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Investing in your business’ future: A culture of education

Investing in your business’ future: A culture of education

“Education is the key to success.”

We’ve all heard the phrase and know how true it can be. You’ve taken the time to educate yourself on the insurance industry and have probably earned at least one of the many specialty designations there are to earn—perhaps the CPCU or another certification. Your career has advanced because of education. Are you helping your team do the same?

As generations retire and new ones take their place in the field, talent gaps in the insurance industry begin to widen. Many new hires are straight out of college with a bachelor’s or master’s degree but without the same level of knowledge of those retiring. It is crucial that you invest in the new generation of talent to narrow the talent gap and watch your business become successful.

A Culture of Education

We talk a lot about business culture as part of what makes a business successful; after all, if your employees are happy, they’ll be more efficient and more eager to help the team grow. Making education and additional training part of your company’s culture will make your employer brand that much stronger.

What is a culture of education and how can it benefit your business?

  • Improve Motivation: Opportunities to earn new competences show employees you believe in their abilities and align them with the company mission therefore making them feel part of the team and increasing their work ethic.
  • Encourage Innovation: Encouraging education and training also emboldens your employees to think critically and come up with innovative ideas to help push the company forward. The culture of education provides confidence to employees and makes your team stronger.
  • Maximize Employee Potential. When you encourage employees to earn new designations, you invest in your team. These employees may want to move to upper management levels which means they can promote the same work ethic and values to any future teams.

How to Create a Culture of Education

You can begin to create a culture of education the moment someone new joins the team:

  • Hire curious people. People who want to learn will learn and they’ll encourage others to do the same. Encourage people who want to ask questions to do so. They may find solutions to problems you never knew you had.
  • Focus on skills, define behaviors. Allowing employees to refine old competencies and earn new ones will help them succeed at the technical aspects of their jobs. However, by focusing on new behaviors you want your employees to develop, you can greatly improve the success of your business’ culture.
  • Communicate goals. To get everyone on board with your new goals and culture, you must first tell your employees what those goals are. Encourage management on all levels to keep employees updated on company progress and allow them to communicate their successes.
  • Lead by example. To encourage your employees to learn, you should be learning too. As a manager, you should be showing them you’re actively finding ways to improve your skills and earn new designations or competencies. Share new knowledge with your team and send them ideas for trainings they can do with you. Let them know you value your continued education as well.

At The James Allen Companies, we specialize in finding you new talent who appreciate the chance to learn and grow. We identify candidates with a thirst for knowledge not satisfied by their current position. Filling one open position with one knowledge-hungry candidate can drastically change the culture of your business and help kickstart a culture of education in your office.

Contact us to learn more.

What do candidates really want?

What do candidates really want?

We’ve talked a lot in the past few blogs about the importance of selling candidates on opportunities at your company, but that’s often easier said than done if you don’t know what candidates want. As markets change and new generations take their places in the workforce, expectations for employers change—and it can be hard to keep up. To help you out, we’ve broken down many benefits and perks today’s candidates are looking for when seeking new opportunities.

How important are benefits?

Recent studies show that benefits are among the top factors candidates consider when looking for new opportunities, but also that employers aren’t offering the incentives employees really want.

While only 10 percent of employees said benefits are the most important factor when accepting or rejecting job offers, 80 percent said they would take a job with good benefits over one with more money and 55 percent said they would accept a job with lower pay if there were better benefits. Benefits are vital for recruitment and retention, and by keeping track of the benefits candidates are interested in, you can set your business above the rest.

The benefits candidates want

Candidates value many things in the workplace. Competitive pay immediately comes to mind, but these days, the additional benefits and perks are even more important than financial gain.

Regarding traditional benefits, 88 percent of workers say health benefits are important to them. These benefits can include medical, dental, vision or any other health-based benefit or perk. However, only 44 percent of employers actually offer these benefits. That number is even lower when it comes to mental health benefits. Only 15 percent of employers offer these benefits to their employees.

Paid time off and paid parental leave are also cited as key factors to employees looking for opportunities. We all know how important it can be to take a few days off to take care of personal or family business or just get away from the office, but unfortunately, only 36 percent of employers offer paid time off and only 13 percent offer paid parental leave. These benefits, including the opportunity for flexible schedules, are especially beneficial for those with children or other personal responsibilities.

Additional benefits candidates look for are bonuses. Just over 40 percent of employers ranked bonuses (especially holiday bonuses) as a preferred perk. Sign-on and retention bonuses can also encourage candidates to accept your offer and continue to perform above expectations for years to come.


Recruiting and keeping employees can be hard when you don’t understand what they want. At The James Allen Companies, we stay up-to-date on market trends so we always know what candidates need. By partnering with The James Allen Companies, we will help you identify the right candidates for your business and help you identify the benefits you need to get those candidates on board. Give us a call today to talk with a recruiter about attracting and retaining the candidates you need to help your business grow.

How You’re Striking Out With Candidates

How You’re Striking Out With Candidates

In our last blog, we talked about how to perfect your candidate pitch by writing the perfect job description. The job description is a key factor in getting candidates interested in your company’s position, but during the hiring process, every pitch matters and serves as an opportunity to sell your business to candidates.

With the US employment rate at its lowest in 18 years, we are facing a candidate-driven market with more jobs than candidates to fill them. For you, this means more competition for those star players.

Unfortunately, many companies haven’t adapted to this new market and still hire like candidates are desperate for employment. They’re not! Even after a candidate expresses interest in your company (based on that initial job description) it can be really easy to strike out and lose that candidate’s attention.

Strike One: Wasting the Candidate’s Time

There are a lot of ways to waste a candidate’s time and in this market, is that a risk you can afford?  A lengthy application and interviewing process are common ways to lose your candidates’ interest fast. Only 40 percent of candidates are willing to complete an application, especially if you are requiring them to include education and past experience while also asking for a resume.

Another way to waste your candidates’ time is to put them through the ringer of too many interviews. One, two, maybe even three interviews depending on the position could be appropriate, but the more you add, the more time you’re wasting. It’s also exhausting for candidates to take the time to attend so many interviews and potentially lose money or productivity from their current career to do so.

Strike Two: Failure to Sell the Opportunity

Don’t ask a candidate “Why do you want to work here?” Tell them why they should.

Candidates want to be sold on your businesses’ culture. They want to see that employees are staying for long periods of time and they want to know why. They want to know they’ll be listened to and understood by management. Allow candidates to meet current employees who can share their experiences at the company. Your current employees are your best testimonials and your biggest asset in the hiring process. Also, when evaluating passive candidates, realize they will have expectations for a fair and reasonable increase in their current salary.

Strike Three: Not Making A Decision

Hiring candidates can be difficult, but you eventually have to make a decision—and sooner is better than later. Candidates can tell when you’re not confident in your hiring decision. The more interviews you schedule, the longer it takes, the easier it is for them to lose interest in your opportunity.

You may have to get a little creative in regard to the type of candidate you will consider. Comparing your candidate pool to the perfect vision in your head is opening yourself up for disappointment. It’s important to remember candidates must have a reason for change. Passive applicants are open to exploring opportunities that will allow them to progress and grow their career. If the position they are evaluating is exactly the same as they have, then it will be difficult to secure their services.

Just like in baseball, hiring can be “one, two, three strikes you’re out.” Just like you are judging whether or not a candidate is right for your business, they are evaluating whether or not you are right for them. You sold them on the initial pitch, but you have to keep the momentum moving forward throughout the hiring process to make sure you don’t strike out.

The James Allen Companies works with you diligently to identify, evaluate and secure passive, qualified insurance talent. Call us to discuss your staffing needs.