What L&D Teams in the Insurance Industry Need to Know About Upskilling and Reskilling

upskilling and reskilling in the insurance industry

Skills are becoming redundant more quickly than ever before, but 2020 saw job requirements shift and the need to train employees on new processes and skills massively accelerated. As businesses continue to adapt, so will the demand for new skills.

It’s no surprise that LinkedIn Learning’s 2020 Workplace Learning Report—published in February 2020 just before the pandemic set in—discovered that 51% of L&D professionals planned to launch upskilling programs in 2020 and 43% planned to launch reskilling programs. 

Of course, the pandemic has only served to accelerate the need for learning leaders and talent developers to upskill and reskill their workforces. 

To enable their organization to stay ahead of the curve, learning and development teams continue to be challenged with rapid and painless upskilling and reskilling of their workforces. 

Download this free eBook to understand the forces that are driving the need to overcome internal skills obsolescence so you can design an effective upskilling/reskilling program for your organization.

Upskilling and Reskilling Challenges Specific to the Insurance Industry

Nowhere is upskilling reskilling more necessary than in the insurance industry. In the race to reskill, insurance companies are 1.5x more likely than other industries to focus on developing skills related to innovation and adapting existing products, according to HR consultant Mercer’s 2021 Global Talent Trends Insurance Industry Outlook.

Reskilling is critical to meeting insurers’ future talent needs because hiring externally for the skills required is costly and difficult. According to McKinsey, replacing an employee can cost more than 100 percent of the role’s annual salary while successful reskilling can cost less than 10 percent of a role’s salary.

The insurance industry has always had the need to constantly retrain their employees. New insurance products hit the market and new laws affect existing policies and policyholders, triggering the need for training. However, the insurance industry faces three specific challenges that make rapid upskilling and reskilling at scale particular difficult:

Virtualization/Digitization of Course Content and Delivery

Training in the insurance industry was traditionally carried out via in-person facilitations and even one-on-one coaching. With massive changes over the last year, L&D professionals in the insurance industry have been slow to accept that their processes aren’t scalable, and need to be digitized and delivered in virtual environments. 

Subject Matter Experts and “Data Dumps”

L&D leaders in the insurance industry cite that it’s often stressful to manage communication among groups of subject matter experts (SMEs) especially since their contributions come in the form of “data dumps.” The need to develop upskilling and reskilling programs when there is a deluge of information can complicate the situation greatly.

Additionally, SMEs only have a very small amount of time to dedicate to helping L&D build courses. As such, instructional designers are on their own to make sense of the content provided by SMEs. 

Legal Department Review

Another dimension that can complicate the rapid development and impact the delivery time of insurance training is the need for the legal department to review and approve certain training.

The anticipation of legal review often requires that legal be involved earlier in the development process so as to ensure timely course delivery.

What the Insurance Industry Can Do To Ease the Pain of Upskilling and Reskilling

Developing training at scale in order to meet insurance organizations’ need for new skills can be a challenge, and even L&D teams in the insurance industry can benefit by a bit of upskilling or reskilling amongst themselves.

By incorporating the following strategies, learning leaders in the insurance industry can meet requirements and create engaging experiences that deliver ROI.

Embrace Agile Learning Methodologies

Agile Learning is based on the Agile manifesto, created back in 2001 by a team of engineers who felt there was a better way to do things than the traditional waterfall methodology.

The Agile manifesto is not a step-by-step guide, but rather a philosophy built on four core values:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

You can learn more about applying Agile to learning design methods in this free eBook.

When it comes to instructional design, L&D leaders will quickly see how these same values can be applied to common bottlenecks in the learning design process. Planning is certainly important, but Agile Learning methodologies mandate collaboration and iteration along the way and responding to changes on the fly, while being able to develop and deliver a quality learning experience faster.

Spend More Time in the Analysis Phase of ADDIE

Using an instructional design methodology like ADDIE can ensure that the course will follow tried-and-true processes and a quality finished product.

Spending what might seem like an inordinate amount of time on the Analysis phase is never a bad idea. The Analysis phase can help uncover the needs and current skills of the learners, take an inventory of available resources, and clarify expectations—while keeping the project on track and on budget—as the project moves into the Design phase and beyond.

Don’t Let Scope Creep Overwhelm You

Training development also requires the proper management of scope creep, or the last-minute addition of content, modules, features, or elements to a course that were not in the original plan that often end up dragging down a project. 

When managers first learn of the capabilities of authoring tools—or they see what other companies, including third-party learning providers deliver—they can easily get carried away. Just because truly compelling design elements, including audio and video, can be incorporated into a course doesn’t mean that they need to.

As such, if scope creep isn’t managed properly, a learning project simply might never get completed, or it might get completed, but way over budget.

Do you have a gameplan that’s built for tackling uncertainty? Check out this on-demand webinar recording: The New L&D Gameplan: How to Safeguard Against Uncertainty in Uncertain Times.

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