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Why do people experience stress?

Managing stressStress is a natural, physical response to our perceptions of a stimulus. It has an evolutionary purpose: our need to protect ourselves and the innate ‘flight or fight’ aspect of our nervous system. When we were battling for survival, stress is what released the adrenaline that let us fight. So although most of us don’t have to battle our way into the office each morning, the response to stimuli and the stress that results still exist. (more…)

How does anxiety develop and how do we re-enforce it?

Anxiety at workThe causes of anxiety are often complex and difficult to determine. It does seem that some of us have a genetic predisposition to it but it’s also very much about our upbringing – if your mother was nervous, you may have ‘learned’ to be nervous, so it can appear to almost run in families. But your innate personality and temperament will play a large part too, modifying how you respond to your family environment and other external factors. (more…)

How do insurance companies spread the risks of retirement annuities?

We know that individuals make investments and accumulate wealth during their working life in order to provide for their financial needs during retirement. At the date of retirement, it is common for a retiree to transfer his/her accumulated wealth to an insurance company in exchange for (typically) monthly income payments. These payments are called annuities. (more…)

Talent development in an agile world at Dutch insurance and asset management company Nationale Nederlanden

There aren’t many industries that have gone through more changes in HR management in recent years than the financial sector. Automation and agile working have soared and in many companies it has become part of their DNA. 

We talked to Anjo Marcelis, Manager of the NN Academy at Nationale Nederlanden, the Learning & Development programme at one of the largest insurance and asset management companies in the Netherlands. 

Where previously you had to be strong in maths, law and commerce – banks, insurance companies and pension funds are now mainly looking at IT skills. So how does that affect Talent Development?  (more…)

Why do Clever and Brilliant Business People Happen to Underestimate ‘Marketing’?

“Marketing” is not a substitutable word for “advertising and promotion”… “Marketing” is the holistic and integrated management of exchange… using the synergistic dynamics of product, price, distribution, promotion, processes, people and perceptual positioning to create a win/win outcome between an organisation with unique resources and segments within the market place that can be best satisfied by those unique resources. (more…)

How can insurance companies charge customers low premiums?

We know that individuals plan for the future and make investment decisions to achieve their long-term financial goals. But these plans may be interrupted by certain events which can have negative financial consequences. Examples of such events include the person’s premature death, critical illness such as cancer or damage to his/her property from fire.  (more…)

Does Strategic Thinking Set Top Managers Apart?

Or is strategic thinking simply woolly thinking dressed up as something important by charismatic con artists? Conversely, how helpful is it for CEOs and their c-suite colleagues to obsess about strategy? (more…)

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Face-to-Face Communication

Most salespeople would agree face-to-face meetings are the most effective way to make a sale. It’s a tactic that has proven itself over decades and not even digital communications have been able to change that. Are face-to-face meeting really that effective, and are there any downsides?  (more…)

What are soft skills?

A question we get asked quite regularly is “What are soft skills?”. Soft skills are the personal character traits or qualities each of us has. They make us who we are, generally encompassing our attitudes, habits and how we interact with other people.

They refer to abilities that make people better employees and open doors for many opportunities that are not directly related to the subject matter of their jobs.

In other words, soft skills refer to a person’s ability to relate to others, to get him/her and others organised, to communicate in written, spoken or other forms. 
(more…)

Why every L&D manager should consider a Bookboon eLibrary for bite-sized learning

A recent study from Boston College, Harvard University and the University of Michigan found that soft skills training boosts productivity with 12%, staff retention during training programmes with 10% and delivers a 250% return on investment.* 

This is only one example of the vast amount of research showing the positive impact of personal development training on a company’s bottom line through increased effectiveness, employee engagement, happiness, health and well-being.    (more…)