Some things come out of nowhere, like Pokemon Go. Others we can see coming for years, but they still seem to catch many of us unprepared. Insurance professionals have been talking about our graying industry for years, but we haven’t done enough to prepare. We’ve opined countless excuses: the cost of training, lack of talent, focusing on perpetuation. It’s time to stop saying we are trying to figure it out and do something about it now. We must recruit, train and – most importantly – retain this new generation. There is no magic pill. But there is a strategic plan and vision we can follow. How we execute that plan will determine our success going forward. That strategic plan is to empower a new generation of professionals to discover, embrace and lead a dynamic industry full of promise and opportunity. It starts with recruiting. Connect your younger producers or underwriters with these emerging professionals. They can relate as peers in a way that more senior workers may not. That understanding and peer-to-peer guidance is the first step in welcoming them to insurance. Next is training. There’s no one right way, but you absolutely have to articulate and execute your plan, or your recruits won’t stay. Many training programs include mentoring to leverage the experience of senior staff. Don’t overlook this valuable component. Generationally, the employees may be distinct, but the insight and experience they can share is powerful and valuable. Finally, focus on retention. Don’t make false promises of leadership tracks with no leadership at the end. And while not every hire will work out, hiring slowly and thoughtfully will help reduce turnover. Young professionals want feedback – and you should, too. Your work culture is as important as salary and benefits to this generation. Take an honest look at that culture and hire accordingly. The industry is changing – embrace the change; don’t fear it. Matt Lynch President Under Forty Organization, American Association of Managing General Agents
THE CHANGING face of the insurance talent pool is making agencies and brokerages redesign their structures and policies in order to remain competitive, attract the best talent and retain millennial staff members in whom they’ve invested significant time, effort and money. “The insurance industry has a lot of companies whose staff are getting older, and that’s creating a real need for those organizations to attract the next generation of the workforce,” says Davis Moore, chair of the Career Development & Next Generation Committee for the National Association of Professional Surplus Lines Offices [NAPSLO]. “Historically, our industry is not well known for making insurance an attractive choice for the folks coming out of college.
The industry has not done a great job in making insurance one of the top three of four choices, but that is changing.” Simply put, millennials demand more from their careers than previous generations. They expect to be rewarded with career progression and competitive remuneration, and they want to do meaningful work that resonates with them. “Companies need to recognize the need to perpetuate their business by reinvesting in the business, and that means bringing on the next generation of the workforce,” Moore says. “It’s enormously important to any company in the insurance industry, and there are a lot of great resources for employers to tap into.” Millennials are also bringing a different value system into the workforce. The stereo-
type that millennials are lazy is misplaced; members of this generation are happy – even eager – to get their hands dirty, but their value system is different from what insurance brokerages (and companies across all industries) have witnessed in the past. Millennials entering the insurance industry want to be affiliated with organizations whose operating practices and reputation mirror their own values system. In fact, 56% of millennials say they would rule out ever working for a particular organization if they didn’t agree with its values. “The millennial generation are not interested in the 9-5 norm; they want to get involved in trade associations, be involved in recruitment at career fairs and attend industry community events,” says Alyssa Bouchard, assistant executive director at the
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