Prepare Your Workforce for Automation

Chris Watkins leads ReSource Pro’s Global Technology division, including information security, infrastructure, enterprise applications, and innovation, overseeing a team of over 120 technology professionals.

Up to half of all insurance roles will need significant upskilling to support the industry’s digital transformation, according to McKinsey. This will include insurance professionals across marketing, IT, and operations.

In particular, automation will be a key factor in transforming the insurance workforce. Deloitte estimates that automated process will lead to a 7-12% increase in marketing and product development positions for the insurance industry, while the areas of IT and operations may see reductions in staffing.

The bottom line among all these projections? The insurance workforce of tomorrow will need to acquire new skills to adapt to an automated environment. So, how can your insurance organization begin to prepare your people for the changes ahead?

1. Demystify the bots for employees

Just like people, a bot that doesn’t get along with its coworkers won’t perform well within your organization. To make the most of an investment into automation, ensure your employees understand how bots can help them elevate their work, and what they need to do to work with one effectively.

First, communicate how the human in the loop is still a critical part of automation. Bots aren’t taking over whole processes, only the repetitive slivers of them. And they aren’t perfect. If one small change happens in a bot’s environment, the bot’s outputs will be invalid. People are still essential for monitoring bots for accuracy and taking on the tasks in a process that are still too complex for automation. There are also upskilling opportunities for those who learn to debug and program bots.

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2. Do the gemba walk

Conducting a gemba walk means engaging in conversations with frontline employees to uncover hidden problems and solutions within your organization (read more here). It’s also a great method for discovering opportunities for automation. Once your employees understand how automation can help them, ask them to identify which processes they think can be automated in order to improve the value stream.

3. Conduct a digital assessment

The insurance organization of the future will be increasingly data-driven, which means that employees will need to have not only strong analytical skills, but also the right digital expertise. Create a method of measuring employees’ digital knowledge, such as a survey, that will allow you to gauge proficiencies and preparedness in the appropriate areas. This could include general computer knowledge, or even AI and machine learning chops. Are your employees ready to work with advanced, digitally-based systems? You’ll never know until you ask.

4. Reskill or upskill where necessary

Using what you learned from your digital assessment, you can begin to identify areas where employee knowledge can be improved, then ensure they receive the training they need.

The responsibility of auditing the work of bots and debugging them must fall to capable hands for the organization to benefit from automation. There are two key challenges for many insurance organizations on who will take ownership:

  • Traditional IT departments don’t have the proximity and process knowledge, and also lack the agility to support tens or hundreds of bots.
  • Service teams rarely have the skill sets or inclination to oversee, debug and code bots.

Leading insurance players are finding success in creating new, hybrid teams—a partnership between specialized IT personnel and select members of the service team. While this can create an exciting tech-infused opportunity within the business, creating a new team is also a big change management exercise to handle.

While organizations grapple with ownership, many vendors are stepping in to provide not only the bot development expertise, but also the talent needed to maintain a bot workforce. To solve this challenge in your organization, consider who has the bandwidth and skills to manage an automation environment.

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ReSource Pro has the industry expertise and technology capabilities to build, maintain, and continuously optimize RPA tools. Working exclusively with insurance organizations, we know the costs, risks, and opportunities involved and can guide you along every step of the way.