Employee Engagement, Employee Surveys

Insurance: The biggest barrier in a changing market

Dhruv Patel

A traditional industry that has experienced numerous changes in recent times, the Insurance sector is one that has become accustomed in adapting to large changes. As a heavily customer-focused industry, the sector has responded well to the majority of these changes that largely affect the consumer, often due to technological advancements and regulation changes.

However, the changing demographic of the workforce, and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic, have revealed new challenges for the insurance sector – in particular for those working within the industry.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has directly affected the products and services within the insurance sector. Whether it’s life insurance, business insurance or property insurance, a number of individuals and businesses have found themselves undone with the wording of policies which unsurprisingly didn’t foresee or account for the unique global pandemic we have experienced in the last year.

However, while the industry has reacted swiftly and appropriately to customer-driven issues, our language insights highlight the emerging challenges the workforce has experienced after a difficult year. The main one we’ve identified is communication within organisations.

Communication is one of the sector’s biggest challenges

It’s safe to say all industries have had to increase both the frequency and the effectiveness of their communication in the past year, due to the circumstances we find ourselves in. Whether it be on how to maintain wellbeing, essential company updates or what the changing government regulations mean for organisations, communication has been central to organisations operating efficiently.

But when we look at the insurance industry, only 51% of respondents agree or strongly agree that they get the information they need about changes in priorities and broader goals in order to do their jobs well. This should be quite alarming for an industry good at communications when it comes to the customer, but not so successful when it comes to its employees.

Communication is important for all organisations, as employees need to be on the same page and be working towards the same ultimate bigger picture. When done well, it is something that is a real asset – but when not done well, it can lead to a number of issues that can prove costly for any organisation. These can be issues such as misunderstandings, mistrust, missed opportunities, conflict and low morale which can seriously affect company culture.

What our data has shown:

Our language insights reveal communication as one of the top talking points when employees are asked what could be made better, fairer or give everyday work more meaning. Combined with the low-scoring closed text question, communication stands out as an area for improvement within the industry as employees simply do not feel they are getting the communication required to do their jobs well.

For the industry, it’s a new area of focus due to a drop in the communication score by 8% from last year and the increased mention of it in the open text commentary – but we must not think this is only because of COVID-19. The pandemic has actually revealed this as an area which has potentially been overlooked in the past, but most definitely amplified by the increase in remote working due to COVID-19.

When we then look at which characteristics and skills employees in the insurance industry admire most in their role models, communication is the second most popular answer – clearly outlining the importance of good communication from both the organisation and direct leaders.

Our takeaway: employees want more communication

Where we have traditionally been able to go over to somebody’s desk and have a conversation, or hold company-wide town halls to communicate important organisational changes, the pandemic has meant that these traditional communication methods have either become virtual or become totally absent – which has proven difficult for most industries, especially traditional industries such as insurance.

However, the main theme within the topic of communication is for employees to receive more and better communication. This points towards 2 things that organisations in the industry can do:

  1. Increase employee communication almost to the point of what may feel like overcommunication, as employees feel they need it – especially at a time when so many things are constantly changing.
  2. Make communication clear and concise. It’s not necessary for all communication to be lengthy, however all communication should have a purpose and be addressing something in particular or answering some concerns or questions. Doing so should not only increase the perception of communication within the industry but will also put employees at ease, especially during testing times such as the one we find ourselves in.

The largest changes in the industry in recent time have undoubtedly come from Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst the sector was able to spend a significant time planning for a no deal Brexit, this was the total opposite when it came to the COVID-19 pandemic. As one of the largest insurance sector’s in the world, the UK insurance industry manages investments of £1.8 trillion and employs 300,000 individuals and so it is paramount that the industry adapts quickly to any new challenges it faces for both it’s customers and its employees, and communication is at the centre of that.

It’s time to start the conversation

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