LinkedIn Acquisition Heralds Opportunities for Recruiters

Microsoft’s blockbuster announcement that it is purchasing LinkedIn foreshadows a huge shift in the human capital and enterprise technology market. Will it lead to enhanced recruiting opportunities for talent professionals or dampen innovation at one of the world’s most popular talent solutions providers?

Microsoft is hoping the purchase will expand the market for both LinkedIn and Microsoft’s workflow products. It is especially keen to make use of LinkedIn’s vast data network of over 100 million active users, and four times as many profiles, weaving the social networking site’s graph throughout its suite of tools.

“Microsoft cares deeply about the corporate enterprise, and now with this acquisition,they’re sitting on the CRM [customer relationship management] data for every professional in the world,” said William Tincup, CEO of HR consultancy Tincup & Co., based in Dallas. “It’s a really wise move and a wonderful way to extend themselves within the enterprise cloud.”

The acquisition includes the millions of professional profiles registered on LinkedIn’s global network—a network more valuable to Microsoft than, for instance, Facebook or Twitter, which are plagued with spam accounts, said Kyle Lagunas, research manager for talent acquisition and staffing trends at IDC, a leading global provider of market intelligence and advisory services based in Framingham, Mass.

“While this professional profile database alone would be valuable for a tech giantmaking an enterprise play and presents myriad integration opportunities forOffice 365 and Windows 10, there’s potentially more at work here if they intend to further penetrate the world of talent technology,” Lagunas said.

Microsoft said it expects that integrating LinkedIn into its productivity and business-processes area will boost employee productivity when employees see the connections and data about other people they’re working with. The engagement between the two companies’ offerings will enable features like a LinkedIn feed that “serves up articles based on the project you are working on and Office suggesting an expert to connect with via LinkedIn to help with a task you’re trying to complete,” said Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, at the June 6 announcement.

Impact on Talent Acquisition

“Today is a re-founding moment for LinkedIn,” said Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn CEO at the acquisition announcement. About two-thirds of LinkedIn’s revenue comes from its talent-solutions division, including search functions, targeted job postings, a referral tool for current employees and employer branding. The unit’s 2016 first quarter revenue is up 41 percent from a year ago.

LinkedIn ranks as the second-largest job board in the world (after Recruit Holdings, the parent company of Indeed) by revenue and market capitalization, according to Staffing Industry Analysts’ Job Board Service Differentiators 2016 report.

Over the past year, LinkedIn launched a new version of its mobile app, acquired online learning platform Lynda.com and rolled out a new version of its Recruiter product.

“Integrating LinkedIn’s recruiting tools with Skype and Microsoft’s other social products will make recruiters currently using LinkedIn’s talent toolseven more efficient than ever before,” said Ben Eubanks, SHRM-SCP, principal analyst at talent acquisition analysis firm Lighthouse Research and Advisory, based in Austin, Texas.

Thus far, LinkedIn hasn’t “played well” with other human capital management solutions providers that leverage its profile data for recruiting or assessment purposes, Lagunas said.

“Perhaps Microsoft’s long-standing reputation for fostering a healthy ecosystem, and the reach and assets of Microsoft, will help LinkedIn achieve its vision for transforming work life to better empower career movement,” he said. Lagunas added that many hope that LinkedIn will open its APIs (application program interfaces) to enable more innovation in talent acquisition and talent management technology.

“One of the neat ways I see this playing out with integrating LinkedIn into Microsoft’s existing offerings would be having recruiter products automatically connected with Outlook calendars and e-mail,” Eubanks said. “Think about how much time we spend going back and forth trying to find calendar times for meetings and interviews. What if it instantly knew when the recruiter was available and offered those times to a candidate?”

Tincup said he’s excited about the communication possibilities for recruiters with Microsoft’s Yammer and Skype being connected to LinkedIn. “If a candidate’s profile interests a recruiter, he or she could click on a link and Skype-call that person.”

Sway is another Microsoft product with talent acquisition potential. “Users can create stories and powerful presentations within the tool, which could show up in LinkedIn’s functionality so users could not only take a static picture of skills and experience, but share a story to demonstrate their competency,” Eubanks said.

Uncertain Future

Some in the talent acquisition technology space are not as sanguine about the mammoth buyout.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty about what the future is going to be for LinkedIn,” said Jon Bischke, CEO of Entelo, a recruiting software company based in SanFrancisco. “The fact that Microsoft has not had a great track record with integrating acquisitions has some LinkedIn customers worried about the future direction of the company.”

The company’s 2014 acquisition of Nokia’s mobile phone business is Microsoft’s most recent high-profile bid that didn’t pay off.

The topic of recruiting only came up once during the joint June 6 acquisition announcement. “That might be telling about how Microsoft is thinking about this acquisition,” Bischke said. “Nothing about talent acquisition or HR is core to Microsoft’s business. But a lot of what LinkedIn does, including their social selling tool and building professional profiles, does correlate with Microsoft’s push to growing CRM and what they’re doing.”

The integration of Microsoft’s tools and LinkedIn’s data will undoubtedly yield positive surprises, said Fred Goff, the founder and CEO of Jobcase, the Boston-based firm which positions itself as the alternative to LinkedIn for the 70 percent of U.S. adults without four-year college degrees. “But the transaction overall has more to do with non-talent-related objectives—fleshing out human data rather than anything specific to LinkedIn’s recruiting products,” he said.

In recent years, LinkedIn has strayed from what its initial mission was, Goff believes. “When they started, there was a focus on content marketing and then they made a disruptive play into professional recruiting. But recently, we’ve seen them focus on new products taking them more toward a Sales force competitor than going deeper into talent acquisition and HR. And that’s where a lot of the synergies from Microsoft are going to come from.”

Bischke added that in many mergers and acquisitions, the pace of innovation tends to slow down, and in some cases completely stalls out in the acquired company.

That’s the downside talent leaders fear. “If LinkedIn had been pivoting toward more talent acquisition products, now its resources will be spread out across many areas going forward,” Goff said.

The transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both LinkedIn and Microsoft and the deal is expected to close this calendar year, subject to approval by LinkedIn’s shareholders and other closing conditions.

Source: SHRM

Date: 16th June, 2016

China’s insurance sector saw its best performance in 2015 premium income reaches $366 billion

Fired by a swelling middle class and rapid increase in insurance coverage, China’s insurance sector last year posted its best performance since the global financial crisis in 2008, with profits surging over $47 billion, the country’s insurance regulator said.

“China’s insurance sector saw its best performance in 2015 since the global financial crisis, with premium income reaching 2.4 trillion yuan ($366 billion),” Chairman of China Insurance Regulatory Commission Xiang Junbo said at Lujiazui Forum in Shanghai.

Profits rose to 282.4 billion yuan (over $47 billion) on top of 12.4 trillion yuan assets for the entire insurance sector last year, Xiang said.

This was mostly driven by growing demand for insurance by the middle class, he was quoted as saying by state run Xinhua news agency.

About 67 per cent of China’s population, or 920 million people, are covered by medical insurance and the medical bill reimbursement ratio has been raised by 10-15 percentage points, he said, adding that the insurance sector should work to extend its coverage in the rural areas.

China’s insurance sector will continue to improve to meet demands for the swelling middle class and an ageing population, he said.

Xiang said insurance firms have been encouraged to invest in elderly care services, including senior care homes and reverse home mortgages.

“Commercial insurance should be made a major pillar of China’s social security net,” he said.

The insurance sector also has great potential to generate employment opportunities as the sector added 1.8 million jobs last year while another 560,000 got employed during the first four months of this year. Many, according to Xiang, are employees recently made redundant.

Source: Asia Insurance Post

Date: 12th June, 2016

Buying insurance through e-commerce, demat requirement may dampen purchases

The proposed stipulation by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) for a compulsory e-Insurance accounts to purchase policies through e-commerce platforms of insurers may create hurdles for consumers seeking to purchase insurance online.

Top insurance company officials said the regulator’s stipulation in the draft guideline issued on Tuesday that all policy purchases over e-commerce siteswould have to be backed by the creation of an e-insurance account may restrict ease of transaction and act as a deterrent.

“From a customer’s point of view, this process is very tedious as they willhave to compulsorily have an e-Insurance Account to buy insurance through this channel,” M Ravichandran, President, Insurance, Tata AIG General Insurance, told FeMoney.

An ‘e-Insurance Account’ is an electronic account similar to demataccounts opened in the equity market. It acts as an insurance repository wherein the portfolios of insurance policies of a policyholder are held in an electronic form. The IRDA had issued guidelines for e-Insurance Accounts in May 2015.

K G Krishnamoorthy Rao, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of FutureGenerali India Insurance, agreed with Ravichandran but feels that things would settle down gradually. “Initially there will be a problem for consumers to open e-Insurance Accounts to purchase insurance online. However, it will be good to eventually move towards dematting of all insurance policies, not just online ones but also those held physically,” Rao said.

Rao said that the differential pricing proposed by the insurance regulator would enable insurance companies to offer policies at cheaper rates than what is sold offline. “Allowing differential pricing will make insruance cheaper when sold online. But this may not happen if the policy is sold through online platform of brokers or aggregators,” Rao said.

Tata AIG’s Ravichandran felt IRDA’s move would help spread insurance. “The proposed norms for selling and servicing of insurance policies through the e-commerce platform is a welcome move for the under-penetrated insurance space in the country. It will facilitate ease of entry for distributors to get onto digital platforms. Companies can benefit by creating a large network of digital touch points, building more transparency and reach for distribution,” Ravichandran said.

In its exposure draft IRDA has said that insurance companies would have to set up their own Insurance Self-Network Platform to undertake Insurance e-commerceactivities such as selling and servicing of insurance products.

It proposes that the Insurance Self-Network Platform to be available as regular internet web-site (desktop and mobile) or as a mobile app or both. All products offered on this channel shall has to be pre-fixed with the letter “i-” to distinguish them from regular products.

The regulator has said that pricing of the product shall be decided by the insurer and that the insurer may offer differential pricing when sold through the Insurance Self-Network Platform.

 

Date- 23rd June 2016

Location-Mumbai

How to Hire Remote Workers—and Keep Them Productive and Happy

Executives often have fears about allowing people to work offsite, and part of HR’s role is to help management get over that apprehension, agreed all members of a panel at a recent conference on workplace flexibility.

Employees are increasingly being hired directly for remote work positions and may never step into their company’s office. And all the panelists emphasized that, on average, employees who work from home have been found to be more productive and moreengaged, take fewer sick days and have lower rates of attrition.

The discussion took place at the first Telecommuting, Remote and Distributed (TRaD) Works Forum, in Washington, D.C., on June 10. TRaD refers to the different ways employees can work offsite: Telecommuters work from home some of the time, remote workerswork from home exclusively, and a distributed work situation is one in which the employer has no brick-and-mortar facility so all its employees work from home.

Unique Challenges When Hiring Remotely

Some call center applicants make the mistake of thinking that because a job allows them to work from home, then it will be more laid-back. “The job is really identical to if you’re actually sitting in a call center,” said Cynthia Barlow Doi, operations director at American Express. When hiring, the company watches for this attitude in applicants and instead seeks people who have a demonstrated interest in customer care.

It’s also important to ensure that applicants have basic technology troubleshooting skills. The company’s tech experts can walk an employee through any computer problem, but, in order for this to work virtually, the remote worker must understandbasic computer terms, Barlow Doi explained.

TeleTech Holdings, which provides consulting and customer service solutions to Fortune 100 companies, takes an analytics-driven approach. Last year, TeleTech received 125,000 applications for virtual positions and hired 12,000 people (95 percent of the available positions are part time). The company relies heavily on a scientific selection and assessment process that focuses primarily on four characteristics and skills: resilience, self-motivation, time management and independent decision-making.

Because of the massive amount of remote-worker hiring it conducts every year, the company employs a team of four biopsychologists to continually refine the applicant assessment, evaluating each question for its correlation with employee productivity or length of tenure. “We’re continually making adjustments or tweaks,” said Sarah Chouinard, director of talent acquisition for TeleTech, who is based in New Brunswick, Canada, and makes regular trips to the company’s headquarters in Englewood, Colo.

Mari Kent, senior director of academic operations at Kaplan Test Prep, said she was both fascinated by and envious of this assessment process at TeleTech, though she questioned “if there’s an assessment that can accurately judge” whether someone will be a successful remote worker. At Kaplan, Kent said, the hiring process for remote workers focuses on the competencies for the job and isn’t that different from the hiring process that once existed for onsite workers.

In 2009, the company started looking at changing its business model; maintaining brick-and-mortar facilities was limiting, and the desire for test preparation services extended far beyond the Kaplan center locations. In 2010, the company decided to go virtual, and closed down almost all of its testing centers. It is now 86 percent virtual.

The one trait Kaplan does especially look for in its remote workers? A willingness to ask for both feedback and help when it is needed. “Someone can’t walk by and see that you’re struggling with something” when working from home, Kent said. For this reason, the company seeks employees who willingly “raise their hand and say, ‘I don’t know how to teach this,’ or ‘I’m struggling with this student.’ ”

At TeleTech, prospective employees are required to provide their own equipment, and a multistep technology test is part of the hiring assessment. This test determines if every aspect of the applicant’s setup—from headset to memory capacity—is up to the company’s standards. If it isn’t, the applicant receives a failing grade on that part, though the process for that applicant isn’t over.

“I can reach out, we can get it fixed or assign the person to a client with different tech needs,” Chouinard said. This continues even after an applicant has been brought onboard; employees can expect recurring tests every couple of weeks, and the tech team assists anyone who doesn’t receive a passing grade, “so [our employees] can continue to be successful from a technology standpoint,” she said.

Measuring Success from a Distance

American Express evaluates offsite workers in the same ways as onsite workers, using efficiency metrics and taking into account absenteeism and other reliability indicators. 

TeleTech’s analytical approach extends to its measurements of success. Data reports will show that “These states are producing 75 percent of hires” or “These 10 sources are converting the most applicants to hires—or the most applicants to top performers,” Chouinard said. Then the company targets those locations or sources when it is conducting its next round of hiring. 

Keeping Remote Workers Connected

Without the face-to-face interaction that a traditional workplace provides, remote workers run the risk of feeling isolated, even if Skype meetings and webcams are a part of theirworkday.

The panelists’ organizations have found ways to help their remote workers enjoy a more-interactive work experience. At Kaplan, there are games of virtual Trivial Pursuit and a virtual happy hour, which happens “probably a little too often,” Kent laughed.

TeleTech’s remote employees benefit from an active company intranet, which is a part of the company’s culture. There is a photography club, a volunteering club and a book club, among others, and the company often holds contests with prizes ranging from company swag to $100 gift cards.

Date : 23rd June ,2016.

Location – Mumbai.

Big Data Analytics Redefining the Healthcare Industry

Big Data is still in its early stage and is already changing the course of business sector all across the globe. Big Data Analytics has enormous potential to influence healthcare industry positively by meliorating the quality of care, reducing costs and avoiding preventable deaths. On a fundamental level, implementing Big Data in an organization makes it more productive, efficient and cost-friendly.

Understanding Big Data

Big Data can be described as a set of electronic data so complex and large in volume that it is very difficult to manage it using traditional software or hardware. It can neither be easily managed with basic data management tools.

The Indian healthcare industry has already started using Hospital Information Systems (HIS) and Electronic Health Records (EHR) to make their organization more profitable and productive. The industry is engaged in producing zettabytes of data every day by capturing exuberant amount of patient care records, diagnostic tests, prescriptions, insurance claims, monitoring vital signs, and most importantly the medical research information. The growth of these records will be explosive in the coming couple of years, which makes Big Data intervention in the healthcare industry utterly crucial.

Big Data Analytics in healthcare segment amalgamates clinical innovation and technology. This promising technology supports an array of healthcare functions to improve services and handle problems of the healthcare sector. It has introduced new ways for organizations to formulate actionable insights, boost up outcomes, reduce time to value and organize their future vision. The evaluated results can be very fruitful to enhance decision making capacity of the management. Big Data Analytics in healthcare can significantly lift the bar of the following healthcare segments:

Public Health

Data analytics allows you to record disease outbreaks and analyse disease patterns thereby improving public health issues. Researching large amount of data helps to determine needs, predict and prevent future crisis and offer required services.

EMR or Electronic Medical Record

An EMR contains standard medical data either structured or unstructured that can be evaluated using data analytics approach to predict risks posing patients and provide them effective care.

Fraud Analysis

Big Data Analytics is a very strong tool that helps to monitor records and analyse claim requests to curtail down fraud cases. An effective analysis can effectively curb a large number of fraud cases, wastes and abuses.

Safety Monitoring

Big Data Analytics can be used to analyse large amount of data produced by the hospitals in real-time. This can help healthcare organizations in safety monitoring and help predict negative events that may occur.

Role of Big Data in Pharmacy

Pharmacy sector is always overwhelmed with data complexity. Data analytics can help pharmacy sector align manufacturer’s data requirements with its business needs, pharmacy capabilities,and therapy category. Making use of Big Data in this sector help you get efficient data quality management and better business utilization. With increasing supply of information, data analytics should take the key role in any speciality pharmacy and other healthcare wings. Tying analytics with this sector allows reporting on demand. Manufacturers, providers, and payers can use this data to improve their understanding of obstacles and gaze opportunities to improve healthcare.

Big Data Analytics helps you get a complete insight of an industry by the help of the information collected. This information can guide the whole industry to response better to the consumers and make meaningful future predictions. This encourages the industry to deduce a systematic approach towards any current or future crisis or need.

Source: ETHealthworld
Date: 21st June, 2016

“Insurance Market Is At An Exciting Point And Is Yet To See The Best: Prabodh Thakker, Chairman at Global Insurance Brokers”

In an interview with BW Businessworld, Prabodh Thakker, Chairman at Global Insurance Brokers, talks about changing the landscape of the insurance industry in India and abroad

Tell us a bit about GLOBAL’s business model and distribution model. How have things changed post the dissociation from Aon?
GLOBAL has evolved and come a long way with great opportunities and extraordinary team support. We have now moved big time into our in-house process with 500 core broking team, re-strengthening the governance standards and taking a big leap in IT technology. An in-house developed technology tool called GPS (Global Policy Service) is a complete change in the landscaping the way services will be done. We have increased the Global branch footprint to 15 which acts essentially as the point of sale and servicing aided by the product specialties.

Do you cater to individuals too, or is yours a purely B2B setup?
We primarily serve B2B, but without compromising and losing the focus on our corporate clients and with the help of advanced technology, we are now expanding into B2C space. The products for B2C are identified strategically and keeping in mind the need for end-consumers. We are up and running with motor insurance product and will soon be on term life, health and much more products which individual can procure online.

 

How is the insurance landscape changing in India and abroad? What are the factors driving the change?
India is witnessing headline development with the government forcing a huge insurance penetration through awareness about risk and prominence given to medical health. The Modi healthcare and agriculture are a game changer which is pumping billions of dollars of premium to GIC and the local insurers.

Globally, we see the trend that underwriters are now moving out of constantly giving the loss-making portfolio and the client. Gone are the days where people used to do business in hopes through passion and relationship. The balance sheet is now a talking point. Changing risk dynamics and rising need of being adequately insured has led to a huge scope for Indian insurance players across the segments such as a direct insurer, reinsurer or distributor.

What kind of demand GLOBAL is witnessing for products from corporates across the industry?
At the moment cyber and liability insurance is a big buzz. Cyber insurance is expanding beyond the BFSI sector and we see demand rising from other technology driven segments. Most of the corporates and board members are revisiting their insurance policy to ensure protection from unexpected risk situations. Directors want to buy higher limit, they want to be doubly sure about the quality of the contract. This is a positive change where we are seeing board and companies are not price-centric and now the quality is coming to play. There is another good change and development in the government sector. The government now wants to buy insurance but instead of negotiating with insurers they seek professional advice from brokers that creates high impact and value for the money spent in premium.

 

Source: BW Business World

Date: 25th February, 2019

Title insurance to come to the aid of property buyers

A typical property dispute: After buying an old bungalow or a second-hand property, the buyer ends up in court because a close relative of the seller claims to be a partial owner. Property ownership disputes, especially among Hindu Undivided Families, are common. But, it is not restricted to HUFs. Many developers in the past faced problems because they sold one flat to several individuals. To provide relief to such buyers, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) has set up a committee to launch title insurance.

Popular in the US and Europe, the policy protects an owner’s or lender’s financial interest in property against loss because of title defects and other matters. “It defends against a lawsuit contesting the title, or reimburses the policyholder for the monetary loss incurred, up to the amount of insurance provided by the policy,” says an official of a general insurance company. The official says this will be a product essentially for the retail individual category but will be sold to institutions such as banks and non-banking finance companies.Real estate consultants say this is much needed. Usually, when a person buys property, either she hires lawyers for a title search or if she is taking a loan, the lender does it. They go through at least 20 years of ownership records and also check if there is any litigation on the property.

Some even go to the extent of advertising in newspapers, asking interested parties to stake a claim, if any. “As land records in India are not digitised, title search is not a fool-proof method. It only minimises the risk associated with the title of a property,” says Surabhi Arora, senior associate director, research, at Colliers International India. She says, it’s very difficult for lawyers to find out if there is any pending litigation on the property outside the city where the property is located.
“The current method is expensive and time consuming. Though courts do favour buyers who have done due-diligence, it can take decades to finally win the case at different courts. Title insurance can further minimise such risks,” says Ashutosh Limaye, head of research & REIS at property advisory firm JLL. He says it can be cheaper for a flat and more expensive for a piece of land. That’s because evaluating a land title is more cumbersome where a lawyer would need to go through multiple government offices and development plans over the years.

Before giving the policy, insurance companies, too, will run a title check. It will go to government offices to get records of the property, like the registrar to know how many times property has been sold, municipal corporations to know the development plan records and collector’s office for land records. They will also go through courts to check registered agreements and if there are litigations. Internationally, similar checks are done. However, it is less complicated.
Apart from protecting buyers in cases where another person stakes a claim in the property, the product would also cover buyers for any defect in title because of fraud, forgery, failure of authorised transfer; documents executed under falsified, expired or invalid power of attorney and documents not properly recorded, filed or indexed in public records. Once purchased, the buyer will be covered until she retains ownership.

 

Source: Business Standard

Date: June 16th 2016.