How to Attract, Retain Next Generation of Brokers

By Kim Van Orman | March 7, 2016

It is no secret that many insurance professionals, especially those in sales, tend to be at more advanced stages in their careers. But how do you attract and lead a new generation of brokers when insurance is not near the top of a millennial’s list when it comes to career choices?

No matter what the career path, today’s young talent wants to know that their employer is going to develop them and provide a clear path with opportunity for progression. They want real-time training and incentives for professional growth. Millennials also are looking for a collaborative work culture that’s stimulating and surrounded by professionals, who have a passion for getting involved and helping others through solutions that benefit their customers and local communities. And, they want to see an investment in technology that is current; a platform that makes them more nimble.

To enhance a brokerage firm’s outreach among strong, junior talent, there are several initiatives management should be spearheading. For starters, implementing a number of regional as well as national programs that focus on new business development processes can jump-start a young sales professional’s career or be a timely refresher for an experienced professional.

It is important for these programs to be hands-on, high-energy, deep-dive sessions with clear and practical goals designed to improve their sales success, not criticize it. During these sessions it also can be useful to spend some time helping young professionals build their personal brand (e.g., LinkedIn profiles). Doing so not only communicates their skills in a clear and professional manner, but ensures the message is aligned with the brokerage firm’s message.

Employment opportunities within the industry are plentiful, challenging and rewarding.

Equally important is the ongoing scheduling of weekly “enterprise planning” meetings that are focused on the sales cycle. This gives new producers the opportunity to work together on role-playing, prospect lists and emails, and how to collaborate with leaders and technical resources in the most effective manner. Other sessions should include preparing for appointments, closing business and retaining valued clients.

Sales programs that are more technical in nature also are popular among future producers as it enables them to drill down into creating solutions by size and vertical specialty. Hosting week-long educational training sessions led by a firm’s veterans can help ensure that subject matter intelligence does not retire once they do, but remains in-house.

Aside from training, millennials are concerned about the communities they live and work in, so it’s important to communicate your firms’ strategy on corporate social responsibility. Today’s talent are hyperaware of social and environmental issues, and where they choose to work is influenced by how much or how little a firm is doing to effect change.

The industry hasn’t historically had an exciting reputation, which is unfair. It is fascinating, particularly among firms that are constantly leveraging technology. The employment opportunities that exist within this industry are plentiful, challenging and rewarding. Insurance, by its nature, addresses emerging risks that evolve with each generation. And the attraction and challenges associated with those risks are unique with each generation. Enter millennials who want to work for a company that isn’t just about profits, but a place that gives them a real sense of purpose.

Firms that embrace the premise that millennials want to be part of an open, challenging and engaged workforce, will be the firms that lead the next generation of high-drive, high-knowledge and high-passion producers.

About Kim Van Orman

Van Orman is senior vice president and chief human resources officer at USI Insurance Services.

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Insurance Journal West March 7, 2016
March 7, 2016
Insurance Journal West Magazine

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