How QBE fuels innovation with graduates

by Chloe Taylor26 Nov 2015
With sourcing talent becoming increasingly competitive in Australia, many companies are opting to focus on their graduate recruitment drives to give them an advantage.

Graduate schemes are becoming more popular every year around the country, across multiple industries. Sally Kincaid, chief HR officer at QBE, recently spoke to Insurance Business about why they are becoming an increasingly popular option for large insurance firms.

“When people come out of university they’ve obviously had a lot of theory, and moving onto a graduate program takes a very applied approach.

So the great thing about moving onto a graduate program is that you have this mix of knowledge and expertise that you’ve gained from a degree, but now you get to apply it.”

The approach QBE takes through its graduate program is “very practical, very hands-on”.

“Of course in coming to a company like QBE, where we’re a global company, you get to apply that in a wide range of settings.

“You get to make decisions fairly early on about whether you like a more generalist approach or a more technical line of business – it really just opens a lot of opportunities.”

Kincaid believes that the graduate program helps QBE stay ahead of the pack as disruption continues to have a big effect on the insurance industry.

“I think the insurance industry is at a really interesting crossroads,” she told IB.

“When you think about the disruptive forces that are coming into our industry through technology, through digital and the digitalisation of the customer experience, and indeed the expectations of customers across the insurance cycle, we adapt the program to meet those changing needs, and more than any other time in the past we’ve got to be much more agile in the program that we deliver and what we’re wanting of the graduates who come through it.”

It is not only those who are on the scheme who benefit from taking part – Kincaid noted that the yearly influx of talent has seen the company develop offerings across a number of fields.

“There’s a two-pronged approach to this,” Kincaid said.

“One is what we get from the graduates who come in; so we get exposure to a different way of thinking and a view at a generational level.”

She added that QBE also has a program called the ‘innovation forum’.

“The graduates come in with fabulous innovative ideas, and the innovation forum is a way for us to tap into the creativity and innovation of these people.

“We don’t think here that innovation resides in the heads of a few; we think everybody’s got something to contribute, so through our innovation forum we have an online tool where people contribute ideas, and the best ideas get voted on and make it through into all sorts of different channels – be it a business development or a customer proposition – and ways that we might move the organisation forward.”

The second prong is not limited to being a “QBE view”, but is instead industry-wide.

“We almost have a responsibility as a sector to really contribute and make sure that we’re growing a grooming the future talent of the insurance industry moving forward.”

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