Viewpoint: Changing How We Recruit — The Future of Insurance Post COVID-19

By Tracy Thom | July 16, 2020

Typically each spring, a crop of fresh college graduates enters the workforce, making the critical first steps to determine personal and professional paths. Today, the job landscape differs greatly from what it was even a year ago, and not just because of the dramatic impact of COVID-19.

With the pandemic’s devastating impact on some aspects of the economy, more traditional career fields like insurance, finance and accounting may benefit by getting a second look from recent college graduates because of the relative stability provided through uncertain times.

While recruitment efforts at insurance companies look much different now than they did six months ago, many organizations have embraced a totally new and virtual onboarding process. Technology and equipment are issued differently, paperwork is filed virtually, and interviews are held via Zoom calls.

Though some entry-level jobs may have been limited by COVID-19, there is still competition for top talent. In order to cut through the competition and navigate these new norms, organizations must change the way they recruit. The following are some tips for attracting new, hardworking employees for careers in more traditional industries like insurance.

Open-Minded Recruiting

Before anything else, it’s crucial for an organization to determine who it is looking to hire. While a finance major may be the first priority to fill a position in underwriting or claims, considering those with different degrees and different skill sets can bring new talent to the table that would otherwise be left undiscovered.

For example, underwriters might be recruited from a wide array of backgrounds and educations – beyond finance – with job candidates holding degrees in a host of subjects like English, social services, math, and actuarial science.

Beyond its core service or product offerings, an organization should actively and thoughtfully recruit employees for positions in other integral departments. Showcasing available positions in marketing, human resources and IT will ensure that all facets of the organization are offered a slate of exceptional candidates.

Consider investing in recruiting efforts — which could look like a virtual career fair or “speed networking” — in the near future. Insurance organizations are a great place for new grads to cut their teeth in all kinds of work. Promoting these positions serves as a reminder to the incoming workforce that the insurance industry is full of opportunity for them.

Offer Upward Mobility

Younger generations often embrace change, which, unfortunately, can lead to higher turnover rates as young professionals figure out what they want from a job. Once you have an all-star entry-level employee, you’ll want them to stick around and grow within the organization. Providing mentorship and the opportunity to grow within the company can make all the difference in achieving that goal.

Having a management team this is willing to be generous with their time, and able to help employees expand their skill sets can go a long way to creating not only an inviting work environment, but send a signal to young workers that the organization values and wants to retain them. It also gives young workers the opportunity to pursue opportunities in different departments by reaching out to shadow and meet with team members.

Trac;y Thom
Continue Culture Virtually

Insurance is an industry based on relationships, and the desire to establish and develop productive relationships starts internally within a workforce. A work-from-home environment can challenge an established internal culture, however, organizations should seek opportunities to maintain internal relationships that can foster workforce retention and recruitment. These might include virtual meet-ups or “happy hours” to encourage social engagement and connection.

When some sense of normalcy returns in the post-COVID era, consider launching social events, like group lunches or community projects, in order to foster relationships and establish connections between colleagues. Extracurricular perks, like a quality cafeteria, community service opportunities and the occasional happy hour, will boost morale, even when the laptop is closed.

About Tracy Thom

Thom is a senior HR generalist at West Bend Mutual Insurance Co., headquartered in West Bend, Wisconsin.

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