HR’s Commitment Is What Engages Blue-Collar Workers

As analysts and executives wring their hands about how to excite a younger andmore demanding workforce, out in the real world many HR professionals face another challenge: Engaging the older, less-connected blue-collar worker.

These are the truck drivers, warehouse staff and retail sales people who move cargo or work the cash register and, when you get right down to it, actually operate the business. They’re the semi-skilled and low-skilled workers who haven’t obtained a college degree and probably never will. To them, the point of working most often is to make a living and support their families, not to change the world and get rich doing it.


Too many employers assume these employees aren’t all that interested in their work, engagement experts say. That’s likely a mistaken assumption, according to David Shanklin, head of culture strategy for CultureI Q, an employee-engagement platform provider based in New York City. And if workers do have that kind of attitude, “you’re probably not leading them correctly,” he said.

The Blue Collar Is Here to Stay

Despite all the talk of automation displacing everyone from factory workers to truck drivers, blue-collar occupations aren’t going away. In fact, the demand formany is growing dramatically. Between 2016 and 2026, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics <> ,demand for derrick operators in oil and gas will rise 26 percent; the need for plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters by 16 percent; and for ironworkers by 13 percent. All of these are faster-than-average growth rates.

Employers who neglect their blue-collar workers are risking trouble in terms of recruiting and retention, to say nothing of business results. “Engagement cuts across all ages, verticals and demographics,” said Kim Dawson, director of employee experience at the Austin-based engagement firm You Earned It. “We’re talking about it now in terms of engagement, but historically we talked about it in terms of job satisfaction. If you’re happy at your job and say you’re satisfied, whether that’s in 1980 or 2018, they’re all the same. The only difference is the focus on engagement is more refined now.”

But there’s only so much one can do to make loading trucks engaging, said the HR manager of a distribution warehouse, who asked not to be identified because he’s not an official company spokesperson. When it comes to engaging manual workers, he said, HR is “limited in how much creativity it has to work with.”

But it can be done. Low- and semi-skilled workers are engaged by many of the same things that appeal to white-collar workers, other HR professionals say. Perhaps most important: They want to be respected and feel valued. White-collar workers may have more opportunities to get positive feedback by attacking issues creatively, “but I don’t want loaders ad-libbing their work,” the warehouse manager said. “I’ve got a standard operating procedure for that.” At the same time, he said, he welcomes employees’ well-reasoned ideas and builds variety into the workday by cross-training employees and forming teams to tackle special projects.

Listen and Understand

The first step toward engaging blue-collar employees is to listen. “You have to have a good understanding of each individual and how they view their job,” said the warehouse HR manager. “Some may not want to learn. Others do. You have to start with a conversation to understand what they’relooking for.”

Lorry Parker, SHRM-SCP, an independent HR advisor in Chicago, goes further. “Ask your workforce what would engage them, and don’t ask just once,” she said. “Don’t think you always have to have the idea. That in itself is engagement.”

It’s also important to understand that blue-collar workers view their jobs differently from office-based employees. To them, “a career has a different meaning,” said Marilena Acevedo, vice president of human resources for PetroChoice, a distributor of lubricants based in Fort Washington, Pa. “To them, ‘career’ equals ‘professional.’ ” They may not aspire to management roles, she observed, “but they want to be constant professionals.”

Embracing that attitude is at the heart of PetroChoice’s approach to engagement. With 850 employees in 52 locations, Acevedo and CEO Shane O’Kelly make an effort to be visible, transparent and, above all, respectful. “Sometimes people think drivers are unsophisticated, and they’re not,” Acevedo said. “They know their work, the market, the 401(k). They have integrity and loyalty. They’re looking for us to treat them right and help them take care of theirfamilies.”

Acevedo points out that becoming a professional driver is no easy task: One must earn a commercial driver’s license, have a clean driving record, maintain hazardous-materials and other certifications, and often obtain government security clearances. PetroChoice aims to maintain a culture built around helping employees succeed and grow while operating safely and delivering products properly. “We tell them what we expect and in return they know what they can expect from us,” she said.

Little Things Go a Long Way

Day-to-daytransparency and communication are important, as well. “We tell them when to expect that a lot of overtime will be necessary, and we tell them as far in advance as possible,” said the warehouse HR manager. Also, his company tries to accommodate workers so they can, for example, go to a doctor’s appointment without being penalized.

Informally recognizing an employee’s expertise during the workday also makes him or her feel valued. For example, PetroChoice regularly has its drivers deliver work-related presentations during its monthly operational safety meetings. (The company also hosts formal events like driver rodeos, where the winner and his or her spouse receive an expenses-paid trip.)

Surprisingly simple gestures can also make a difference. PetroChoice gives employees a $5 Dunkin’ Donuts gift card for their birthday, and O’Kelly has been known to send personalized anniversary notes to individual workers. “We get a lot of thanks for [both of] those,” Acevedo said.

Finally, just mixing it up can add to a worker’s engagement. Shanklin noted how Trader Joe’s moves its store workers around so they spend no more than three hours a day on a particular task. That kind of strategy “keeps the job fresh,” he said.

Blue-Collars Need Development, Too

Shanklin believes continuous improvement programs help people, and thus the business, at any level.

Development is a major theme at PetroChoice. The company actively helps workers advance by defraying the costs of professional training. Its newly launched Commercial Driver Training Program makes it possible for internal associates to obtain the often-expensive credentials necessary to become a more-highly paid commercial driver.

Warehouse workers have the chance to begin learning about trucks almost as soon as they’re hired. “They’ll drive a truck around the yard and do things like practice backing up,” Acevedo said. “That way, they go to school already having some on-the-job training.”

The company pays attention to personal development, as well. “We talk to employees about where they want to improve,” she said. For example, one warehouse associate sought Microsoft Excel training so he could better understand the reports he regularly worked with.

Finally, Dawson believes engaging all employees requires understanding the changes that occur within workforces over time. That brings us back to listening. “You need to be diplomatic and honest simultaneously, and mostly you have to care,” she said. “There is no way to be successful in employee experience unless you are invested in the success of both the people and the business.”


Source:- Society for Human Resource Management.

Date:-15th December,2017-Friday





Banks Want to Revive Trade & Warehouse Insurance

Indian banks are lobbying with the Reserve Bank of India and the Insurance regulator to revive trade and warehouse Insurance as the rise of digital tracking and traceable payments has become a lot more robust under TReDS, unlike in the past where inventories could not be tracked and malpractices were rampant in the absence of tech-based tracking.

“We have represented to the RBI that trade insurance should be made available to banks as most of the factoring is done by banks, and we are taking the credit risk when financing lower-rated MSMEs,” said a banker who did not wish to be identified.

RBI did not respond to an email query seeking its response to the story. TReDS is an online electronic institutional mechanism which facilitates the financing of trade receivables of MSMEs through multiple financiers. The platform enables discounting of invoices of MSME sellers against large buyers through an auction mechanism that ensures prompt realisation of trade receivables at competitive market rates. Banks, till a few years ago, were eligible to get an insurance cover for any money lent to trade and trade receivables, but it was later rolled back after several instances of mis-selling, and bogus bills were brought to Irdai notice.

“If Irdai can extend the insurance cover for trade insurance to banks, it will help us in a big way,” said Kalyan Basu, MD, Invoicemart. “Today, banks want collateral for loans which is a huge impediment for MSME finance. Trade insurance can be taken by MSMEs and buyers, but it is not assignable… if the bank is taking a trade exposure and the insurance cover is not assigned to the bank, then it makes no sense.” “Today, banks are only taking risks on select corporates. In due course, this can be expanded to corporates with low rating and for those corporates this insurance risk will play a substantial role,” said Sundeep Mohindru, founder, M1Exchange.

Source:-The Economic Times-Mumbai

Date:-15th December,2017-Friday

Edelweiss Life Gets ₹670 cr from Fin Arm, Tokio Marine

Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance on Thursday announced an equity capital infusion of ₹670 crore from Edelweiss Financial Services and Tokio Marine to fund business expansion, develop its bancassurance channel, and explore inorganic growth opportunities. The company is a joint venture between Edelweiss Financial Services and Tokio Marine Holdings where Edelweiss Financial Services owns 51% and Tokio Marine owns the rest 49%. In February 2016, Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance had received ₹527 crore in capital from Tokio Marine.

The fresh capital shows the long-term commitment by Tokio Marine and growth potential of Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance. “This will take our solvency to above ₹800 crore of the required capital requirement to support 40-50% growth for the next four years,” said Dipak Mittal, MD of Edelweiss Life Insurance.

“We are evaluating inorganic opportunities. Currently, there’s no transaction in the advanced stage and if there is a need, the promoters will be willing to invest more capital.”

Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance looks to expand the number of branches to 180 from 110.

“Insurance serves the dual purpose of mobilizing long term savings into investments, and providing protection,” said Rashesh Shah, chairman Edelweiss Group.

“With the increasing financialisation of savings acting as a significant growth driver for Life Insurance, Edelweiss Tokio Life has laid a strong foundation, and is well poised to take advantage of this growth opportunity.”

Source : The Economic Times

Date : 01-12-2017

“Padmavati’ delay can trigger insurance claim”

‘Padmavati’ distributors can make a claim for losses due to the delay in the movie’s release, thanks to a new insurance cover that has evolved in the last decade. New India Assurance, which is facing claims of Rs 3 crore following damage to the film’s sets by protesters, has also insured the movie for Rs 80-crore loss in box office collections if screening is affected or of the public cannot access the theatres.

Until a decade ago, film-making was treated as project insurance, where the cover ceased on completion. Once production was completed, the producer recoveredmoney spent on it by selling various rights of the film. In 2009, after an outbreak of Swine Flu, the Maharashtra government had ordered a shutdown of public places including schools and theatres. The move had hit the collections of two releases — Vishal Bhardwaj’s ‘Kaminey’ and Ram Gopal Varma’s ‘Agyaat’. This unexpected risk prompted the development of the ‘distributor’s loss ofprofit’ cover.


Officials at New India confirmed that they are in receipt of claims for Rs 3 crore at the production stage, which was insured for Rs 140 crore. Thestate-owned insurer has also covered Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s historical fantasy for Rs 80 crore for distributor’s loss of profits. New India Assurance chairman G Srinivasan said, “The policy will cover a strike or riot situation and would also cover weather-related events, but it does not cover any loss if the film is banned by any government. Also, the cover comes into effect only after the film is released.”
JLT Independent Insurance Brokers director Amit Agarwal said, “The distributor’s loss of profit policy has evolved quite well over the last eight-nine years. The distributor forecasts the revenue according to territory. A claim occurs if, due to any of the listed perils, the general public is not able to reach the theatre.” According to Agarwal, a Mumbai weekend would account for nearly 25% of a movie’s revenues. “However, if in the subsequent weeks, revenue picks up so that the total two-month revenue is in line with projected earnings, no claim is paid.”
In addition to covering box office losses due to insured events, the policy will also reimburse the producer the cost of promotion. “If for any of the perils mentioned the release date is delayed, the producers are compensated the cost of promoting the film — advertisements, posters and promotional events. But even here the money is paid after two months of release,” said Agarwal.
Industry officials say that movie-making in India is quite different compared to the West. In the West, movies are researched for two years and the shooting is completed in 60 days. In India, the research takes a few months and the production takes a much longer timewith changes made during the shooting. Also, contracts are very loose and stars do not return the money paid to them.

Source: The Times of India

Date: 23RD November, 2017

Magma HDI General Insurance launches OneHealth

Magma HDI General Insurance (Magma HDI), a joint venture between Magma Fincorp and HDI Global SE, Germany, launched its health insurance policy, OneHealth.

This product covers various medical conditions as well as lifestyle diseases which are covered rarely in the industry. The India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative’s Report released recently states that lifestyle diseases now kill more people than communicable ones like tuberculosis or diarrhoea in every state in India. Very few of the existing health insurance policies cover lifestyle ailments like Lasik, bariatric surgery, IVF treatment and in-patient psychiatric treatments among others.

Rajive Kumaraswami, MD & CEO, Magma HDI said, “According to studies, with increasing prevalence of lifestyle diseases in India, one out of four Indians is at risk of dying from non-communicable diseases. This policy along with covering all major lifestyle diseases will also offer additional benefits like restoration benefit, cumulative bonus, free annual health check-up.”

The product offers Rs 2 lakh to Rs 50 lakh, across only 4 variants. This can be taken for three years and there is a zone-wise premium calculation based on the location. Maternity is also covered under some variants of the product.

There is also an income benefit available that offers up to six months’ salary to the policyholder if they have any accident/injuries preventing them from reporting to work.



Date: 16th November,2017

Magma HDI General expects flat bottomlin this year

Mumbai, Nov 16 () Magma HDI General Insurance, which has completed five years of operations, is expecting profit to be in line with the previous year due to its growing portfolio.

“We had a robust growth in the first six months of this financial year. Going forward, we are expecting net profit to be in line with last year, which stood at Rs 6.3 crore, as our portfolio is growing,” Magma HDI managing director & chief executive Rajive Kumaraswami told reporters here today.

The combined ratio till September was 125 per cent and its accumulative losses were Rs 30 crore, he said. “We have all the top management in place. Now the challenge is to increase our portfolio and manage our expenses.”

He said gross written premium, which stood at Rs 423 crore in fiscal 2017, is likely to grow 30 per cent this year.

“The first six months has been robust for us. Going forward, we are expecting gross written premium to grow upwards of 30 per cent for the full year,” he added.

Kumaraswami said they are focused on retail segments like motor, critical illness and commercial. “In the next three-four years we see motors to be 65 per cent of our total business followed by health 20-25 per cent and commercial 15- 20 per cent.

Meanwhile, the company today launched a new healthcare prodcut called OneHealth, which covers various medical conditions including lifestyle diseases apart from offering restoration benefits, cumulative bonus, free annual health check-ups among others.

Magma HDI is a joint venture between Magma Fincorp and HDI Global of Germany, which is part of the Hannover-based Talanx Group–the third largest insurance group in the largest European economy. SM DSK BEN BEN


Source: Times Of India

Date: 16th November, 2017

HDI to exit JV with Magma after a five-year marriage

Mumbai: HDI, the German insurer which partnered with the MagmaBSE -0.06 % group for general insurance, has decided to exit the venture after nearly five years of partnership as their joint venture failed to grow on expected lines.

Magma HDI General Insurance, a joint venture between Magma Fincorp LtdBSE -0.06 %, Kolkata, and HDI Global SE, Germany, offers a wide range of products from health to travel to motor insurance.

“HDI is looking to exit the joint venture with Magma as the business in India has not grown as per their expectation,” said a source close to the development. “Magma HDI is less than 0.5 per cent of the market share and is growing at a slower pace than the industry. This has been a concern for HDI.”

The company had reported profit after tax of Rs 6.3 crore in 2016-17 as against a loss of Rs 11.9 crore in the previous year. The company had even moved its leadership team to Mumbai headquarters to attract talent. The company has a 0.32 per cent market share in the generalinsurance sector, which is dominated by the four public sector insurers andlarge private sector companies like ICICI Lombard, Bajaj Allianz and HDFC Ergo. Magma said it cannot comment as it is in a silent period while HDI said it does not respond to market rumours. In 2016-17, Magma HDI had reported a 3.85 per cent growth in gross written premium to Rs 419.29 crore, up from Rs 403.93 crore in the previous year.

Earlier this year, Fairfax had sold a substantial stake in ICICI Lombard to float another general insurance company. In 2015, Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance had exited a joint venture withSundaram FinanceBSE -0.40 % in this sector.

After the government raised foreign direct investment limit to 49 per cent from 26 per cent, several private equity investors and large corporates have shown interest in general insurance sector.
Star Health & Allied Insurance has seen interest from several existing and new investors to buyout the company, which is a market leader in standalone health insurance. Similarly, private equity investors including Warburg Pincus had bought stake in ICICI Lombard from Fairfax. Private equity fund True North, along with other funds, have expressed interest in buying into Religare Health Insurance. Narayan Murthy-promoted Catamaran has invested in Akko General Insurance, which received the final set of licence and will soon be starting business.

Source-The Economic Times