Posted by Kara Franklin ● August 31, 2022
Filling in the Gaps: How to Attract Young Professionals
The “Great Resignation,” sometimes called the “Great Retirement,” has been a buzzword in professional industries since 2020. While most fields have seen greater turnover rates, the insurance industry faces certain challenges. By 2030, the Baby Boomer generation will be 65 and over, leaving 400,000 insurance positions to fill as they retire. As it stands now, there are not enough professionals entering the industry to fill in the talent gap.
But is it lack of interest or lack of awareness that draws them away?
How can insurers attract talent?
There are several reasons for Millennials and Gen Z to practice “job-hopping.” Aside from obvious reasons such as better pay or benefits, these generations are searching for meaning in their careers. They want to know they can make a difference in their communities. What they don’t know is that a career in insurance can check off all these boxes.
Insurance, at its core, is designed to support someone through unexpected hardships, and the industry needs individuals who are empathetic and have a deep desire to help others. Hiring those who already have a strong understanding of moral and ethical values leads to insurance employees who look out for their clients’ best interests. While the insurance industry aligns with many of the progressive values recognized in the younger generations, Millennials and Gen Z appear to have several misconceptions. Debunking these beliefs is the first step to fill in the gaps, which can be accomplished by investing in the promotion of all departments beyond sales. The next steps involve evaluating the hiring and training process to ensure your company is hiring candidates who can develop their talent and build success. The final step, which is vital to any company, is to listen for the feedback Millennials and Gen Z provide for positive company growth.
The 3 steps to attract (and retain) young professionals:
- Promote all departments
- Look for the right fit
- Listen for and accept feedback
Promote all departments
People searching for employment will be more interested in the insurance industry if they were more informed about what it does and the variety of opportunities it offers. Studies show that a majority of people are unaware of the positive impact insurance has on lives, and how much it helps to make people whole after a loss.
Plus, when most think of a career in insurance, they think of sales. Although this is a misconception, it makes the industry less appealing to those who are more reserved and introverted–those who may find success as underwriters, in data analysis and technology, or in human resources. There are positions for diverse fields of interest, skills, and disciplines, but applicants must know the options to be interested in them!
Providing this education is the first step to build interest, and it can begin much earlier than the interview day. Some national programs, such as Invest, already exist as resources for insurance agencies. Invest provides comprehensive education to college students and introduces them to the range of insurance careers and places those students into participating agencies as interns.
While hiring an intern may be the ideal solution, you can begin taking action immediately by improving your digital marketing plan. Digital job listing platforms like Indeed, LinkedIn, Ziprecruiter, and others are quickly gaining popularity among Millennials and Gen Z during their job search. These platforms are often underutilized by employers, making your job listing difficult to find. Also consider your social media presence and website appearance. As potential hires look for more information on your company, these are the first places they will search. Having compelling, authentic, and updated content that presents your company’s values will attract more applicants.
Look for the right fit
Anna Beninger, the Global Head of Inclusion and Diversity, says, “When your organization is considering each candidate, look at how the skill sets can, with additional training or mentoring, be best utilized to help your organization meet the new challenges of a changing insurance landscape.”
Right now, the labor market is turbulent. Turnover rates are a significant problem for companies that do not have the training personnel to support constant onboarding. In the midst of the post-pandemic market, insurers have reported finding qualified applicants as their most significant recruiting issue. Professionals with the desired experience are highly competitive. Employees who will be the “right fit” may not be those with specific experience or qualifications, but rather are individuals with strong interpersonal skills who only need the investment of time and training.
The departments in an insurance company require varying skill sets and personality traits. Recognizing the characteristics that will make a person successful can be difficult, but resources exist to help agencies find, hire, and onboard the right candidates. Big I Hires provides services to assist insurance agencies understand the skills that are needed to fill certain positions. (Note: their DIY hiring packages currently include Personal Lines and Commercial Lines). In addition, Big I Hires has created assessments candidates can complete before the interview to determine their strengths and weaknesses.
Looking for the right fit means placing the right candidate into the right position, and it could also mean being flexible with the roles of current employees. If you find a role that suits an employee better than the one they are currently working in, offer to move them. This flexibility can improve company loyalty. If an employee is happier and feels like their time, talent, and energy is valued, they are more likely to stay with the company.
Previous experience does not always guarantee a person will be the right fit for your company. Someone with 10 years in the field may come with low morale, and this can affect the atmosphere of your entire company. The opposite is also true: hiring someone with a good attitude and strong interpersonal skills will positively influence the work environment. Your company can also go a step further by providing support and funding for the education, licenses, and designations required for new hires. Investing in employee training and mentorship programs gives employees the tools they need to advance in their position while increasing job satisfaction.
Listen for and accept feedback
The work environment in the United States is evolving, and employees are searching for positions where they feel all of their needs are met. It is crucial to facilitate a company culture that encourages feedback. Not all feedback may be valuable, but you may notice patterns in feedback from multiple employees. Be proactive by asking for, listening to, accepting, and implementing feedback employees have for the company. This shows that the company cares about their employees, and being open to other perspectives will continue the company’s progression.
Conversely, for your company to progress, provide well-thought, constructive feedback to your employees. Make your expectations clear, but give grace if a new hire or current employee stumbles. There are advantages to negative feedback, which points out areas for improvement in a supportive manner. Aside from improving job performance, it encourages self-development, increases self-awareness, and supports a higher workplace moral. Personal growth is one of the most desirable, if unexpected, benefits an employee can receive.