There was a time, not so long ago, when working in insurance was a sought-after career for those just setting out into the world of work. Decent salaries, solid prospects for promotion and performance-related pay were just some of the highlights of what could easily become a lifelong career for many. Today, however, the insurance industry seems to have lost much of its sparkle as far as millennials are concerned, and it’s a problem that insurance companies need to address.
Has Insurance Really Lost Its Cool Factor?
According to new research, the main reason why millennials have little interest in becoming agents, appraisers, and adjusters comes down to their perception of them. They simply have no interest in these careers. The problem is that there are plenty of positions to be filled in an industry scrambling to fill them. Could this downtrend spell potential disaster for the insurance industry, or are there ways for companies to explore new tactics in attracting new talent and nurture the leaders of tomorrow?
What is Causing the Lack of Interest?
Perception is just one reason why millennials are turning their noses up at a career in insurance, but are there other reasons? A recent survey from The Hartford revealed that young workers had no interest in the field because they believe insurance agents only have their self-interests in mind, there’s not enough opportunity for career advancement, and the industry isn’t creative or progressive enough for them.
How Can Employers Address the Problem and Adapt?
The millennials of today have the world at their feet. They are young, have drive and ambition, and are looking to be the next big thing or be a big part of it. They want to help people, have creative ideas, and want to move up within a company to build a career they can be proud of. Currently, they just don’t want to do it in the insurance industry.
The 2014 Kelly Global Workforce Index revealed that millennials first and foremost place the highest value on salary, followed by:
- Corporate reputation
- A sense of belonging and meaning from their work
- Flexible work hours
- Equal opportunities and diversity
- Corporate culture
- Access to innovative equipment and technology
The good news is that the millennials of today still have the attitude, drive, and aptitude that will make them great insurance agents. The challenge remains, however, to improve their existing perceptions of the industry and to better align work environments with the above desires. Let’s take a look at some tactics you can employ that will help you to engage with this young and tenacious talent pool.
Ditching the Nine to Five Mentality
Millennials want greater flexibility built into their work week, with the ability to start work later, work later into the evening or even move their hours around in order to improve work-life balance. In fact, according to an internal study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, younger employees were willing to delay a promotion and reduce their pay if it meant a more flexible working schedule. It was also revealed that many millennials believe that productivity should be measured by output rather than the number of hours worked each day.
Millennials believe productivity should be measured by their output and its impact rather than number of hours worked each week.
A Sense of Belonging and Travel
Millennials desire to work in an environment that fosters strong teamwork, happiness, pride and ambition. They want to feel a sense of belonging and community, and are also more open to overseas travel and secondment in another country than their non-millennial counterparts may be. For companies looking to expand into new territories or place staff in new branch offices, it could be worth turning to your millennial employees rather than uprooting employees of other generations. Older employees are more likely to have families, may be more settled, and are not necessarily as receptive to such a major change.
Engaging Work and Personal Development
While your millennial workforce may be younger than many employees within your organization, they should still be offered the same development opportunities and have access to interesting and meaningful work. That is not to say that nobody should get to do the more menial or mundane tasks, but that there should be just the right balance in a job role to make it enjoyable and gratifying.
Leverage Technology to the Max
Millennials love technology, and they anticipate having access to the best tools for executing a task and collaborating with their team. They have grown up with technology, and it is often the first medium they turn to for answers or to get things done. By harnessing the latest and best equipment, apps and software, you can give your workforce the tools they need to drive efficiency and productivity.
One Size Does Not Fit All
There are stark differences between non-millennials and millennials, and if you want to improve retention, morale and productivity, this should be taken into account. For examples, non-millennials are most likely to quit if they do not have the right development opportunities or they feel they are not being paid a competitive salary. Millennials, on the other hand, will usually quit if they are not getting the support, flexibility or appreciation they have grown to expect.
Recruiting millennials requires a different approach from attracting previous generations of workers to the insurance industry. However, for employers who want to build a solid workforce that’s qualified to meet the changing demands of customers, adapting their talent acquisition strategies can be well worth the investment for industries that stem far beyond just insurance.
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