Speaking to All Things Talent, Saba Adil, Chief People Officer & Chief Risk Officer discusses how with a focus on upskilling the workforce, employee experience, learning and digitalisation, and building employee capabilities and competencies, Raheja QBE General Insurance is creating a work culture where people find meaningful roles and contribute in fulfilling organisation’s strategic objectives.
What has been Raheja QBE General Insurance’s growth over the years in terms of employees?
We have strengthened our capabilities in Sales and Distribution, Claims and Technology, and Support Functions to augment our workforce and drive digital interventions. Our headcount has quadrupled over the last three years, aligned to our strategic vision of building up our retail lines of business with a diversified product and multi-channel spread, along with strengthening our already existing commercial lines of business.
We follow a robust yet speedier selection process to select the best for the organisation as well as provide a good candidate experience. Since we are a young company and a lean organisation, every hire is key to us. We select candidates based on their ability to work in a startup, being entrepreneurial in nature, innovative and customer-centric, with the right mindset apart from their functional competence to do the job well, and contribute to the larger organisation.
We are a learning organisation with a focus on building capabilities and competencies that not only support the organisation in meeting its strategic objectives but also aid in the overall development of our employees. We believe that although the number of hires is an important metric, equally important is the focus on quality as measured by new joinee’s full performance time, retention rates, and cultural alignment.
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What is the company’s market presence, and employee strength – across different functions?
We have been offering our products to Indians for the last 14 years and have a broad reach in India with our presence in many metro cities. Our employee strength is spread across Mumbai, Delhi, Noida, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Nasik, Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Chennai. Among these locations, most of our employees work at our head office in Mumbai.
How has been the growth of the company during the pandemic – business and employee-wise?
Pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns set in a new way of working, with our candidate conversations and connect, selection and onboarding process moving digital, some in-person meetings though have started happening now with restrictions being lifted. In fact, more than 70 percent of our people joined during the pandemic. On the business front, we have been achieving our strategic objectives as our teams have delivered well, consistently year on year.
What role do investments in the HR department play in the business growth of Raheja QBE?
Over the last few years, the needs of employers have changed and so has the talent market. It is thus important to focus on employee experience, which means not only making the journey smooth from a talent experience point of view, especially on those ‘critical employee milestones’, but also creating meaningful roles for people to grow and develop, and contribute to the larger organisation. We, being a lean and growing organisation, provide larger and broader roles and responsibilities by design, with a very clear line of impact. Learning is immense with great exposure, and this keeps people energetic and relevant.
We also believe in building a culture of empowerment and purpose, helping people realise their potential, and we consistently make investments in initiatives that aid their performance, growth, safety, and wellbeing.
“Over the last few years, the needs of employers have changed and so has the talent market. It is thus important to focus on employee experience, which means not only making the journey smooth from a talent experience point of view, especially on those ‘critical employee milestones’, but also creating meaningful roles for people to grow and develop, and contribute to the larger organisation.”
What kind of learnings and global best practices of QBE were implemented in Raheja QBE?
Upskilling the workforce is a key strategic priority in order to have a workforce that is ready to deliver now and is also future-ready. We have rolled out several interventions during the year focusing on leadership skill-building in the age of change and transformation, and programs for senior leadership focused on building leadership and functional skills in the digital world.
Besides this, we have rolled out several learning programs for employees addressing individual and business needs. At Raheja QBE, people can find several opportunities to learn and grow, be it on-the-job training or formal leadership interventions to compliance and functional training or courses. Our learning is need-based, and we encourage employees to self-nominate themselves and make the best use of the learning opportunities that are available.
What are your hiring ambitions this year?
We have been growing, and the momentum continues. The entire insurance industry is currently in the midst of adapting to new technological changes, and rightfully so, to meet customer expectations.
We will be continuing our digital journey and therefore, for the year, our focus will be to further strengthen leadership in technology, Claims, Data Analytics, and Sales & Support roles.
Some recent entrants in this space are cloud-native and are formidable competition. In general, what and how do you think HR can play a larger role in the hyper-competitive space?
It’s about what works best in a strategic context, keeping a very close eye on what business and customer needs are, and designing the HR framework outside in rather than being only inward-focused.
HR can play a role by first understanding the change and transformation that is taking place from a business perspective, objectively doing a gap analysis of where their organisation is vis-à-vis the strategic ambition, and then designing solutions that are best for them. This way, solutions are more contextualised and relevant, rather than just copying from elsewhere. Some of the things that work well are putting out an employer value proposition, an impactful HR strategy catering to help people learn and grow, providing fast-track careers for people who are high performers, focusing on employee experience, and being a caring employer.
“HR can play a role by first understanding the change and transformation that is taking place from a business perspective, objectively doing a gap analysis of where their organisation is vis-à-vis the strategic ambition, and then designing solutions that are best for them. This way, solutions are more contextualised and relevant, rather than just copying from elsewhere.”
What has been the attrition rate in Raheja QBE vis-à-vis the industry, and how do you handle the same?
We focus on productivity, inputs, and outcomes and strive to provide a work atmosphere where people find meaningful roles, contribute to a higher purpose and just love coming to work. This has helped us achieve an 89 percent of engagement score in our employee survey last year, placing us among the top-performing organisations in employee engagement. Attrition is an outcome, and we have high productivity and low attrition.
Could you give some details on the company’s HR digitisation?
We are looking at both digitalisation and revamping our present automation state to cater to the new age employee expectations on making things simple and intuitive, empowering managers and people leaders with data to make more informed people decisions through capturing and integrating data captured at various points in an employee life cycle, and processing that data to meaningful information that managers can use for objective and smart talent decisions.
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Can you give some details on the company’s L&D, R&R, B&C, ESOP, and other key HR metrics?
Our strategic intent is to be the ‘preferred employer’ in a talent market. To achieve this, we are attracting, engaging, and developing the ‘talent we want’ through a robust people practice.
Our L&D strategy is based on upskilling which we strongly believe is crucial in this ever-evolving and changing world, and therefore we have conducted several leadership development interventions to build leadership skills to respond to evolving customer expectations in this digital world as well as developing succession pipeline for internal talent to take on higher roles. We rolled out 55 L&D programs last year, with 89 percent highly recommending these programs and 22 engagement/wellness initiatives to engage employees and promote mental health and wellbeing based on needs.
On R&R again, we believe in a culture of appreciation, and we have several platforms, including special MD & CEO awards apart from regular quarterly/annual awards to drive a culture of meritocracy and recognition.
Our compensation and benefits strategy is aimed to drive high performance and rewards to attract, motivate, and retain the talent we want to meet our strategic objectives. We engage in an objective salary benchmarking process and look at holistic data to make smarter people decisions.
Year of Incorporation: 2007
Number of Employees: 235
Pankaj Arora – MD & CEO
Chandraprakash Jain – Chief Financial Officer
Farzan Khansaheb – Chief Underwriting Officer – Commercial Lines
Puneet Sahni – Chief Underwriting Officer – Retail Lines
Rohit Ajgaonkar – Appointed Actuary
Ritu Nazir – Chief Marketing Officer
Rajeev Dogra – Chief Distribution Officer
Abhijit Kedia – Chief Technology Officer
Jigar Shah – Company Secretary and Chief Compliance Officer
Shantanu Pathak – Chief Investment Officer
Saba Adil – Chief People Officer and Chief Risk Officer
Suman Pal – Chief Claims Officer