Tag Archives: boomers

How to Attract the Next Generation

It may surprise you to learn that nearly 10,000 baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) are retiring every day. For industries such as insurance, this means a number of jobs will suddenly become vacant, and with those vacancies come the associated challenges of attracting the coveted millennial workforce. Though targeting industry newcomers in the now-largest working generation may require meeting particular criteria to match their unique preferences, our latest survey results reveal there’s a bright light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to attracting millennials.

Our fourth annual “Millennials in Insurance” survey asked 3,500 insurance professionals, including 1,556 millennials, about their career preferences and priorities. This article explores those results and how the insurance industry can use this data to attract the next wave of professionals.

Millennials Listen to Their Friends

When it comes to recruiting millennials, the insurance industry may not face as many challenges as many may think when it comes to replacing the “Silver Tsunami” of boomers exiting the industry. Especially when 82% of millennials would recommend a career in insurance to others, and 39% of those already working in insurance were recruited by friends.

See also: 3 Reasons Millennials Should Join Industry  

Insurance business’ biggest asset is their current millennial employees, and tapping into their networks offers valuable word-of-mouth exposure for recruiting efforts. Offering incentives to current employees is a great way to increase motivation to bring in new talent and capitalize on referrals.

They Want to Grow Within Their Company

Contrary to popular belief, millennials tend to be sticking with their roles in the insurance industry rather than jumping from job to job. In fact, 67% of millennials currently working in insurance have been in the industry for at least three years and say they have no plans to leave. So how can the industry use this information to ensure their younger employees stick around?

Offering them clear opportunities for growth is key. When asked about choosing a career, 63% of millennial respondents said they are most concerned with their ability to grow internally within their organization and “climb the ladder.” However, growth opportunities can’t come at the cost of sacrificing work-life balance, with 50% of millennials reporting they prioritize work-life balance over everything else. Offering less traditional schedules outside the typical nine to five or opportunities to work remotely or having a pet-friendly office may help attract millennials looking for perks and benefits that offset some of the costs they may incur outside of work.

Arm Them With Tech, and You’ll See Results

The insurance industry is adopting technology more aggressively to remain competitive. Over the past year, usage of social media and communications technologies has increased significantly as a strategy for improving customer service, and millennial employees agree, with 78% sharing that they’re adequately armed with the tools they need to compete and succeed. Continuing to arm employees with new and updated technology that allows work to be done more efficiently will attract and retain millennial talent that look for these kinds of resources when evaluating career opportunities.

See also: 10 Commandments for Young Professionals 

What’s Next?

While the insurance industry has made leaps and bounds toward attracting and fostering the millennial workforce, there is still work to be done to ensure the employment gap is filled. Companies that adapt to meet the priorities of the millennial generation, like offering positive work-life balance, clear career growth opportunities and a diverse suite of technology tools, will undoubtedly reap the rewards of a loyal and high-achieving workforce. By catering to these individuals, the industry will be able to capitalize on fresh talent and new perspectives to transform the future of insurance.

Destination 2020: Adventure or Disaster?

Today, GPS makes getting directions easy. A successful trip, however, is much different and a greater challenge than just good directions. Today, as a passenger on Planet Earth, you are heading to 2020 with more than 7 billion other folks. Our destination is known – what we’ll find when we get there, is not.

Your starting point is January 2017. You destination is January 2020. The journey is your road to tomorrow. There will be numerous hazards along the way. These are the difference between your current reality and the change that is tomorrow.

The bad news of change is best defined by Machiavelli, “There is no more delicate a matter to take in hand, nor more dangerous to conduct, nor more doubtful to success, than to step up as a leader in the introduction of changes. For he who innovates will have for his enemies all those well off under the existing order of things, and only lukewarm supporters in those who might be better off under the new.”

See also: 8 Exemplars of Insurtech Innovation  

The good news is that in the hyper-competitive world that will be tomorrow, well-prepared Davids can compete with the Goliaths of yesterday. This requires innovation – anticipating customer (prospect) needs and providing FAST, HOT AND CHEAP delivery.

“Different isn’t always better, but better is always different.” (Dale Dauten)

Consider these sign posts you will need to spot on the super highway to tomorrow:

  1. Who will be your customers?
  2. What will be your offerings?
  3. What will customers be buying?
  4. How will you communicate?
  5. How will you compete?

Who will be your customers? Your renewal customers will be older. Your new prospects will be younger, smarter, diverse, tech-savvy and less verbal than they are today. Fewer in your data base will be members of the Greatest Generation and the Boomers.

Buyers may be less enamored with your 40 years of experience because they are only 30 (Millennials). The “old boys club” will have closed; decision makers will be more diverse (gender, age, culture/ethnicity, expertise, etc), may speak a language other than English and will make decisions as a team – not as one boss. Having your marketing team more closely “mirror” them in tomorrow may be a good first step.

What will be your offerings? Today, we can use a 3D printer to “manufacture” an ear. With the possibilities in technology, your products sitting on shelves and the slow manufacturing process of today may not be enough for tomorrow. Also, with more data capture and artificial intelligence, many customers will understand the price/cost structure of your offering and those of competitors. You may not sell on price, but some will buy that way. Your value proposition must include a “differentiator” that brings value to the buyer.

In 2020, health insurance may be part of a single payer system, or you may wish it was. The ACA is not sustainable. At current rate trends, this one product will be sucking out a majority share of every family’s income to cover premiums. Healthcare expenses may include unintended consequences in the pricing of workers’ comp and liability policies.

What will customers be buying? With a global market and unlimited competition and less regulated competition, it is possible that consumers will find new solutions to traditional problems that don’t include the products you’ve offered in the past. You may find yourself tomorrow selling against what you sold yesterday with something tailored to a single client.

How will you communicate? My generation used speedy memos, the phone, Rotary Club and PTA meetings and lunch at the City Club as relationship-building and communication opportunities. Today, text messaging, Facebook and other social media platforms are used to bond and communicate. If you don’t believe me, call a Millennial and see if he calls you back.

How will you compete? This is one area of tomorrow that is out of your control. Competition will be defined by the marketplace. Your question is how to respond to the demands and expectations of this new world.

See also: Spending on Agents Beats Spending on Ads  

My guess is that, for agents, many products and service offerings today will be the commodities of tomorrow. Your success will be in what you do differently from the unwashed masses. Offering to facilitate the strategic planning for your best clients may keep you ahead of your competitors. You’ll have arrived when your clients invite you in on most, if not all, serious issues in their lives. Trust will matter.

Success will be in your ability to gain and retain client intimacy by exceeding their expectations and the offerings of competitors. Look who is gone and who is prospering in today’s world. Will you be good or gone in tomorrow’s bazaar?

Carpe Mañana!

Are You on Your Game, or Is Your Game Over?

Weeks ago, Jim and I met for coffee to solve all the world’s problems. We didn’t, but he did hand me an article about Sudoku and said, “There may be a story in here.” He was right. I just didn’t realize how quickly it would appear on my computer screen.

Later that day, when I was driving down Main Street in New Iberia, La., I saw mobs of “geeks” (the politically correct term is “millennials”) playing Pokémon Go. My wife works Sudoku puzzles. I had read about Pokémon Go, but I have never even seen it played before.

See also: Pokémon Go Highlights Disruptive Technology  

I was impressed with the marketplace’s embrace of Pokémon Go. One hundred million devotees in less than a year is a game-changer.

If, like Sudoku, your business is manual, local- and pencil- and paper-dependent, your universe is limited to yesterday. If you are global and virtual like Pokémon Go, there are no boundaries — only opportunities. Your future depends on the choices you make, local or global, manual or virtual.

Now let’s quit playing around and get serious about the insurance industry and your place, if any, in tomorrow’s world.

Whether you prefer the metaphor of revolution or evolution, our world is changing. The change is going to be structural, revolutionary and transformational. The reason is that when one thing is different it’s change; when everything is different it’s chaos.

In terms of natural disasters, think 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, the Japanese tsunami, etc. For economic crises, consider the 2008 economic collapse, the stock market crash, the GM bailout, the demise of AIG, Lehman Brothers, etc. — and then remember the past and current reshuffling of the retail and distribution systems in our world (Amazon, Uber, Airbnb, Expedia, WebMD, Netflix, etc.) I could go on, but I won’t. I can’t remember all the changes, nor can I outrun the pace of change.

These changes from yesterday were triggered by systems, big data, technology, global competition and corruption, the internet and a marketplace that has evolved over time — from the corner store, to Main Street, to strip shopping centers, to malls, to box stores and even to a virtual presence in cyberspace. The big change now and tomorrow is not place but rather people and pace.

See also: Look Up, Look Out, Think New!

Our industry was built for a “father knows best” world. The youngest of the Greatest Generation are now 70 years old. Their progeny are the Boomers, who are 52 and older. Those in Gen X are age 32 and above, and the Gen Y and millennials are somewhere between 12 and 34.

In tomorrow’s market, age doesn’t matter — wiring does. Every preceding generation was born to analog; these Gen Yers/millennials are digital natives. What we “old” folks see as aberrations, they see as the norm — and they and the market ain’t going back ever again. By 2025 (which is nine years away) millennials will be 75% of the working people. The next nine years may bring more technological advances than we’ve seen in our collective lifetimes.

Our options are simple: We can go enjoy a smoke and a Sudoku on the bank of the nearest tar pit and wait for a meteor to end our pain and frustration, or we can shift into high gear and catch up with the roaming hordes of Pokémon Go folks and play in — and with — the world as it’s going to be!

THE MARKET IS CHANGING BECAUSE BUYERS CHANGE!

Change or die! Carpe mañana!

The Unique Skills in Each Generation

Based on when we’re born, we’re automatically a member of a generation, a group that’s generally been exposed to the same influences, events, and pressures. For those reasons, those groups, or generations, often exhibit shared characteristics. Luckily, each generation has something different and valuable to offer the workplace.

Take the youngest people in your office: They’re called millennials. They’ve never known a world without computers or smart devices, making them extremely technologically savvy. They also tend to be more socially responsible and in search of work-life balance.

At the other end of the age spectrum are silents. This group, the last of whom was born in 1945, are marked by their loyalty and work ethic, among other traits.

How will the various groups affect your company, and how can you mix them with success? Use this graphic to find out.

graphic

This image was originally created by AkkenCloud and can be found here.

Getting to 2020 — Defining the Unknown (Part 2)

Today’s exercise focuses on the best concepts you can dream up so your organization can thrive in the future. You’ll then need to perform a reality test on those ideas, using research you’ve developed.

This article follows up on my first, in which I argue that now is the time to prepare for what I call “Agency 2020.” In other words, you need to prepare your organization for the leap that will be required for future prosperity.

In that first article, I asked dozens of questions to help define the current reality of 2014. We searched for the knowns – and the known unknowns – of today. This time around, almost every question will be about a discovery in the “unknown unknowns.”

Your challenge is about asking the right questions – and then stretching yourself beyond your comfort zone to find good answers for tomorrow. Use a flood light on the dark horizon of tomorrow. It’s premature to focus with laser-like intensity.

Pursue this process with enthusiasm and childlike curiosity. Forget what you know and believe. Ask “what if?” Don’t try to define “what isn’t.” My intent is to broaden your horizon, stimulate imaginative thought, encourage you to focus and help you act as you develop your new organization for 2020.

To keep the process simple and open-ended, we’ll focus on four issues:

  • people
  • technology
  • the global economy
  • innovation

PEOPLE: The overriding challenge and opportunity in 2020 will be people: who they are,  their values, the cultures they will create and their wants and needs in their own world. Do their worlds and your world overlap? Is there some common interest and opportunity? How do you communicate with many … as well as with a niche of one?

Research the generational mix in 2020. What percentage of the population will be Gen C, Millennials, Gen X and Boomers? Will the Greatest Generation be gone? What will be the influence of each group in the decision-making process as consumers, managers, leaders, etc.?

If they are clients or prospects, what products and services can you offer to meet their wants and needs? How do you profitably deliver this at a price they are willing to pay? What message, media, metrics are necessary to ensure you maintain intimacy continually with each person and affinity, as well as with their population (generation) – however they define it?

Where and how can your interests align – whether as employers, employees, collaborators, competitors, decision makers, policy leaders, educators, friends or social media group members, etc.? Who is now – or who will be – in your world tomorrow, in 2020?

Consider the following as you try to put your arms around a new digital universe that will see the LAGgards (Last Analog Generation) leaving the scene and new Gen C – digital natives – begin to assert their influence before they finish high school. (Before you roll your eyes, have you ever had to ask a teenager to show you how to use your device du jour?)

John Naisbitt painted the picture of this phenomenon in his book Megatrends when he talked about “balancing high tech and high touch.”

If you are unwilling or unable to accept the new world, demographics and diversity, enjoy your retirement.

TECHNOLOGY: Decades ago, the scholar and organizational consultant Warren Bennis observed: “The factory of the future will have two employees, a man and a dog. The man is there to feed the dog, and the dog is there to keep the man away from the machinery.” Could he be right?

To provide perspective, remember that in 2003 the BlackBerry was considered state-of–the-art technology. Some believed this device owned the future of social connection. There was no iPhone, iPad, Facebook, Twitter, etc. By 2012, BlackBerry’s parent – then known as Research in Motion – was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, and “i” technology, smart devices and social media were out-of-control adolescents.

Today, conversations are focusing on the Internet of Things, or IoT, where inanimate objects – smart watches, “intelligent” cars, home appliances, etc. – communicate without the intervention of people.

In 2020, will technology work for us, or will we work for technology? Will we know more and communicate better than Siri, or will artificial intelligence be the trusted advisers for most consumers? Will facial recognition technology allow your iPhone to read the mood of your clients better than you can, when you’re each sitting at the City Club texting each other over lunch?

Is this ridiculous? Can you afford to be wrong?

THE GLOBAL ECONOMY: Time and place are gone. The lights are always on, and the door is never locked in any place of business. That’s the good news: You can live on Main Street and still compete in Dublin, Dubai or Duson, La. The bad news is that your competitor and many hackers are on Main Street, peering into your shop. You can be a David in a world of Goliaths. But if you’re a Goliath, you’re more vulnerable than ever to a world of Davids. If your company is bureaucratic, you’re just a slower Goliath.

My best suggestion is to “capture population” and become the portal of choice for members of that universe. Don’t worry about selling products. Instead, focus on needs and solutions to problems. Facilitate the “buying,” or capture, of each individual in the group. Remember: If you control a large enough population, you can “insure” needs of the group – without the cost of issuing individual policies.

INNOVATION (the new power plays and power players): In a presentation on change in 1993, I declared: “Today GM, Sears and IBM are the kings of their respective jungles. In our lifetime, one of these companies will fail.” The audience shook their heads in disbelief. I was right, and in the long term I may win the trifecta.

From the Affordable Care Act, to Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, apps, artificial intelligence and IoT, the marketplace is being redesigned by the people who shop there. In other words, the deck is being reshuffled. Opportunities have never been greater, the stakes higher or the risks greater.

That the world will be different is a fact. Remember Einstein’s admonition: “Insanity is to continue to do what you’ve always done and expect a different result.” Don’t be insane. Be prepared.  It can work. As I noted in my first article, we’ve already walked on the moon!

With forethought, an organizational purpose, principles, a vision, a commitment and a plan that ropes you to that commitment, you can and will prevail.  Don’t try to conquer the world. Just identify and prevail in your part of that world.

Be bold and wise in your research and positioning for 2020. Today’s world includes unlimited data, much less useable information and less still actionable knowledge. By 2020 – if you’re willing to try – you’ll be able to take the actionable knowledge, shape it to the wants and needs of a specific group, align your offerings (helping them buy) and innovate your processes to ensure you can deliver at a price they are willing to pay. Align your message, media, meaning, etc. to each specific group. Test the concept. And then act – meaning experiment. Remember, wisdom exists at the intersection of knowledge and experimentation. When you fall down, stand back up.

As business management columnist Dale Dauten states: “Different isn’t always better, but better is always different.” Be better in 2020. Differentiate yourself from the sameness of today and tomorrow!  Take the giant leap of discovery for yourself … and all of mankind!