All professions today are undergoing change, and insurance is no exception to the trend. The transformation is intense, fast and inexorable, and it calls on employees in the sector to take a breath… and to acquire new skills. To enable this to happen, BNP Paribas Cardif has already begun its own transformation process and it is now offering a number of key training modules to its teams. Renaud Dumora, Chief Executive Officer, explains how the company is preparing for the future of work.
How and why were training modules such as Programming, Data Science and UX Design chosen and tested by the BNP Paribas Cardif Executive Committee?
In my view, the most important movement underway in our industry is the one that is bringing us closer to digital technologies. It was very important for me that, given the development of digital-related professions, the Executive Committee know exactly what it is talking about. The UX designer, data scientist and developer will all take on more and more importance. It’s essential to understand these roles, to have discussions with people in these professions, in much the same way that we talk with actuaries or communications professionals.
And as we are launching on a large scale, it was essential to have a good knowledge of the central elements of the training programmes provided for our employees by General Assembly, one of the main training providers we work with.
What have you taken from these trainings?
I attended and fully participated in these trainings. These areas fascinate me, and I followed their developments since the start of my career, which began in statistics. So I may have had more of an appetite for them than other people!
The first thing that surprised me was the format. The Executive Committee was given an accelerated module as a virtual class, because we were dispersed geographically. I was a little reluctant about MOOCs* and distance learning tools, but it gives a group the opportunity of interacting online with a trainer while working over videos and slides. It’s easy to communicate through messaging and your concentrated is maintained. Being part of a virtual class with a real capacity for interaction is something that works. I finished the module with the desire to immerse myself in programming methods!
Will all professions be influenced in one way or another by know-how linked to programming, design and the use of data?
Very clearly, yes. Wherever you are positioned in the value chain of insurance, you are going to be interacting with digital technology. It may be with end customers, or experts, or suppliers. More than that, digital technologies are going to directly disrupt many jobs internally. Take the Legal department, for instance. It’s a department that you’d imagine depends on the culture of books, on printed documents, on accumulated book knowledge… But that’s just a stereotype: in reality, zero paper already exists and there are already robots on the scene.
What criteria do managers apply to encourage their teams to take part in these training programmes?
Well, if employees ask their manager if they can take part in one of these trainings, it’s already great news! It means that we’ll have succeeded in creating a desire, of convincing that this necessary change is an opportunity. And let me stress that, because we are a methodical company, with a specific vision on this subject, training will not be offered blindly. It is to make the most of ourselves that we have introduced Strategic Workforce Planning, which is a strategic process that aims to identify the careers of tomorrow and support employees in upskilling. This provides us with a systemic vision that will find the best way of leading our 10,000 colleagues to other careers, to find the best way of pressing ahead with our transformation at a rate that will allow their aspirations to meet the company’s needs.
What are the benefits of these training programmes for managers?
Undeniably, the global preparation for the company’s transformation has to find its place at local level. At this level, of course, a manager’s obvious goal is to accomplish his immediate mission but he must also prepare his teams for the future. The training programmes we are putting in place will now enable him to fulfil this aspect of his role. We are going to help managers to move along this path. And we will do this in a sequenced, progressive manner.
What would you say is most at stake in these trainings? Having tools that facilitate customer relations? Improving employees’ employability? Business performance?
I think these training programmes address all these issues. Digital technologies help us improve our overall efficiency. Perfect service, customer experience and real time are less a challenge than something obvious. They’re not a luxury, but an absolute necessity. They’re already part of our environment, an intrinsic part of our business model.
Do you think that certain areas of our business are more likely to engage in these programmes than others?
We tend to think that actuaries and information systems and IT professionals would have a more naturally immediate inclination to sign up for these training modules. But, if the enthusiasm of the Executive Committee members during the training sessions they were offered is anything to go by, everybody is onboard!
What will make it possible to say that the transformation will be a success?
Of course, we will rely on a range of metrics directly linked to training programmes offered by General Assembly, ranging from a week for upskilling* to three months for reskilling*. These indicators measure the educational added value of the trainings, i.e. a list of skills acquired, degrees of expertise, etc.
But what is most important for the company as a whole is to increase its capacity for development, its capacity to seize new opportunities to train existing teams.
*MOOC: Massive Open Online Course.
*Upskilling: development of skills.
*Reskilling: acquisition of new skills.
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