or improving society’s resilience to natural disasters.

Workforce intelligence can help insurers align the employee value proposition (EVP) with the evolving expectations of those entering the workforce, highlighting the variety of career and personal development opportunities available, as well as the industry’s dynamic work environment. Aon research found that 65 percent of candidates discontinued a hiring process due to an unattractive EVP and culture. Given the sector’s talent challenge, getting this right is vital.

The industry will also need to tailor its message to attract specific talent. For example, Aon’s Centre for Innovation and Analytics (ACIA) has been working with a STEM focused portalto raise awareness of opportunities in the insurance industry for analytic and data science professionals. By showcasing projects, people in similar roles, and ACIA’s culture and diversity, there has been encouraging success in recruiting, as well as exceeding industry benchmarks in terms of gender split.

Futureproof Your Talent Strategy

Transformative trends are shaping the future landscape and creating opportunities for (re)insurers in a wide range of areas. Winning organizations, however, will be those that are deliberately orchestrating talent through an integrated business and people strategy as a key part of their wider transformation program.

Quote icon

Insurance industry leaders need to move from awareness to action, to futureproof their talent strategy.

Louisa Blain
Insurance Talent Solutions Partner

Discover More: Contact Louisa Blain to learn how you can make better informed decisions to build a talent strategy for the future.

General Disclaimer

This document is not intended to address any specific situation or to provide legal, regulatory, financial, or other advice. While care has been taken in the production of this document, Aon does not warrant, represent or guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or fitness for any purpose of the document or any part of it and can accept no liability for any loss incurred in any way by any person who may rely on it. Any recipient shall be responsible for the use to which it puts this document. This document has been compiled using information available to us up to its date of publication and is subject to any qualifications made in the document.

Terms of Use

The contents herein may not be reproduced, reused, reprinted or redistributed without the expressed written consent of Aon, unless otherwise authorized by Aon. To use information contained herein, please write to our team.

More Like This

View All
Subscribe CTA Banner