Organisations must take steps to address the different generational needs of their workforce and recognise the need for a focus and strategy around inclusion, according to Kate Roy, GB chief operating officer at Willis Towers Watson.

Kate Roy WTW

Speaking on a panel at this year’s Dive In Festival, Roy said: “When a company has a multi-generational workforce, it is important to acknowledge and recognise that in order to be inclusive, you have to adopt an effective, purposeful strategy.”

On the panel, Roy highlighted some practical strategies that need to be in place to support the aspirations of employees. 

Operating in a post-Covid world, and having the ability to provide flexibility for colleagues has “become really important”, Roy noted, as it “manifests itself in very different ways for different generations”.

One of these, according to Roy, includes having benefits packages that are “quite broad-ranging” to meet the different generational needs of those within your workforce.

As generations move forward, organisations need to look at benefits and compensation packages and tailor them so employees have the ability to choose the things that are important for them, Roy said.

“That doesn’t mean that each generation will only fit one benefits package – having choices is quite key particularly if you’re an organisation with a multi-generational workforce,” she explained.

Technology and transactional work

Roy highlighted that the industry has been grappling with the combination of innovative skills but also augmenting skills, as the implementation of new technology impacts the transactional work within the insurance marketplace.

While technology is still important in a relationship-driven marketplace, Roy noted that “robots are unable to build relationships – people build relationships”.

She explained: “Augmenting people skills with analytical skills, consulting skills and with skills that can actually take the outputs from more automated or robotic capabilities, and then augment that with those innovative, creative skills that actually create compelling propositions.”

While Roy said it sounds straightforward, she noted that it’s “somewhat more complex to deliver”.

One challenge around this, according to Roy, is that the industry has historically used quite conventional training methods.

“We have trained people from the bottom-up, in that you come into the organisation, you learn how to do some of the more straightforward transactional activities and that gives you a ground bed of knowledge for which to be able to build your career upon,” she explained.

But robotics and automation of those transactional activities do not allow for that training bedrock anymore, Roy noted.

“You have to really look at hiring skills at the entry point coming into the market and that in itself can create some generational flexion,” she added. “We need to get there somewhat quicker than we’ve historically done.”