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Competence Development

The development of the competencies and professional skills of all employees is a fundamental part of Sampo Group's corporate culture. The Group companies have established processes for areas such as talent management and succession planning. The Sampo Group Code of Conduct, together with company-specific policies, outlines how Sampo Group values and promotes the professional development of its employees. This includes developing leadership practices and supporting competence development.

The leadership practices ensure that future managers and team leaders grow from within Sampo Group, that they are offered challenging positions and projects, and that they are supported, for example, with mentoring programs. The competence development actions aim to offer all employees possibilities to learn new skills and grow professionally.

Sampo Group has reported on employee training costs since 2020. The figures include mainly external training costs. In 2020 and 2021, many external training sessions were postponed due to COVID-19, which is reflected in the results. Internal training and other initiatives provided by the Group companies form a significant part of employees’ competence development and could continue during the year despite the pandemic.

Average annual training costs per employee by company, EUR 2021 2020
If 435 372
Topdanmark 1,090 1,367
Hastings* 454 -
Mandatum 669 539
Sampo plc 577 342
Sampo Group 568 617

*The figure for Hastings includes costs for both internal and external training investments. For other companies, the figures include mainly costs for external training. 

Average annual training costs per employee by country, EUR 2021 2020*
Denmark 1,018 1,200
Sweden 618 434
United Kingdom 454 -
Finland 379 361
Norway 357 390
Latvia 304 219
Estonia 278 276
Lithuania 226 225
Other countries 233 288

*Excluding Hastings 



If’s Policy on Professional Requirements for Insurance Distribution aims to ensure that persons involved in insurance distribution meet certain professional requirements for their role. The related Competence and Training Business Instruction sets out the requirements on the professional competence and training for an insurance distributor and the company management.  

HR is responsible for compliance with the professional competence and training requirements, while the leaders are responsible for ensuring that the insurance distributors fulfil the competence requirements and receive relevant training in accordance with local legislation. To ensure compliance with the requirements, If has an Insurance Distribution Education Committee to regularly review the professional competence and training process. 

If has set up a network of business learning partners across the organisation, which today consists of about 60 persons, who provide learning services for their units. The business learning partners act as competence sparring partners, map competence needs, create learning content, and coordinate training. The business learning partner role is typically performed alongside the main work tasks. 

Strategic workforce planning 

If performs a succession planning process annually. Short-term succession planning aims to ensure business continuity from a risk management perspective, while long-term succession planning aims to secure that If has able successors when key positions are available. The updated succession plan is reported to the If and Sampo plc boards. It is also used by If’s top management in discussions related to key management positions and the talent pool.  

If’s internal job market includes scouting internal candidates for open positions before any external advertisement, thereby securing career opportunities for existing employees. If also fosters competence development by offering paid and unpaid study leave. The form of the leave depends on the purpose, the length of the leave, and on national regulations.  

Educational programmes 

If has fundamental principles for competence development and tools targeting all employees. The company’s main digital learning platform, Workday Learning, supplies all employees with general learning paths. Competence initiatives at company-level focus on developing culture, providing compliance training, and targeting specific competence requirements at company and unit level. In addition to the company-level training offering, Workday Learning offers employees targeted training in various fields. 

Furthermore, the business areas also arrange mandatory training programmes for all their employees and leaders. There are also mandatory training programmes directed at employees in customer centres, sales, claims, and product and price. The programmes include compliance-related training, such as policies and guidelines, but also communication and competition law, among other things. 

All new leaders are invited to participate in an onboarding programme, consisting of several modules and seminars, with the aim of training them in leadership practices, culture, compliance, legal requirements, and HR processes.

In addition, If has an Analyst Academy, a digital hub with close to 900 members, which provides competence development within data management and analytics skills. The Nordic Analyst Seminar annually gathers around 100 analysts working across If for competence development and knowledge sharing. The Finance Academy, on the other hand, is a training programme that is available to any employee who is interested in understanding If’s key financials, value creation in insurance, and risk management. 

Besides formal training, much of the development takes place on the job. Moreover, If is an organisation with ample job opportunities, offering employees the potential to grow, both vertically and horizontally.  

Performance appraisals 

If focuses on feedback, and development dialogues are held between employees and leaders to follow up the current situation and performance, as well as the ambitions going forward, including individual development plans. The Workday Learning platform enables detailed reporting and analytics and lets leaders at If follow up on the competence development activities of their employees.  



The majority of Topdanmark’s employees work with the company’s insurance operations. For insurance professionals in Denmark, education and training relevant to their job is regulated by collective agreements that include standards and a required level of individual qualifications and competencies. The requirements depend on the area of expertise of an employee (e.g., sales, claims, or underwriting).

At Topdanmark, all insurance-related training and certifications are administered centrally by HR in collaboration with the Danish Insurance Academy (Forsikrings Akademiet, FOAK). Each employee has an individual training plan in FOAK’s learning management system, which is used by FOAK, the employee, their coach (e.g., an experienced colleague or a manager), and their manager for following up and documenting training, exams, and certificates. Management and specialist positions are also rated using the Mercer International Position Evaluation (IPE) methodology.  

Job descriptions and skill requirements are standard parts of Topdanmark’s recruitment process. All open positions are posted on Topdanmark’s internal jobsite, and the company has an active job bank. 

Strategic workforce planning 

As a part of Topdanmark’s annual organisational review, the members of the company’s management team assess the state of their business areas. Part of the organisational review is identifying a talent pipeline (e.g., future leaders, senior managers, and individuals to fill business-critical roles) and finding ways to support the development of the individuals identified as having the greatest potential. This work is conducted in collaboration with HR. The organisational overview also enables Topdanmark to identify any workforce skill gaps. 

The talent pipeline works hand in hand with the personal development dialogue used for individual career planning. Together, they help Topdanmark and the employee in question to formalise the skill requirements that are necessary to progress to more senior roles.  

People analytics 

Topdanmark uses people analytics for employee performance tracking in sales and claims, for strategic workforce management in customer service, and for product development. People analytics is also used to identify workforce skill gaps, so that requirements and skills match, for example. 

People analytics is linked to workforce planning through forecasting. Topdanmark tracks changes and movement in its workforce to forecast the expected need for candidates in its business and to plan actions to address those needs. Topdanmark also uses people analytics to identify and manage the reasons for employee turnover. 

Educational programmes 

Topdanmark has mandatory training programmes for all employees. These include data protection, Code of Conduct, and security (both physical and IT security) training. In addition, Topdanmark offers several training programmes, depending on which part of the organisation the employees are working in. Examples of job-specific training organised for specific employee groups include the Customer service employee certificate, Tied agents programme, Claims handler programme, Insurance underwriter programme, Insurance appraiser programme, and Trainee programme. To complete a programme, an employee must pass the programme exam for the level they are training for (levels 3, 4, or 5).

Topdanmark also organises specific training directed at managers. Examples include New to management training offered to all new managers, and Introduction to leadership pipeline offered to all managers. Training for the members of the Board of Directors is organised when necessary.  

Furthermore, Topdanmark has an apprentice programme taking in new apprentices each year. The programme is a combination of internal training and training provided in collaboration with a partnering business school. Approximately 20 new participants are accepted into the programme every year. 

Topdanmark spends a significant part of the company’s training budget on certifications, and it supports degree programmes on a case-by-case basis when this complements a needed and mutually agreed on development path of an individual. Topdanmark works closely with the Danish Insurance Academy on insurance skills training and certifications and with partnering business schools, for example, in relation to the apprentice programme. 

Individual career paths 

Targeted competence development for individual employees at Topdanmark is important so that everyone can contribute towards carrying out the tasks in the organisation in the short and long term. The need for competencies in the organisation is continuously evaluated through dialogue with the individual departments, management, and the executive board. Against this background, a strategy for training and development is prepared for each individual employee.  

At least once a year, all Topdanmark employees must participate in a personal development dialogue with their direct manager regarding their development in the job. The output of the dialogue is an individualised development plan, stating focus areas, skills that need development, and agreed activities. Career counselling is also part of the development dialogue. This enables the employees to adapt their skill sets to their career paths. 

Performance appraisals 

Topdanmark has a performance framework, which is an annual cycle beginning with a top management business plan stating how Topdanmark prioritises and executes the company’s business strategy. The business plan then cascades into SMART goals for business units, teams, and individual employees. In each business area, the goals are supported by KPIs, which are part of regular performance dialogue conducted weekly and monthly.  

At least once a year, all Topdanmark employees work out an individual performance plan (IDP) together with their direct manager. The IDP consists of individual performance and development targets described as SMART goals. 

As part of performance talks, the employee and their manager evaluate and adjust the IDP, if needed. The purpose of the performance talks is primarily to develop and improve the performance of the individual employee. Particularly in sales and claims and customer service functions, performance is monitored and discussed individually regularly, in most cases on a monthly basis.  



Hastings’ business, together with its industry, is evolving, and Hastings needs to look continuously at what critical skills its employees need to enable it, and them, to succeed, now and in the future. Hastings has internal policies for both training and competence and learning and development that guide competence development work, overseen by Hastings Group HR Director.  

Educational programmes   

Hastings has a mandatory training offering for all its employees. The current curriculum consists of a series of modules deployed to all new starters and existing employees on an annual recurring basis. The average learning time for the curriculum annually is two hours, depending on role. The topics included in the mandatory training package are Customers in vulnerable circumstances, Complaint handling, Financial crime, Data protection, Equality, diversity and inclusion, Health and safety, Training and competence, Insurance Distribution Directive, and Senior managers and the certification regime (SMCR).  

There are also a number of employees required to prove their continued professional development (CPD) as part of the IDD. Over 1,900 employees are required to show 15 hours of CPD per year. The progress is tracked and reported through the in-house learning management system, YourCareer. The effectiveness of training programmes is monitored through evaluation and, in relevant instances, through a return-on-investment review.  

Hastings also provides graduate programmes and apprenticeships, with the apprenticeship schemes supporting employees’ development into more senior, non-management positions.  

Leadership development 

Hastings recognises the critical role leaders play in developing its employees so that they can deliver for the customers and fulfil their potential. Development is offered to leaders at Hastings, enabling them to coach and manage their teams effectively. A range of leadership skill development modules, along with enhanced workshops and action sets for operational leaders, are available through the Hastings internal career builder portal.  

Hastings’ senior managers are required to undertake the same mandatory training modules as all employees in relation to the Hastings Group’s regulatory and legal compliance obligations. Senior executive managers and Board members receive regular briefings on specific topics to enable them to develop sufficient knowledge and understanding of matters that potentially present a significant risk to the Hastings Group, such as cyber and information security and data privacy. Briefings also cover matters such as diversity and inclusion, climate change, and sustainable business practices. 

Certifications and partnerships  

Hastings employees have the opportunity to apply for apprenticeships aligned to professional qualifications and degree apprenticeships twice a year through the company’s internal application process. Hastings is also working with De Montfort University on a leadership apprenticeship.  

Funding for externally certified training is available for all employees, subject to agreement from their leader and a review of qualifying criteria by the Learning and Development team. To qualify for funding, the development must be critical to the role the employee is carrying out, or critical to supporting a business project, and there must not be an apprenticeship available that would support their needs.  

Individual career paths 

Training pathways are provided for groups of employees who have similar development needs, such as customer representatives, and they complement the development of defined skill requirements within the relevant career paths. In addition to training pathways, Hastings provides performance and development frameworks to support leaders and employees in regular conversations about their training and development needs, which are recorded in employees’ personal development plans.  

Supporting women’s careers 

Hastings’ mid-management level (band 4 and 5) employees with ambitions to be senior leaders are given the opportunity to apply to be part of the 30% club mentoring programme. The programme allows Hastings’ female employees to be mentored by senior leaders from external organisations and, in turn, Hastings’ band 6+ leaders provide mentorship to mentees in other organisations taking part in the programme. 

Hastings is a member of Women in Data and has a project group that focuses on developing, designing, and delivering activities designed to support women who are currently working in or have ambitions to work in data. Activities fall under 3 strands: Early careers, influencing the pipeline into careers in data and how Hastings can contribute to the wider societal goal of more women choosing data as a career; Career development, development for current female employees in data and support for employees working in other areas interested in a career changes and opportunities to transition in to a career in data; and Raising Awareness, activities to inform women about careers in data and raise Hastings’ profile as a data led employer with an inclusive culture. Activities include: a bite-sized introduction to data course for women employees who aspire to start a career in data, an internship for women graduates studying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) degree subjects, and workshops on hot data topics. 



For Mandatum, it is important that every employee is able to develop their personal competence at work and to keep their skills up to date in a fast-paced environment. Workplace learning improves employee performance by providing the means to grow with the company and contribute to a culture built around performance. Continuous learning makes employees knowledgeable about their role and how to better enrich their time at work.  

Competence development at Mandatum is based on the 70-20-10 model. According to the model, 70 per cent of learning takes place at the workplace through interesting and challenging assignments, 20 per cent through feedback and learning from other members of the work community, and 10 per cent through training programmes. 

When it comes to learning at work, Mandatum has a bold ambition. The company would like to see learning as a lifestyle, not as a separate function, but rather as a part of the daily lives of employees. Continuous learning is especially critical now, when technologies, processes, and how people interact change constantly and fast. For Mandatum to remain agile and responsive to change, the company needs multi-faceted employees who are not only capable of executing a role, but who are also flexible, resourceful, lateral thinkers – skills gained from constant learning and application.  

The culture at Mandatum is also focused on learning by doing and learning from each other. The aim is, for example, to use internal job rotation to fill temporary open positions, such as maternity leave vacancies. Learning at work is encouraged by providing opportunities to take part in development projects and working groups that cross unit boundaries. In these situations, the company’s employees are given the possibility to learn new skills and capabilities.  

For learning through feedback, Mandatum uses a 360-degree evaluation, which is carried out every two to three years to support leadership development. In the evaluation, feedback is given by team members, colleagues, and the manager’s manager.

In 2022, Mandatum will establish a learning and competence organisation, with a goal of more structured competence development and learning management and practices. The new competence development service will be part of Mandatum’s HR.  

More information in Sampo Group’s Sustainability Report.

Updated 11 May 2022