Richard Purcell says that it is ever more important to be tuned in to public opinion and understand the value of people
Organisations often say that people are their greatest asset, or that they put customers first. The term human capital has even been coined to describe the intrinsic value of people to a business. Although actuaries are recognised experts in managing risk and capital in the financial sense, I wonder if we spend enough time managing the human and customer capital in our
Culture clearly has a big part to play in getting the best from people within an organisation. Colm Fitzgerald, Jonathan Allenby and Monika Smatralova consider how behaviours and culture can inhibit progress and how we can manage these risks. Developing new skills are also key to building human capital, and this month we speak to the IFoA’s director of education, Clifford Friend, on the new actuarial curriculum and the importance of life-long learning. Dr Jenny Brockis also advocates how monotasking rather than multitasking could be the key to improving efficiency within the workplace.
Looking outside our organisations, customer capital is important too. While we endeavour to understand customer views through extensive research, we must also be conscious of wider public opinion and how this can shift over time. The increasing prevalence of genetic testing is forcing us to think more about the ethics of using this information, as Debbie Akers explains. The rise in big data from new sources also sees the public expectations of what is acceptable continually shifting too. Barbara Sinkinson considers what actuaries can learn from the Data Science Ethical Framework published by the Cabinet Office. What's clear is that we need to stay tuned in to public opinion, and could benefit from putting more focus on people in general.