Meeting talent demands in the insurance sector can pose challenges due to the specific domain skills required and the need for rapid scaling during business opportunities. However, a focus on recruiting, training and strategic partnerships helps mitigate difficulties.
In the insurance sector, a common scenario involves a choice between identifying the right individuals for the job and persuading potential candidates to join the industry. This is what ICICI Prudential Life Insurance is doing to fulfil its talent needs.
“Our strategy is to establish talent pipelines through campus recruitment and other avenues. This approach enables us to bring in considerable fresh talent and thereby foster substantial business growth. While recruiting, we also invest in training to equip employees with essential skills,” shares Manmay Madiman, executive vice president – human resources, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance.
According to him, many of these skills are specific to the insurance domain and may not have been fully covered in their curricular or educational backgrounds. “Our goal is to provide comprehensive support and a conducive platform from the onset of their careers, ensuring their success,” asserts Madiman.
The primary aim is to secure a steady stream of talent and a predictable workforce for its sales and distribution functions. Moreover, the company realizes how crucial it is to address the specialised skill sets required. The company does this by recruiting skilled individuals and enhancing internal capacity.
“Our strategy is to establish talent pipelines through campus recruitment and other avenues. This approach enables us to bring in considerable fresh talent and thereby foster substantial business growth. While recruiting, we also invest in training to equip employees with essential skills.”
Manmay Madiman, executive vice president – human resources, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance
While insurance may appear centred on sales, its scope extends beyond that, demanding a diverse range of roles and skill sets. Essential functions include actuarial expertise for product design and risk evaluation, underwriting proficiency to assess customers and premiums and investment acumen for managing substantial assets.
“When it comes to newer aptitudes the emphasis shifts to data sciences. With significant critical data at hand, pinpointing optimal customer-fit products based on behavioural insights becomes paramount. This involves substantial employment of data sciences and AI/ML capabilities,” explains Madiman.
He goes on to add, “Technology adoption is pivotal in our journey towards being a digital insurance entity. Over time, as customers increasingly opt for direct insurance purchases, we are tasked with facilitating this evolving purchasing path,” points out Madiman.
Talking about certain future emerging roles, Madiman states that technology, data analytics and data sciences will be some of the crucial emerging skills in the insurance sector. He foresees a growing trend of customers opting to directly purchase insurance. “Today, people are significantly motivated by purpose and values. Effective communication of our core values and promises attracts candidates who align their career aspirations with our vision. After 23 years of refining these processes, candidates in the market have a clearer understanding of what to expect, leading those who share our purpose and values to apply,” he adds.
To create a talent pipeline for such enhanced roles and responsibilities, it’s important to have structured learning programmes in place, right from the top levels to fresh hires. Therefore, the company has established a well-structured learning framework that encompasses not just employee onboarding but also ongoing functional upskilling across various domains such as underwriting, technology, data science and management skills. The first part extends to leadership development and behavioural inputs.
“At a senior level, agility and adaptability are paramount to tackle changing external factors. While some changes are beyond control (for instance, the impact of events such as COVID), proactive anticipation and preparedness are vital. Our leadership team’s resilience and agility enable us to navigate uncertainties effectively,” asserts Madiman.
The insurance company’s learning initiatives primarily focus on cultivating resilience, providing contemplative spaces for self-assessment and innovative thinking. They are fostering a culture of experimentation where people can step beyond comfort zones, reflecting on necessary changes, and allowing room for experimentation and, potentially, failures. It all comes under its behavioural aspect of learning.
Furthermore, the company offers an array of programmes for managerial development at various career junctures. “Whether transitioning from a frontline role to a managerial one, or progressing to manage other managers, we have tailored initiatives. These programmes prompt contemplation about necessary changes, the creation of productive habits, and the cessation of counterproductive ones to foster effective management skills. Additionally, our emphasis on functional skill- advancement ensures preparedness for forthcoming demands,” reveals Madiman.
Notably, for specialised roles, the company also conducts a skill-mapping exercise. This maps out precise skills and subskills such as data sciences and technology. Proficiency levels for each skill are gauged, directing targeted learning interventions for skill enhancement.
While designing the learning and development initiatives, the company integrates employee feedback as well. The focus is on establishing a learning platform that allows employees to engage proactively.
Additionally, the employees have options to self-select relevant programmes, such as the education-assistance policy for course reimbursement. Substantial learning transpires through on-the-job experiences too, where varied roles offer diverse business insights, fostering well-rounded professionals in the insurance sector. The organisation facilitates this through an internal job posting system, ensuring a two-fold approach.
Moreover, the company aligns some of its initiatives strategically with specific business needs, targeting required upskilling. Conversely, there is growing emphasis on empowering employees with learning opportunities. “They can access structured content and online learning resources, and embrace challenges through the Individual Growth Plan (IGP) process. This dynamic approach has effectively cultivated leadership talent, with numerous individuals transitioning into leadership roles across group companies and the insurance sector,” enunciates Madiman.