If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught the absence industry anything, it is that you cannot prepare for what you do not expect, so you must expect everything. The absence industry, like so many others, was very quickly heavily impacted by the pandemic. It soon became obvious that the previous strategies and solutions used to mitigate historic industry challenges were no longer enough to satisfy the unique problems brought on by the pandemic and the shifting industry it produced.
Shifting employee needs
No more should we expect to see office spaces filled with wall-to-wall cubicles, bustling with the sounds of telephone conversations. According to a Gallup poll conducted earlier this year, more than 50 percent of the workforce expects to work a hybrid schedule for the foreseeable future, with an additional 24 percent expecting to work fully remote. In comparison, more than 60 percent of employees worked in an office before the pandemic. A large part of the push to retain some form of work-from-home option comes from the Millennial generation, who represent a significant portion of the workforce.
As tenured industry professionals of the Baby Boomer generation continue to move toward and age into retirement, employers are facing a talent gap. With the retirement of Baby Boomers comes the loss of knowledge and experience in many industries, including the insurance and absence industry. While it is impossible to impart the knowledge of professionals with decades of experience to young and upcoming talent in a small window, there are alternative methods to upskilling less-tenured staff while still maintaining the level of customer service and proficiency needed to successfully manage absence claims.
Supporting a changing workforce
A study conducted by Newsweek at the end of last year highlighted the obsolescence of some work skills, some of which became out-of-date quicker due to the pandemic. We can look no further than the absence industry to validate this statement. Organizations that may have relied on paper files, whiteboarding sessions, and monthly travel had to adjust their processes. For many, the pandemic brought to light the notion that remote work was not only possible but successful. At the beginning of the pandemic, technological advances had made it possible for organizations of all sizes to transition their workforces to a safer-from-home strategy. The most successful of these organizations had leaders that adopted flexible workforce models and implemented new ways to support and engage with employees virtually.
To support the changing workforce, we created solutions that will not only help source talent but also build a solid foundational knowledge in claims and absence management and provide experienced teams an advanced skill set to manage complex and nuanced claims. We put a magnifying glass to the challenges of the pandemic and reevaluated our solutions to introduce new offerings that would help our carrier customers not only weather the pandemic but come out stronger. When doing so, we focused heavily on two vital areas: talent and claims management.
Hiring and developing effective claims teams
When staffing an organization, we all know how crucial it is to bring the right talent into the mix and provide them with the appropriate tools to onboard and succeed. However, the process involved in hiring and onboarding new employees has changed. A weeks-long in-person classroom-setting training will most likely never be the norm again, and on-the-job training will no longer look like two people in a cubical with a telephone splitter. Technology now plays a significant role in developing a successful and meaningful training curriculum and should also play a role in sourcing top talent.
By utilizing unique recruiting practices designed to source high-potential candidates and screen them specifically for success in your organization and for an insurance career, it is possible to end the revolving door of claims staff. Next, by deploying proven foundational knowledge training, created to offer a natural and graduated pathway to mastering disability claims management, new claims teams can experience an accelerated speed to proficiency not generally found in traditional training programs. All of this and more can be realized through our Talent Builder offering, which sources top talent and trains them with our Skill Builder training program developed and delivered by highly seasoned industry professionals.
Will the industry continue to change?
As much as the industry has changed over the past two and a half years, it would be wrong to assume that we will return to business as usual. Recognizing this, we have created solutions to help the absence industry effectively navigate the future with cost, time, and resource-effectiveness in mind. With combined industry expertise far exceeding 100 years, the leaders and industry professionals behind our strategies have positioned our solutions to remain relevant as industry shifts continue.
We encourage you to contact us today to learn how we can help your claims organization thrive.