Tag Archives: career pathing

Keys to Finding and Nurturing Talent

There’s keen focus in the insurance industry about overhauling obsolete IT infrastructure to support innovation, along with the resulting costs and benefits. Yet few people talk about the benefits of top industry talent in the same quantified manner. For innovation to truly scale, the industry needs to be able to attract and retain the best talent. With the proliferation of the Insurance Careers Movement, we’ve seen insurers take important steps in trying to attract new talent to the industry, but struggle to put that talent on a path to succeed long-term.

With the insurance industry’s unemployment rate down to just 2%, finding the right people to fill newer technology-driven roles, particularly those in data analytics or advanced AI, is proving to be increasingly challenging. According to an independent study conducted by Insurity Valen Analytics, 73% of insurers find it moderately to extremely difficult to find new talent in data and analytics, and the reasons for this difficulty haven’t changed much over the years. Two recurring reasons include a disinterest in insurance careers and more enticing opportunities in other tech startups or data-driven companies. The top reason has consistently been difficulty finding talent in the geographic area of the insurer.

Even when insurers manage to capture elusive tech talent, the total turnover in insurance is 12%. Turnover is expensive for employers and speaks to the inadequacies in employers’ strategies for identifying, acquiring and grooming new talent.

Let’s explore some best practices for employers in the insurance space to find and retain the best talent.

Engaging in the Early Career

With 25% of the workforce in the industry set to retire in the next few years, the U.S. insurance industry is in dire need of a new and reliable talent pool equipped with advanced technological skills. But it’s also not just about backfilling roles left open by retirees. A combination of diverse skill-sets and out-of-the-box thinking is key to fostering an environment of innovation, while combating this talent shortage. Millennials are perfectly suited to offer both but generally haven’t shown much interest in insurance industry employment. According to Pew Research Center, only 4% of millennials show interest in an insurance career.

It is also estimated that, early in their careers, people remain in their jobs for just 12 to 18 months on average—a trend that has proven true from one generation to the next. So how do insurers turn new hires into tenured employees?

See also: How to Scout and Draw the Best Talent  

It is critical to find ways to resonate with younger talent by understanding the issues important to this generation. Today’s job seekers want positions that align with their values and offer viable, meaningful career development opportunities. They seek flexibility in the work schedule and location, which works to the insurer’s benefit when they are unable to find talent locally. Other critical elements to engaging with younger workers are pay parity, diversity and inclusion. In 2018, women earned 85% of what men earned in the U.S. While the gender pay gap is closing, there’s still much room for progress, and, as an industry, insurance can lead the change.

By emulating tech companies and constantly encouraging new thinking to foster an innovation culture, insurers have the opportunity to appeal to high-level talent.

Mapping Out a Career Path

“Career pathing” is an integral part of talent management. One of the primary reasons people leave jobs is to advance their careers. The key to attracting and retaining top talent is giving prospective hires not just what they ask for, but what they haven’t thought about yet. This includes carving out possible career paths for them, complete with road maps of employees’ career goals, performance metrics and training needs. When people feel like their employers are invested in their personal futures, they tend to stay where they are, longer.

The importance of this concept is amplified in an industry where finding the right talent is challenging. A career pathing strategy keeps the existing talent pool engaged and makes the company more attractive to those looking for their next career move.

A company that walks the walk of innovation is one that always encourages learning and development, but this can also be done strategically to equip existing employees with skill sets that are in high demand. For example, five key areas have a rising need for new talent within insurance: sales, underwriting, customer services/admin, technology and claims. Employers should consider investing in training opportunities to groom existing talent to learn these in-demand skills.

Managing the Management

Fostering a positive and engaging work culture is important in motivating and retaining employees. It is vital that employees are able to communicate and collaborate with their colleagues and immediate managers or supervisors. Oftentimes, it’s a manager’s inability to make co-workers feel supported that can lead employees to seek or be vulnerable to other opportunities.

See also: 10 Essential Talents to Leverage Insurtech  

Offering congratulations on a job done well or keeping the team apprised of coming plans and projects can make a huge difference. Employees should benefit from the leadership of their managers and receive the training and resources needed to excel at their jobs.

It is just as important to equip the managers with the right tools to engage with and motivate both the new and existing team members.
The insurance industry has the opportunity to define how technology and evolving economies will define their business strategies. This creates a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for next-generation talent who want to make a difference, and sending this message front and center in their hiring narratives can go a long way.

Helping Employees Find Best Career Path

According to a recent Gallup study, more than one in three employees have changed jobs within the past three years. Among this group, common driving forces behind the change included gaining an improved work-life balance, having opportunities to do the work they want to do in the best environment possible and feeling valued as an employee over time. Feeling valued is arguably the most important among individuals and employers today, given the increased competition in the corporate world. Without a deep connection to a company, employees are likely to be on the prowl for a different opportunity elsewhere.

One of the ways employees and their management can eliminate the urge for individuals to leave because they feel less than valued is through strategic collaboration revolving around career development. Team leads and employees have an opportunity to come together to develop well-defined, achievable career goals based on both individual needs and corporate goals. This is most effectively accomplished when a realistic plan of action is in place, including the mechanisms listed below.

Meaningful Discussion About Career Progression

It is nearly impossible to create strong career paths for employees in a collaborative environment without both individuals and management teams taking part in the process. This begins with in-depth discussions about what an employee wants and how that fits in with the company’s overarching vision. Sitting down with employees to talk through possible career paths, professional development opportunities and training requirements is a necessary step in collaborating. These conversations should cover what the employee wants over time, what the employer needs and how that can be accomplished based on current and future skills and competencies.

See also: 4 Keys to Charting Your Career  

Provide Training Opportunities

Collaboration on career path progression also requires some form of corporate training and professional development opportunities for employees. Based on the career goals of employees and objectives of the organization, individuals and managers can come together to better understand what training initiatives are needed and wanted. Leaders should be willing to ask employees what professional development tools they required to move forward in their career, and how they are able to acquire new knowledge and skills.

Similarly, employees need to feel confident that their wishes are heard and acted on in corporate training offerings. This collaboration leads to a more effective development program that helps improve the success of career pathing for leaders and employees.

Using Integrated Technology Solutions

In today’s business world, the use of technology has made collaboration a much easier process for companies and employees, regardless of location or size of the organization. Using a digital platform like career pathing software provides a streamlined way to define clear career paths for employees based on organizational needs. Through this technology tool, employees can select the skills and competencies necessary to achieve career progression while linking these to the necessary training and development courses. Employees can then easily see what they need to accomplish over time to move toward their selected career path.

Once new skills are achieved, managers can offer recognition to employees and select those who are ready for a promotion or lateral move. Not only does this ease the process for both managers and employees, but it also offers more flexibility in and control over career movement over time.

Connecting Individual and Corporate Goals

Collaboration in career development among employees and managers also requires a connection between company goals and individual wants and needs. With the help of performance management tools, an organization has an opportunity to integrate career scenarios and employee accomplishments with the larger objectives of the company on an continuing, consistent basis. When these crucial aspects are clear and trackable for both management teams and employees, there is a greater opportunity to develop career paths that are beneficial to both parties.

See also: Time to Formalize Insurance Career Path  

Organizations that focus on a collaborative work environment in the realm of career development are known to thrive more than those that separate managers and employees in the process. Coming together to discuss career opportunities, designing professional development and training programs and using technology solutions to do so gives both employees and managers a voice in the process.