APR Approach to Quality
The reputation we have established over the past ten years for providing exceptional solutions to clients is founded in large part on our commitment to the quality of the individuals we make available for client projects.
Our philosophy on quality is to source the best talent, whether employed staff or contractors, to help our people to develop and improve their skill base, and to make sure we understand their strengths and weaknesses so that we can provide the most suitable match between person and project.
The outstanding quality of our staff is down to four fundamental elements:
- Our recruitment process is rigorous, but designed specifically to test the skill-sets which we know from experience are valuable to clients, such as core technical ability, enthusiasm, adaptability, potential to integrate quickly into client teams and good communication.
- We provide our staff with market-leading training, both the intensive training staff receive when they first join APR, but also the ongoing skills development and access to our technical library they receive throughout their APR career.
- Feedback loops. Staff working in-house particularly in their initial training period are given extensive feedback on their work aimed at developing good actuarial practice. We also always endeavour to gain the views of our staff’s contribution from managers on client projects and share with our staff to ensure the client’s expectations are being met or to raise performance further.
- We give our staff as broad a range of experience as we can, by managing their client projects to give them the right balance between a wide knowledge-base and specialism in particular actuarial fields – we believe that a big part of why clients value our staff is that they do bring a fresh perspective gained from a wide range of different projects.
While it is more difficult to manage quality so closely in the contractor resource pool, we actively look to apply similar principles:
- We have an in-depth knowledge of the contractor resource pool. The APR partners have long-standing working relationships with a large proportion of the individuals within the actuarial contract market, many for nearly twenty years, and as a result have key insights into the relative strengths of these individuals; these insights are supplemented by our comprehensive and sophisticated skills-matching software. We believe no other company operating in our sector shares anything like the same knowledge of the contractors they are placing with their clients.
- We are selective in whom we add to this contractor pool, interviewing, screening and taking references for all new resources, to assess their experience, technical and communication skills before adding them to our associate pool. We make use of our extensive network of industry contracts to take informal soundings on the quality of individuals and we also find that our early interactions with such individuals, in areas such as written email communication and clarity / accuracy of a CV, generally provides a reliable barometer on certain aspects of an individual’s characteristics.
- Where possible we make use of the technical material we have developed for our employed staff for the benefit of our contractors, whether through organised training or simply providing access to our technical library or software packages to prepare for a new project.
All of the training and technical support we give is based on the extensive technical library we have developed over more than ten years.
This library contains material and exercises aimed at developing the skills and knowledge we know is in demand from clients. In many cases, this material can be used by staff and contractors prior to commencing a project, to ensure the time taken for them to start making a meaningful contribution is minimised.
As well as helping us to train staff in the fundamentals, such as core IT skills, a basis in modelling software and the market / regulatory environment, we have developed a vast range of training material and exercises based around particular areas of actuarial practice or specific products, built up from our actual client experiences.
We set our staff the specific objective of updating existing, and developing new, material when they are between projects, using the skills they have obtained from their client work for the benefit of their peers and aiding their own technical development in producing clear, informative material.