Sometimes, just knowing what makes you different can be the key to landing great young talent, according to a LIMRA researcher.
For example, at LIMRA headquarters in Windsor, Conn., employees are greeted by the Munch Mobile every afternoon. Employees can buy and share a snack, said Breana Macken, LIMRA senior analyst, and the money raised goes to charity.
“It’s a way to have an afternoon snack and it’s a little bit of fun and entertainment,” she added.
While it might be a small thing, small things can make a young advisor feel that your office is a more welcoming place than your competitors’ workplace, she said. Together with consultant Sarah Schmidt, Macken is delivering a workshop on recruiting today at LIMRA’s 2016 Distribution Conference for Financial Services.
Recruiting efforts are critical for the financial services industry, Macken said. Cerulli Associates released data last year showing that 43 percent of all advisors were over age 55, with the average age of the entire industry being 51.
In order to accomplish their recruiting goals, insurance companies need a better strategy to compete for talent. Young people today are conditioned to be able to readily find information about whatever decisions they are facing, Macken said. They expect the same experience as a job candidate, “which is not always what they get.”
“When you’re competing for talent, you’re not just competing for someone who’s looking for a financial services career,” she noted. “You’re looking really broad, at anyone who is in a sales career.”
It’s a good idea to look at what your competitors are doing, she said, and not just for good things to copy.
“What do they have to offer that either we don’t, or that we have above and beyond everyone else, and start emphasizing those features,” Macken said.
Young Advisors Surveyed
LIMRA’s Young Advisor surveys, completed last year, gave researchers insights into what motivates young professionals.
“One of the really big insights we got is it’s a balance between being motivated by the income and helping others,” Macken said.
LIMRA surveyed advisors under the age of 40 who have spent fewer than eight years in the industry. Forty-four percent reported being very satisfied with their work. Among those with more than eight years of experience, 60 percent reported being very satisfied.
So if young advisors in the industry are happy, then the issue becomes one of recruiting. Often, the words “financial services” conjure up images of pipes, argyle sweater vests and paperwork.
“A lot of times … (millennials) go into financial services and they see that it looks old or it’s not as flashy as some of the tech industries,” Macken said. “And that’s what you’re competing with in sales.”
Macken self-identifies as a millennial, and said employers who know what her age group values will make their workplaces more millennial friendly.
“We prefer structure and milestones,” she said. “We have these huge goals that we want to attain and we want to feel like we’re getting there fast.”
Companies would do well to create frameworks and checklists to help millennials see how they are progressing towards important personal goals, she said.
Otherwise, LIMRA recommends emphasizing things that will resonate with quality candidates. For example, if a candidate favors collaboration, emphasize the work your company does in teams.
“What we found is that there really isn’t one right motivation that’s going to suit everyone, so you really have to tailor in,” Macken said. “But we do know there are some things that rise up to the top as common motivations.”
‘Have a test drive’
The internship route is a good way to cultivate some potential future employees. Although it requires an investment of time and training, Macken said it amounts to a free look.
“Internships are a great way to educate the millennials and get that experience out there that says, ‘Hey this is a possibility,’” she said. “It’s also a way to have a test drive with them and see if it’s someone you’d like to bring back to your company.”
Utilizing your network more effectively is a must. After all, everyone networks and everyone has a source circle. “Warm sources” are a good resource for potential hires, Macken said.
“So really take advantage of those warm sources,” she advised. “If the warm source somehow knows (a potential hire), they can give you a lot more information about them than just their name and resume.”
The average age of new recruits is about 40, Macken said. LIMRA has been actively engaged in recruiting studies for years, but sees spotty results from the industry, she said.
“You have some companies that are definitely having some success stories. And then you have other companies and they’re just not even bothering with it,” Macken said.
It’s an ongoing struggle to attract millennials into financial services, but the LIMRA analyst said companies’ inactivity is making the problem worse.
“If they actually would put their foot forward and start doing it, it would be less of a struggle,” she said.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton has covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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