Engagement vital to facing industry challenges
John Brereton of NTI and Aon Hewitt's Steve Hickey talk to Insurance Business about why increasing employee engagement is vital for the insurance industry.
Video transcript below:
John Brereton: Employee engagement is really important because we see that it contributes to high levels of discretionary effort that then flows through to benefits such as lower turnover, lower absenteeism, greater customer satisfaction and ultimately greater financial success.
Steve Hickey: Our research is very clear that organisations that have high levels of employee engagement outperform other businesses on a range of people and business outcomes.
Reporter: There is no doubt that increased employee engagement leads to results and the insurance sphere is no different. With NTI topping the Aon Hewitt Best Employer survey, we spoke to NTI’s, John Brereton and Aon Hewitt’s, Steve Hickey about how increasing engagement can make such a difference.
Steve Hickey, Partner, HR, Aon Hewitt
Steve Hickey: I think there is a real opportunity for the industry to champion employee engagement and I have said that for a few reasons. Firstly if I think about some of the challenges that are confronting the insurance industry, so changes to the regulatory environment, the legislative environment, a range of different economic factors that exist outside of the organisation, but inside of the economy within which they operate.
Increased competitiveness in a number of different sectors inside of insurance, they are all challenges that impact on the organisation’s business agenda, but also ultimately on the organisation’s people and talent agenda and so having a high level of engaged employees who are connected to the priorities of the business, who understand how their effort makes a difference, who are striving to go above and beyond to delight the customer or the consumer is extremely important and particularly to overcome a range of these issues and challenges that are confronting the insurance industry.
Reporter: Brereton’s advice for increasing engagement is to start from the top.
John Brereton, General Manager HR, NTI
John Brereton: The first tip I would give is to make sure that your leader is really sharing your vision for improving engagement and if they are, check out their willingness and their capabilities to implement the changes required.
Once the leaders are on board then encourage your employees to make as many suggestions as they can to improve their workplace and then endeavour to sponsor those ideas that they’ve got to make the required changes and then promote their success right across your organisation.
Reporter: Hickey says there are many industry specific issues that will be a challenge to great leaders in insurance.
Steve Hickey: Here I think the principles of a great leader in the insurance industry in many respects consistent with what we would see in any industry, but given the particular challenges that the insurance industry confronts I think that there are few themes that become ever present for a leader inside of the insurance industry.
So thinking about the pace of change through the industry, changing consumer behaviour, changing legislative and regulatory settings, I think a critical skill for leaders inside of the insurance industry is how they connect their people to strategy, to organisational priority and ultimately to the purpose of the organisation.
Secondly I think it’s also about how they connect their people to the desired customer experience. Consumer behaviour is changing, so leaders need to make sure that people inside of the industry understand how their effort makes a difference and the expectations of service provision through to customer.
From our work we term these leaders as highly engaging leaders, the leaders that tackle head on issues and challenges that confront the organisation’s business and people agenda. They bring a sense of stability to their people and their organisation in times of change and uncertainty and they also create a sense of shared purpose for people inside of their organisation, so that everybody who comes to work inside that business understands how the work that they do impacts on what the business and its customers value.