When someone is searching for a job, they often look for organizations that reflect their values and demographics. That’s one of the many reasons that your agency should recognize, respect, and support diversity.
The insurance industry lacks diversity—but you can help change that
Hiring a diverse workforce means seeking out and providing opportunities to people of varying gender identities, ages, cultural backgrounds, sexual orientations, faiths, family configurations, races, ethnicities, and physical and mental abilities. However, it’s a hard sell for candidates to join your agency if they don’t currently see a diverse organization. The average age of insurance agency principals is 55 years old, with 17 percent age 66 or older, according to the 2020 Agency Universe Study. While many industries suffer from ageism against older candidates, the insurance field, fortunately, embraces more seasoned employees—but sometimes it’s to the detriment of younger candidates.
Women and people of color also are underrepresented at independent agencies. While more than 60 percent of insurance workers are female, only 35 percent of independent agencies are led by a female principal or senior manager, according to a report by STEMConnector. Nearly nine in 10 agency principals are white, according to the Agency Universe study. However, that appears to be changing: the study found that newer agencies are more likely to have at least one African American principal—12 percent of new agencies compared with five percent of established agencies.
Studies show that diversity and inclusion help lead to higher employee engagement, solutions innovation, and business profitability. Many insurance agencies are taking steps to attract and retain diverse talent and better reflect the changing demographics of their customer base. Here’s how you can, too.
- Curate your company culture. Candidates want to work where they feel valued and energized and where their efforts will make a difference. Design your agency so it’s a fun place to work by helping employees feel recognized and appreciated. This will not only help you attract and retain quality employees, but it will also encourage current employees to refer new candidates.
- Get buy-in from agency principals. Individual efforts to change your culture will make little impact if there’s no commitment to diversity from those at the top of the hierarchy. Engage your senior management team to spearhead initiatives for encouraging diverse ideas, experiences, and personalities; holding others accountable for meeting diversity goals; creating a mentoring program; and righting inequities in compensation and promotion.
- Demonstrate your agency’s social purpose. Many employees look to put purpose before paycheck. They are intentional about wanting to leave a legacy. Agencies looking to recruit values-driven employees need to demonstrate that they, too, are serving a purpose bigger than profits. Use social media to share how your agency is involved in your community and how your agents go above and beyond for your clients. Be sure to support and encourage employees who want to be active in their communities.
- Build a strong employer brand online. Younger candidates evaluate job opportunities through the lens of an educated consumer. As savvy online sleuths, they read what former co-workers say about companies on platforms like Glassdoor and Fairygodboss (a site specifically for women). Building a strong brand is essential for job-seekers to connect with your agency and what it represents.
- Broaden your recruiting pipeline. According to a Marsh report, the most significant barriers to success for African American insurance professionals are a lack of: exposure to the industry, professional networks, and entry-level opportunities. Overhauling your recruiting practices and tapping into different talent pools can help recruit more diverse talent. Build relationships with business and community leaders, participate in career fairs at historically black colleges, offer job shadowing opportunities for high school students, and reach out to African-American, Latinx, Asian, and LGBTQ+ professional groups to post jobs.
- Court candidates with “non-industry” educations. Expand your recruiting ideals beyond those with education and experience in risk management and actuarial sciences. Search for candidates with quantitative analysis, analytics, finance, engineering, marketing, or liberal arts knowledge who have transferable skills. Hiring experts also recommend you consider career changers and military veterans in your hiring process.
- Bring your agency into the 21st century. The best talent wants the best tools. Ensure your agency provides the latest technology, training and support that employees need. Consider offering flexible work hours that give employees the freedom to schedule their days as they prioritize a work-life balance. Modernizing your processes also frees up your agents to provide a more personalized experience to their clients.
- Display a clear opportunity for career growth. Provide professional development opportunities where current and future employees can enhance their knowledge and learn leadership skills.
Diverse opinions and experiences are vital for insurance agencies. These eight tips should help you better develop a workforce that reflects the community you serve.
- Big I Diversity Resources
- Business Insurance Diversity + Inclusion Institute
- National African-American Insurance Association
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