Welcome to Part 2 of Workplace Critical Skills you need to succeed in Insurance. If you’re just seeing this for the first time, check out part 1 of this mini-series here. To give you a quick recap, we covered what exactly Workplace Critical Skills are and eggs-plored two of the three main categories. In this article, we’ll be sharing with you the final category, Innovation and Leadership Skills, along with how you can go about developing and acquiring these skills and putting them into practice!
Workplace Critical Skills Refresher
Like we mentioned previously, Workplace Critical Skills in the insurance industry can essentially be broken down into three categories: Core Skills, Analytical & Decision Making Skills, and Innovation & Leadership Skills. These are the in-demand skills identified by the HR professionals and Business Leaders who were surveyed as a part of the Insurance Institute of Canada’s latest Demographic Research.
These critical skills are a combination of professional attributes, social cues, and inherent soft skills. The great thing about critical skills is that they’re transferable, meaning they can be used in a variety of situations and throughout your career. The more you use these critical skills, the more you can practice and develop them!
Since we already gave you a run down of the Core Skills and Analytical & Decision Making Skills categories, let’s dive into the final category: Innovation & Leadership Skills.
Innovation & Leadership Skills
The in-demand skills in this category are: leadership, management, innovation, and technological literacy and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).
Let’s start with leadership. Leadership skills can be evidenced at any stage of your career and even apply to those who don’t ever want to lead a team of people. Think about it… leadership can be about showing respect, being curious, and listening to others’ ideas. It could also be about offering up a sounding board or technical advice to others to help them in their own work. It might also be about being strategic, making connections between concepts, and building effective relationships to achieve business success. It, like most Workplace Critical Skills, can be applied in a variety of ways. Especially in insurance!
Management skills can be more of a catch all for skills like coordinating the efforts of a team, finding efficiencies, or even leading a project. For example, a Broker might think about how they can streamline communication with an Underwriter to get a quote to the client faster, or a Claims Professional might look for efficiencies when contracting with a restoration company. These are examples of how even an early career professional can showcase their management skills in the insurance industry.
Finally, Innovation and STEM are hot topics and are highly sought after skills by insurance organizations right now. Thinking about new ways to distribute insurance products to customers, how can we ensure disruptors like autonomous vehicles or Airbnb, or creating new technological solutions for filing or managing a claim are examples of what insurance companies might be currently working on. There is a need for people with these kinds of skills to help drive the business forward!
When have you thought outside of the box? Have you taken on a project from beginning to end, or been able to help someone take an idea from good to great? What about times when you have attentively listened or followed through with a commitment? These are all ways that you can start to highlight your leadership, management, innovation, and STEM skills to a potential employer.
How Do You Acquire and Develop These Skills?
Having an understanding of what you excel at, what experiences you have from previous jobs, courses, volunteering, or extracurricular activities, as well as how you have leveraged these skills can help you not only ace an interview, but also continue to manage your insurance career.
If you are still developing these skills or haven’t had the chance to apply them at work yet, don’t panic! It’s a process that involves a commitment to continuous learning and development, which incidentally is a common trait amongst successful insurance professionals! There is always going to be something new to learn, and having a mindset that values continuous growth is vital to this industry. By saying yes to opportunities that help you build new skills and strengthen ones you already have will set you up for success.
How can you learn and strengthen your Workplace Critical Skills? This can happen through on the job learning with new tasks, new projects, or reflecting on and applying your previous experiences. Volunteering is another great way to gain valuable experience and contribute to a cause you’re passionate about. Formal learning (think about what you might have had the opportunity to learn or apply in school) is also available through e-learning courses, certificates, training sessions, or webinars.
Finally, a great way to continue learning is by reading books, listening to podcasts, working with a mentor, or collaborating with a peer who has a different set of skills than you!