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

How insurers should prepare for a new workforce

Preparing for the future of work in insurance is not just about technology skills training, it’s also about restructuring the workforce, Karen Pauli argues. She cites a recent SMA research that shows that personal lines insurers are strategizing and deploying around transformative technologies. “Many personal lines insurers are in the enviable position of having newly modernized core systems, and opportunities for operational efficiency abound in this environment,” she writes in Digital Insurer. “But modern core systems are also launchpads for workforce modernization. Paper-based workflow walls can come down and claims organizations can reorganize around goals of proactive service.” Pauli stresses that the retiring baby boomers create an urgency around workforce restructuring. “The new workers entering the workforce will not sit in the same seats as those that are leaving,” she writes. “Fortunately, that is not necessary if personal lines executives take the opportunity to align customer and digital strategies with transformational technology adoption in innovative new ways within organizations that are structured for the new reality of ongoing change.”

Top five technology trends that will shape the workplace in 2020

Improving the employee experience (EX) continues to be a top priority for organizations across the world, second only to improving customer experience, according to a report by Ecosystm. “In order to boost employee experience and make their organization as attractive as possible for potential new recruits, senior managers are turning to technology to boost productivity,” Ecosystm’s Audrey William and Tim Sheedy write in HR Director. They outline the top five technology adoption trends that will shape EX in 2020: 1. Wider adoption of consumer collaboration tools. 2. Increased investment in workplace analytics to boost EX. 3. 5G adoption will cause a rethink of networks. 4. A growing focus on knowledge management platforms. 5. A rise in adoption of communications platform as a service—CPaaS. “It’s important that senior managers take the time to understand these trends and implement strategies that will add value to the EX of all current and future employees,” the authors conclude.

Millennials want employers to take a stand on social issues

Millennials, more than any other generation, believe they can make a difference in the world and business leaders should take note, Kathy Miller Perkins claims. “Growing numbers of companies face employee demands for stronger action against climate change and other social and political issues,” she writes in Forbes. “They exert pressure on their employers through protests, walk-outs, petitions, and other measures such as quitting their jobs.” Millennials want to see the impact that their employers make in the world and are set off by hypocrisy, according to Miller Perkins. “Philanthropy as well as aligned policies and practices can address expectations for impact,” she writes. “If your company is espousing values that your actions don’t support, it is only a matter of time until your stakeholders will call you out—employees, customers, investors, or others.”

How the coronavirus outbreak will change the way we work

As the current outbreak of coronavirus—COVID 19—approaches a global pandemic, companies are going to be faced with some difficult choices, claims Jason Aten. “In countries like China, where the virus originated, workplaces have already shut down in an effort to limit or slow the transmission of the disease,” he writes in this Inc. blog post. “Apple, for example, has closed most of its stores in the country, and already announced that its quarterly revenue will fall short of its previous estimates due to a limit in supply resulting from shuttered factories.” Aten says this doesn’t mean it’s time to panic—instead it’s time to prepare. “For many companies, preparation means putting a structure in place to enable your team to continue working, even if we get to point where they can’t come to the office for a period of time,” he writes. “If you aren’t already allowing your team the flexibility to work remotely, start now.” Companies can also minimize disruption by setting firm objectives around the types of work that is required to keep things moving forward, Aton says.

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