It is also a great recruitment strategy
Offering cross-departmental programs or mentorship is a great way to boost morale and ambition among new hires looking to gain more knowledge and more rounded professional skills in the insurance industry.
“I think the most important thing is that these programs increase the amount of people that you meet, and it really gives you the opportunity to build really strong interdepartmental relationships and mentorships,” said Sydney Stenson (pictured), project associate at Pennsylvania Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Company (PLM).
“It is very beneficial to show new talent what paths are available in insurance, while also having people that can vouch for you across the company. That sense of belonging goes a long way in wanting to stay in any one company.”
By increasing the amount of people that a new employee could meet through networking or other informal social events, these individuals are given a chance to gain name recognition in conversations with potentially important people.
“When your name is being brought up in those conversations, it is going to have a positive connotation because you’ve fostered those relationships and shown how eager you are to grow and learn outside of your department,” Stenson said.
In an interview with Insurance Business, Stenson spoke about what the insurance industry can be doing better to attract talent and why it is important for current leaders to value the opinions and insight of the next generation.
Highlighting different areas within the industry
While offering or necessitating cross departmental communication is an invaluable tool to build up talent and foster retention, insurance companies could be doing a better job at positively highlighting the different areas that help keep the industry moving.
“I go to a decent amount of recruiting events with my company. And you meet a lot of students who have been told that the best career path, or the most lucrative career path is being an actuary,” Stenson said. “And while actuaries are amazing and super important, there’s so many other different insurance roles that I don’t think being given the same amount of time and thought to students.”
Stenson thinks that more targeted marketing that highlights other roles such as claims, underwriting, loss control or business development is important.
“Showing students different paths and that there is no clear-cut path for what a really successful career in insurance can be is really vital,” she said.
Elsewhere, with technological advancements being innovated and implemented throughout various companies, Stenson believes that recruitment efforts need to flaunt how advanced the industry can be.
“I think a lot of times when people think of insurance, they think about an industry that’s way behind the times and doesn’t quite keep up,” she said. “However, there’s a lot of focus on the future and what’s coming next. And I think that’s something that younger generations are passionate about is being on the ground level of that advancement.”
Allowing the next gen ideas to make an impact
The insurance industry can have a habit of abiding by the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy all too often, making it harder for different ideas or opinions to be heard and internalized.
“Insurance has been around for forever, and it’s really easy for people to argue that ‘we do things this way, because that’s how we’ve always done things,” Stenson said.
However, with new graduates coming out of school with fresh perspectives and a hunger to innovate, it can be a helpful retention and career advancement tool to give credence to newer ways of operating.
“While there’s a lot of knowledge to be learned from those who have been in the industry for a while, there’s also a lot of value for some of the new thoughts and ideas that are coming in from new talent,” Stenson said.
“I think that now is a really good time to really take advantage of that thought process instead of just encouraging them to stick with the status quo.”
What do skills or perspectives do you think next gen talent can bring? Sound off in the comments below.
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