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

Insurers rely on an external workforce, study finds

According to a new study conducted by SAP Fieldglass and Oxford Economics, 43 percent of workforce spending in the insurance industry goes to contingent workers and service providers. What’s more, 75 percent of executives expect to use on-demand, online marketplaces for freelancers in the next three years. The external workforce includes technology-consulting firms, call-center outsourcers, data scientists and programmers, which the study’s authors call the “multi-channel workforce.” The Oxford study found a large majority of insurance executives (78 percent) believe the external workforce is critical to operating at full capacity and meeting market demands. About half of insurers (51 percent) reported they would be unable to conduct business as usual without an external workforce. “[The insurance industry’s work] can’t all be done by AI systems and robots. If anything, there will be more people working in the industry than ever before. That’s why insurers are increasingly relying on contingent workers and services as they move forward into the digital world,” writes Joe McKendrick in a Digital Insurance opinion piece about the study.

What do young financial services recruits want?

Another new study by New Planner Recruiting and Angie Herbers LLC surveyed more than 300 participants to find out what is most important to young candidates when taking a job in financial services. Highlights of the study include: 78 percent are interested in comprehensive financial planning; less than 2 percent are interested in marketing and sales; 51 percent believe they can start working with clients immediately. The participants identified a firm’s culture (64 percent), client service (61 percent) and career track for advancement (53 percent) as the top traits they look for in an employer. “Typical new job seekers are more focused on what their time at the office will be like and their career trajectory than the immediate rewards. Therefore, if you have not invested in your culture, outlined your client experience and have a career track for advancement at your firm, you’re not going to win the talent war,” writes Angie Herbers in Think Advisor.

Making employee training stick in the long term

Constantly training your workforce is crucial to taking your business to the next level, but it is just as important to make sure the training sticks in the long term, argues AlexK in this TrainingZone blog post. The biggest problem when it comes to teaching employees a new skill is too many people view it as a sprint, when in reality it’s more of a marathon. “Slow and steady training initiatives that gradually introduce workers to new concepts and give them plenty of time to review what they’ve just learned are much more effective than training regimes that attempt to churn out newly-minted employees on a daily basis,” he writes. Going digital will also help offset the cost of wide-scale employee training and provide a diverse array of options. “They can still produce lackluster results if the people in charge of implementing employee-training regimes don’t know what they are doing,” AlexK warns. “More so than anything else, making employee training stick in the long run is about getting the right people in charge so that your mentorship program can flourish.”

People, leadership are key to success in digital transformation

“While the motivating factors for digital transformation initiatives differ across industry sectors, six factors generally determine the success of these projects: leadership, people, agility, business integration, ecosystem and value from data,” writes Bob Violino in an Information Management article. He cites a February 2018 study by the technology company Fujitsu Ltd., which surveyed 1,535 C-suite executives across 16 countries. The finance industry has advanced the furthest in digital transformation, the report said, with about 90 percent of respondents in that sector already engaged in digital transformation, and 30 percent of projects showing successful outcomes. Violino also highlighted the study’s findings on artificial intelligence (AI): A majority (68 percent) of respondents think the future will involve people and AI working collaboratively.

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