Are Rotational Programs Headed for the C-Suite?

Posted by The Jacobson Group

The actuarial profession faces a growing talent conundrum. Despite an abundance of entry-level talent, today’s insurance organizations are seeing an increased tightness within the mid-career actuarial market. Insurers struggle to fill these mid-level roles with skilled and qualified candidates. With a leadership skills gap on the horizon, this narrowing within the mid-level market is even more troublesome. Many organizations are now concerned that the lack of mid-level talent will result in an inability to fill the senior actuarial positions being left by retiring professionals.

Faced with a narrowing market and increased demand, what can insurance companies do? How can organizations combat this talent gap?

Rotational programs may be the answer.

Long-used as a recruitment strategy for young professionals and emerging talent, rotational programs may be the key to combatting the mid-level and executive talent gap. In fact, many organizations are now elevating their student actuarial programs and implementing a rotation for their experienced employees.

AdobeStock_79828659.jpegDesigned to develop high-potential employees into well-rounded leaders, these mid-level rotational programs provide actuaries with broad job experiences and trainings. They enable high-performers with a few years of industry experience to gain knowledge outside their current roles and further develop their skills. These individuals are then able to seamlessly move into the high-demand mid-level roles organizations are looking to fill.

Some programs go one step further and rotate employees across different functions and even departments. This helps to better promote cross-functional skills and to provide a more holistic understanding of the organization. These programs are a unique solution to ensuring employees are able to develop and hone their leadership, managerial and communication skills. As such, rotational programs may be one of the most powerful tools that organizations can use to drive employee development and grow the next generation of leaders.

So now what?

It is important to link your rotational program to the organization’s overall business plan. What critical positions or functions need talent and what experiences are necessary to fill these roles? Are there areas of future organizational growth to which participants should be exposed? What succession planning vulnerabilities should the program address? The most effective rotational programs are designed to address an organization’s specific talent needs. This can determine what areas or roles to include in the rotation, as well as the number of participants to include.

AdobeStock_100098584.jpegMake sure you consider your rotational timeline. Some organizations rotate their talent annually. Others are implementing longer timeframes, including two to four years. This is particularly true of organizations using rotational programs at a more executive level. This expanded timeframe is less disruptive and provides more business stability. In addition, it allows for a much deeper dive into each specific area—which is important when developing the next generation of insurance executives.

Enlist the support of organizational leadership and encourage these individuals to provide their time, perspectives and feedback to rotational participants. These leaders are able to share insights into the various roles and departments within the organization. Mentoring can also be critical to supporting participants and providing additional value to the program. Mentors are able to provide regular feedback and coaching on participant’s strengths and areas of opportunity.

Regardless of the format, utilizing rotational programs as a key professional development process is a win-win for both employees and their organizations. Not only do they build an individual’s skills and fulfill employees’ desires for career advancement, but they provide a breadth and depth of knowledge needed to meet the very real mid-level and leadership resourcing needs of today’s insurers.