Here are the top news stories in talent & organization from this week.

Remote work on the rise in Canada’s insurance industry

Canadian insurance employees are 13 percent more likely to work remotely than office workers in the United States, Canadian Underwriter reports this week. The article shares highlights of the Insurance Institute of Canada’s recent report, “Demographics of the P&C Industry in Canada,” which states that more than one-third of insurance employees north of the border work remotely, compared to the one in five U.S. workers who do. Remote work is most common in risk management (63 percent) and claims (41 percent). Only 20 percent of Canadian brokers and actuaries report working remotely. The article notes that working from home is not a set-in-stone rule, based on formal agreements. The Insurance Institute study found that 70 percent of the employees who work remotely do so on an informal basis. “Technology today provides us with the opportunity to enhance the employee experience with the ability to work from home,” Catherine Leclair of Gore Mutual told Canadian Underwriter. “This flexibility has given us the ability to attract top talent and provide all our employees with a better work-life balance. I see the concept of working from home continuing to expand in the future.”

Creating a workplace that works for women

In this ForbesWomen piece, Michelle King shares three tips from Cheryl Eisen, CEO of Interior Marketing Group, to create work environments that support women to thrive. Women make up 75 percent of IMG’s employees and 76 percent of the entire leadership. 1. Be intentional about your culture. “Build a culture of growth and support. We tout that we’re this fempire. We are women managers and we are women employees, I think that really helps in being emphatic in terms of how we deal with each other,” Eisen told King. 2. Hire people who fit the culture. Eisen says her company does interview men, but adds that men from male-dominated industries such as finance might find her company’s culture different. 3. Maintain the culture by advancing employees. “I think statistically it shows that women are less likely to be promoted into management roles in large organizations than men are. I think if you change that and give women opportunities to grow they’ll thrive,” Eisen says.

To attract digital talent, offer better rewards

“For banks and other financial institutions, adapting [to today’s tech-driven world] is essential for competitive survival. They grapple with emerging technologies such as blockchain, big data analytics, artificial intelligence and robotics, every day – and it’s why many companies are considering revamping their rewards strategies to attract and keep tech talent that has skills in these areas,” writes Shai Ganu, in this Willis Towers Watson Wire blog post. When it comes to measuring and paying for performance, he argues it’s crucial for financial services companies to focus on defining where individual performance lies and differentiating it based on the evolution of business models, in addition to overall company performance. He cites Willis Towers Watson’s 2017/2018 Global Future of Work Survey – Asia Pacific, in which more than 60 percent of HR executives said the design of performance management, leadership development and organizational structure will require an “outside-the-box” approach to help ensure the challenges of automation and digitalization are adequately addressed in their organizations. Ganu claims that rewards need to be fresh and updated often. “Freelancers – or contingent workers – are quickly augmenting traditional staffing models, the way work gets done and the fundamental assumptions about wellbeing and Total Rewards. This means more tailored and personalized Total Rewards with increased choice for all types of workforce participants will be required,” he writes.

Leadership in the age of robots

“Robots are never sick and they are never in a bad mood,” making them a palatable option for employers, writes Soulaima Gourani in this Forbes Leadership Strategy op-ed. But, she is also quick to point out that it’s up to the leaders to ensure human employees continue to evolve with technology. Here are four ways she believes employers can better integrate humans and robots in the workplace: 1. Engagement. Involve your staff and let them help decide in which kind of technology the company should invest. 2. Upgrade. A great leader must make sure employees are skilled, educated and motivated to use and work with technology. 3. Creativity and inspiration. Make sure the workforce is ready and trained in social skills, decision-making, innovation and creativity. 4. Trend mapping. For a company to evolve with the times, a great leader must be able to read, understand and translate the industry trends.

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