By James Moorhouses,Republished with the kind permission of the Chartered Insurance Institute
Covid-19 has transformed the ways insurers are working, while simultaneously presenting them with an opportunity to drive culture change. Leaders at all levels play a vital role in shaping the culture of an organization, providing behavioral cues to their teams and the wider business. Leaders should consider how the way they lead may have changed and what skills are needed to successfully lead in these uncertain times.
Improving the reputation of the insurance sector is a key priority for insurers, brokers, and all those working within the profession. Much has been written about the insurance sector suffering a poor reputation due to reasons including the banking crisis, the business interruption test case, and media reports of unfairly rejected claims. But for there to be any meaningful change across the sector, first, it must come from within.
Defined by everyone
Each workplace is different, made up of people from different backgrounds, skills and experiences. Therefore, a culture should be defined by everyone, not just from the top level down. Culture needs to be purposeful with a meaning behind it. It should also be inclusive and worthwhile. This means listening to employees from all levels and allowing them safe opportunities to speak up and feel their opinions are valued.
Office environments were traditionally a collaborative space where people could meet, raise their profile and be seen to be getting the job done. Remote working has changed working styles overnight, meaning that it is not enough to be seen to be doing something – it actually has to be done. Greater flexibility in people’s individual circumstances and schedules has now taken greater priority over cramming everything in within a set number of working hours. This has hopefully encouraged people to identify what suits them best to create a better working day.
But how are these changes identified and implemented? Purpose is not just something that’s a whim of CEOs. They need to be able to trust employees to have and know the purpose of the company and do the right thing. How solutions are developed to local problems can lead to higher levels of engagement.
Lockdown has provided some employees with greater visibility of their leaders and CEOs, who have communicated more regularly through video calls, intranet posts, or company updates. Establishing better communication across staff levels has demonstrated a commitment to customers and people internally, meaning that the voice from the top comes from a more authentic place.