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How Independent Agencies Can Get Support in the War for Talent

To combat the hiring drought, independent agencies should always recruit “passively” to recruit themselves when there is a need to fill job vacancies, according to an expert.

“We’ve talked a lot about this great resignation, and the impact it has had on retention and hiring strategies, but we can’t ignore the fact that COVID has really affected them as well,” said Mike Baker, CEO of the National Professional Insurance Association (PIA).

With the unprecedented challenges to hiring as the pandemic ebbs, Baker said, independent agencies must think creatively about their hiring practices and foster a strong agency culture that attracts the right candidates.

Agencies must understand their mission statement and their own unique value proposition. They need a strong culture built on their core values ​​of customer service and professional development. He explained that even if employees are not actively recruited, it must be an ongoing initiative within the agency.

Recruiting the younger generation is critical to ensuring the future of any industry. But for insurance, this fact carries some urgency. Half of the current insurance workforce will retire in the next 15 years, leaving 400,000 unfilled jobs, according to the US Bureau of Labor. What’s more, less than a quarter of the workforce is under the age of 35.

Becker said that because of the “stigma” the insurance industry carries, agencies need to organize a strategic PR and marketing campaign to entice young professionals to join their ranks.

“We need to do a better job of explaining what agencies are doing. We need to tell stories well enough to show that the industry is inherently about helping others, doing good. It’s about rebuilding people’s lives after a loss and putting them back on their feet,” he told the insurance business. “An important component is making sure you have a story to tell, and that you have a presentation where you can explain what your agency is doing and what this area is all about.”

This communication should happen powerfully online. The 2022 Agency Growth Study by Liberty Mutual and Safeco said that 75% of independent agencies are hiring, but less than half (42%) are in online advertising roles and even fewer (39%) are using social media to find talent.

Without the brand power of larger companies, independent agencies need to boost their online recruitment efforts and hire a suite of digital tools, such as apps and online job boards, to attract tech-savvy millennials and Generation Z workers.

“Make sure you have a strong digital presence in your potential hiring community,” Becker advised. “You need to think a little outside the box with your job description, and include links in it, videos, or photos. Make sure you have your agency profile set up, that you showcase employees on your agency website and put them on social media to tell the story of who you are as an agency and what you believe in” .

Read next: How insurance companies win the talent struggle

Baker also advocated a grassroots approach that prioritizes building relationships within local communities and campuses. “Agents must engage with their communities in broader and more creative ways. This may mean talking to new business owners and finding ways to help them meet their daily challenges through insurance solutions.”

“If you integrate that into your day-to-day business operations, when it comes time to hire, finding new team members will be a little easier because you will already be in touch with different communities.”

This strategy also helps agencies take advantage of underserved or underrepresented parts of their local ecosystem. While many agencies talk about their desire for a diverse workforce, Baker said diversity practices must be ingrained in staffing strategies to achieve results: “Agency should not think of diversity as just a nice thing to do. It should be integrated as a necessity. Strategy work.

Agencies can also look into further fields and into other industries for mid-career individuals who may be looking for the stable and rewarding benefits that the insurance profession has to offer. “While we’re talking about the great resignation, I think we’re fast in the transition to Generation Z and the younger candidates for the industry, but there’s this incredible untapped resource for truly qualified individuals in different parts of their careers, such as coming out of the military or just a career change,” Becker noted. .

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