America’s largest workforce is also one of the most misunderstood. Labelled the “job-hopping” generation, millennials are sometimes cited for a low work ethic or high turnover rates. More generally, recruiting on behalf of any organization is a challenge, and can be costly in terms of time and resources.
While more millennials continue to climb the corporate ladder, the inverse is happening with baby boomers. According to AARP, ten thousand baby boomers will turn 65 every day from now until 2030. As a result, traditional industries that have typically attracted older generations – like insurance – are disproportionately affected by the pending retirements of thousands. Many organizations are facing a complicated challenge: how to fill the workforce gap left behind by baby boomers and train a new workforce while continuing to innovate and remain competitive.
Insurance, on the other hand, is doing it right. This generational shift may look like a challenge, but insurance has capitalized on the opportunity. The insurance industry has set itself apart by giving millennials what they want out of their careers, and as a result, generating above-average retainment rates. According to a recent survey from Vertafore, millennials cite many benefits to a career in insurance, with a healthy work-life balance (65 percent), compensation and financial stability (64 percent) and career growth opportunities and professional development (61 percent) topping the list. These benefits hold value for millennials, as over 70 percent of millennial insurance professionals want to work in the industry as long as possible.
Beyond company initiatives like professional development and culture, smaller, more tactical aspects of millennial employees’ job descriptions matter too. Many insurance professionals are using technology, with over one third tapping Facebook, Instagram and SMS/text to communicate internally and with customers. Millennials believe technology has made a positive impact on their company over the last year, with 61 percent stating it has increased efficiency and 54 percent saying technology has strengthened customer relationships. Technology will also continue to positively impact insurance organizations, with half of millennial respondents expressing optimism around automation and other technological advances to streamline tasks and allow more time to be spent on other aspects of their jobs.
With 97 percent of millennial insurance professionals optimistic about the future of the industry, today’s organizations are in a unique position: They have the opportunity to build companies around their newest generation of employees and create an environment that empowers them to succeed.
To continue to appeal to both prospective and current millennial employees, organizations should consider prioritizing professional development with the creation of a formal internal program and an established meeting cadence between managers and those they manage. Organizations can also provide flexible work hours and the opportunity for employees to work remotely, offering millennial employees the work-life balance they value. Further, insurance organizations should continue to embrace technology and equip employees with current tools to best set them up for success.
By uniting professional development with increased access to technology, insurance has emerged as an unexpected, yet promising industry for millennials to call home. Those who continue to embrace technology and prioritize a culture of balance and professional development are sure to succeed.
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