Q: I’m the Talent Acquisition Director for a national brokerage and have been recruiting within insurance for 10 years. I’ve seen all the highs and lows when sourcing experienced talent however 2019 seems to be particularly difficult. My hiring managers don’t understand the shortage. I think our problem is we’re always going after the same local talent pool. Does remote really work?
A: Dear X, please tell me you’re a Seinfeld fan because then this reference will make a ton of sense. Remember the birthday party with George and the clown? The clown said You’re living in the past, man! I bet you want to say the same thing to your agency’s executives. This isn’t 2009. There isn’t an abundance of candidates out there. Remote is absolutely the way to go. It is the biggest gamechanger in the recruiting process. Here’s information to strengthen your case.
Change Zip Code, Change Speed to Fill
The three core components of a recruiting project are:
- Experience (years of experience, insurance expertise)
- Source (direct competitor, related insurance organization)
- Location (local, relocation or remote)
Two of the three are typically non-negotiable, fixed features of a search. For example, you require a Commercial Lines Account Manager to have five years of experience in construction at another retail brokerage. Currently, it takes agencies 90-120 days to fill this opening. Four months is an eternity to make a $65,000 to $85,000 hire. Expanding the role to any qualified candidate, regardless of location, cuts the fill timeline in half. Relocation is rarely an option and nearly impossible to recruit. Meet experienced professionals where they are and expand your talent pool over and over again.
Who Is A Remote Employee?
Global Workplace Analytics’ most recent report (January 2018) defines “remote” employees as:
- Anyone who works more than 50% of the time in a non-compete office.
- 3.2% of the U.S. workforce now work from home at least half the time.
- The typical telecommuter is college-educated, 45 years old-plus, earns a salary of $58,000 and works for a company with more than 100 employees.
The common perception is that only national insurance organizations have infrastructure and technology to handle work-at-home employees. The data above shows that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Want Vs. Need
Terminology is interchangeable – virtual, telecommute, work-at-home and remote. You absolutely need these employees to fill critical roles that require insurance experience. Identification is just one benefit to the hiring process. Here are three more:
- Be an Employer of Choice: Offer the flexibility and benefits people want.
- Remain Competitive: Two to three days/week at home is considered remote status. Your competition has defined programs in place.
- Retain Top Talent: Next to compensation, work/life balance is the biggest reason people change jobs. It’s hard to leave an employer that allows you to work from home, in your sweatpants and greet your kids at the bus stop. This is the reality of successful work-at-home benefits.
How to Get Started
Identify people within your organization or hire new employees that excel at managing off-site staff. Not every manager has this capability. You need appropriate leadership for policies to be fair, consistent and long-lasting.
Managerial traits for a virtual workforce include:
- Communication skills geared towards digital services rather than exclusively via email.
- Reliability where the manager’s word is gospel and builds trust.
- Motivation and rewards-based philosophy so employees don’t feel over looked or marginalized.
Food For Thought:
The right vernacular may set you on a course for remote integration. Employment is increasingly being described as Concentrative Work (at home) and Collaborative Work (at the office) to denote different working arrangements. – Global Workplace Analytics study, January 2018.
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