Organisation befähigen

Insurance—Empower people and organization

“Successful digital transformation requires a comprehensive HR transformation.”
Christian von Schirach, Senior Manager, zeb


Shaping the future through HR transformation

In the wake of digitalization, new competitors with new business models and innovative technologies are pushing into the insurance market. Future-oriented skills such as adaptability, agility and decision-making under uncertain circumstances, collaboration strength and customer centricity are thus becoming key success factors for organizations. For many employees of insurance companies, this is a major challenge: in future, supporting change will no longer be enough—employees have to actively drive it forward. In light of increasing uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of information, the task becomes even bigger. Therefore, successful digital transformation requires a comprehensive HR transformation, i.e. the systematic and consistent realignment of skills, processes and HR instruments towards a rapidly changing corporate environment.

Especially in the established companies of the sector, a silo mentality among executives and employees is an obstacle to the changing requirements of the market: people think within the limits of their own departments, neglect interfaces and leave opportunities resulting from cross-departmental collaboration untapped. A lack of customer centricity, services without economic benefit for customers or misguided developments and inflexibility are just a few consequences of this mentality that is often deeply ingrained. As a result, one of the key requirements directed at HR transformation is to “set organizations in motion” and thus dramatically increase permeability between the departments.

This leads to a whole new set of demands regarding employees’ personalities. The need to be quick and flexible results in far-reaching requirements for entrepreneurial skills, but also for new methodological skills. Trust becomes more important than control, adaptability becomes more important than planning.

Agile Skills Model


Therefore, the skills model needs to be completely revised. Personnel development by itself is not enough. Instead, intelligent working formats are required in order to experience and learn new skills in daily practice. The challenges described call the entire set of HR instruments into question. In general, a comprehensive revision of content is required and at the same time the underlying processes need to be fundamentally adapted. Thus, the challenges of digitalization are first and foremost HR challenges putting HR transformation firmly on the management board’s agenda.


From the HR perspective, there are seven relevant dimensions for action—embedded into a comprehensive change management in which communication in particular is a key lever. The main questions here are: What do we do and why do we do it?

Agile HR management—7 dimensions

Skills model
Together with our clients’ HR department and with the involvement of internal specialist units, we develop the future skills model. Apart from traditional personnel development measures, we make sure to establish working formats that are geared towards developing the new skills. Thus, our focus is on transforming knowledge into ability.

Personnel planning and management
Previous approaches to personnel planning focus on quantitative aspects. Costs and capacities are planned. Qualitative personnel planning, i.e. planning for skills that will be required in the future, frequently does not take place. We develop this qualitative, skill-based type of personnel planning together with our clients. Simply because having the right skills in the right place at short notice is a key success factor in today’s environment. As a result, we set up processes for our clients that allow cross-departmental personnel management that takes skills into account.

Many insurers attempt to “hire new skills”. Experience in digital or agile contexts is much in demand. At the same time, these skills are relevant across all industries and therefore increasingly sought-after. To get recruiting future-ready in the “war for talent”, we develop largely digital processes with our clients to make them not only more efficient, but also much faster overall and thus more competitive.

Leadership in an agile environment means transferring responsibility. Executives must be willing to transfer, employees able to take on responsibility. We help our clients develop formats that gradually change the understanding of leadership in daily practice. Simultaneously, we revise the leadership processes for target setting and evaluation as these usually do not match the requirements of the future neither in terms of content nor periodicity.

Personnel development
We teach agile skills in dedicated boot camps. In addition, we design tailored trainings and coachings and offer part-time studies and seminars at the school or the Apart from these qualification measures, the development and implementation of a state-of-the-art career model is at the heart of many of our projects. Due to the changed requirements regarding expert knowledge and adaptability, we help our clients develop models in which project experience and subject-matter as well as leadership skills are given equal weight.

Remuneration systems are often highly complex due to their cascading structure and the related processes. Much effort is spent on measuring and incentivizing targets which, in agile environments, change periodically throughout the year. Previous remuneration systems are therefore often neither efficient nor effective. It is our ambition to help our clients develop a tailored remuneration system that can be efficiently managed, while supporting the demands for key skills of the future. In doing so, we obviously take all regulatory requirements into account.

HR systems
An HR organization can only perform as well as the integrated system landscape allows. Together with our clients, we develop concepts for tailored, innovative HR processes, select suitable providers and support the technical implementation as a sparring partner for content issues. In doing so, we do not only focus on the immediate HR processes, but also on the processes at the internal customer interface, e.g. self-services facilitated by employees.

Culture and change
For us, change management is not a separate module. Every change request has a trigger and a concrete goal. Therefore, we systematically integrate all necessary activities to enable change into our process steps. zeb as a “partner for change” builds on experience gained in hundreds of projects, thus bringing wide-ranging expertise in change processes in financial services to the table.

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