Our future experts will combine technicality and agility

By on 5 November 2018

Like all professionals in the insurance sector, I note the acceleration of developments – regulatory, technological and their growing impact on our structures. The urge is (ones’) transformation. Transforming organizations, working methods, ways of thinking, managerial practices and learning methods is a priority.

As Director of Human Development and of the University, it is my responsibility to create the necessary conditions to support employees in changing paradigms so that they can be actors in this transformation. To do so, we must change the way we work together, the way we learn and the way we develop skills. And the challenge is daunting. It is not just a matter of training in a few sessions in new tools or implementing new processes via top-down communication. It is our ways of interacting in a network, our ability to work across the board and to question our practices that must be accelerated.

The pulse of the Executive Board is the starting point for this change to set the course and show the way to employees who feel that they are part of a collective dynamic. Within the APRIL group, we have created a Group Digital Committee. It integrates different transversal skills from different companies (HR, IT, marketing…). It is made to facilitate the acculturation of all to the challenges of digital and society, through experiments and sharing of experiences, in close collaboration with the group’s University.

At the same time, we must work on the same issue of business skills. For a long time, we have asked our employees to be technical experts. They are and we are proud of the business excellence of our teams! But we are aware that this is no longer enough, for a simple reason. Today’s profession will probably not exist, or will no longer exist in this form, in 2, 5, 10 years’ time! It is then my responsibility and that of the HR community, as well as that of managers, to support employees in the acquisition and/or development of new skills and, above all, the new behaviors and postures to be adopted.

We must facilitate learning and adaptation that will not only be directly relevant to business transformation, but essential to their employability. We already see that more and more employees have a base of “major business” skills and several individual or specific “transversal minor” skills. Above all, they have an increased ability to continuously learn, understand complexity and share knowledge.

Finally, the company is also looking for project facilitation and management skills, PMOs for “Project Management Officers”. These new profiles are intended to manage transversal projects, not only by themselves, but also by designing and leading ad hoc teams. Transformed into conductors for the mission, they rely on the “major” and “minor” skills of the collaborators to implement projects with THE best team at the right time.

In summary, the linear career paths are well behind us. More than ever, we will have to support employees in increasingly unique, even singular, and increasingly rich careers. It is less a question of whether we will have achieved a goal within 5 years than of knowing that we will be able collectively to move, to evolve, to change the way we see things, to achieve that goal. And that’s the paradox! To do all this takes time, in an environment that gives us very little time.

It is up to us, HR professionals and Managers, to be the watchdogs for the nimblyzation and development of employees. We will constantly need to be able to identify the skills that are missing in the face of tomorrow’s challenges and thus develop employees on individual and more personalized paths. But isn’t that what we imagine for our customers?


Véronique Galdin