Attracting talent to a digital insurance market

Attracting talent to a digital insurance market

Recruiting good people to the insurance industry – and keeping them – has been harder than ever in recent years as senior staff take early retirement and valued employees move into other industries. Today, brokers are facing a fight for talent — one they are all too often losing to finance and technology.

Bridging the technology gap
One of the best ways to attract talent of all ages, not only from schools and universities, but from other professions, is by embracing the digital revolution. Simply put, the talent gap in insurance is also a technology gap.

Younger or more innovative professionals expect to be using the latest digital devices and systems in every aspect of their working day. And if they don’t find these tools at their disposal, they will vote with their feet and move to a more technologically minded business.

Keeping up with and making use of new technology is vital if a business is to attract and retain talent. Employees today expect to have modern tools at their disposal and are aware that not having the latest tech means losing out on clients and new business.

Traditionally, brokers have often relied on personal relationships developed on the golf course and the country club to win new business, but now it is imperative that they use smart technology and data analytics to identify new business prospects, target them efficiently, and maintain consistent communications with their clients.

Investing in technology is an essential part of a culture that fosters innovation and empowers people starting out in the industry. In my experience, the employees who stay the course over the long term typically have access to more tools and resources, which builds confidence and productivity and leads to a happier workplace.

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Potential recruits who have grown up with technology are already aware of the advantages it can bring, and how it can eliminate the need for boring and repetitive manual tasks such as rekeying data. They are attracted to modern workplaces that reflect an openness to new ideas and fresh ways of thinking and working.

Bringing training up to date
Many training programs still involve shadowing a seasoned professional who transfers insurance expertise and understanding to the new employee. Many of these valued and experienced mentors grew their book of business at a time when deals were done with a handshake or through referrals.

While these relationship-based techniques are still valid in our industry, doing business today also requires thought leadership, social media networking, blogging, search engine optimization and benchmarking data, among other strategies to identify and win new clients. Onboarding and training have not kept up with the changing way consumers are making purchasing decisions. If they aren’t providing new training tools and resources, employers are setting up their teams for failure.

Changing how we recruit
To build a successful modern workforce, brokerages need to change the way they recruit and who they are recruiting.

Traditionally, smaller brokers often recruited brokers from other smaller, similar sized agencies who would bring with them a book of business. However today, the more innovative, smaller agencies are now recruiting people from outside of the insurance industry because they have the tech skills to work in the modern digital age — which is something their clients also expect.

As an insurance technology business, our company faces the same issues as others in the industry when trying to fill the talent gap. That’s why it is vital that we look outside our industry to find people with transferrable skills. Taking on new clients is no longer just about telling them what a company can offer them — it requires a more consultative approach to find their objectives and then linking them up with our value propositions. We need people who work in this way, whether they sell software or any other non-tangible service.  

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The insurance sector as a whole needs to look to a wide range of avenues to attract people to our industry, including social media, tapping other industries, targeting people from a more diverse background, referral reward systems and by rewriting job descriptions that are more attractive to the next generation. We also need to create flexible, inclusive, diverse and transparent work cultures that encourage positivity and creativity.

Changing industry perception
Another stumbling block to hiring the best and the brightest is the insurance industry’s poor image. If we are honest, we realize that few young graduates aspire to a career in our sector. We could be better at telling our story to younger people who have a real desire to find a career in an industry that is truly doing meaningful work. Our message should be that we provide an essential service that everyone needs, and which delivers a genuine social benefit to businesses and communities.

Companies that offer competitive compensation and benefits, flexibility, meaningful career growth, and development opportunities will have the competitive edge. The working culture is an essential element in that overall package. Remote work, growth opportunities and a sense of empowerment and engagement are often more highly valued by younger generations than salary, benefits, retirement and vacations. And they expect regular feedback and frequent, transparent internal communication, all enabled by technology.

As technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, our industry needs to use it to create workplaces where the capable, enthusiastic and committed employees of the future feel they can thrive and make a difference.

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