Insurance firm temporarily sends staff away – to diversify experience

Select number of employees encouraged to work with start-ups, non-profits for a year

Insurance firm temporarily sends staff away – to diversify experience

Japanese insurance company Sompo Holdings is planning to temporarily send employees to other organisations in a bid to diversify their experiences and boost the firm's competitiveness.

A select number of employees will be chosen this fiscal 2023 by the insurance firm based on the candidates' interest in having a strong career trajectory, Kyodo News reported.

These employees will be encouraged to work for almost a year at start-ups or non-profit organisations that are not in their usual line of work.

The company will be treating it as an "extended business trip," according to the report, and the participants will still receive their full salary and have their career development unaffected even when they are working elsewhere.

Once they return, Sompo said they plan to place these employees into leadership tracks.

‘Different values’

The move seeks to encourage staff to take on challenges in unfamiliar areas and diversify their experience by letting them work in new domains, according to the report, citing Sompo Holdings president Mikio Okumura.

"By getting to know people with different values, we want to create a company culture desirable for developing products our clients really need," Okumura told Kyodo News.

It also comes as the company seeks to branch off from its main business areas of domestic property, life, and casualty insurance and venture into nursing care and digital realm.

While the plan is initially set for a limited number of employees this fiscal year, Sompo said they plan to open it up in 2024 to more applicants from its pool of over 40,000 Japan-based staff.

Straying from tradition

Sompo's move follows a growing list of employers that are straying from traditional working arrangements to allow staff to develop.

In 2021, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co began allowing employees to take on side jobs, Kyodo News reported. In 2030, it would also start requiring candidates for managerial positions to undertake out-of-company experiences through side jobs or subsidiary work.

Data from Go1 found that majority of employees from all ages in England are happy to learn new skills whenever they can while at work.


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