Case Study

Planning for the Workforce of the Future

Company

Bâton Global’s client is one of the largest personal and commercial lines insurance company headquartered in the Midwest and serves customers across the United States.

Challenge

Facing radical changes to the organization’s competitive environment, the client had a poor understanding of the talent and job functions needed to succeed in the future and reach revenue goals. Company leadership recently revitalized the enterprise strategy which put greater emphasis on operational excellence. The organization has experienced declining operating profit over the course of the last three years, a less than ideal expense ratio, and higher than average personnel expense costs compared to industry benchmarks. They needed to more effectively deliver service to meet the changing needs of customers.

Understanding the urgency in completing this work, the client engaged B|G to conduct workforce planning to better understand workforce capabilities, analyze gaps they were facing in meeting key business objectives and customer needs, and creating a plan to make necessary workforce changes to meet their desired future state.

Intervention

B|G and the organization began by prioritizing the most critical business units where the greatest opportunity for impact existed. Understanding the unique needs of each area of the organization, B|G introduced business unit leaders to a workforce planning model.

The model gave each business unit a process to follow in effectively positioning the workforce to meet future needs of customers.  Leaders were engaged to create project charters for individual business units and establish a core team to lead the workforce planning process. With close support from B|G, each business unit focused attention on the key elements of the workforce planning model which included establishing a better understanding of the organization’s position in the competitive environment, organization and unit strategy, effectiveness of organizational culture, structure, processes, and incentives, profile of effective leaders, and the capabilities talent and people. B|G then supported leaders in identifying the key talents and capabilities needed to compete in the future. B|G shared industry best practices and facilitated workshops to identify an ideal future state for leaders unique to the challenges and opportunities within each business unit.

Leaders were given opportunities to assess their current workforce through easy-to use assessments and identify talent gaps within their areas of focus. B|G then supported leaders in developing individual roadmaps to train employees, acquire talent, and partner with outside organizations in order to meet their needs identified in the future state. B|G consultants worked closely with leaders during the rollout of the plan to ensure the organization adapted to changes in their environment and effectively communicated workforce plans.

Results

B|G is in the process of conducting workforce planning for each business unit and the organization expects high impact from the engagement:

  • Each department will be at or under the personnel expense budget by quarter in 2021 and beyond
  • The organization will reach human capital industry benchmarks in critical business units
  • Workforce planning will accelerate business objectives and meet key metrics such as increasing premiums by 40% and improving net operating margins by 3% by 2025
  • Key business units are projected to save $10 million on average in 2021
  • The organization’s expense ratio is expected to improve by three percentage points

Learn More

The scope of this project includes four main areas of activity:

Insight

B|G engaged the proper stakeholders and sought the build a foundation in effectively transforming talent within the organization.  B|G conducted stakeholder interviews with executive leadership, human resources employees, and business unit leaders to understand the needs across the organization. Interviews uncovered expectations of leaders in the organization and their desired outcomes in conducting workforce planning. B|G leveraged industry benchmarks and workforce planning best practices to understand what success could look like for the organization in the future. Industry benchmarks provided the organization with a more detailed overview of personnel expenses and future needs within each business unit and department. B|G identified critical business units who were experiencing operating losses and rising expense ratios.

Innovation

The team worked with executive leadership to prioritize which business units would begin the planning process and follow a workforce planning process with these key elements:

  • Strategy and Operating Model Alignment: B|G began working with key business units to kick off workforce planning by establishing working teams and developing project charters within individual business units. The teams worked with business unit leaders to understand the scope of the project, project sponsors, desired outcomes, and ways to measure the success of their efforts.
  • Resources Required to Deliver – Each business unit then began to process in understanding the workforce needs within their areas of focus to position the organization for success.  Leaders were tasked with analyzing key skillsets, capabilities, and job functions needed to meet the objectives established during the creation of the enterprise strategy.
  • Current Workforce Assessments – Armed with an understanding of the future needs of their business units, leaders went to work in assessing current talent and capabilities. The human resources group equipped leaders with empirical data showing the various roles supporting work processes within each business unit. B|G supported the organization in delivering industry benchmark data to showcase ways in which other organizations are structuring their workforces.
  • Filling Existing Gaps – Equipped with a workforce gap analysis for their areas of focus, B|G guided leaders to develop plans in meeting the required needs to deliver the desired future state.  Guided by key outcomes established in the enterprise strategy for 2025, leaders worked to develop plans to meet key measures of success and reach a desired future state.

Integration

Once workforce planning was completed by individual business unit leaders and aligned to other enterprise initiatives, B|G and the organization turned to implementing the plans through key activities:  

  • Progress Reviews: B|G has found a challenge many organizations face with workforce planning is how to institutionalize their plans successfully through strong adoption and engagement over the long term. B|G led the organization in monthly reviews to ensure plans were being executed and appropriate action was being taken when leaders faced new challenges or opportunities.
  • Communication Planning: B|G supported human resources leaders in effectively communicating change across all aspects of the organization to ensure employees were aware of adjustments in their job roles and the workstreams in which they support. Regular updates were provided via organization-wide communication and employees were also invited to town hall discussions to ensure their voices were heard during the process.
  • Training and Development: In partnership with the organization’s PMO, B|G led individual training and development in critical business units. Leadership development plans and coaching were offered to key leaders in each area to ensure they embodied the leadership qualities needed to accelerate change. Training was offered to others whose roles were greatly shifting across the organization. These efforts supported the workforce mix goals established by the business and allowed leaders to create greater impact with fewer resources.

Impact

B|G is in the process of creating individual plans for each business unit and the organization is expected to greatly benefit from the engagement.  The organization is expected to reduce costs in critical business units and reach operating profit goals established during strategic planning. Business leaders across the organization have a strong understanding of the necessary talent, capabilities, and job roles to meet the needs of their commercial insurance customers. The organization also saw a pivotal transformation in mindset and now welcome the change needed to compete within their industry. The newly appointed CEO is in a strong position to lead the organization to future growth outlined in the enterprise strategy.