Here are the top news stories in talent & organization from this week.

Cultivating the future leaders of insurance

As baby boomers continue to retire from the insurance industry, insiders continue to worry not only about attracting the next generation of talent, but also about the loss of expertise and leadership. This Insurance Business Magazine article argues that the current transition period can be an opportunity, instead of an obstacle. “While many young people don’t consider insurance as exciting as other financial services fields such as banking or investments, by creating an ongoing and structured dialogue with younger people, insurance leaders have a chance to slowly shift those outdated views,” the article notes. Josh Ammons, vice president of the WSIA’s U40 group for young insurance professionals, shares his tips on engaging younger generations about the industry. “It’s a people business, and I don’t think enough people know that,” he says. “The retirements in the next five to 10 years are going to create so many opportunities, both for people who are already in the industry and fall into the under-40 segment, and for people in their early 20s who don’t know much about the business at all.” Ammons believes that insurance companies looking to attract the next generation of leaders should avoid being influenced by stereotypes about millennials. “It’s up to us as leaders to create a culture where millennials feel part of a team and are held accountable. We need to give them a career path, direction, and some mentorship and opportunities for development along the way,” he says.

The race for an agile workforce speeds up

According to new HR research from the United Kingdom, organizations are under pressure to increase workforce agility to stay competitive. “The Race to an Agile Workforce” by Capita Resourcing found that an overwhelming majority (86 percent) of UK businesses believe they need to develop a fully agile workforce within two years to stay competitive. Without an established agile workforce within the next two years, nearly half (46 percent) of HR leaders surveyed said, the customer experience is likely to suffer. A similar number (43 percent) think they will face more difficulty attracting and recruiting high-quality talent into the organization, and three in 10 (31 percent) fear they will lose business to competitors and suffer financially. Most HR leaders quoted skills shortages (93 percent) and difficulties recruiting permanent staff (91 percent) as key drivers for a more agile workforce. “Workforce agility has been on the agenda for a number of years, but this research shows that the time for talking is over. Organizations are recognizing the need for bold thinking and fresh approaches to create a workforce that will enable them to compete in the coming years,” Geoff Smith, Executive Director at Capita Resourcing, told The Online Recruitment Resource. “There has to be a holistic approach—it’s simply not enough to skirt around the fringes with tactical measures such as flexible working policies or one-off investments in technology.”

10 onboarding tips to make employees feel more welcome

Bruce Eckfeldt, founder and CEO of E&A, thinks while many companies spend considerable time and resources finding the right talent, they do not exert as much effort in making them comfortable when they arrive. Here are his 10 onboarding tips to make employees feel welcome and more productive: 1. Let your team know by announcing the new hire and the role they are filling. 2. Send the recruit the org chart with photos and names so they understand who is in what role and which department. 3. Have their space ready to give them a sense of personal space. 4. Don’t swamp them with paperwork; give them a tour or take them to lunch instead. 5. Give them a checklist of the activities they will complete in the first few days and weeks. 6. Have them come in late, so everyone else on the team is ready to meet and greet them. 7. Send them home early with the paperwork to complete and policies to review. 8. Give them a map of the office and the surrounding area, highlighting shopping, eating and parking. 9. Assign them a buddy, someone who joined the organization in the last year and remembers what it’s like to be new. 10. Create an FAQ that covers standard questions. 

Trust is key to reducing the workplace gender gap

In this Forbes piece, Henna Inam shares the highlights of her interview with Sally Helgesen, co-author of How Women Rise, about what she sees as the state of trust among genders, particularly in the workplace. Helgesen says while the trust gap may not be widening in general, it does remain acute in some organizations. “The primary causes in my experience are the continuing paucity of women at very senior levels and the disparities in how women are still often paid,” she says. “This last has the potential to be toxic, especially when a woman learns after years in a job that a man at a comparable level–– or even a level or two below–– is being paid more for similar work. When that happens, the women in the company lose trust in their leadership, and it becomes very hard to regain.” Helgesen says companies are running out of excuses when it comes to the lack of women in senior leadership roles. “It used to be considered a pipeline issue, but many companies have now been hiring at parity for nearly two decades. For a while we heard about a supposed “ambition gap” but research has disproved that one,” she says. “Women’s expectations today are higher, and that is all to the good. But when those expectations are routinely disappointed, women tend to lose trust in their organization’s leaders.”

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