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Feb 27
Don’t Just Stand There… Do Something


After participating in a recent Invest Program panel discussion, I was more convinced than ever that when it comes to talent, we need to act if we expect our industry to thrive and prepare for the future. We need to make a strong effort to attract and retain new talent in insurance.

According to Invest, a national program that educates high school and college students on insurance, 400,000 insurance jobs will open up in the next five years. That’s driven in large part by the fact that more people are leaving our industry than coming in, as well as a perceived growing lack of knowledge and interest in insurance overall. It’s compounded by the fast pace of technology, the increased sophistication of customers who demand more from their insurance company, and the unfortunate “halo effect” that leaves potential talent believing that our industry is boring or lacks diversity.

The issues with competing for top talent present themselves in several ways. You begin to notice that your open roles aren’t being filled as quickly as they once were. In some instances, specialty roles such as actuaries, analysts, and developers are in short supply, and our industry is struggling to fill them over the long haul. It becomes even more dire when you begin to make decisions about what work you can’t take on or what projects you can’t move forward because you either lack the needed skill sets or qualified new employees to tackle them. And the real disappointment is when that ripple effect ultimately reaches your customer experience.

If you’re not placing talent in open roles, then you’re not driving your strategic business initiatives, and you’re going to lose customers.— Have I grabbed your attention yet?

Help Overcome the Misconceptions

Ask yourself: “Are we doing all we can as a company — as a recruitment brand — to effectively market our jobs to talent?” Our industry is far from being boring, so it’s up to us to show people what it’s really like to work in insurance. That includes highlighting our unique company culture, spreading the word about the breadth of career opportunities we offer, and sharing stories of successful innovations. There’s a myriad of ways to do that, and (of course) effective marketing strategies differ from company to company.

Go Beyond Your Own Walls

One way to increase our talent pipeline is to raise awareness among younger generations and non-traditional talent about the career opportunities we offer. Go right to the source — local high schools, community colleges, nearby universities, and community-based groups that represent diverse populations. For example, you can take a grass-roots approach and empower your employees to share their knowledge. We do that at Progressive through our STEM Progress Program® where our people go into local classrooms to present lessons based on STEM skills used in insurance.

Or you can partner with an outside group that’s already acting to effect the change we need. The Invest Program is a very good example of such an organization, and many in our industry — including myself — are involved with the work they’re doing to attract younger generations.

In both instances, what we’re doing isn’t going to result in hires tomorrow, but it plants seeds for the future. Choose what feels right for you… and then move on it.

Think Creatively

When looking at potential candidates, don’t limit yourself to the traditional experience you’ve always looked for. Be open minded about skills that, while gained through a degree or industry you may not have considered in the past, might transfer well into your roles. You must look for that potential and train those in your hiring roles to do the same.

We’re all in this together — it’s on us to make sure younger generations, as well as non-traditional insurance and displaced talent, know about and get excited about the career opportunities we offer. If we work collectively, we can lift our industry up… and start winning the battle for top talent.

Neil Lenane leads the Talent Acquisition Group at Progressive Insurance and is on the Board of Directors of Invest. He strives to find diverse and quality talent who thrive in a high performing, collaborative, and innovative culture. In addition, Neil is a GSD (Get Stuff Done) type-of-guy and a big believer in creating your own opportunities through continued development and the desire and ability to be agile.


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